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Rwanda: Politics and Government

Volume 506: debated on Friday 5 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on (a) attacks on Rwandan presidential candidate Victoire Umuhoza, (b) progress made toward the registration of opposition parties and (c) the extent of political freedom in Rwanda in the run-up to the 2010 presidential election; and if he will make a statement. (319692)

[holding answer 1 March 2010]: Our high commission in Kigali is in regular contact with the full spectrum of political opinion in Rwanda, including Mme Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza. We are aware of reports stating that Mme Ingabire was involved in an altercation on 3 February when she attended a registration office in Kigali to obtain her identity card. The circumstances are disputed, but Mme Ingabire was not herself harmed, although her driver was attacked by unknown assailants.

We are aware of reports of opposition parties facing difficulties registering prior to the elections. In this context, we meet regularly with political parties, including Government and opposition parties. We continue to engage with the Government of Rwanda, both with Ministers and with the National Election Commission, on the issues of registration and functioning of political parties, as well as the wider matter of extending political space in Rwanda, particularly with regard to the elections in August this year.

We continue to support political and media freedom in Rwanda and we engage regularly, both bilaterally and with our EU partners, to ensure that the Rwandan Government respects these issues.