If either or both of your parents neglect you and/or deny you their care or refuses to acknowledge you as their child, their actions are against Rwanda’s constitution. This is because article 15 of the law relating to the rights and protection of the child states: “A child has right to know his/her parents, to stay with them and to be protected by them when they are alive.”
Therefore, according to article 267, paragraph one of civil code book one, the law governing persons and family, you may undertake a lawsuit for paternity or maternity recognition when you attain majority age. By definition, majority age is 18.
However, paragraph 2 of article 267 also says that your father, mother, guardian, human rights organisation or any responsible person can also file the suit on your behalf if you are below 18.
If you are above 18, it is important to file the suit for recognise as soon as you get to know your alleged parent since paragraph four of article 267 states that a paternity or maternity suit shall be limited by time if filed after five years from the time the child of majority age got to know his/her alleged father or mother.”
Article 268 of civil code book one explains the grounds on which you can sue for paternal recognition.
The first circumstance is if there is proof that the person you are suing kidnapped, illegally detained and forced your mother into sexual intercourse between 300 to 180 days before your birth.
You may also sue for paternity recognition if your mother was forced into sexual intercourse on falsehood promise that the person you are suing for paternity recognition would marry her.
Additionally, you may sue if there exists any clear written or verbal statement that the man you are suing recognises you as his child.
You may also sue if your mother ever illegally cohabited with the man you claim to be your father or if it is common knowledge that your alleged father handles you as his own.
Lastly, you may sue after confirmation by a medical report or through scientific proof that the person you are suing is your father.
And if you want to sue for maternity recognition, 269 of civil code book one provides two grounds; the first one is if it is common knowledge that your mother handles you as her child; and the second is if there is evidence to show that the childbirth by your presumed mother and your identity are connected and can be proved by all means evidence.