Rights commission wants decree on transit centres to be fast-tracked

The National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) has called on the Ministry of Local Government to speed up the process to operationalise a ministerial decree determining the duties and operational structure of the country’s transit centres.
The Chairperson of the National Commission for Human Rights, Madeleine Nirere, briefs Parliament on the state of human rights in the country as Deputy Speaker of the Lower House Ab....
The Chairperson of the National Commission for Human Rights, Madeleine Nirere, briefs Parliament on the state of human rights in the country as Deputy Speaker of the Lower House Ab....

The National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) has called on the Ministry of Local Government to speed up the process to operationalise a ministerial decree determining the duties and operational structure of the country’s transit centres.

The transit centres have been praised for playing a significant role in the rehabilitation of those who find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

But the NCHR told members of both chambers of Parliament that the Ministerial Decree would not only determine the duties of the institutions but would determine who is fit to be accommodated at the institution and who makes the decision.

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Lawmakers follow proceedings during the session. / Timothy Kisambira

NCHR chairperson Madeleine Nirere made the call yesterday as she presented the 2016/17 and the 2017/18 action plan.

“The commission recommended to the Ministry of Local Government to speed up the ministerial decree determining the duties, structure and operational structure of these institutions. It is the same decree that will also determine the guidelines in selecting and putting final approval on who subscribes as a public nuisance. It will also determine who has the ability to make these decisions and the duration of time they can spend in the institutions,” she said.

Currently, the centres are legislated and run in accordance with United Nations standards in line with the national policy that seeks rehabilitation rather than incarceration.

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Constance Mukayuhi Rwaka asks the chairperson of the NCHR, Madeleine Nirere, a question. / Timothy Kisambira

The country’s focus of rehabilitating and reintegration offers those at the centres an opportunity at a better life.

Over 7,000 Rwandans have completed the transition programme and are now working in carpentry, masonry, and welding, tailoring and bee-keeping cooperatives.

As part of its work, the commission evaluated 14 transit centers with 621 people. Of these, 496 people, who make up 79.9 per cent are above 18 years old, while 125, who make up 20.1 per cent, are below 18.

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MP Fortunee Nyiramadirida asks a question during the session. / Timothy Kisambira

Police stations visited

The commission was also able to evaluate 50 police stations in 17 districts to determine whether there is an issue of overcrowding, to find out if those in custody were exercising their right to a lawyer and whether they were conversant with what their charges were, and to check if the rights were being respected in terms of social well being among others.

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Lawmakers go through the report. / Timothy Kisambira

The commission found out that there were no enough beddings and also, pointed out delays in transferring those remanded for 30 days to their cells. The commission has since written to the concerned stakeholders to rectify the issues.

The commission’s findings

Nirere said that the biggest number of cases received by her commission involved land disputes though justice delivery cases also followed close by.

“The highest number of cases received by NHCR were land related and they stood at 704 cases (34.73 per cent), justice 553 (27.28 per cent), rape 235 (11.59 per cent), education related 102 cases (5.03 per cent) and right to know parents and to be raised by them 88 (4.34 per cent),” she said.

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Senator Karimba Zephylin speaks at Parliament during the Human Rights report. / Timothy Kisambira

According to the report, in terms of the 553 justice delivery related cases received, the report had fixed 258 while 295 are still being investigated.

When it comes to a right to information, those who access information through radio stand at 89 per cent, television stands at 33.4 per cent and print stands at 13.8 per cent.

According to the Rwanda Media Barometer, the percentage of people who access information through social media has increased from 9.4 per cent in 2013 to 17 per cent in 2016.

The percentage that believes that journalism addresses issues that directly affect citizens stood at 39.9 per cent in 2013 compared to 54.4 per cent in 2016.

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Senators attend  the session at Parliament. / Timothy Kisambira

Mutuelle comes back

Mutuelle de Sante made its way in the report with Nirere saying most of the subscribers to the community-based health insurance scheme are asking that the Government speeds up the time it takes to process the insurance cards.

MP John Ruku-Rwabyoma said that with information technology, the process should be faster.

“Why should a subscriber wait for 30 days? The insurance should be effective as soon as one pays. We cannot be doing this in the era of technology because its fair to the subscriber,” he said.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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