FoRG is aimed at supporting democracy in Rwanda and the right of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda to campaign as an opposition party without fear of violence or repression.
FoRG has been launched on 15th August 2011, also in time to participate in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth, Australia.
The Australian Spokesperson for Friends of the Rwandan Greens, Amy Tyler, explains that whilst many of the members of FoRG share no history or common language with Rwanda, they have united under the Commonwealth values of democracy, freedom, peace, the rule of law and opportunity for all.
“FoRG was established after I spoke with the President of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, Frank Habineza and learnt of the difficulties his party was having in participating democratically in Rwanda,” Ms Tyler said.
“We decided to establish a Facebook and Twitter site so as to provide a measure of global oversight on the Rwandan situation.”
“As can be seen by the Arab Spring democratic uprisings, social mediums like Facebook are increasingly being used as global tools to strengthen democracy” Ms Tyler said.
“Facebook and Twitter are not just online forums to chat with friends. They also provide rapid unfiltered information, document abuses and connect members from all over the world in fights for social and political justice.”
“FoRG will provide up to date information about the Rwandan Greens as well as remind the Rwandan government that there are people all over the world watching and documenting their actions.”
“This year, FoRG is a focusing their attention on ensuring that the Commonwealth steps up the plate and ensures that political and democratic rights are upheld in their member states, such as Rwanda.”
“Despite suspicions of human rights abuses, Rwanda was allowed to join the Commonwealth Nations in 2009. Since then, however, we have seen no progress in Rwanda for political freedom, and in fact things have probably got worse for those struggling for political freedoms in Rwanda,” said Ms. Tyler.
“The Commonwealth has roots as far back as the 1870s and one of its core principles is to strengthen civil society to build stronger democratic institutions and procedures.”
Leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Bob Brown is supportive of Friends of the Rwandan Greens taking action through the forum offered by the Commonwealth Nations.
“I have been concerned about political freedom in Rwanda for several years, and in 2009 I raised this issue in the Australian Senate before the admission of Rwanda to the Commonwealth. This was when there was an opportunity to review Rwanda’s record on human rights according to the standards agreed to by the Commonwealth’s 1991 Harare Declaration. The Australian Government should have insisted upon this before supporting Rwanda’s Commonwealth membership. I and the Greens will continue to work for this worthy cause,” Senator Brown said.
“Grass-root social organizations like Friends of Rwandan Greens need to take action because our governments are failing to fulfill their duty to the Commonwealth principles.”
“Friends of Rwandan Greens are calling on the Australian and other Commonwealth governments to use the forum of the Commonwealth Nations, to take constructive action and investigate these crimes so as to ensure the political freedom of opposition parties in Rwanda and the next parliamentary elections in 2013 to be free, fair and democratic.“ said Ms Tyler.
“Our second anniversary has been a time of reflection and encouragement. The past two years have been very hard, we remember our founding congress of 30th October 2009, which was sabotaged violently and thereafter denied permission to convene again, we remember our First Vice President, Andre Kagwa RWISEREKA (RIP), who was decapitated on 14th July 2010-a few days to the August 9th presidential elections, we remember all the difficulties that our members have had to endure: those who have been imprisoned and those who had to go out of the country. We are determined to move on and will participate in the 2013 parliamentary elections. Democracy will finally take base in Rwanda. Keep strong my people, never lose hope, we shall overcome. We warmly welcome the launch of Frie! nds of Rwandan Greens.” Frank Habineza said.
The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda was launched on 14 August 2009.
However, the government made it impossible for them to register for the 2010 elections and they were unable to run for government.
Then, on the 14 July 2010, their first Vice President, Andre Kagwa RWISEREKA was found decapitated, in a manner reminiscent of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.
For further details, please contact:
Amy Tyler, Spokesperson for Friends of the Rwandan Greens