Rwanda tightens its grip
Using made-up charges and obvious ploys to block independent investigations of human rights issues in the country, the government of Rwanda has refused to grant Human Rights Watch country researcher Carina Tertsakian a work permit. Her 90-visa expires tomorrow.
Tertsakian has done excellent work in reporting the limitations on political and expressive freedoms in Rwanda since assuming her post in January. It is unfortunate for the people of Rwanda that she will likely be unable to continue in her post there. An independent voice dedicated to finding facts and standing up for human rights is needed in Rwanda now more than ever.
There may be some good to come out of this unfortunate situation in that perhaps it will make it impossible for Kagame's supporters in the international community to deny that he is running a regime that is more authoritarian than democratic (I'm looking at you, Mr. Blair.). Free speech, respect for human rights, and a fair and transparent system that doesn't make up charges against individuals who say unpopular things - these are the hallmarks of democracy.
It's well past time for the donors to make sure Kagame is aware of that fact.