In a speech before the U.N. Security Council, Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo reiterated that her country had nothing to do with the crisis in the eastern region of the Republic of the Congo. Photo by: JC McIlwaine / U.N. Photo

Rwanda has taken a swipe at the United Nations over the global body’s experts’ allegations that seem to have tarnished the African nation’s “hard-won reputation” within the international community.

We “expect  indeed, demand  a minimum standard of impartiality and fairness when the UN or its agencies involve themselves in our affairs,” Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo said in her speech before the council Wednesday (Aug. 29).

Mushikiwabo also questioned the U.N. expert coordinator, Steve Hege, chosen by the United Nations to lead the investigation. Hege, according to the foreign minister, has previously written “incendiary writings” against Rwanda, even calling the present government at one point “Ugandan Tutsi elite.”

“How did [the United Nations] not immediately disqualify Steven Hege from consideration for membership in, let alone leadership of, the Group of Experts?” she bemoaned.

Mushikiwabo’s remarks echo Rwanda’s ire over accusations that it helped fuel rebellion in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The allegations have prompted several Western donors to suspend or delay budget support to Rwanda.

Mushikiwabo took the opportunity to again reiterate Rwanda’s non-involvement in the crisis in Congo, knowing full well “instability in that region represents a direct threat to our own national interest” and that it will “invariably lead to accusations against Rwanda.”

On the same day, two U.N. officials sounded the alarm over reports of further civilian massacres in Congo.

“Preliminary findings suggest that a significant number of people  most of them women and children  were slaughtered,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a press release. “The sheer viciousness of these murders is beyond comprehension.” 

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.

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