Govt: Abrupt end of U.N. torture mission to Rwanda violated own guidelines

The U.N .Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) violated its own guidelines by abruptly ending its mission to Rwanda last week, government said. The U.N. body announced suspension of their trip to Rwanda, citing obstruction by the authorities.

The U.N .Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) violated its own guidelines by abruptly ending its mission to Rwanda last week, government said.

The U.N. body announced suspension of their trip to Rwanda, citing obstruction by the authorities.

The nine-member Subcommittee also claimed that the people the group interviewed before suspending its seven-day mission said they feared reprisals.

However, in a statement released on Monday, government called on the SPT to make public the alleged impediments that the committee claims compromised its mission to Rwanda.

The statement said by abruptly terminating the mission and turning to the media before discussion with the host government, the committee violated its own guidelines as well as the pre-agreed schedule of the visit.

“Rwanda considers the termination an act of bad faith,” the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Johnston Busingye said in the statement.

He explained that Rwanda invited the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture for a regular monitoring mission.

And for five days, the committee conducted field visits to several institutions including prisons, police stations, transit centers, and a psychiatric hospital, interviewing staff, inmates, and patients.

“Any technical issues that arose during field visits were immediately resolved. Allegations of reprisals for anyone interviewed are baseless and inflammatory. While we will continue to uphold the Convention against Torture, we will consider our options in respect of the Optional Protocol,” the minister added.

Rwanda voluntarily ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, part of the minority of states-parties to have done so.

Government believes that the SPT exists to reinforce national institutions, not replace them.

During its mission to Rwanda, the SPT visited institutions across the country specifically chosen by the committee itself, according to the government statement.

These included Rilima and Muhanga Prisons; Nyamata, Kimihurura, and Nyamirambo Police Stations; Gikondo Transit Centre; Kami Rwanda Defence Forces 1st Division Headquarters; and Ndera Psychiatric Hospital.

The SPT is also said to have interviewed a cross-section of people chosen by the committee, including prisoners, detainees, psychiatric patients, soldiers, rehabilitation centre inmates, and staff at all places visited. 

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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