Victoire Ingabire returned to Rwanda after a 16-year exile to participate as a candidate in the presidential elections but she was unable to take part. Paul Kagame’s dictatorial regime imprisoned her and since then she has been deprived of her liberty and accused of crimes against which she cannot defend herself.
During her exile, Ingabire was extremely concerned about the serious situation in Rwanda, a country which is governed by a harsh dictatorship led by the Rwandan Patriotic Front, and its President, Paul Kagame. Her involvement in politics meant her joining the Rwandan groups who are opposing the dictatorship from abroad.
In 2006 she was elected president of the Unified Democratic Forces (FDU-Inkingi). In this capacity, she has worked tirelessly to promote dialogue between Rwanda’s three ethnic groups – Hutus, Tutsis and Twas – as the only viable means of creating a new situation in the country, based on prosperity and freedom for all its citizens.
Victoire Ingabire is a Rwandan woman who has become a living symbol of the fight for freedom, democracy and justice in the country, a vivid example of the repression suffered by all those who dare to challenge Paul Kagame’s absolute power.
On her return to Rwanda to run as a candidate in the elections which were held in 2010 she was taken to the central prison of Kagali and has been kept there more than a year. She is now facing a judicial process with no guarantee of basic legal rights.
The Prize is an honour awarded by the European Parliament to people who have made an outstanding contribution to the fight against intolerance, fanaticism and oppression in the cause of defending human rights and freedom of thought.
For her bravery in returning to her country after 16 years in exile and because she is a living example of the peaceful, non-violent struggle for freedom, democracy and human rights for the Rwandan people.