The Minister of Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama, has condemned some of the recommendations made by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to Rwanda as “false and misconceptions.”
Karugarama was speaking during a news conference organised to present Rwanda’s stand on the UN report dubbed ‘Universal Periodic Review’ on Rwanda.
The report adopted in January had approved 73 recommendations to be implemented by Rwanda as a way of further promoting human rights in the country.
“Out of 73 recommendations, we accepted 67 and rejected the six because they were false and we can not implement falsehoods. They don’t exist in Rwanda,” Karugarama said.
Among those rejected is human trafficking, recruitment of child soldiers and forbidding religious minorities to practice their beliefs.
Others are arbitrary arrests and detention, discrimination against the historically marginalised groups commonly known as Abatwa and rights of indigenous people.
The report, partly, stated that Rwanda was involved in these human rights’ violation acts.
“We don’t have any militia group using child soldiers and we don’t have any policy discriminating any one. How can we be told to stop what we don’t do? All these are misconceptions about Rwanda,” Karugarama said.
He explained that most of what is considered to be discrimination is prejudice.
He noted that Rwanda scored high in terms of child protection, promotion of women, provision of health services, education, fighting corruption and access to justice.
“Protection of human rights is not a gift. It’s a fundamental right enshrined in the constitution and it’s the obligation of the government.
We shouldn’t have people thinking that they will tell us how to respect human rights. This country suffered a lot of abuse of human rights, gravely suffered the Genocide, the worst form of human rights abuse. Rwanda understands human rights more that most people who come to give lectures,” he stated.
The Minister outlined rights like access to justice, life, safe water, medical treatment as some of the basics the government considers most important, but taken for granted by others.
He noted that Rwanda scored very high in the social and economic sectors such as provision of education, infrastructure, social services and health.
“They should not equate their levels with ours. Our citizens are our obligation. We provide service according to the law. We fight for people’s rights consistently and legally and make sure that justice is accessed by all,” Karugarama said.
“A lot was done in terms of protecting human rights in Rwanda and we are glad that the UN approved our report.”
The UN, recently, unanimously voted in favour of Rwanda’s report on the Universal Periodic Review, which was presented in Geneva, Switzerland.
“We accepted to take on board and implement most of the recommendations that were proposed to us because they are in line with our policies and programs”.
The Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Sylvia Zainabu, said that the situation regarding minority groups in the country is not discrimination but prejudice, stating that such complaints should be reported to NHRC or the Ombudsman’s office.
“There are no arbitrary arrests and detention in Rwanda. But there might be illegal arrests, and the penal code penalises it and it should not be taken as a policy of the government,” Zainabu said.