RWANDA: Kagame using child soldiers in DR Congo

M23 rebels train in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.Rwandan opposition parties, most of them driven into exile by Paul Kagame’s repressive regime in Kigali, have welcomed a decision by the US to impose sanctions on the government for using child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

On Thursday, the United States government announced sanctions against Rwanda, Syria, Burma (Myanmar) and the Central African Republic for their use of child soldiers in armed conflict.

“Our goal is to work with countries who have been listed to ensure that any involvement in child soldiers – any involvement in the recruitment of child soldiers – stop,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.

Based on these sanctions, Rwanda will be denied funds for military assistance. The 2008 law also allows U.S. officials to block licences needed for Rwanda to buy military equipment.

“We commend the efforts of the United States government to have taken the lead in bringing the Kigali regime to account for the horrendous human rights abuses committed in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” three opposition parties said in a joint statement.

“We call upon the United States government and other members of the international community to impose comprehensive and targeted sanctions against the Kigali regime.”

In the statement signed by Dr. Nkiko Nsengimana, Coordinator of FDU-Inkingi, Etienne Masozera, President of Amahoro Peoples Congress and Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa, Coordinator of Rwanda National Congress, the parties also called upon the United Nations Security Council to follow suit and institute sanctions against the government of Rwanda for the use of child soldiers in its current support of the M23 rebellion in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as for other human rights abuses, war crimes and crimes against humanity including those documented by the United Nations Mapping Report of 2010.


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