MPs tell rights commission to help prevent violence

Legislators yesterday tasked the National Commission for Human Rights to increase awareness campaigns against domestic violence and other violations of human rights.
Nirere (L), together with Etienne Niyonzima, a commissioner, present the rights report before Parliament yesterday. (Timothy Kisambira)
Nirere (L), together with Etienne Niyonzima, a commissioner, present the rights report before Parliament yesterday. (Timothy Kisambira)

Legislators yesterday tasked the National Commission for Human Rights to increase awareness campaigns against domestic violence and other violations of human rights.

The chairperson of the National Commission for Human Rights, Madeleine Nirere, presented the agency’s report for the period 2013-2014 to a joint session of Senators and Deputies yesterday.

Overall, the official said that a positive trend of the respect of human rights was observed in the country during the reporting period.

Improvements were mostly observed in the judicial sector, governance style where more decentralisation is increasingly taking root, and in the situation where laws about the management of land resources have been improved.

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Members of Parliament read the report during presentation yesterday. (Timothy Kisambira)

“Generally, there is improvement in respect of human rights in the country,” Nirere told the legislators.

But she said more improvement was needed in service delivery at all levels of government and called for more facilitation for journalists to access public information and for inmates’ rights in prisons to be improved.

“For instance, moving inmates from one prison to another needs to go with moving their files to where they are relocated,” Nirere said.

Most legislators brought to the attention of the National Commission for Human Rights that gender-based violence (GBV) at home remains a big challenge, many of them citing cases where spouses kill their partners.

“It’s indignant; can the commission help to prevent these deaths?” asked MP Giovanni Bushishi.

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MP Juvénal Nkusi poses a question to the National Human Rights Commission chairperson. (Timothy Kisambira)

Cases registered

The Rwanda National Police (RNP) has reported that between July and August this year alone, 567 cases related to GBV and child abuse were reported across the country, where 12 people were killed and over 60 others seriously assaulted by their spouses, neighbours or relatives.
The anti-GBV and child protection directorate at the RNP has also said that a total of 3,127 cases of defilement were registered between 2012 and 2013.

At least 325 cases of rape were also recorded in the same period while twenty-five men were also killed by their spouses and 67 women killed by their husbands in the same period.

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MPJean Marie Vianney Gatabazi asks a question during presentation of the report. (Timothy Kisambira)

In order to protect those who are young against GBV, MP Jean-Baptiste Rucibigango advised the rights commission to advocate for setting up what he described as a “minors’ police,” a sort of a constant eye in communities for people to report about violations and protect minors.

Nirere said efforts are on to help advance the understanding and respect of human rights, starting with the education of young Rwandans.

Citing human rights clubs in schools which help students across the country to learn about different rights, the top commissioner said that reducing violence requires efforts at all levels of the Rwandan community.

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Some of the National Human Rights Commissioners during the presentation of the report at Parliament yesterday. (Timothy Kisambira)

The official added that all Rwandans need to work together to end domestic violence.

“It’s a big issue that needs efforts by the entire Rwandan community to be solved,” Nirere said in response to legislators’ concerns.

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