The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association, Maina Kiai, is in the country for consultations with government institutions responsible for the implementation of the rights under his docket.
Kiai on Monday held a closed-door meeting with Justice minister Johnston Busingye, and several government officials, a meeting that aimed at giving the UN official a clear context of different legislations in the country, according to a statement released after the meeting.
“The meeting provided an in-depth understanding of Rwanda’s current laws and policies as well as the evolving nature of the ideas that continue to inform the development of Rwanda’s policies on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association,” the statement reads in part.
Among the legislations discussed include the Genocide Ideology Law, the legal framework governing the registration of NGOs, as well as political pluralism.
Meanwhile, The New Times understands that Kiai was also invited to speak at a consultative meeting on the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) meeting that started in Kigali yesterday.
The UPR is a mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council that examines the human rights performance of all 193 UN member states.
According to a document from the Ministry of Justice, the Government intends to give Kiai a better understanding of the Rwandan context and what inspired the current legal and policy framework, and benefit from his practical input on how Rwanda can improve the enjoyment of the rights under his mandate as well as his inputs on the UPR.
Kiai was last in the country in January this year where he argued that the exercise of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly should not be subject to permission from the authorities.
The Rwandan Constitution guarantees freedom of assembly but requires prior notification for demonstrations in public areas.
At the time, Minister Busingye justified that the reason for seeking authorisation is mainly to guarantee protection of those who may be affected by the gatherings.