Human Rights Watch (HRW) has released a report on Rwanda’s extraterritorial repression. The report, titled “Join Us or Die: Rwanda’s Extraterritorial Repression,” reveals that Rwandan authorities have created a climate of fear among Rwandans living in exile.
HRW states that the Rwandan government actively seeks to discredit its critics abroad. The report, spanning about a hundred pages, sheds light on “violence, judicial mechanisms, and intimidation [perpetrated by Rwandan authorities] aimed at silencing critics among Rwandans living worldwide.”
HRW has documented over a dozen cases of murders, kidnappings, attempted abductions, forced disappearances, and physical assaults targeting Rwandans abroad since 2017. The organization conducted interviews with more than 150 individuals residing in Africa and other parts of the world.
Lewis Mudge, HRW’s Director for Central Africa, notes that some individuals have been killed under vague and mysterious circumstances, and there are strong indications that these actions originate from Rwanda. Mudge cites well-known cases like Kayumba Nyamwasa, targeted by actors linked to Kigali, as well as less publicized cases.
He also highlights instances of kidnappings or attempted kidnappings in Africa, the United States, and Mozambique. Some victims reported being told they would be taken to Kigali to test their loyalty to the Rwandan government and its agenda.
Moreover, individuals in Europe and Australia, where the Rwandan government may find it challenging to orchestrate kidnappings, have seen their families in Rwanda becoming targets of repression.