The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) plans to spend over Rwf 1.5 billion to promote and protect human rights in the country over the next four years, commission officials have said.
NHRC said the money which is to be entirely sourced from the government will be used to implement its four-year strategic plan (2009-2012) that will have citizens train on human rights issues, activists working for the commission empowered and investigations on violations carried out.
“What requires a lot of money is training people on human rights. We put in a lot of effort in order to succeed in the prevention [against human rights violations],” said the commission’s President Zainabu Sylvie Kayitesi in a telephone interview.
She said that cases of rights violations are still noticeable in the country and that efforts were needed especially in protecting children, women, and prisoners.
“Violation cases are decreasing but they are still in existent,” she said.
A report released last year by the Rwanda National Police (RNP) covering cases of gender based violence since 2005 up to 2008 revealed alarming cases of attacks against women including rape, defilement, corporal punishment as well as murder by their husbands.
It suggested that, during the three years, 259 wives were murdered by their husbands, over 2000 cases of rape were reported to the police, and there were almost 10,000 cases of defilement of children below the age of 18.
“Most cases of violence against women and children are gender-based,” Kayitesi explained.
The commission also points an accusing finger at the criminal procedures while detaining suspects of crimes and at issues of involving child labour when they are still under the age.
She said that the country needs to comply with international laws while defining when children should start work and change the current provision of 14 years to 16 years old for them to start working.
A bigger part of the funds required to implement the commission’s strategic plan was focused on building capacities of its staff in monitoring human rights.
The budget document reveals that Rwf 666, 293, 609 is needed in training the commission’s staff and buying equipment out of the Rwf 1,535,737,134 that is needed to implement the whole four-year plan.
“We get all this money from government and it provides it depending on the revenues it has,” said Claude Niwerukundo, the commission’s Director of Education, Research and Planning.
He revealed that government normally provides them up to 80 per cent of the money required and they use to get the rest from donors.