Justice Minister Johnston Busingye has told the European Union (EU) Delegation to Rwanda that the country’s human rights context is different from the one to be considered elsewhere, hence emphasising that it’s imperative that the country is rather judged basing on its unique context.
Addressing a dialogue on human rights priorities in Rwanda organised by the European Union (EU) Delegation, on Tuesday, Busingye said the EU had set standards upon which the “world” should be judged upon, and not giving other stakeholders a chance to create own parameters on which human rights principles are benchmarked.
The discussion centred on three major topics; Rwanda Human Rights Action Plan, the European Union’s Human Rights Strategy, and the European Union’s Civil Society Roadmap.
Busingye said that he wasn’t conversant with the last two, but said he was rather conversant with Rwanda’s Human Rights Action Plan and the local human rights status in general.
“Chapter 3 of our Constitution on fundamental principles and homegrown solutions shows who we proudly and sincerely are and want to be as Rwandans. Rwandans are described in that chapter three of our Constitution—who we are, who we want to be, who we will be and who we want other people to know us for,” Busingye said.
He added that, “Chapter 4 of the Constitution is on human rights and freedoms. I will not claim it is the best I will only say that it is designed to guarantee the fullest promotion and protection of human rights of Rwandans.”
He questioned why the EU states that “the world, including Rwanda” should adopt the Union’s human rights action plan, strategies, agenda and so on and not borrow ideas from other countries such as Rwanda.
“I don’t see the reasons why the world should not borrow Rwanda’s model and instead the EU’s strategy? There must be a reason why certain things must happen in a particular way.
“I am here to learn. But I believe that our frameworks done by us, done for us, done with us are for us. So, the learning process is for all of us. Our government has always been open and closely working with our partners and the frameworks in place are open and flexible, and we will continue to evolve to find a common ground for all of us,” he added.
However, Michael Ryan, the Head of EU Delegation to Rwanda, argued that it is imperative that Rwanda observes recommendations of the Universal Period Review (UPR) on Rwanda, in regards to allegations of unlawful detention, and torture and ill-treatment.
“We believe that the long-term development path offers room to combine the two and that’s what we can try to explore together,” Ryan said.