Rwanda ‘has achieved 80% of UN human rights recommendations’

The ministry of Justice has said that government has so far achieved over 80 per cent of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations on human rights which were adopted in 2015.

Justice Minister and Attorney General Johnston Busingye said this in Nyagatare District on Thursday during a meeting by stakeholders that aimed at looking at how far the country had gone in implementing the 50 recommendations to Rwanda by the UN Human Rights Council.

Held after every four years, UPR assesses the state of performance on human rights, including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of all UN member states.

Rwanda is up for the next review next year and, according to Busingye, 42 out of the 50 recommendations have been implemented thus far.

The two-day meeting that ended Friday brought together the ministry and UN officials, and members of civil society to assess the recommendation and give their inputs going forward.

“We welcome views from anybody who is interested in the process and, for that matter, wishing to hold us to account on what we are doing,” Minister Busingye said.

He explained that following up on the implementation of the recommendations is a priority for the ministry, adding that they are always ready to keep the process open and inclusive.

“This is not an attempt to prepare for a case in Geneva (due to take place in November 2020). We do not have a case to respond to in Geneva or elsewhere. We are talking about human rights of our people,” he said.

The UN Resident Coordinator for Rwanda, Fodé Ndiaye, commended the Government for its inclusive policy in laying strategies to achieve UPR recommendations.

“I would like to commend the Government of Rwanda for maintaining the UPR as an active dialogue for stakeholders who are fully involved in developing the roadmap of UPR implementation,” he said.

“I have noticed, with satisfaction,” Ndiaye added that “the strong participation of civil society and other stakeholders in the different UPR consultative meetings.”

Ndiaye also commended the Government’s creation of an online platform for monitoring of UPR recommendations with all stakeholders engaged.

Jean Paul Ibambe, the Project Coordinator at the Legal Aid Forum said that the Government has achieved a lot especially in regards press freedoms.

“Defamation was decriminalised which gave the media more space and the public to enjoy freedoms of speech and expression,” he said.

Rwanda’s human rights record has been reviewed twice; the first in 2011 during which the recommendations were implemented at 94 per cent.

Those made during the second review in 2015 are currently in implementation.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com