Montreal, 28 March 2008 (FH) - Theodore Simburudari, President of IBUKA, the main Rwandan association of genocide victims, has been refused an entry visa to Canada, reports Hirondelle Agency.

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No member of the Canadian immigration service could be reached to confirm or deny the information.

However, the President of Page-Rwanda, Callixte Kabayiza, claimed that Simburudari was denied visa on grounds that he declined to mention his ethnicity when filing in the application forms. In Rwanda, the mention of ethnic membership is prohibited on official documents.

The president of Ibuka was to attend the 14th commemoration ceremony of the Rwandan genocide organized in Canada as guest of Page-Rwanda.

According to Kabayiza, the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi "refused Simburudari entry visa for no legitimate reasons."

"The question [ethnic origin] is not only inappropriate but inflammatory. It is on this mention [ethnicity] on identity cards that people were killed [during the 1994 genocide]", said the president of Page-Rwanda.

Mr Kabayiza has urged the Canadian government to wave the question of ethnic details from their application form and grant visa to Ibuka President.

A series of conferences, debates and masses have been organized in Ottawa and Montreal from the 3 to 26 April as part of the commemoration.

Mr Deo Nkusi, an adviser to the Rwandan Embassy in Canada, there are Rwandese who immigrated to Canada whose hands are not very clean. "Some entered here [Canada] by changing identities,'' he alleged.

According to the census carried out in 2006 by the Canadian Institute of Statistics, some 3, 810 Rwandans live in Canada; 79% of them immigrated between 1996 and 2006.


© Hirondelle News Agency