Rwanda: Investigate killings of refugees [AFR 47/9866/2019]

Rwanda has failed to investigate the killings of least 12 Congolese refugees. Join us to demand accountability.

On 22 February 2018, Rwandan police officers shot live rounds at a crowd of hundreds of Congolese refugees who were protesting the reduction of humanitarian assistance at Kibiza Refugee Camp, where many of them have been living for over 22 years. At least 11 refugees were shot dead that day – eight in Karongi at the UNHCR field office and three in Kiziba.

At least 63 refugees were arrested and face charges in connection with the protests, ranging from ‘participating in and organizing illegal demonstrations’, ‘spreading false information with intent to create a hostile international opinion against the Rwandan government’, and ‘violence against public authorities’

A further refugee died following clashes with the police in Kiziba camp on 1 May.

There has been no investigation into the excessive use of force by the Rwandan security forces. Both the National Human Rights Commission and the Rwanda National Police are trying to pin the blame on the refugees who were protesting, but have not explained why the police resorted to violence and arrests so quickly rather than defending the participants’ right to peaceful protest.

Call on President Paul Kagame to initiate investigations into the killings and arbitrary arrests of Congolese refugees in Karongi and Kiziba refugee camp.