KIGALI - Rwanda’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Honourable Tharcisse Karugarama represented Rwanda during the country’s review under the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a voluntary Peer Review Mechanism of the Geneva based Human Rights Council under which all the 192 UN Member States are reviewed in matters of promotion and protection of Human Rights. The Review is carried out by members of the Human Rights Council Working Group composed of the Geneva based Permanent Representatives of all States UN Member States on the basis of the reports submitted in advance.
Rwanda as the State under Review had submitted her National Report through the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in October 2010. In all cases UN Agencies and NGOs also submit reports that are used in the Review.
Honourable Karugarama outlined Rwanda’s realisations in the different aspects of socio-economic, cultural, civil and political rights of Rwandan people as detailed in the national report been submitted.
48 Representatives of member states spoke on the basis of first come first serve during the 2 hours allocated for Member states out of the 65 countries that had registered to speak during Rwanda’s Review. All acknowledged Rwanda’s progress realised in the different spheres of human rights over the years and congratulated Rwanda for a successful recovery process and for effective poverty reduction programmes for the Rwandan people. Rwanda was also commended for the Vision 2020 and for being on track to achieve most of the MDGs by 2015.
Other success examples sighted included the Mutuelles de Santé in Health, the 9 Year Basic Education, the promotion of women rights and women empowerment which has enabled Rwanda to achieve 56% Women in Parliament , the highest in the world and equally high numbers of women in decision making in other institutions.
Some states recommended that Rwanda should share its experience regarding the role of its traditional institutions such as Gacaca systems, in dispensing justice and reconciliation. Other recommendations made called on the international community to provide Rwanda with Technical Assistance and Capacity building to assist her in the implementation of her reforms.
Minister Karugarama gave clarifications on issues that were raised by some member states, arising mainly from negative reports and outright misinformation; He gave extensive clarification on issues of Media freedom, genocide ideology law, political space, Minority issues etc.. .He said Rwanda had remained open to discussions on reviewing and amending some laws and this was in progress.
Many recommendations formulated by member states were on issues that had already been realised, like Gacaca, Gender based Violence or issues that do not exist in Rwanda such as Child soldiers or human trafficking. The Minister gave satisfactory clarifications on these issues. At the end of the Review all representative lined to greet and congratulate the Minister and commended him for the satisfactory interactive discussion.
The Universal Periodic Review will be done again after 5 years.