Tuesday Human Rights Teach-In Will Protest Yale Honor for Rwandan President

by student affiliates of the Schell Center Lowenstein Clinic, Yale Law School

Human Rights Record of President Paul Kagame of Rwanda to Be Subject of Yale Teach-In Tuesday, September 20, at 3 p.m., outside Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall

On Tuesday, September 20, Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, will deliver the Coca-Cola World Fund Lecture at Yale. Yale characterizes President Kagame as a leader in “the promotion of human rights.” But organizations such as Human Rights WatchAmnesty International, and even the United Nations have documented grave human rights abuses committed by Rwandan officials: enforced disappearances, summary executions, arbitrary detention, suppression of free speech, and widespread intimidation of journalists and civil society members.

kagame2016-coca-cola-sss-448

By ignoring these violations, Yale implies that serious human rights violations are less important to our community than reaching development goals. We disagree.

We recognize President Kagame’s role in ending the genocide in Rwanda and bringing economic and social stability to his country. But these accomplishments ought not to obscure the serious human rights violations that have occurred under his leadership. President Kagame’s right to speak  is not at issue. We oppose Yale’s decision to invite him to give a prestigious lecture at Yale and then to misrepresent his record in a one-sided announcement.

If you agree that the university’s unconditional endorsement of President Kagame unacceptably legitimizes his positions and ignores the human consequences of his policies, please sign our open letter condemning this decision and join us from 3 to 4 PM on Tuesday outside Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall (1 Prospect Street) for a teach-in regarding human rights abuses committed by President Kagame’s regime.