La Tribune Franco-Rwandaise
Avenue Baron Albert D’Huart 124 June 01, 2017
1950 Krainem Brussels
To: Mr Filippo Grandi, the UNHCR Commissionner; Geneva, Switzerland
Re: Alert on the danger awaiting Rwandan refugees once repatriated as per the cessation clause decision
On behalf of my humanitarian organisation - Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation -, I would like to express my gratitude to you as well as to the organisation you represent, for the patience and professionalism with which you deal with refugee problems around the world. However, Honourable Commissioner, the decision of the UNHCR to apply the cessation clause on Rwandan refugees around the globe, raises worries and uncertainty as the danger they ran away from since early 1990s, is still hounding them, getting even stronger and threatening to kill them wherever they are.
My name is Paul Rusesabagina, and during the 1994 Rwandan tragedy, I managed to rescue 1268 lives who sought refuge at the Hotel des Mille Collines, where I was employed as General Manager (https://www.millecollines.rw)
Personally, I have eye witnessed crimes consisting in tying up people’s arms and legs by the back, hit their chests with a hammer or used hoe, until they die. Others were tortured, tied up in the same manner, thrown into containers and their bodies taken to Nyungwe game reserve and Akagera
National park to be burnt dead or alive. It then became evident to me, and many other people in Rwanda, that what was hoped to be achieved in terms of reconciliation of Rwandan people was actually a dream that would never come true. This prompted my departure into exile, together with many other Rwandans, and to this date, we prefer to still be refugees.
Before and during its march to power (from April – July 1994), it is believed that the RPF-Inkotanyi had massacred an unspecified number of people in Byumba prefecture, and the Human Rights Watch that investigated those crimes, was unable to name the figure (https://www.hrw.org/reports/
It is also widely confirmed by former Kagame’s closest aids such as General Kayumba Nyamwasa (Kagame’s former chief army of staff), and bodyguards who saw him, giving orders to shoot down the former President Habyarimana’s Jet, event that triggered the genocide (http://www.iol.co.za/news/
In April 1995, one year after he conquered power, and in the full swing of commemorating the Rwandan genocide, Kagame undertook to close down the refugee camps in Kibeho (South-West Rwanda) in total defiance of the UN Refugee Agency and United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR). With machine guns, Kagame’s army surrounded the refugee camp, and started shooting indistinctively, killing unspecified number of people on the ground, and pursuing the survivors in the forests to kill them. It is estimated that around 8000 have succumbed in that attack. It is worth mentioning that even the UN troops who were present, could not undertake any activity (such as saving people) other than counting bodies (www.pbase.com/kleine/
To pursue everybody who could be critical of his ill activities, Kagame’s army attacked me personally, but I narrowly escaped on September 5, 1996 and went into exile the next day. Unable to find me inside Rwanda, Kagame decided to follow me and destabilize my life in Belgium, when his ambassador abandoned Rwandan official residence to come and hire a residential house behind my residence. This led to my home being invaded 4 times, and ransacked and taking all my documents, until the Belgium police warned me about the danger that was hunting me until today.
Kagame‘s killings did not only happen inside Rwanda. In 1996, he invaded the DRC and pursued his agenda against Hutus in DRC, where, according to the UN Mapping report, he committed crimes against humanity, war crimes. The report went even further to affirm that Kagame’s army killings may constitute a genocide against the Hutus, if it is examined by the Competent International Judicial Institution (www.ohchr.org/Documents/
The same report identified 630 sites where more than 300,000 people were mercilessly massacred by Kagame’s army. However, this figure remains just an estimation because the number of people that were eaten by animals or drowned into the rivers and lakes as well as those who died of hunger are still uncounted for. Those who survived these atrocities are still living in the DRC forests and do not want to return home. As a response to this refusal to repatriate, Kagame’s army, in collaboration with the Congolese army, conduct regular attacks against these armless refugees and kill whomever they want and this has been going on since 1996 till today. One of those missions of killing refugees has been baptized “umoja wetu” (our unity) has claimed more than 280 innocent lives, and 5000 refugees forcefully repatriated (https://en.wikipedia.org/
Furthermore, these killings happen in the aftermath of his continuous wars in the DRC conducted under various politico-military organisations such as RCD-Goma, CNDP, and recently the notorious M23, and the saddest side of the story, is that all these atrocities, are committed in the full watch of the international community, which continues to be indifferent in front of his ongoing killings and human rights abuses. During this process of invading the DRC, Kagame also forcefully repatriated thousands of Rwandan refugees, killing whomever he wanted, jailing the lucky ones while the luckiest went into exile. This massive return of refugees, offered the dictator Kagame with an opportunity to continue his cleansing of the Hutus in the north western of Rwanda, and at the height of those killings was when he enclosed the cave (with concrete cement) inside which, thousands of people had found refuge. None of them survived. Sources indicate that more than 3000 people died inside.
On regular basis, Human Rights Watch (HRW), as well as Amnesty International, make public, reports about atrocities of killings and human rights abuses by the Rwandan dictatorship. For example, in its 2007 version (https://www.justice.gov/
2007_rwanda.pdf), HRW collected evidence from some government’s officials that there will be no trials in Rwanda, because all those who had to be tried, had indeed been killed. Many of them were accused of having genocide ideology that the government defines vaguely just to silence, jail or kill anybody who dares to speak out against their atrocities. Once again, there was no reaction of the international community, which remained even silent about the crimes that were committed in the DRC. Even the discovery of mass graves near the main prison in Kigali in 2013, did not trigger the reaction of the international community (http://www.theproxylake.com/
You are certainly aware that it was not through democratic means that President Kagame ascended to power in 1994. It was rather through military means and a war between Hutus and Tutsis, after killing his Predecessor, President Habyarimana, and triggering a genocide that is today becoming a topic of high controversy. He emerged victorious and he is now writing his own history, distorting all the events including the UN resolutions.
Over the past 23 years that Kagame has been at the helm President of Rwandan, he managed to create a fascist, authoritarian and autocratic regime where he controls all the spheres of the governance; no independent judiciary, no independent legistrature and no free press. To consolidate his life long stay in power, Kagame has, in 2015, organised a pseudo-referendum for the Rwandan people to remove the limits of the presidential terms from the constitution, and gave him permission to rule until 2034. A number of government officials who tried to oppose his way of governing, have been killed, jailed, or pushed into exile.
Some of us who flew into exile, Kagame followed us. Those who were killed by his secret services include Seth Sendashonga Theoneste Lizinde in Nairobi (Kenya), Patrick Karegeya in South Africa, Turatsinze in Mozambique and many more. Attempts to physically eliminate his opponents such as myself, his former chief of staff Kayumba Nyamwasa in South Africa, were conducted several times but were so far unsuccessful. So the question is what would happen if someone like me or Kayumba returns by force? Kagame’s killing do not spare anybody: In beginning of 2015, he killed his private doctor, Dr Gasakure (http://www.inyenyerinews.org/
(RPF). Business people as well as ordinary people who do not pay money into the coffers of the ruling party are jailed, killed or driven into bankruptcy. Example, Rwigara Assinapol (www.chimpreports.com) rwandan businessman dies in car crash).
On April 28, 2017, the national and international media, are dominated by street kids who were burnt alive with petrol for the simple fact that they were beggars in the capital city (http://www.grreatof250.com/
On May 11, 2017, Jean Damascene Habarugira, a member of UDF (United Democratic Front), an opposition party led by Ms Victoroire Ingabire imprisoned in Kigali, has been brutally murdered for the simple reason of being member of that party (http://www.newvision.co.ug/
Michael Ryan, who was heading the EU delegation in Kigali, after his closed door meeting with Ambassadors of Germany, UK, France and Belgium in Kigali (Rwanda), confirmed that the EU will not be sending observers in the so-called presidential elections in Rwanda in on August 4, this year.
He says: Our thoughts are that there will be no surprise in Rwanda”. This clearly shows that the EU is convinced that Kagame is going to “win” again with another land sliding majority of more than 90%, whether observers are there or not. The EU chose not to waste their time and money (https://www.theeastafrican.
In his attempt to perpetuate his lies to the international communities that Rwanda is a country for all Rwandans, Kagame has been fighting to issue Rwandan passport to all Rwandan refugees living outside the country. This occasion allows me to condemn with my strongest energy, this malicious tactic as it aims at covering the true colours of the government we ran away from. We do not want to lose our refugee status in our host countries, as Kagame’s agenda is to come back and claim us any time from our countries of refuge and do to us what he wants. If Kagame and his government’ s intentions to have Rwandans repatriated and have Rwandan identification in foreign countries, they would not have refused passport and stop Fr Thomas Nahimana and his team to go back home. While we all understand the importance and advantages of having this important document, Rwandan refugees wonder why Kagame government wants this to happen by force. Rwandan refugees do not want to associate themselves with a criminal-led regime, which inflicted too much pain among Rwandans across ethnic divides. My request to you on this matter, Honourable Commissioner, is to assist us in negotiating with Rwandan refugees host countries, to integrate into those countries, issue them with the identification documents of those countries, and warn Kagame from pursuing them in those countries, the only way for them to feel protected and have peace of mind.
In light with the above-described brutality against his own people, the crimes that he continues to commit in total indifference of the international community, his lack of political space, there is no doubt the fate of Rwandan refugees once they are repatriated by force, is nothing other than a certain death or perpetual jail for lucky ones. We can only assume that this is not how you want to see all of us once we are repatriated. Rwandan Dictator killed massively since 1990 on his way to conquer power, he did it again in 1995 with Kibeho massacre, he did it again in 1996-2003 with the extermination of Hutu refugees in the DRC, and he continues to do it even today wherever he wants. I trust that this is not what you want to see happening to us, but if it happens, history will retain that your organisation had overlooked its fundamental principles of protecting people in danger, by delivering them into the hands of a notorious killer, the biggest criminal in office today as per Filip Reyntenjs (http://www.newsweek.com/case-
While I undertake to continuously update you on the socio-political developments in Rwanda, I urge you, Honourable Commissioner, to reconsider your decision, and request that you rather favour the option of integrating Rwandan refugees into the communities of their host countries.
Thank you for your understanding
For the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation,
Paul Rusesabagina, Founder and President
- Mr Antonio Guteress, the UN Secretary General, New York
- All Members of the UN Security Council
- European Union Countries
- African Union Countries
- East African Community Countries
- SADEC Countries