February 01, 2022

Castro, Kim Introduce Bipartisan Resolution Calling on Republic of Rwanda to Release Paul Rusesabagina on Humanitarian Grounds

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representatives Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Development, International Organizations and Global Corporate Social Impact, and Young Kim (CA-39) introduced a resolution calling on the government of the Republic of Rwanda to release activist Paul Rusesabagina on humanitarian grounds. 

Paul Rusesabagina, a 67-year-old cancer survivor who suffers from a cardiovascular disorder, Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree and resident of Texas, is credited with saving the lives of thousands of people during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. In August 2020, Rusesabagina was charged by the Rwandan government and put on trial. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison on September 20, 2021. 

“Mr. Paul Rusesabagina has been unfairly targeted and imprisoned for using his elevated platform and prominence to oppose an oppressive Rwandan government,” said Rep. Castro. “The unjustifiable human rights abuses against Mr. Rusesabagina are nefarious and deeply rooted in corruption. His chronic medical conditions severely compromise his health and require close monitoring, which presents an even graver threat amid the COVID-19 pandemic. President Kagame and the Republic of Rwanda must immediately release Mr. Rusesabagina on humanitarian grounds and return him home to his family in San Antonio, Texas."

“Mr. Paul Rusesabagina saved the lives of thousands of people during the brutal 1994 Rwandan genocide and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his heroism. The fact that an American permanent resident could be abducted and held hostage by a foreign government is wholly unacceptable,” said Rep. Kim.“ I will continue to pray for Paul Rusesabagina’s safety and am proud to help lead this important effort with Rep. Castro to urge the Biden administration to demand his immediate release and raise his case with the Government of Rwanda.” 

The resolution builds upon a previous bipartisan effort by Congress taken on December 18, 2020, to urge Rwandan President Paul Kagame to return Mr. Rusesabagina to the United States, as well as express grave concern with the way the Government of Rwanda extrajudicially transferred him from the United Arab Emirates to Rwanda, immediately placed him in solitary confinement, and charged him with multiple crimes.  

Summary of the Resolution:

  • Calls on the Government of Rwanda to immediately release Paul Rusesabagina on humanitarian grounds and permit him to return safely to the United States;
  • Calls on the Government of Rwanda to ensure Paul Rusesabagina receives access to appropriate, qualified medical professionals and all medical care necessary to guarantee his physical integrity and psychological well-being;
  • Urges the United States Government in all interactions with the Government of Rwanda to raise the case of Paul Rusesabagina and to press for his immediate release on humanitarian grounds; and
  • Expresses support to the family of Paul Rusesabagina and their commitment to bringing Paul Rusesabagina home.

Original co-sponsors of the resolution include Representatives: Gregory W. Meeks, James P. McGovern, Susan Wild, Brad Sherman, Dean Phillips, and Jan Schakowsky.