A group of 30 youth from Global Youth Connect, USA and AJPRODHO-JIJUKIRWA, a local NGO, yesterday visited the Ministry of Justice to learn about human rights in Rwanda.
The visit aimed at facilitating the youth to understand how the promotion and protection of human rights can be used as an effective tool to help prevent conflict, minimise the potential for mass violence and eliminate the threat of Genocide.
During the visit, the Minister of Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama, discussed in detail the history of Rwanda and the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“After the Genocide, we faced a lot of human rights challenges. For instance, on top of the people who were killed in the Genocide, we had close to 200,000 people in prisons and there were no judges, prosecutors and investigators to have them tried,” Karugarama said, referring to the many people arrested for participating in the Genocide.
“Three years after the Genocide, All children and pregnant women were released from prison. Today, perpetrators and survivors have reconciled through Gacaca and are living together in the community,” noted Karugarama.
He stated that a large number of people tried by Gacaca have been re-integrated into the community and by 2015, the remaining few will have undergone the same process.
The Minister noted that the rate of violent crimes in Rwanda has radically reduced.
“I think we have the smallest rate of violent crime in this entire region. We’ve closed four prisons in the last three years because the number of prisoners reduced,” Karugarama said, adding that Rwanda has ratified over 100 conventions dealing with human rights.
He emphasised that human rights is an essential right in the constitution and not just a favour to the citizenry.