Why govt is amending law governing survivors’ fund

Some of the housing units donated to vulnerable elderly survivors of the Genocide in Rwabicu. File.

While the Fund for Support to Needy Genocide Survivors (FARG) recognises the various challenges facing those who survived the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, the Fund cannot help all of them because not all of them are needy.

This was told to Members of the Parliamentary Committee on Unity, Human Rights and the Fight against Genocide last week during the ongoing process to amend the law governing the fund.

Lawmakers on the committee raised concerns over dilapidated houses in which some Genocide survivors live and wondered what the institution was doing about the issue.

“When we are on field trips all over the country, we continue to be asked about the issue of housing for survivors, especially the elderly, that need urgent renovation. Is this one of your priorities?” MP Libérata Kayitesi asked. 

In response, the Director General of FARG, Theophile Ruberangeyo, acknowledged the issue saying that most of the houses were more than 23 years old, but said there was need to change mindset because the Fund was more keen on catering for the most vulnerable because not all of survivors were vulnerable.

“I would like to insist that though the Government built about 40,000 houses, not all are occupied by survivors who are needy. What remains is changing the mindset so that people can learn how to take care of themselves,” he said.

Ruberangeyo said that FARG commissioned a survey in 2013 to find out how many houses needed renovation.

While the survey discovered that about 12,600 needed renovation at the time, he pointed out that the institution was commissioning a new study before embarking on the process to renovate.

He warned that even after the survey, not every survivor’s house would be renovated.

“We will classify them in different categories because there are budgetary constraints and start with those that are more vulnerable like those who are too old to work, those left childless and those who sustained serious injuries during the Genocide, among others. We do not include orphans because they are now adults and can fend for themselves. For the rest, we have asked them to do their own renovations,” he said.

So far, 520 houses have been identified as those belonging to the most vulnerable and in the first phase, 400 of them will be worked on. 

Changes explained

The Minister of State in charge of Social Affairs and Social Protection, Dr Alivera Mukabaramba, said that the FARG law was being tweaked to align it with the law that established government institutions which came into force in 2016.

This FARG law was last amended in 2013.

Speaking on the proposed changes, Mukabaramba said that among them is the article concerning supporting young survivors who had children before they turned 18.

“The law required FARG to specifically support girls who survived the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi who had children before they turned 18. We are suggesting that it is removed because since this element was introduced in the law, we have never seen anyone in this category come to ask for help and basing on the timeline, no survivor is under that age to date,” she said.

The law refers to the period of January 01, 1990 to December 31, 1994.

Another change concerns the institution’s assets and source of funding.

“Most of the money that is used by FARG comes from the national budget but we added donations in the law because they were not catered for before. If someone was to donate, FARG would not have known how to classify this because the law did not provide for it,” she explained.

FARG was established in 1998 to provide assistance to survivors of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda from October 1, 1990 to December 31, 1994.

The Fund draws support from government where each year the state allocates five per cent of the national revenues to cater for social welfare of vulnerable survivors

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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