Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 3rd July 2015.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the government of Rwanda about the termination of the BBC’s local language service, human rights in that country, and proposed changes to the constitution to permit a third presidential term.

Photo of Baroness Anelay of St Johns Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State

Rwanda has made huge strides forward since 1994, impressively lifting large numbers of its citizens out of poverty. We are proud of the role that the UK has played in contributing to this success, and as a committed partner of Rwanda we regularly engage in constructive dialogue with the Rwandan government on a wide range of issues affecting the country’s economic and social development. This has included raising our concerns about restrictions placed on civil and political rights in Rwanda and other human rights concerns as set out in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)’s annual Human Rights and Democracy Report. A vibrant, free and plural media system is in Rwanda’s interests and we are disappointed at the continued suspension of the BBC Kinyarwanda service, a popular and trusted source of news. The FCO press statement of 4 June set out our views. Our High Commissioner in Kigali has regularly discussed this case and the importance of media freedom with the Rwandan government. We continue to urge the Rwandan authorities to allow the BBC to resume its broadcasts as soon as possible. We have regularly set out our belief that successful elections and the democratic transition of power in Rwanda will be important in securing the country’s long-term development and stability, and have discussed with the Rwandan authorities the importance of ensuring that the conditions are in place to ensure free and fair Presidential elections in 2017.

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