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Resolution adopted unanimously by the Governing Council
at its 177th session (Geneva, 19th October 2005)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Mr. Léonard Hitimana, a member of the Transitional National Assembly of Rwanda that was dissolved on 22 August 2003, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/177/11(a)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 176th session (April 2005),

Taking account of the hearing the Committee held with the Speaker of the National Assembly during the 113th IPU Assembly; also taking account of information provided by the sources on 18 September and 1 October 2005,

Recalling the following: an investigation into Mr. Hitimana's disappearance on the night of 7 to 8 April 2003 was instituted, and is being monitored by the parliament’s Committee on Human Rights and National Unity; in a meeting with the investigating authorities on 21 September 2004, the Committee in question was informed that there was every indication that Mr. Hitimana was in Uganda or the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and that the investigation was continuing to bear out that assumption; regular meetings had been planned between that Committee and the investigating authorities,

Considering that, according to the Speaker, while the two persons who disappeared at the same time as Mr. Hitimana have meanwhile been located abroad, it has so far not been possible to establish Mr. Hitimana's whereabouts,

Recalling further that, in response to allegations that Mr. Hitimana’s family and children were subjected to threats and intimidation, from 14 to 16 March 2005 a parliamentary delegation consisting of the President and a member of the parliament's Committee on Human Rights and National Unity visited Mr. Hitimana's parents in Kibuye province, his children studying in Butare, and his sister living in Kigali, and that the delegation reported that they all lived quietly and were not subject to any threats, and that the family affirmed that they would not hesitate to inform the parliament should they receive any threats,

Considering that this version has now been contested: the delegation reportedly intimidated them, accusing them in particular of providing false information to foreigners, thus sullying the image of Rwanda; the harassment of the family and even friends who are supporting Mr. Hitimana's children financially has reportedly since been continuing and, in addition, the family of one of the sources in this case, Mr. Théobald Rutihunza, former President of the Rwandan League for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights now living abroad, has also become the subject of reprisals, which affect in particular his 80-year-old mother; considering that, in response to these new allegations, the Speaker of the National Assembly has referred this matter to the National Human Rights Commission,

  1. Thanks the Speaker of the National Assembly for his cooperation, and in particular for his initiative in submitting this case to the National Human Rights Commission;

  2. Trusts that the Commission will look as early as possible into the allegations of harassment of the families of Mr. Hitimana and Mr. Rutihunza and take, if appropriate, all measures necessary to ensure that both families can live free from any intimidation and harassment; would appreciate being kept informed of its work on this matter;

  3. Is dismayed at the absence of any progress in the investigations into Mr. Hitimana's disappearance; reaffirms that, so long as Mr. Hitimana's whereabouts have not been established, there remains the suspicion of a forced disappearance; and recalls that forced disappearances are a serious violation of human rights, and that Article 1 of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1992, states that: "Any act of enforced disappearance is an offence to human dignity. It is condemned as a denial of the purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and as a grave and flagrant violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights …";

  4. Requests the Secretary General of the IPU to inform the authorities, the National Human Rights Commission and all other parties in the case accordingly; requests him also to provide the National Human Rights Commission with a detailed account of the allegations made;

  5. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held during the 114th IPU Assembly (May 2006).

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