America’s Newly Confirmed Top Diplomat Spoke With Families of Loved Ones Held Hostage or Wrongfully Detained Abroad
WASHINGTON – Feb. 5, 2021 – This week, the family of Hotel Rwanda humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina was thankful to have had a call with Secretary of State Antony Blinken to talk about Paul’s wrongful detention. Their thoughts and prayers are with the other families and detainees.
Ned Price, the Spokesperson for the Department of State said, “Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with families of Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad. Secretary Blinken reaffirmed that the United States is committed to seeking the release of their loved ones. The Secretary stressed the importance the Biden-Harris Administration places on transparency in our communications with families and ensured that their family members are a top priority in our diplomatic engagements with both allies and adversaries. The Secretary raised Congress’s recent passage of the Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act and stated the Department is committed to its full implementation.”
Anaise Kanimba, Paul’s daughter said, “It was encouraging to have an opportunity to speak with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Ambassador Roger D. Carstens about my father’s current illegal detention in Rwanda. The conversation gave me a refreshing sense of hope. It was reassuring to hear Secretary Blinken’s commitment to transparency, communication, and the prompt return of our loved ones. We are full of gratitude and appreciation not only to Ambassador Carstens and Secretary Blinken, but to the other incredible families who attended the meeting and have spent countless hours paving the way for other hostages and wrongfully detainees. Secretary Blinken gave one of the brightest days in the last almost 6 months and for that, my family is very thankful.”
Paul’s daughter Carine Kanimba added, “We are truly blessed that the US government reaffirmed its commitment to bringing our father home. Secretary Blinken’s decision to meet with us during his first week on the job demonstrates his passion and commitment. We are beyond grateful that the Biden-Harris administration recognizes the injustice our father is facing.”
Background: Paul Rusesabagina is an internationally renowned humanitarian who saved the lives of 1,268 people during the 1994 Rwandan genocide and whose story was told in the movie Hotel Rwanda and his book An Ordinary Man. He has regularly criticized human rights violations and a lack of democracy in Rwanda, while working for an internationally sanctioned truth and reconciliation process and sustainable peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. He was kidnapped by the government of Rwanda on August 27 and taken to Kigali, where he is currently held in prison. Rwandan President Kagame is a dictator who does not tolerate dissent, who slanders and intimidates critics of his government, including calling them “terrorists,” and who has a long record of imprisoning and even killing those he considers to be critics or political opponents.