Rights body wants govt to establish Fund to support victims of sexual abuse

Madeleine Nirere, Chairperson of NCHR. File.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) wants the Government to establish a Fund that will compensate victims of sexual violence in the likely event that their oppressors fail to pay.

The Chairperson of NHRC, Madeleine Nirere, told members of both chambers of parliament that while there have been improvements in terms of supporting victims, there’s need to enact a law that would provide compensation to victims of those convicted of defilement and rape.

Government has made gains in supporting sexually abused women and girls through medical care and improved investigation of the cases, she said.

“There have been significant improvements because right now, every Isange One Stop Centre has two police personnel who are specifically in charge of working on sexual abuse cases,” she said.

However, she added, we suggest that a law is enacted to put in place a compensation Fund for victims whose convicted attackers are unable to pay the fine.

Isange One Stop Centre is a police-run entity that extends healthcare and counselling services to victims of sexual abuse.

Nirere also told lawmakers that there was need to support families of sexual violence victims to apply for compensation and to enact a legal aid law.

She also appealed for more efforts into pursuing those who committed these crimes and to support the child victims to be reintegrated into the routine of their daily lives.

“There is need to put these children back in school and to follow up on how they are coping within their families,” she said.

MP Christine Muhongayire called for a solution that would stamp this issue out once and for all.

“We need to put our voices together and bring this issue to an end. This is bad for the victims, for their families, and for society at large. No one should do something this barbaric and get away with it,” she said.

Speaking at the official opening of the 2018/2019 judicial year at parliament last week, President Paul Kagame called on both men and women to come together to put a stop to sexual abuse in the country.

“Sexual violence should not happen at all. When it comes to this crime, both sexes are involved and to fix it, it should still concern both. Historically, the number of women in decision making positions was low but now that it has increased, we should see a difference. Use the opportunity that you have,” he said.

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