Blinken rebukes Rwanda over rights, suppression concerns
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday rebuked Rwandan authorities over democracy and human rights concerns, saying the central African country may not reach its full potential without opening up political space and protecting freedoms.
Tensions persist as Rwanda denies Congo rebel charges
Rwandan President Paul Kagame has accused Congo of supporting rebels opposed to his government in an escalation of tensions with a neighbor who in turn accuses Rwandan authorities of supporting a violent rebel group which recently captured a town in eastern Congo.
Rwanda's Kagame welcomes French 'truth' about the genocide
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda on Wednesday described a French report documenting France’s role in the 1994 genocide as “a good thing,” welcoming efforts in Paris to “move forward with a good understanding of what happened” 27 years after the massacres that shocked the world.
The Latest: Wyoming governor sticks with ending mask mandate
— Wyoming’s governor is rejecting a call by President Joe Biden for states to reimpose mask orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Coronavirus cases nationwide are on the rise, but infections in Wyoming have fallen off sharply since December. Tribal health officials said that the United Kingdom strain was confirmed in a sample obtained in the western part of the reservation. State health officials on Monday announced more than 1 million people in the state, about 17% of Wisconsin’s population, have completed their vaccination cycles. AdThe COVID-related hospitalizations dropped to 549 on Monday, far below the pandemic record of 5,082 on Jan. 11, according to the state’s pandemic dashboard.
World leaders call for pandemic treaty, but short on details
"The world cannot afford to wait until the pandemic is over to start planning for the next one,” Tedros said during a news conference. Steven Solomon, WHO's principal legal officer, said the proposed pandemic treaty would need to be ratified by lawmakers in the participating countries. European Council President Charles Michel first laid out the idea of a pandemic treaty at the U.N. General Assembly in December. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the U.S. has concerns about the current push for a new pandemic treaty. “That should be our focus currently.”WHO legal officer Solomon said the pandemic treaty might also address issues such as the sharing of vaccine technology and vaccine supplies, but gave no indication how that might happen.
Report clears France of complicity in 1994 Rwandan Genocide
Historian and Commission chief on the France's role in 1994's Rwandan genocide, Vincent Duclert, right, gives a report to French President Emmanuel Macron, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Friday, March 26, 2021. The findings of a commission that has spent two years uncovering France's role in 1994's Rwandan genocide is to be made public Friday. But the report says researchers found no evidence that French weapons were delivered to Rwanda after the start of the genocide. The report further excluded any “complicity in genocide” by the French, saying there was no evidence of an intention to carry out genocidal actions. AdIt’s unclear to what extent the report would succeed in improving relations between the France and Rwanda, and in particular satisfy Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
Somalia starts first inoculations with AstraZeneca vaccines
(AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)MOGADISHU – Somalia launched COVID-19 vaccinations Tuesday with the inoculation of the health minister, who received the jab publicly to reassure the nation about its safety. The Horn of Africa nation, which has recently experienced a surge of cases, on Monday received its first shipment of 300,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through the international COVAX intiative to ensure that low- and middle-income countries receive vaccines. The AstraZeneca vaccine is the only one available in Somalia and many other African countries. Somalia has recorded 8,946 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including at least 349 deaths, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Issak asked, speaking specifically of the AstraZeneca shot, “If it is good, why those many European countries are refusing to take it?
Court: 'Hotel Rwanda' hero wasn't kidnapped, faces trial
Paul Rusesabagina, who inspired the film "Hotel Rwanda" and is credited with saving more than 1,000 people by sheltering them at the hotel he managed during the genocide, speaks to lawyers as he attends a court hearing in Kigali, Rwanda, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Muhizi Olivier)KIGALI – A court has ruled that the man who inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda” was not kidnapped when he was tricked into boarding a chartered flight from Dubai to Rwanda, where he was arrested and now faces terrorism charges. The 66-year-old Paul Rusesabagina, once praised for saving hundreds of ethnic Tutsis from Rwanda’s 1994 genocide while a hotel manager, faces nine charges. A special chamber of Rwanda's High Court ruled Wednesday that Rusesabagina was tricked into coming back to Rwanda but not kidnapped and the country’s laws are silent on arrests under such circumstances. The court ruled that authorities followed the law properly after Rusesabagina arrived in Rwanda.
Rwandan court rules it can try 'Hotel Rwanda' hero
Paul Rusesabagina, who inspired the film "Hotel Rwanda" and is credited with saving more than 1,000 people by sheltering them at the hotel he managed during the genocide, speaks to lawyers as he attends a court hearing in Kigali, Rwanda, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. The judge on Friday rejected Rusesabagina's argument in his terrorism trial that a court there cannot try him because he is no longer a citizen. (AP Photo/Muhizi Olivier)KIGALI – The terrorism trial of the man who inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda” can be held in Rwanda, a judge there ruled Friday, rejecting Paul Rusesabagina’s argument that a court there cannot try him because he is no longer a citizen. Rusesabagina has argued he is a Belgian citizen who was kidnapped and taken to Rwanda, a country he left in 1996. The court also heard that some of Rusesabagina’s co-accused were brought from neighboring Congo to Rwanda without an extradition process.
'Hotel Rwanda' hero faces trial as family fears for his life
FILE - In this Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, file photo, Paul Rusesabagina, center, whose story inspired the film "Hotel Rwanda" for saving people from genocide, appears at the Kicukiro Primary Court in the capital Kigali, Rwanda. Rwanda accuses him of supporting the armed wing of his opposition political platform, which has claimed responsibility for deadly attacks. AdThe European Parliament last week adopted a resolution calling for Rwanda to give Rusesabagina a fair trial and condemning what it called his enforced disappearance, illegal rendition to Rwanda and incommunicado detention. Yolande Makolo, a presidential adviser on communications, tweeted last week that victims and survivors “need justice done” and asserted that Rusesabagina and the others will have a fair trial. After leaving Rwanda in 1996, Rusesabagina became an outspoken opponent of the government, which he accuses of numerous human rights violations.
Prosecutor says 'Hotel Rwanda' man to be tried with rebels
Paul Rusesabagina, center, whose story inspired the film "Hotel Rwanda", wears a pink prison uniform as he appears for a bail hearing at a court in the capital Kigali, Rwanda Friday, Sept. 25, 2020. The government accuses the rebel group of killing Rwandans in the country's north. Rwandan authorities said the rebel fighters to stand trial with Rusesabagina include two former spokesmen, now in detention in Kigali. “Prosecution intends to submit a joint indictment of these 16 defendants together with Paul Rusesabagina. Rusesabagina has been charged with 13 offenses that also include financing terrorism, complicity in murder, recruiting child soldiers, and forming a rebel group.
French high court OKs extradition of Rwanda genocide suspect
PARIS – France’s highest court on Wednesday gave the green light for Rwandan genocide suspect Félicien Kabuga to be extradited to a special international court in Tanzania, rejecting his appeal. Kabuga, one of the most wanted fugitives in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, was arrested outside Paris in May after 25 years on the run. In June, a French appeals court ordered Kabuga, 87, to be turned over to the U.N.’s International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, which had sought his arrest since 2013. Kabuga was close to former President Juvenal Habyarimana, whose death when his plane was shot down over Kigali sparked the 100-day genocide. The French court decision was issued in a statement.
Women's issues at UN: Still 'too low down on the agenda'
Some leaders took time to recall the 1995 conference, detail domestic initiatives or lament that progress toward female equality is lagging or even retreating. The 1995 work of what was officially called the U.N.'s Fourth World Conference on Women is considered a signal moment in women's rights. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pointed to his country's 2017 law requiring some employers to provide 26 weeks of paid maternity leave. Still, many leaders, including some female ones, didn't devote much time or detail to women's issues in their speeches. In Norway, the prime minister, the parliament speaker and over 40% of parliamentarians and government ministers are women.
At UN, nations urge overdue reckoning with colonial crimes
In this photo provided by the United Nations, Bob Loughman, prime minister of Vanuatu, speaks in a pre-recorded message which was played during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, at U.N. headquarters. Sierre Leone’s vice president gave world nations a 10-year deadline to wrap up the colonial era, once and for all. Since the birth of the United Nations 75 years ago, its ranks have mushroomed from 51 members to 193, as territory after territory shed old-world rulers and proclaimed independence. “If we are to remain true to the fundamental principles of the United Nations that is fit for purpose, then it becomes absolutely necessary to relegate the chapter of colonialism to history within the period 2021-2030,” he said. The prime minister of Mauritius spoke in front of a map that included the Britain-controlled Chagos Archipelago as part of its territory.
'Hotel Rwanda' hero admits backing rebels, denies violence
KIGALI – The man portrayed as a hero in the movie ‘Hotel Rwanda’ has admitted in court that he backed a rebel group, but denied that he supported any violence or killings. Rusesabagina, 66, has lived outside Rwanda since 1996 but on Aug. 31, he suddenly appeared in the East African country in handcuffs. Instead, Rusesabagina stepped out of the plane and was surrounded by Rwandan soldiers, the report said. “I assure the court that I will not flee from justice,” Rusesabagina said in his earlier bail application which was denied. But he has faced criticism from Rwandan authorities in the years since he began speaking out against alleged human rights abuses by Kagame’s government.
'Are people to be left to die?' Vaccine pleas fill UN summit
Many world leaders at this week's virtual U.N. summit hope it will be a vaccine made available and affordable to all countries, rich and poor. Many world leaders at this week’s virtual U.N. summit hope it will be a vaccine made available and affordable to all countries, rich and poor. “Are people to be left to die?” Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, a COVID-19 survivor, said of the uncertain way forward. This week's speeches make clear that such questions have existential meaning. But whether this week’s impassioned speeches at the U.N. will make any difference, Madhi said, is still “difficult to tell."
Man of 'Hotel Rwanda' fame denied bail in terrorism case
KIGALI – A Rwandan court on Thursday denied bail to Paul Rusesabagina, whose story inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda,” saying the terrorism and other charges against him are serious and he should remain in detention for another 30 days. Instead, Rusesabagina stepped out of the plane and was surrounded by Rwandan soldiers, the report said. Rusesabagina earlier this week said he denied the accusations during questioning by Rwandan investigators. Rusesabagina is credited with saving more than 1,000 lives during Rwanda’s 1994 genocide that killed some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. But he has faced criticism from Rwandan authorities in the years since he began speaking out against alleged human rights abuses by Kagame’s government.
Rights group asserts 'Hotel Rwanda' hero was forcibly taken
(Eric Draper/The White House via AP)JOHANNESBURG – Paul Rusesabagina sounded strained. “Paul briefly mentioned boarding a plane on the call, but this was strained and he cut off the discussion immediately after. The legal team points to publicly available flight records. But Rwandan authorities accuse him of supporting the armed wing of his opposition political platform, which has claimed responsibility for deadly attacks inside Rwanda. Rusesabagina’s legal team has filed a complaint with the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, and the office is “moving forward with their procedures,” Endless said.
Lawyers allege 'Hotel Rwanda' hero faces risk of torture
JOHANNESBURG The legal team for Hotel Rwanda hero Paul Rusesabagina has filed a complaint with the United Nations special rapporteur on torture asserting that Rusesabagina faces an immediate risk of cruel treatment as he remains cut off from lawyers, consular officials and his family more than a week after he appeared in handcuffs in Rwanda. Rusesabagina became famous for protecting more than 1,000 people as a hotel manager during Rwanda's 1994 genocide in which some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed. His lack of contact with the outside world helped to prompt the legal complaint. On Tuesday, the International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed it doesnt have access to visit Rusesabagira in detention. Rwandan law says a suspect can be in provisional detention for 15 days, renewable for up to 90 days.
Rwanda's president says 'Hotel Rwanda' hero must stand trial
Paul Rusesabagina appears in front of media at the headquarters of the Rwanda Bureau of investigations building in Kigali, Rwanda Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. (AP Photo)KIGALI Rwanda's president says that the man portrayed as a hero in the film Hotel Rwanda will stand trial for allegedly supporting rebel violence. President Paul Kagame, appearing on national television Sunday, did not explain how Paul Rusesabagina was brought to Rwanda where he has been held in custody for more than a week. Rusesabagina is credited with saving 1,200 lives during Rwanda's 1994 genocide by letting people shelter in the hotel he was managing during the mass killings. Rusesabagina has the blood of Rwandans on his hands.He said Rusesabaginas trial will be held openly and conducted fairly.
'Hotel Rwanda' hero denied access to lawyer, supporters say
JOHANNESBURG Supporters of the man portrayed in Hotel Rwanda say Rwandan authorities have denied a lawyer access to Paul Rusesabagina nearly a week after the outspoken government critic was paraded in handcuffs and accused of terrorism. The family has said they believe he was kidnapped during a visit to Dubai and that he would never knowingly have boarded a plane for Rwandas capital, Kigali. Rwandan authorities have not responded to questions about how and where Rusesabagina was apprehended, and have not publicly shared any international arrest warrant. Rwandan law says a suspect can be in provisional detention for 15 days, renewable for up to 90 days. Rusesabaginas detention has prompted concern among human rights activists that this was the latest example of the Rwandan government targeting critics beyond its borders.
Daughter says 'Hotel Rwanda' hero was 'kidnapped' in Dubai
Paul Rusesabagina appears in front of media at the headquarters of the Rwanda Bureau of investigations building in Kigali, Rwanda Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. Rusesabagina, who was portrayed in the film "Hotel Rwanda" as a hero who saved the lives of more than 1,200 people from the country's 1994 genocide, and is a well-known critic of President Paul Kagame, has been arrested by the Rwandan government on terror charges, police announced on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020.
"Hotel Rwanda" hero arrested on terror charges, say police
Paul Rusesabagina appears in front of media at the headquarters of the Rwanda Bureau of investigations building in Kigali, Rwanda Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. (AP Photo)KIGALI Paul Rusesabagina, portrayed in the film Hotel Rwanda as a hero who saved the lives of more than 1,200 people from the country's 1994 genocide, has been arrested by the Rwandan government on terror charges, police announced on Monday. A well-known critic of President Paul Kagame, Rusesabagina had been living outside Rwanda since 1996 and police did not say where he was apprehended. Through international cooperation, the Rwanda Bureau of Investigation wants to inform the general public that Paul Rusesabagina has been arrested, police said in a statement Monday. In the film, Rusesabagina was played by actor Don Cheadle.
French court OKs end to Rwanda genocide investigation
PARIS The Paris appeals court on Friday upheld a decision to end a years-long investigation into the plane crash that sparked Rwandas 1994 genocide, citing lack of sufficient evidence. Lawyers for the families can further appeal the ruling to Frances highest court, the Court of Cassation. The 1994 plane crash killed Rwandas then-President Juvenal Habyarimana, an ethnic Hutu. The plane had a French crew, and Rwanda has long accused France of complicity in the genocide, which France denies. Fridays ruling came as one of the most wanted fugitives in Rwandas genocide, who was arrested in May outside Paris, is awaiting a decision on extradition.
China's companies emerge as global donors in virus pandemic
Ma's foundation also is giving ventilators, masks and other supplies in Africa, Latin America and Asia. The pandemic marks the debut of China's business elite as global humanitarian donors alongside their American, European and Japanese counterparts. Ma, Alibaba and other Chinese companies and tycoons are donating hundreds of millions of dollars of medical supplies, food and cash in dozens of countries. American companies including Walmart Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. have given medical supplies and money in Africa, India and Latin America. The company provides free online medical and psychological counseling services worldwide.