AI on Rwanda's Genocide Laws

Aug. 31, 2010, 12:25 p.m.

Rwanda has come under considerable criticism of late.  The recent presidential election, where President Paul Kagame was overwhelmingly reelected, was marred by opposition leaders being arrested and bared from running.   In addition, a recent UN report has accused the Rwandan government of committing atrocities in the Congo in the 1990s.  Now Amnesty International has released a report detailing how the government's laws banning "genocide ideology" and "sectarianism" are used to silence legitimate dissent.

The laws were designed to encourage unity and restrict speech that could lead to hatred. However, they have had dangerous and chilling effect on Rwandan society. This report outlines Amnesty International's concerns about these laws on paper and in practice. It calls on the government of Rwanda to ensure that, while outlawing acts of genocide and incitement to genocide, it upholds its international obligations to respect and protect freedom of expression.

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