Sunday, November 29, 2009

Why did the Commonwealth accept Rwanda?

Commonwealth leaders at the Commonwealth Heads of Government 
meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, 11.28.2009.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government, meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, on 11. 28.2009, admitted Rwanda to the Commonwealth, despite the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative's objections to Rwanda's miserable human rights record, compromised courts, compromised elections, and repeated invasions to loot the mineral wealth of neighboring D.R. Congo, objections reported in the London Guardian and many other sources.

On 11.26.2009, on the BBC's Have Your Say, Interim Rwandan Democratic Green Party President Frank Habineza and Sam Okudetsu of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)  argued that the Commonwealth should not consider Rwanda's application unless and until Rwanda's upcoming election, in August 2010, is free and fair.

Professor Yash Pai Ghai, a Kenyan legal expert, wrote, in a report for the CHRI:

"We believe that overwhelming evidence, conveniently ignored by leading Commonwealth states, demonstrates that the government of Rwanda is not sufficiently committed to the protection of human rights and to democracy." 

But, that wasn't enough to block acceptance of Rwanda's application this year. 

Nor did Commonwealth leaders question Rwanda's pending gay imprisonment legislation, which makes the sincerity of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and British Prime Minister Gordon' Brown's reported "fury" over neighboring Uganda's pending gay death penalty highly doubtful.

This makes it even less likely that Uganda will be expelled from the Commonwealth, despite international outcry, if its gay death penalty bill passes, as expected.

Indeed, as reported on Slap Upside the Head, a gay blog in the U.S., Prime Ministers Harper and Brown expressed their "fury" over Uganda's gay death penalty by reproducing a U.S. government press release, much of it word for word:

Slap Upside the Head

So why did the Commonwealth, and, most of all, Britain and Canada, ignore everything they claim to stand for---human rights, democracy, secure borders, and the rule of law---to champion Rwanda, the African darling of English speaking politicians and CEOS?

Because Rwanda has served the interests of the U.S., Britain, and Canada, and their allies, since the mass slaughter known as the Rwanda Genocide of 1994, during which Rwandan exile Paul Kagame led the Rwandan Patriotic Front into Rwanda, from neighboring, English-speaking, Uganda, to seize power.   Rwanda is now re-establishing diplomatic ties with France, and the Commonwealth's French equivalent, La Francophonie, but English is now the official language of Rwanda, even though most Rwandans speak only Kinyarwanda and French.  The U.S. and its allies use Rwanda and its proxy army to secure their interests in the region, which include:

--natural gas reserves,  an estimated $20 billion worth, in Lake Kivu, on the border of Rwanda and D.R. Congo,

--the unparalleled mineral wealth of Eastern D.R. Congo, including fossil fuels, uranium, coltan, cassiterite, diamonds, and, the world's cobalt reserves, in the Katanga Copper Belt.

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