US Department of State Expresses Concern Over Ongoing Detentions and Arrests in Rwanda

US Department of State Expresses Concern Over Ongoing Detentions and Arrests in Rwanda June 5, 2014

Today, I continue my 100 day series remembering the twentieth anniversary of Rwandan genocide. Please join me in prayer for those lives lost and impacted in this tragedy. #NeverAgain. LMH

I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them. John 17:26

Much of what I am learning about the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide confuses me.

It would be easy to take at face value the cheery messages shared in the media – messages of great hope for a bright post-genocidal future for this special country and her people. We see the signs of progress and prosperity. The statistics point to healing and to great strides.

But there is also an often-unspoken undercurrent that points to some very deep divisions that remain. I have been contacted by email by Rwandans living outside the country who share news and information that we won’t see in the mainstream media unless we go digging. I’m obviously wary of hidden agendas, but I try to stop and take note of what they share so that I can dig, learn and try to comprehend the incomprehensible.

That happened yesterday, when I received an email pointing me to this US Department of State press release:

Press Statement
Marie Harf
Deputy Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 4, 2014

The United States is deeply concerned by the arrest and disappearance of dozens of Rwandan citizens in Rwanda over the past two months. Rwandan authorities held individuals incommunicado for periods up to two months before presenting them to a court of law. We are encouraged that Rwandan authorities have recently taken steps to bring a number of these individuals before a court. Nonetheless, the United States remains concerned that additional individuals may still be held incommunicado and without due process of law. We are also concerned by credible reports that individual journalists were threatened, and that the Government of Rwanda ordered the suspension of a call-in radio program that provided citizens with a platform to discuss current events.

The United States calls upon the Government of Rwanda to account for individuals arrested over the past two months and currently in custody, and to respect the rights under Rwandan law and international human rights law of the individuals detained and arrested. We also call upon Rwanda to fully respect freedom of expression, including for members of the press so that they can investigate, report, and facilitate discussion on issues of public concern.

The United States supports all lawful efforts to identify individuals who seek to use violence against the Rwandan people and government, but stresses that, in democratic societies, individuals may not be arbitrarily arrested or detained and are entitled to due process of law to certain minimum guarantees, including to challenge the legality of their detention before a court of law and to be informed of charges and examine witnesses against them.

I don’t have any additional details on this, but I do have my personal marching orders:

To continue to pray for all Rwandans — those living in country and the innocents whose lives have taken them away from their home country. The issues are complicated. Indeed some Rwandans who live outside the country were complicit in genocidal acts. But others were victims who believe that victimization continues. The answers aren’t clear at all.

Yes, there are other regions of the world that demand our prayerful concern: the Central African Republic, Syria, Ukraine, and even our own neighborhoods here in the US. There is so much need, so much for us to give to the world around us.

For today, I am praying for Rwandans everywhere, for an end to human rights abuses in every form, and for the sanctity of all human life. The closing words of today’s gospel passage from John 17 seem a perfect meditation for today:

I made known to them your name and I will make it known,
that the love with which you loved me
may be in them and I in them.

May love prevail, today and forever.

"Only good things are to come!! Saying yes is the best. See you around, friend."

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