week review

Rwanda and Uganda demanded the immediate withdrawal of the M23 rebels from Goma in eastern DRC. Goma fell to the hands of the rebels, Tuesday, with minimal resistance from the DRC forces.
Refugees fleeing the fighting in Goma
Refugees fleeing the fighting in Goma

Rwanda and Uganda demanded the immediate withdrawal of the M23 rebels from Goma in eastern DRC. Goma fell to the hands of the rebels, Tuesday, with minimal resistance from the DRC forces.

President Paul Kagame, his DRC counterpart Joseph Kabila and the Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who is also the current ICGLR Chairperson have since Tuesday been holding talks aimed at addressing the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Eastern DRC after the capture of the North Kivu Provincial capital Goma, by the M23. The DRC government on its part made a commitment to look expeditiously into the causes of discontent and address them as best as it can.

Also in the news this week twenty five low and middle-income countries, including Rwanda, managed to halve their rate of new HIV infections since 2001, UNAIDS said in its annual report on the state of the global pandemic.

The UN body’s World AIDS Day Report 2012 shows that in the last ten years, the landscape of national HIV epidemics has changed dramatically, for the better in most countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Countries are making historic gains towards ending the AIDS epidemic: 700,000 fewer new HIV infections across the world in 2011 than in 2001, it says. Rwanda, Gabon, and Togo, are some of the countries which achieved significant declines of more than 50%, according to the report.

Early this week two modern markets which are exclusively meant for women and youth formerly hawkers on Kigali streets were inaugurated. The two markets located in Kimihurura and Gatsata sectors in Gasabo District, were commissioned by the Minister of Public Service and Labour, Anastase Murekezi. They were built through collaboration between the Ministry of Local Government and the district. Goods sold in the markets, dominated by foodstuffs, are exempted from tax, at least for the time being.

The new market in Gatsata is operated by Igitekerezo Cooperative composed of 134 former street vendors, most of them women. It was built at a cost of Rwf38 million, including contributions from cooperative members who bought the plot at Rwf10 million while the rest came from the government.

The report by Human Rights Commission says prisons conditions have improved significantly. Rwanda has registered tremendous achievements in the promotion and protection of human rights, according to the national human rights body.The president of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Madeleine Nirere, noted this on Wednesday while presenting a report to parliament on the commission’s activities and achievements for the last fiscal year.The commission’s activities include education, sensitisation and protection of human rights.During the period, the commission trained 1,883 people in various categories with the objective of increasing their knowledge on human rights, according to the report.

It also received 1,925 complaints of human rights violations. Nirere said the commission investigated 79.4 per cent of all complaints it received but revealed that others were still under investigation. She added that the investigated cases were handed over to relevant institutions for resolution and 69.4 per cent of them were resolved.

Mid this week, President Paul Kagame appointed Rwanda’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Eugène-Richard Gasana, as state minister in charge of cooperation. The portfolio has not been in existence.Gasana, one of the country’s longest serving diplomats, becomes the first Rwandan envoy to the UN to serve as cabinet minister at the same time.

Asked about this unprecedented appointment, foreign affairs minister Louise Mushikiwabo said Gasana’s promotion gives him the powers to represent the country at the United Nations in matters that require ministerial presence. On January 1, Rwanda will begin its two-year term on the United Nations Security Council, a seat it won on October 18, replacing South Africa. The country last occupied a similar position in 1993-94 during which period it experienced the Genocide against the Tutsi which claimed more than a million people.

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