Answer to Written Question: Detention of human rights activist Paul Rusesabagina

(Source: European Parliament)



Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Borrell

on behalf of the European Commission


The EU is aware of the arrest of Mr Rusesabagina, and the charges brought against him. Both the High Representative/Vice-President and the EU Delegation in Kigali continue to follow his case closely. The EU has been in liaison with the Belgian authorities, as well as the Embassy of the United States. As Mr Rusesabagina is a Belgian citizen, the Belgian Government ensures his consular protection. Belgian officials pay regular visits to him and report that he has been in regular medical care. Mr Rusesabagina chose two lawyers and confirmed his satisfaction with their assistance.

The EU Ambassador to Rwanda has raised this case with Rwandan authorities to express EU expectations that due process is respected and the accused will get a fair trial. The EU Delegation in Kigali has followed court sessions and will continue to do so. The High Representative/Vice-President does not interfere with the court’s procedure and is not planning to make any call for the release.

As stressed by the Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights at the European Parliament debate on 11 February 2021[1], the EU will continue to engage with the Rwandan authorities on human rights issues in the regular political dialogue in the framework of Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement[2]. Governance has been a focal area of EU cooperation under the 11th European Development Fund[3], and will continue to be so in the new programming.

The EU Delegation in Kigali has just launched a call for proposals for projects to work on the issues of arbitrary detentions, torture and enforced disappearances. The EU has also provided emergency funding to protect human rights defenders. The EU has carried out a number of public diplomacy activities with the aim of promoting human rights[4].

[1] CRE 11/02/2021 – 6.1.; PV 11/02/2021 – 6.1. Rwanda, the case of Paul Rusesabagina.

[2] 2000/483/EC. Partnership agreement between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000.

[3] 2014-2020 National Indicative Programme for Rwanda:

[4] E.g. Human rights day, 16 days of activism against violence against women, world press freedom day, International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

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