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March 16-22, 2015

Media Monitoring Report for Rwanda
Posted on March 22, 2015

Compiled by Berta Fürstová

Rwanda has fulfilled 80% of UNHRC recommendations, says justice minister
Private but pro-government newspapers

New Times, 17th March 2015

"‘Rwanda has 'fulfilled 80% of UN rights recommendations'” by Edwin Musoni

  • Rwanda will in November appear before the UN Human Rights Council to defend its human rights record as part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), and it is expected to give an update on the recommendations made in the previous review.
  • In 2011, Rwanda accepted to implement 67 UNHRC recommendations relating to human rights practices in the country and, according to Justice Minister Johnston Busingye, much progress has been made. “Today, we are happy to be at over 80 per cent of implementation of the recommendations. We don’t count the UPR process as simply a submission of report or as implementation of recommendation; we count it as something which Rwandans need, a public good for Rwandans, so when we are doing this, we are not looking at satisfying anyone in Geneva,” said Busingye referring to the UNHRC headquarters.
  • Although Rwanda accepted to take on the recommendations in 2011, the country started the review in June last year and, as of today, according to the justice minister, 55 of the recommendations have been fully implemented. “Twelve of them are in the process; among these include nine that will be fully implemented by April 30 and three recommendations might remain work in progress even after we have submitted our report,” Busingye, who is also the Attorney-General, said.
  • “We also have a set of new laws that advance freedoms of expression and association, access to information, organisation of political parties’ functions and several laws that have made strategic inroads along these areas,” the minister said. Among other key achievements include the legal aid and justice for children policies, which are currently being transformed into Bills, he said.
  • Rwanda was also recommended to delete the life sentence in solitary confinement, which was introduced after the country repealed the death penalty. “My experience and discussions with people working with Rwanda Correctional Services is that this kind of punishment is in the documents more than it is in practice because we don’t have any individual in solitary confinement,” Busingye said.
  • According to Nadine Rugwe, the head of the democratic governance and peace consolidation unit at One-UN Rwanda, the country ratified most core human rights treaties except for the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.
  • “There is also need to accelerate the revision of the law relating to the punishment of the crime of genocide ideology and awareness of national policy on elimination of worst forms of child labour,” she said. Among other key areas that she pointed out which the government needs to address before November, include refugees in Rwanda who have no access to Ubudehe Social Stratification Scheme, which affect their rights to access to some basic services.
  • The Executive Director of Legal Aid Forum, Andrews Kananga, who headed a team of civil society organisations that assessed Rwanda’s UPR performance, criticised Article 20 of the law governing political parties that requires parties wishing to hold a demonstration to inform and request authorisation of the relevant authorities at least five working days before the event, saying the clause hinders the right to assembly as required by the constitution.
  • Rwanda will also be required to have a national human rights policy before November.
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