Thank you for raising your voice on behalf of human rights and rule of law last week by speaking out about Peter Erlinder’s arrest and imprisonment. As you may know, largely thanks to pressure from around the world, last week Erlinder was released on medical grounds, though the charges against him have not yet been dropped.

Help AFJN thank those in Congress who made a difference! Congresswoman Ms. Betty McCollum [D-MN4] introduced H. Res. 1426 on June 8th, a resolution urging the Rwandan government and President Paul Kagame to immediately release human rights lawyer Professor Peter Erlinder from jail . This resolution was decisive and delivered a clear message to Paul Kagame that the US will not tolerate another dictator violating human rights and basic political freedoms. The resolution pointed out that since year 200, Rwanda received “$1,034,000,000 billion in United States taxpayer-funded foreign assistance” and that “an additional $240,200,000 is proposed in the President’s fiscal year 2011 budget.” Click here to learn about current situation in Rwanda.

Please consider calling the following members of Congress to thank them for their leadership in so quickly co- sponsoring H.Res. 1426 and to encourage them to continue to speak out on the human rights situation in Rwanda. Call today!

  • Keith Ellison [D-MN5], at 202-224-4755
  • Zoe Lofgren [D-CA16], at 202-225-3072
  • Fortney Stark [D-CA13] at 202-224-5065
  • Betty McCollum [D-MN4]at 202-225-1968

Take further action! Mr. Erlinder was jailed while in Rwanda to represent his client – opposition leader Ms. Victoire Ingabire who remains under house arrest and falsely accused of genocide ideology. She is only one among many unnamed victims of the heavy hand leadership of President Paul Kagame. Congress can help end the ongoing political crisis in Rwanda by taking a stand. Sign calling on the U.S. government to speak out about Rwanda, or call your own Representative or Senator on the issue.

Script: Hello, my name is __________, and I am calling because I am concerned about the ongoing political crisis in Rwanda. It is clear that President Paul Kagame is the only presidential candidate in August because of the crackdown of opposition leadership ahead of elections and that the lack of democracy and political freedom of any kind is a reality for the majority of Rwandans. The U.S government has not sufficiently responded. I kindly ask that Representative/Senator_________ show leadership on this issue by:

  • Calling for all charges against Professor Peter Erlinder to be dropped.
  • Working to withhold any funding to Rwanda particularly the election funding.
  • Encourage the U.S. government to review U.S -Rwanda relationship in the light of American democratic values against the heavy handed leadership of Paul Kagame and his record in the great lakes region.

Thank you for taking action!