Rwandan gov't said intimidating opponents

Feb. 10, 2010 at 2:22 PM

KIGALI, Rwanda, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Rwanda's upcoming presidential election is sparking threats and attacks on opposition party members, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday.

The August 2010 presidential election has prompted serious incidents of intimidation against members of the FDU-Inkingi and the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda -- new opposition parties critical of government policies, the group said in a release issued in Kigali.

HRW alleges the attacks are coming from "individuals and institutions close to the government and the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front."

"The Rwandan government already tightly controls political space," said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director of Human Rights Watch. "These incidents will further undermine democracy by discouraging any meaningful opposition in the elections."

Gagnon said the Rwandan government and the RPF have "strongly resisted any political opposition or broader challenge of their policies by civil society," and on several occasions have used accusations of participation in the 1994 genocide, or "genocide ideology," as a way of targeting and discrediting its critics.

The current RPF-dominated government has been in power in Rwanda since the end of the genocide.

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