OPEN LETTER TO EU POLICY & DECISION-MAKERS – The EU and its member states must have a coherent and effective European approach about human rights, the rule of law and democracy in Rwanda



Press release


As the President of Rwanda Mr Paul Kagame is in Brussels this week to meet with EU and Belgian policy and decision-makers and to give a speech for the opening ceremony of the European Development Days organised by the European Commission today and tomorrow, the European network for Central Africa (EurAc) sent an open letter to the President of the European Commission, of the European Parliament and of the Council of the European Union, as well as to the High Representative of the European Union, to draw their attention to a number of points regarding the general situation of human rights, the rule of law and democracy in Rwanda that is of particular concern.

Rwanda has come a long way since the tragedy of 1994. Thanks to good technocratic governance, the country is today safe, has experienced strong economic growth, and has improved access to basic social services. President Kagame is rightly praised for his leadership in bringing about a Rwandan ‘revival’.

However, in recent years, the European network for Central Africa and other rights groups have witnessed a marked increase in human rights violations carried out by the Rwandan regime against all dissident voices in Rwanda.  There is significant and increasing restriction on fundamental rights and freedoms, in particular civil and political rights and the freedom of expression, association and assembly. Torture, extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances, and restrictions on the implementation of regional and international human rights conventions and on access to the African Court on Human and People’s Rights are cause for grave concern.  There are also growing restrictions on democratic space and civil society space. In addition to the repression of political opponents, outspoken civil society organisations, both national and international, are coming under significant pressure.

The Strategic Framework for the Great Lakes Region adopted in June 2013 by the European Commission and the Council of the EU identifies human rights, the rule of law, and democracy as the EU policy priorities in Central Africa. In Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), human rights, the rule of law and democratic principles have resulted in public declarations by the EU, and also in some measures taken, such as targeted sanctions against those responsible for human rights violations.

In order to have a coherent and effective policy, it is important that the EU also puts human rights, the rule of law and democratic principles at the centre of its relations with Rwanda, both in its public and in its diplomatic dealings with President Kagame and the Rwandan government. European policy should be coherent and not give the impression of applying double standards in relation to democracy and human rights in Central Africa.


To read the full open letter and our recommendations to EU policy and decision-makers, read HERE.



For media request and/or more information please contact:

Julie Capoulade - Communications & Advocacy Officer - EurAc

Office: +32 2 725 47 70 // Mobile: +32 499 81 01 77 //