Women urged to claim land ownership rights

Over 30 people yesterday completed a three-day training in advocating for women’s rights on issues regarding land use and ownership.

Over 30 people yesterday completed a three-day training in advocating for women’s rights on issues regarding land use and ownership.

The training, which was organized by RCN Justice & Démocratie, comprised of trainees from several organizations including AVEGA, HAGURUKA and RRP+ (Rwanda network of people living with HIV/ AIDS), among others.

RCN Justice & Démocratie is an international NGO that contributes to guaranteeing respect of fundamental rights recognized by international conventions, especially the right of fair justice.

During the finalizing of the training, participants were called upon to be voices of women who don’t know their legal rights or can’t speak for themselves on issues pertaining to land ownership.

Sabine Uwase, the supervisor of the training and Legal Advisor of Avega, stated that women, just as men, have every right to own land and make use of it.

She called upon the participants to teach women at the grassroots their legal rights and also change the perceptions of people who still think that women shouldn’t be heirs of their parents’ properties.

“Some people still think that only male children should be heirs or given property, however, also women have a right to own land and other properties or to also inherit property,” Uwase said.

She also noted that there was still a challenge of men who go to register family land without the company of their wives because they want to solely own the land and be the only ones to decide what it should be used be for.

Uwase said that according to research carried out by RCN Justice & Démocratie, 80 percent men register their land without the consent or knowledge of their wives, which leads to bad blood and marital disharmony whenever the women find out.

She said that participants had been taught methodologies and legal aspects of advocacy while dealing with land-related cases.

One of the participants, Josephine Musigirende from Jari Sector, noted that land ownership was still a challenge for women since often times; men take advantage of the land and sell it, claiming that they are the heads of the home.

She noted that through the three-day training, she had gained skills and knowledge about legal rights when advocating for women on issues regarding land use and ownership.

Musigirende also called upon women to cease accepting men who take advantage of their land rights.

“Women should step out boldly and take part in decision making when choosing what to use their land for. This shouldn’t be a decision of men only, especially when the land belongs to the woman or when she is a co-owner,” she added.

She called upon women to report their land wrangles to authorities instead of allowing their rights to be violated.

The workshop was funded by UN-WOMEN in partnership with RCN Justice & Démocratie.