News / Africa

Rwanda Political Life 'Closed,' Says US Ambassador

Susan Rice, US Ambassador to United Nations speaks to reporters at UN Headquarters after the Security Council met to discuss the situation in Sudan, November 11, 2011.
Susan Rice, US Ambassador to United Nations speaks to reporters at UN Headquarters after the Security Council met to discuss the situation in Sudan, November 11, 2011.
Heather Murdock

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice has arrived in Rwanda for a four-day diplomatic mission focused on economic, agricultural and health development. She says despite impressive growth in these sectors, political life in Rwanda remains, as she puts it, “comparatively closed.”  

U.S. ambassador Susan Rice heaps praise upon Rwanda, saying in the past 17 years, the country has made leaps in economic development, international relations, business savvy, environment, health care, technology and women’s rights.

For example, she says, spurred by the disproportionate number of men killed in the 1994 genocide that left 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead, Rwanda has skyrocketed ahead of most of the world in empowering women.

"In 2008, women took an even greater share: 45 out of 80 seats, making Rwanda the only country in the world to this day with a female parliamentary majority," said Rice. "This puts the rest of us to shame."

In her comments, made in Kigali Wednesday, Rice also called Rwanda a "friend" to whom she can speak frankly. She says Rwanda may be growing healthier, richer and more educated, but in the politically the East African nation is lagging.

"Press restrictions persist.  Civil society activists, journalists, and political opponents of the government often fear organizing peacefully and speaking out," said Rice. "Some have been harassed.  Some have been intimidated by late-night callers. Some have simply disappeared."

In June, Amnesty International criticized Rwanda’s human rights record, saying that last year's elections, in which President Paul Kagame won 93 percent of the vote, were “marked with a clampdown on free expression.”  

The Rwandan government called that report “inaccurate.” It additionally described a Human Rights Watch report that criticizes Rwanda’s justice system as “nonsense.”

Rice also praised the Rwandan government, known for its tough stance against corruption, and Rwanda’s technological advances, saying internet users have more than doubled in the past few years. Technology, she says, will “transform Rwandan society.”

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid