Antony Blinken will visit Rwanda -«It is high time to call out Kagame on his abuses and to enact real consequences». (Lantos Foundation)

Lantos Foundation Statement: Prioritize Human Rights During Secretary Blinken’s Visit to Rwanda

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Rwanda this week, and human rights should be the priority agenda item. No amount of economic progress or fabricated stability matters when the entire country lives under daily threat from a brutal dictator

The willful glossing over of Kagame’s descent into dictatorship has helped create a literal tyrant who jails or disappears opposition leaders and journalists, funds cross-border groups committing war crimes, and holds an international humanitarian hero illegally for nearly two years because he dared to speak the truth about the current state of Rwanda. 

It is high time to call out Kagame on his abuses and to enact real consequences if he doesn’t change. Secretary Blinken must deliver a forceful message: Rwanda must immediately get out of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Paul Rusesabagina must be released and allowed to return to the U.S. All political prisoners – jailed and under house arrest – should be released

Moreover, the U.S. Delegation should meet with journalists, civil society activists, and opposition leaders to signal their importance and relevance to the U.S./Rwanda relationship going forward. It is past time to confront the Rwandan dictatorship, and Secretary Blinken has a perfect opportunity to do so this week. We hope he takes it.

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