GENEVA - In the framework of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the 47 members of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), yesterday, unanimously adopted the National Report of Rwanda on the situation of the protection and promotion of human Rights in the country.
The report was discussed at the technical step during the HRC Intergovernmental Working Group held in Geneva in January 2011, and the outcomes, including recommendations made by members, were reported to the UN Human Rights Council for final consideration and adoption.
During his presentation to the Members of the Human Rights Council and Observer States and other partners, the Minister of Justice Tharcisse Karugarama, shed light on a few issues raised on the basis of totally wrong or false premises by some member states during the review in January 2011.
Karugarama, who led the Rwandan delegation, mentioned that except for six recommendations that were rejected out of 73, all the other 67 recommendations have been accepted and they are currently at various levels of implementation.
Among the recommendations rejected include one which accuses Rwanda of recruiting child soldiers and one which states that the country should act quickly to avert human trafficking.
“There are no armed groups on the Rwandan territory at all. Rwanda has a professional army, a professional police force and a professional Correctional Services Force, all made up of adult men and women beyond the age of 18.
“This fact has been attested to by national, regional and international observers who have participated in the selection of Rwandan forces for the international peace-keeping missions,” Karugarama said.
The minister added that Rwandan forces have been deployed in diverse numbers for various missions particularly in Darfur, Haiti, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Comoros Islands, to mention but a few.
On human trafficking, the Justice Minister said Rwanda is unknown for human trafficking.
“Rwanda has however put in place preventive and precautionary measures by signing all International Conventions against human trafficking and criminalising it and punishing it in the Penal Code,”
“Rwanda has put in place a programme of Community Policing such that it is almost impossible for human trafficking to take place in the country or transit through it,” he told the gathering.
Minister Karugarama said that the Rwandan Government is committed to the prevention and the fight against all forms of discrimination because the country heavily paid the price for discriminatory policies that led to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
He stated that they would continue to cooperate with the Human Rights Council and all its mechanisms.
Rwanda was supported by all HRC Member States which make statements: Algeria, Cuba, Morocco, Moldova, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda.
They commended Rwanda for its continued efforts and achievements in the process of protection and promotion of the human rights in various areas.
The minister made adequate explanations to concerns and statements raised by some NGOs.
Thereafter, the Human Rights Council unanimously adopted the Rwanda National UPR Report.
The UPR was created by the UN General Assembly on 15 March 2006 by resolution 60/251, which established the Human Rights Council itself. It is a cooperative process which, by 2011, will have reviewed the human rights records of all UN Members.
The ultimate aim of this new mechanism is to improve the human rights situation in all countries and address human rights violations wherever they occur, and to ensure equal treatment for every country when their human rights situations are assessed.