Why MPs rejected report by human rights committee

Members of Parliament on Tuesday rejected a report by the Standing Committee on Unity, Human Rights and fight against genocide, on the 2012/13 National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) findings, with MPs describing the report as shoddy. 

Members of Parliament on Tuesday rejected a report by the Standing Committee on Unity, Human Rights and fight against genocide, on the 2012/13 National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) findings, with MPs describing the report as shoddy. 

The 2012/13 NHRC report tabled before Parliament exposed several cases of abuse of human rights, ranging from illegal arrests, confiscation of property and expropriation without pay. 

Parliament tasked the committee to investigate cases in the report and make an analytical paper on how grave the concerns are and how they can be resolved. 

However, when the committee presented its paper to the House on Tuesday, lawmakers trashed it on the grounds that it was sub-standard and that committee members had not done enough to investigate cases highlighted in the report.  

Some of the cases reported in the NHRC’s report included murder cases that were being investigated as well as land grabbing. 

Speaking to The New Times, the committee chairperson, Francois Byabarumwanzi, said it was wrong for Parliament to reject the report although he admitted that his committee will now embark on detailed investigations and come up with a well drafted and exhaustive analytical paper. 

“We are going to improve the report as recommended by MPs and this time round, we intend to dig deeper and summon all concerned institutions,” Byabarumwanzi said. 

One of the anomalies pointed out was that of Iriba association in Gatsibo District, which was never compensated after it was expropriated from Kanyonyomba wetland in 2004 by Rural Sector Support Programme (RSSP), a Ministry of Agriculture flagship vehicle for marshland development. 

Iriba claims that RSSP owes them Rwf24 million. This case first appeared in the 2009/10 NHRC report, and resurfaced in the 2010/11 and 2011/12 report but it remains unresolved. 

NHRC had requested Parliament to take up the case but Byaburumwanzi’s committee has failed to provide a lasting solution. 

“That is one of the cases that we are going to review and this time we will summon officials from RSSP and the Ministry of Agriculture,” said Byabarumwanzi.

 

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