Ahead of the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled to take place in Rwanda in June 2021, we have reached out to The Commonwealth Secretary-General to express our concerns over the Rwandan government violations of The Commonwealth’s core values and principles.
If our country’s governance is not reformed in alignment with the fundamental political values in The Commonwealth Charter, our nation will not achieve solid economic transformation and will not contribute to The Commonwealth’s common future as set out in the 25th CHOGM held in London, in April 2018. Rwanda’s governance has not created an efficient political environment capable of contributing to The Commonwealth agenda of delivering a common future through connecting, innovating and transforming, an agenda that is scheduled to be discussed during the upcoming CHOGM.
We are concerned about Rwanda’s worsening human rights and democracy standards. We recall that lack of commitment to human rights and democracy in our country were the reasons The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) recommended to the 21st CHOGM, held in Trinidad and Tobago, in November 2009, not to make a decision about Rwanda’s membership application to The Commonwealth. Since our country has been admitted as a member to The Commonwealth its human rights and democracy violations have intensified.
A recent report from CHRI has affirmed that citizens, particularly our supporters and independent activists, have been victims of ongoing human rights abuses in Rwanda. Moreover, various countries, including 26 Commonwealth member states, voiced concern at Rwanda’s human rights abuses during the UN’s review of Rwanda’s human rights, held in Geneva in January 2021.
The power-sharing consensus democracy that the government claims to be practising also presents difficulties. It limits political space, lacks separation of power and impedes freedom of expression. Heinous acts, which we have been victims of, are used to exclude serious contenders to national elections.
Our country is yet to install good governance to achieve sustainable development. In this context, we are stressing that persistent underdevelopment of our nation’s human capital and private sectors, and political tensions with neighbouring countries, will preclude our nation from reaching genuine economic transformation and contributing to The Commonwealth’s common future.
We have therefore reached out to The Commonwealth Secretary-General, who has an obligation to uphold The Commonwealth’s core values and principles, and officials and citizens from countries in The Commonwealth family, to call for Rwanda to reform its governance by aligning it to the fundamental political values of The Commonwealth as reflected in The Commonwealth Charter.