Bloomberg News

Rwandan President Says Human Rights Groups Should ‘Get Lost’

June 23, 2011

June 23 (Bloomberg) -- Rwandan President Paul Kagame rejected reports this month by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International that accused the government of denying basic freedoms, saying the organizations should “get lost.”

“I don’t give a damn what they say or what they do,” Kagame told reporters in the East African capital, Kigali, today.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch report criticized Rwanda’s community gacaca courts, which have heard more than a million cases in the years since at least 800,000 people were killed in the 1994 genocide. The courts denied some suspects a fair trial, it said. Amnesty accused the government of using out-dated laws against genocide denial and sectarianism to stifle free speech and punish journalists, human rights workers and the opposition.

The East African nation’s elections last year, where Kagame won with 93 percent of vote, was “marked by a clampdown on freedom of expression,” London-based Amnesty said.

“There is no freedom of expression?” Kagame said. “If you don’t want to express yourself, it’s not my problem. I have given you the tools. Express yourself.”

--Editors: Philip Sanders, Heather Langan

To contact the reporter on this story: Heather Murdock in Kigali via Nairobi at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.


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