Rwandan Govt Denies Detaining Gay and Homeless People for Summit

Authorities rounded up and arbitrarily detained over a dozen gay and transgender people, sex workers, street children, and others in the months before a planned June 2021 high-profile international conference, according to a Human Rights Watch report. In a tweet, government spokesperson Yolande Makolo called the HRW report "a calculated attempt to harm a strategic sector of our economy with fabricated allegations".

The HRW report says the detainees were held in a transit center in the Gikondo neighbourhood of the capital Kigali, unofficially called Kwa Kabuga, and known for its harsh and inhumane conditions.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), first scheduled for June 2020 and rescheduled for June 2021, was eventually postponed indefinitely in May.

In the past, round-ups connected to high-profile government events have been reported. Security forces have been accused of ramping up efforts to "clear up" Kigali's streets. Human Rights Watch documented a similar round-up in 2016 before an African Union Summit held in Kigali.

InFocus

A former Gikondo detainee (file photo).

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