Rwanda - Twenty Third Session - 2015
4 November 2015- 9:00 - 12:30.
Compilation of UN Information
Accepted and Rejected Recomendations
III. Development in the normative and institutional framework
A. Normative framework
5. Rwanda is a party to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on Economic, Social and Culture Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, Convention on the Rights of Child, as well as several key Protocols related to those treaties among others.
6. In addition to the Constitution and other international conventions, the Government of Rwanda has enacted new and/or amended existing laws that emphasize the protection and respect of Human Rights. Some of the national laws include the Penal Code 2012
, labour laws 2013, laws concerning land 2013, the media laws including a specific law on access to information 2013,Civil society law 2012, political parties law 2013, law on children rights 2012, and others.
10. A key mandate of the NCHR is education and sensitization of the population on their human rights. Since 2011, NCHR facilitated national education campaigns on human rights including; 220 members of the National Women’s Council at the District and Provincial levels, 830 Executive Secretaries from different Districts, Sectors and Cells, 390 primary school teachers, 206 student members of human rights clubs in schools, 324 faith-based leaders, 59 Leaders of Associations of People Living with Disabilities; 49 leaders of associations for people living with HIV, and 33 local artistes in order to promote awareness of human rights. In total, the NCHR provided human rights education to 3,862 community leaders from 2011 to 2014.
3. National Commission for Children (NCC)
15. The Government of Rwanda adopted Law No. 22/2011 of 28/6/2011 establishing the National Commission for Children
(NCC). The NCC is an independent organ under the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF) and its responsibility is to monitor, promote and protect the rights of children in Rwanda.
16. The NCC currently supports 23,604(11,001 Females and 12,603 males) Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) in secondary school, 3,009 (1,133 Females and 1,876 males) in Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) through the provision of school fees and health insurance. Through this program, 19,779 students had graduated by December 2013. By the end of April 2014, an additional 10,112 OVC had completed both secondary school and TVET.
17. NCC organizes an Annual Children’s Summit that serves as a national consultative forum that brings together child delegates from all the administrative sectors across the country. In 2014, the Annual National Children’s Summit coincided with the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In that summit, 507 children from across Rwanda and 17 other children from other East Africa nations convened to discuss on child rights and protection.
B. Access to justice and rule of law
Recommendations 79.8, 79.9, 77.2
32. The increase of lawyer’s membership in the Rwanda Bar Association from 37 members in 1997 to 1,200 in January 2015, has increased access to the formal justice system for people in Rwanda. This has fostered greater due process through the provision of legal assistance to vulnerable persons including women, children and indigent persons (Annex 3). The Ministry of Justice encourages and coordinates civil society organisations such as the International Justice Mission and the Legal Aid Forum, a coalition of national NGOs providing legal aid services, to provide legal aid to vulnerable persons.
33. A Legal Aid Policy and a Justice for Children Policy were adopted in October 2014 to streamline the provision of legal aid and to coordinate the activities of all legal aid providers in the country. The Policies establish mechanisms to improve legal aid provision to indigent and poor Rwandans as well as minors in conflict with law. Tangible results of the Policy include the establishment of a referral system among Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms to prevent duplication and improve efficiency and effectiveness. The Legal Aid Policy created a legal aid fund to act as a central depository of all legal aid funding and establishing a legal aid steering committee to coordinate all legal aid activities.
34. A Legal Aid Week is held each year to provide vulnerable people greater access to justice. Legal Aid Week activities originally focussed on legal representation for minors in detention centers, now activities during the legal aid week have been expanded due to the involvement of prison officers, courts, the National Public Prosecution Authority, the Rwanda National Police and the Bar Association. For example, during the 2014 legal aid week, 159 people received legal representation in courts including 137 children. Legal assistance was also provided for the execution of 112 judgements. Other forms of legal advice were provided for 1,130 people in all 30 districts as well as 1,175 prisoners.
36. Article 56 of the Law relating to the Rights and Protection of the Child requires a judge adjudicating a case involving a pregnant woman or a mother with a child under three (3) years, to make every effort to impose non-custodial sentences.
D. Prison and detention conditions
49. When individuals are in custody, all possible efforts are made to ensure that they receive the best care possible. For example, law Nº34/2010 of 12/11/2010 on the establishment, functioning and organization of the Rwanda Correctional Service
(RCS) in its Art 29 stipulates that “prisoner shall be imprisoned near his/her family’s residence. A child who is still breast feeding shall be entitled to adequate and nutritional food as required for infant and shall be removed from the prison and given to his family at 3 years of age”. In Nyagatare rehabilitation center, children attend formal and informal education programs. In other prisons special programs such as nursery and special diet for children and were established to make the environment more conducive.
E. Freedom of expression and access to information Recommendations 77.13, 78.12, 79.3, 79.4, 79.11, 79.16, 80.3, 80.5, 80.6, 80.7, 80.8
60. The Media High Council’s mandate was changed through its establishing law nº 03/2013 of 08/02/2013 which transformed it into a purely capacity building institution for the media sector. Since 2011, the Government through the Media High Council has organized training programs for journalists both abroad and inside Rwanda. The School of Journalism was transferred from the University of Rwanda in Butare to Kigali to accommodate capacity building for working journalists, while others have been trained at Journalism Faculties in private Universities including the Catholic University of Kabgayi, and the Great Lakes Media Centre (GMLC).
64. Under the media law, censorship of information is prohibited. However, the freedom of opinion and information shall not jeopardize the general public order and good morals, an individual’s right to honour and reputation in the public eye, and the right to inviolability of a person’s private life and family. These freedoms are protected and recognized if it is not detrimental to the protection of children. It is important to note that, today, no Rwandan journalist is under detention for exercising his or her duties.
65. With regard to concerns that genocide ideology legislation was compromising or impeding freedom of expression, the law on genocide ideology has been modified. It is important to bear in mind however, that before 2008 there was no law relating to genocide ideology even in the penal code. Before the 2008 genocide ideology law was promulgated research was done around the Country by Parliament. The research found that genocide ideology was still very much entrenched in the minds of ordinary Rwandans and there was therefore a need to have a tough law against it. At the time it was still possible for divisive ideas to be taught even in schools or most commonly passed on by parents to their children. The genocide ideology law was a response to this urgent need which is why it imposed such strong penalties so as to completely deter people from harbouring or sharing a genocide ideology.
G. The right to education
Recommendations 77.7, 77.18, 77.19, 78.9, 79.18, 79.19
77. The Government of Rwanda is committed to increasing investment in the education sector to ensure access to education for all Rwandan children. (Annex 4).
78. Achievements registered in the area of access to basic education for all include the continued guarantee of universal primary education for the first 12 years of education and the up-scaling of the one laptop per child project which started in 2007 and is on going to date. The objective of the One Laptop per Child Project is to distribute half a million lap tops to primary school pupils by 2017. Since 2011, over 140,000 laptops have been distributed to school going children across the country. This has led to increased access to information and research, promotion of ICT skills from an early age and creativity among the students. (Annex 4).
79. Rwanda has gradually overcome barriers that usually prevent children from attending primary education including the complete removal of any fees to attend school. In that regard, the Government identifies families and households that cannot afford the other costs of education, such as uniforms and learning materials, and provides for them. Various options for social protection, such as school stipends, school feeding in partnership with parents and cash transfer schemes are provided for those children who, for economic, social or cultural reasons, tend to stay out of school (including but not limited to girl children, children affected by HIV and AIDS and other vulnerable children).Construction of more classrooms at the Administrative Sector level has also been done so that children can easily walk to school and transport costs which can be a deterrent are eliminated. This programme has been adopted to enable the country to achieve the goal of Education for All (Universal Primary Education and Universal Secondary Education) by the end of 2015.
80. Other achievements registered to foster a healthy learning environment include; the abolition of corporal punishment in schools, where by internal regulations now exist restricting the mode of correction to be used in schools to exclude corporal punishment.
81. Another significant development is the new curriculum elaborated in 2015 which will be used beginning 2016. In the new curriculum there will be more hours reserved to the learning of languages for the development of multilingualism in Rwanda.
H. Non-discrimination and gender equality
82. Particular emphasis is also placed on education for children with disabilities to ensure that they are fully included in the Government Education policies and programs. Teachers are periodically trained in teaching methodologies for children with disabilities.
88. In the framework of the Universal Education Program, the Government of Rwanda, through the Ministry of Education, is making additional efforts to ensure that both girls and boys have equal access to quality education and barriers to girls’ access to education are removed. (Annex 4).
90. Since 2011, the Government has implemented programs to improve school enrolment for girls which has resulted in the achievement of gender parity in primary school enrolment and retention (Annex 4). Examples include; awarding best female students, encouraging girls to study science and technology courses. In addition, female students represent 44% of students in both private and public higher learning institutions.
92. Another program that particularly benefited women was the government led Cooperative Movement through Rwanda Cooperative Agency. This program created employment and expanded access to income-generating activities and women, through education and training, were able to increase savings and investment which improved their social well-being.
I. Gender-Based Violence(GBV)
96. The National Police and Military have established anti-GBV desks and monitoring units that oversee GBV and child protection cases. They also have anti- GBV Directorates that ensure an environment free of GBV at the institutional level and they guide the development of strategies/policies in response to GBV. Police have established a helpline and on-line services for citizens to report child abuse and GBV. A specialized unit within the National Public Prosecution Authority has been established to prosecute GBV-related crimes and a separate department established to care for and monitor the protection of victims and witnesses.
97. Periodic awareness activities are held to create understanding about GBV in communitites. GBV committees have been established from the central level down to the village “Umudugudu” level, with the purpose of ensuring prevention and reporting of GBV cases. Various community initiatives to combat sexual/domestic violence are now operational, including among others; community policing programs, “inzegoz'impuruza” (whistle blowers). Umugoroba w’ababyeyi (parents’ evening forum) is a forum in which all parents of a given village meet to discuss all social and health issues. Other initiatives have been taken including radio and TV shows, the creation of "gender clubs" in all schools (primary, secondary, and higher learning institutions), public institutions and private sector institution initiatives. Additionally, door to door campaigns have been held throughout the country focusing on awareness of GBV and sexual violence against children.
100. Rwanda’s commitment to end GBV has extended to a continental initiative through the Kigali International Conference Declaration (KICD) on the Role of Security Organs in ending Violence against Women in Africa. A foundation stone for an African Security Organs Centre for Coordination of Action to End Violence against Women and Girls (AFSSOCA) was laid in Kigali by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon and the President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, in May 2013.
101. A Ministerial Order executed in 2014, waives all court fees for claims related to GBV and violation of children’s rights. This order will facilitate victim’s claims through the court process.
102. Human trafficking is another emerging form of exploitation of vulnerable groups. The law relating to Human Trafficking is contained in Chapter 8 of the 2012 Penal Code. The law relates to both the trafficking of persons within Rwanda and transnational trafficking. Penalties range from 8 to 15 years and include fines. The Law Relating to the Rights and Protection of the Child, enacted in 2012, also outlaws child trafficking, prostitution, and slavery under Article 51. Rwanda is a signatory to almost all the core international treaties relating to human trafficking.
J. Right to health
Recommendations 77.16, 77.177, 78.4, 78.5
105. The Government has made maternal and child health a priority in all development programs in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). As a result, Rwanda has made considerable advancement in the guarantee of maternal and child health. For example, Rwanda’s MDG goal for reduction of child mortality which was 52 deaths per 1000 live births has been achieved at a rate of 34 deaths per 1000 live births to date. This reduction of child mortality is a direct result of Government programs such as increasing coverage of child immunisation drives. During the last 10 years the child immunisation rate increased from 69.8 % to 93 %. Promotion of exclusive breast feeding for the first six months of a child’s life has also reduced malnutrition among children. The breast feeding rate stands at 87% to date which has led to the reduction of chronic malnutrition from 44% in 2010 to 38% in 2015.
106. In addition, 99% of Rwandan women receive antenatal care from a skilled provider and over 91 % of children are born in health facilities. This along with the increased use of mobile technologies and rapid SMS for emergency labour and other medical complications have resulted in considerable decrease of maternal and infant mortality rates. The maternal mortality rate has decreased from 750/100,000 live births in 2005/6 to 476/100,000 in 2010/11 and 210/100,000 today. An updated status report will be released in the forthcoming demographic health survey at the end of 2015.
107. Deliberate efforts have also been made to reduce the risk of spreading HIV from mother to child at birth and to promote the overall health of children and mothers living with HIV. Ministry of Health through Ministerial Order No. 20/32 of 05/12/2013, determined programs and strategies to ensure protection and assistance to children infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. In particular, pregnant women are encouraged to do at least 4 prenatal visits which are provided free of charge at health centres. All of these new programs have led to a promising record of maternal and child health in Rwanda.
108. Aside from specific interventions relating to maternal and child health, the provision of general health services has also improved across the board. There are now 6 referral hospitals in different regions of Rwanda, one provincial hospital in each Province, one or more district hospitals in each District, and 96% of the 416 administrative sectors have at least one health centre. This resulted in the reduction of the mean time needed to reach a health centre from about 95 minutes in 2005 (EICV2) to 60 minutes in 2011 (EICV3).
109. The Government also continues to invest in community and primary care services by creating health posts at the Cell level. Currently, there are 368 Health Posts countrywide, and a plan exists to increase the number every year. Additionally, each village has elected three community health workers (CHWs). They are an important component of Rwanda’s health system as they allow the community to participate in the management of their own health. One female CHW is responsible for maternal and child health, and another woman and a man for other care. They are all trained by the Ministry of Health. In total, 45000 CHWs deliver quality services countrywide, monitor health at the village level and refer sick patients to the nearest health facility. By sensitizing the local village and making themselves available, Community Health Workers improve access to care by strengthening the health system and ensuring that people don’t have to take long walks for seeking care.
111. The Government has also launched deliberate efforts to reduce malaria morbidity in the Country through increased access to health centers and distribution of free mosquito nets. As a result, high coverage of mosquito net use has been reached to 74% of children and women sleeping under mosquito nets. In 2014, 96% of children under five with malaria received appropriate treatment within 24 hours at community level compared to 89% in 2010. By 2014 96% of children under five with malaria received appropriate treatment within 24 hours at community level compared to 89% in 2010. From 2010 to 2014 there has been a marked decrease in malaria mortality rates, from 12.9 % to 4.7%.
112. HIV preventive programs focusing on key drivers of the HIV epidemic are also underway including increased access to counselling and testing services. In that regard, the Ministry of Health through Ministerial Order No. 20/32 of 05/12/2013, determined programs and strategies to ensure protection and assistance to children infected or affected by HIV/AIDS among others. As a result pregnant women are encouraged to go attend at least 4 prenatal visits and receive free services at the time of delivery at health centre level. Aside from this, from June 2013 to date there are 510 health facilities now offering HIV counselling and testing services. Over 3 million tests were performed with only 0.8% testing positive.
113. Currently, 83%of health facilities in Rwanda offer anti-retroviral treatment at no cost to the beneficiary. By 2014, the total number of adults and adolescents receiving anti-retroviral treatment (ART) was 133,574. In addition, from July 2013 to June 2014, a total number of 2,212 children were enrolled in the pre anti-retroviral program bringing the total number of children receiving ART to 7,853.
114. In addition, 2012 National Family Planning Policy addresses the accessibility of family planning services and encourages its integration with services for HIV/AIDS, maternal health, child health, and other development initiatives. This policy further develops adolescent sexual and reproductive health programs to attract and retain the next generation of family planning users. All family planning services are free of charge and all non-surgical family planning commodities are available in each village through CHWs.
K. Right to an adequate standard of living
116. Rwanda has adopted a settlement policy whereby people are advised and helped to stay in agglomerations in order to save land, space and facilitate easy access to public services and infrastructure such as schools, health centers, electricity and water. With the assistance of the Government and the participation of the population as well as the Rwandan diaspora, vulnerable families benefited from new houses through the bye-bye “nyakatsi” campaign. Grass thatched shelters have effectively been phased out of Rwanda since 2014.
L. The rights of historically marginalized people
121. All people are treated equally in every sector: education, health, culture and justice as stipulated by Article 11 of the Constitution. Rwanda undertook an initiative to consolidate national unity to prevent ethnic conflict which occurred in the past. The current Government adopted policies which promote and emphasize Rwandanness in preference to narrow ethnic identities.
124. Various programs have been undertaken to improve the socio-economic situation of historically marginalised people including; adult literacy, providing community health insurance, 12 years basic education and provision of free decent shelter programs has uplifted more than one million Rwandans out of extreme poverty in the last 5 years.
N. The rights of refugees and asylum seekers
129. There are currently 175,000 refugees living in Refugee Camps in Rwanda grouped in 16,234 households with Congolese (DRC) representing about 99, 23 % (73,915) most of whom are women and children. In addition there 25,591 Burundian refugees living in Rwanda as of May 2015 bringing the total number of refugees to 175,000.
130. The majority of refugees live in six camps: Gihembe, Kiziba, Nyabiheke, Kigeme and Mugombwa and Machama with a small number residing in the capital, Kigali. The Nkamira camp in Musanze district and the Nyagatare centre in Rusizi serve as transit centres for returning refugees. All camp-based refugees enjoy the assistance related to shelter, food, firewood, water, healthcare, vaccination of children, and refugees living with HIV/AIDS continue to receive anti-retroviral drugs under the coordination of UNHCR. Each refugee camp has a dispensary.
131. Refugees also benefit from preventive disease measures like mosquito net distribution, which has resulted in a drop of over 70% in the incidence of malaria among the refugee population. Malaria caused deaths have also dropped by 80% and additionally up to 93% of children under five receive free vaccination.
132. In order to response to the influx of refugees from Burundi, the Government has taken special measures to protect the new arrivals as well as the Rwandan Community from disease. All refugees receive screening for communicable diseases on arrival. Anti Retroviral treatment is provided for all those that need it among the refugees. Refugee children have all received immunisation and clean water has been provided in all refugee camps. Additional measures have been taken to prevent and treat incidences of malaria among the refugee population.
V. Best practices
135. Another home grown initiative is the Tumurere Mu Muryango(TMM) Program where orphaned children are fostered or adopted by families instead of living permanently in orphanages. As a result of this initiative almost all orphaned children in Rwanda are living with foster or adoptive families.
Compilation of UN Information
I. Background and framework
A. Scope of international obligations
2. In 2013, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) encouraged Rwanda to ratify OP-ICESCR8 and ICPPED9. In 2013, the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) encouraged Rwanda to ratify OP-CRC-IC.10
B. Constitutional and legislative framework
7. CRC welcomed the adoption of Law N°54/2011 relating to the Rights and Protection of the Child.27 It recommended that Rwanda implements child-related laws;28 enforces legislation for the protection of children from all forms of offences covered by OP-CRC-SC;29 and explicitly criminalize the recruitment, and use in hostilities, of children under 18 years.
III. Implementation of international human rights obligations, taking into account applicable international humanitarian law
A. Equality and non-discrimination
19. CRC remained concerned at persistent discrimination of persons born as a result of rape during the genocide, children affected by HIV/AIDS, children with disabilities, especially girls, children living in poverty, children in street situations, child-headed households, children in residential care, orphans, and children from ‘historically marginalized communities’. It requested Rwanda to protect those children in vulnerable situations.
B. Right to life, liberty and security of the person
20. Concerning the large number of persons, including women and children, reported to have been killed from 1994 onwards in the course of operations by the Rwandan Patriotic Army, the Human Rights Committee (HR Committee) had requested Rwanda to provide more concrete follow up information on “la proportion des dossiers qui a donné lieu à des poursuites pénales, les mesures prises pour assurer la participation des victimes dans les procès et les motifs des décisions d’acquittement prises dans ces dossiers”.
23. CRC remained concerned about persistent early marriages, particularly in refugee communities. It urged Rwanda to enforce the Family Code in order to prevent and prohibit early marriage.
24. CRC was alarmed at high prevalence of sexual violence against children, including in schools and in the community. It urged Rwanda to bring to justice perpetrators of such crimes; and establish effective and child-friendly procedures and mechanisms to receive and investigate complaints.
25. CRC expressed concern about many cases of children being exploited in the commercial sex industry and trafficked for prostitution.71 CMW expressed concern at reports that Rwandan children were sent to neighbouring countries where they were forced into prostitution, as well as reports of children from neighbouring countries being subjected to prostitution in Rwanda.
26. CESCR was concerned at the high rate of child labour, particularly children working in agriculture, as domestic workers, in small companies and in light manufacturing, brick- making and mining industries.CMW was concerned at reports that children from neighbouring countries were subjected to forced labour in Rwanda.
27. CRC was concerned about lack of clarity in the definition of child labour; and that Law No 54/2011 specified that children under 18 might work in underground mines; and that the Labour Code did not cover workers in the informal sector where children were mostly employed.
28. UNCT stated that at the 2011 review, Rwanda accepted a recommendation to prohibit corporal punishment of children. Law No. 54/2011 of 14/12/2011 did not explicitly abolish all forms of corporal punishment of children. Also, parents have the ‘right of correction’ under Article 347 of the Civil Code 1988.
34. CRC was deeply concerned at the increase in child trafficking; particularly refugees;84 the disappearance of adolescent girls from refugee camps without their family being aware of their whereabouts; and the re-victimization of some child victims of sale and trafficking in the transit centres. CRC recommended that Rwanda adopts a comprehensive policy to address the root causes of child trafficking; and investigates the reports of disappearances of adolescent girls from refugee camps.
C. Administration of justice, including impunity, and the rule of law
40. CRC regretted that Rwanda had not established independent children’s courts and expressed concern that children in vulnerable situations were perceived to be offenders and detained without charge in an unofficial detention centre in Gikondo.94 CAT was concerned that minors under 12 years of age, in conflict with the law, were detained for a maximum period of eight months, and were not always detained separately from adults.
41. UNCT stated that the Justice for Children Policy and Strategic Plan (2014 to 2019) has been developed to advance the best interests of the child and to foster the participation of children in all legal proceedings.
D. Right to family life
44. While noting that Organic Law No 01/2012/OL criminalized child abandonment, CRC expressed concern about the unintended consequences of some provisions of this law on economically and socially disadvantaged parents. It urged Rwanda not to prosecute parents unable to provide proper care to children due to poverty; and adequately support families in vulnerable situations.
45. CRC noted that Rwanda had one of the highest proportions of child-headed households in the world and urged Rwanda to formulate appropriate policies to address their needs.101 It also recommended providing appropriate care and assistance to all children deprived of a family environment and those living in vulnerable situations.
H. Right to social security and to an adequate standard of living
64. CESCR expressed concern at the high rate of poverty, particularly affecting women, child-headed households, and persons living in rural areas and working in agriculture; as well as the high rate of poverty among marginalized and disadvantaged persons and groups, such as the Batwa community, asylum seekers, refugees and domestic workers. It recommended that Rwanda implements and reinforces measures to combat poverty.
I. Right to health
66. CESCR expressed concern that access to health-care services was not effectively ensured to all.CRC was concerned at regional disparities in health among urban and rural areas, and recommended that Rwanda ensures equitable access to health care services and accessibility to the health insurance scheme programme for children in vulnerable situations. CMW was concerned that in some sectors, migrant workers were not eligible to subscribe to a health insurance scheme.
67. CESCR expressed concern at the rate of child mortality and high rate of maternal mortality, which was partially due to unsafe abortions. According to CRC, the lack of pre-natal and neo-natal care resulted in a high rate of new-born mortality and recommended increasing the availability and accessibility to emergency obstetric care.
69. CRC was seriously concerned at high level of child malnutrition.
J. Right to education
70. CRC expressed concerned about the inadequate quality of education and hidden education fees. It recommended that Rwanda increases spending on quality education; eliminates all types of hidden educational costs in the school system;138 and improves the quality and coverage of its early childhood care and education.139 CESCR encouraged Rwanda to make secondary education fully free.
71. CRC expressed concern about disparities in education between urban and rural areas; limited access to education for children with disabilities, Batwa children and girls;141 and the lack of inclusive education for children with disabilities.142 CESCR expressed concern at the high rate of dropouts among children belonging to disadvantaged and marginalized families, in particular to Batwa families. CRC recommended that Rwanda eradicates regional disparities; and urged Rwanda to achieve inclusive education for all children and eliminate barriers leading to educational disparities for children with disability.CMW recommended that children of migrant workers in an irregular situation have access to education on an equality basis with nationals.
72. UNESCO stated that Rwanda continued to improve the quality of education and noted inter alia the adoption of the Strategic Plan of the Education Sector (2013-2018). However, Rwanda has not taken additional measures to integrate minority groups and indigenous peoples in the education system.
73. UNCT stated that Rwanda should implement effective strategies to strengthen the implementation of the education policy on girls which allows adolescent mothers to resume their education.
74. UNCT stated that refugee children faced practical impediments in accessing upper secondary education, due to a lack of resources. All possible efforts should be made to ensure that refugee children have access to upper secondary education.
L. Persons with disabilities
76. CRC expressed concern that children with disabilities lacked adequate health care and social protection, and was often discriminated against due to cultural stigma and superstition. It urged Rwanda to review the Special Needs Education Policy of 2007 to realize the rights of children with disabilities; include in the National Council of People with Disabilities (NCPD) established in 2011 a section on children; and repeal Article 42 of the Law No54/2011 to ensure that the placement of children with disabilities in institutions is used only as a measure of last resort.
M. Minorities and indigenous peoples
77. CRC stated that it was troubled by Rwanda’s non-recognition of the existence of minority and indigenous people, including the Batwa community.152 The Independent Expert on minorities stated that Rwanda should acknowledge the Batwa as a distinct population group and the Batwa should participate in all stages of policy formulation, programme design and implementation of decisions that affect them.
78. CRC expressed concern that Batwa communities had been forcibly displaced from their ancestral forest lands without consent or compensation and deprived of their traditional livelihoods.154 The Independent Expert on minorities stated the Government should compensate displaced Batwa communities and, pursuant to effective consultation with those communities, develops initiatives to reconnect them with their ancestral habitats and cultural practices, recognize their rights to the natural resources of the forests, and develop programmes that value and preserve the traditional practices of their forest livelihoods.
N. Migrants, refugees and asylum seekers
82. CRC was concerned about the absence of a comprehensive mechanism to identify refugee and asylum-seeking children or children in migrant situations who might have been or were at risk of being recruited or used in hostilities; and the lack of procedures to provide care and services to those children.
83. CESCR was concerned that the birth registration of refugees, asylum seekers and stateless children was not fully guaranteed and recommended that Rwanda ensures the registration of all children born in its territory.166 CRC also recommended the provision of adequate protection for unaccompanied asylum-seeking and refugee children, including by providing them with free birth registration and equitable access to free education, health and social services.
87. UNHCR stated that although the 2008 Rwandan Nationality Law allowed for the naturalization of refugees and asylum-seekers married to Rwandan nationals and for all children born in Rwanda to refugees and asylum-seekers after they reach adulthood, the occurrence of naturalization was very rare.1
C. Implementation of international human rights obligations, taking into account applicable international humanitarian law
1. Equality and non-discrimination
15. JS4 stated that the birth registration rate was low, and due to the complicated procedures, the number of children that have been issued with birth certificates was much lower. JS4 stated that Article 12 of Law No 14/2008 penalised those parents who fail to register their children within the required period of 30 days. Such a provision would discourage parents from registering their children once the period of 30 days has lapsed, and the provision is thus not in the best interests of the child.30 JS4 recommended that Rwanda take measures to ensure the registration of all children immediately after birth through a simplified and inclusive registration procedure.
2. Right to life, liberty and security of the person
17. GIEACPC stated that since the 2011 review, Rwanda has adopted new laws, including Law No. 54 Relating to the Rights and Protection of the Child, 2011 (in force in 2012) and the Penal Code 2012, but that those laws do not prohibit all forms of corporal punishment of children.34 Corporal punishment was unlawful in schools and in the penal system, but it was not fully prohibited in the home, alternative care settings and day care.35 In the home, parents have a “right of correction” under article 347 of the Civil Code, 1988. The National Integrated Child Rights Policy, adopted by the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion in 2011 and intended as a guide for legislation, states that “physical abuse, including torture and cruelty against children and corporal punishment of children is prohibited in all settings” and defines all settings to include “homes, communities, schools, all centres and institutions that have children, prisons and detention centres, etc”. GIEACPC stated that Article 25 of Law No. 54 provides that parents should reprimand a child with humanity and dignity and must not “traumatise” the child; it also provides for the Minister to make an order specifying “non-violent disciplinary punishments, care and treatments for the child”. But Law No. 54 does not explicitly prohibit all corporal punishment. Also, Law No. 54 does not repeal the right of correction as provided for in the Civil Code, and instead provides that this law is pursuant to the Civil Code.
19. HRW stated that hundreds of people from vulnerable groups—including street children, commercial sex workers, and street hawkers— were held unlawfully, without charge or trial, in poor conditions, in an unofficial detention centre commonly known as Kwa Kabuga, or Gikondo, in the Gikondo area of Kigali. HRW stated that the Government claimed that Gikondo is a transit centre, not a detention centre.
25. JS9 stated that at the 2011 review, Rwanda had accepted a recommendation to continue the legal reform process, including the incorporation of a plan of action to ensure access to justice by children. Rwanda has adopted the Justice for Children Policy and Strategic Plan. However, children’s courts were lacking at all levels, leaving a gap in comprehensively addressing situations of children dealing with justice.
5. Freedom of religion or belief, expression, association and peaceful assembly, and right to participate in public and political life
28. EAJCW stated that the neutral stance in political affairs of the Christian community of Jehovah’s Witnesses affected their employment, education, and their ability to register civil marriage vows.53 EAJCW stated that Jehovah Witness pupils were compelled to participate in activities in schools that violated their freedoms of conscious and religion.54 It stated that Rwanda should discontinue the expulsion of pupils from schools for their refusal to sing the national anthem and to participate in religious ceremonies.55 Also, Jehovah’s Witnesses were dismissed from their secular work for their conscientious refusal to take an oath while holding the national flag. Their request to take the oath holding the Bible had been refused.
6. Right to social security and to an adequate standard of living
46. JS6 stated Rwanda had one of the highest rates in the region of chronic malnutrition of children younger than five years of age, which resulted in stunting. Food insecurity and malnutrition was not as a result of the unavailability of food, but rather as a consequence of difficulties to access food. Government support focused on market orientated agricultural production and not on the small-scale famers who experienced food insecurity and poverty elevation. JS6 stated that economic development strategies which focused on enhancing market and export oriented agricultural production could further aggravate already existing food insecurity.
47. JS9 noted the high rates of malnutrition and stunting among children, and stated that poverty was the main cause for providing children with little or non-nutritious foods.
48. JS6 stated that Rwanda promoted rapid urbanization and commercial development in Kigali to the detriment of adequate housing for the population. Houses and land of low- income city dwellers were expropriated without the necessary compensation and relocation of the effected people.
7. Right to health
49. JS3 stated that measures should be taken to reduce the high rate of maternal mortality and improve access to maternal health information and services including ante- natal, delivery, and post-natal care. Such measures should include increasing the number of health care facilities equipped and staffed to handle basic and emergency obstetric care, especially in low-income and rural areas, and increasing the number of skilled health care providers able to offer quality and convenient antenatal care and post-natal care, as well as skilled assistance during childbirth. Free transportation to quality health care facilities should be available for women in low-income and in rural areas.
8. Right to education
52. JS4 stated that at the 2011 review, Rwanda accepted recommendations to improve the enjoyment of the right to education, through universal primary education and greater investment in the education sector.112 The ‘Nine Years Basic Education’ policy was commendable but there were issues concerning the ratio of pupils to teachers, the quality of the education to which pupils have access and the disparity between public and private education.113 JS4 stated that the “double-shift” education system where schools are run twice daily, with some children attending in the morning and others in the afternoon, was created without consideration for the welfare of the teachers.114 The significantly high teacher-pupil ratio has led to degradation in the quality of education.115 There were few available learning materials. Laboratories were in need of equipment and libraries had insufficient books.116 JS4 stated that parents with financial means generally sent their children to private schools because of the belief that that those institutions provided an environment and opportunities conducive to learning.
53. JS9 stated that while primary education was free, schools operations’ costs determined by the parent-teacher associations constituted a burden to poor parents.118 JS9 stated that the challenges in delivering quality education included lack of teacher training courses, low salaries and long working hours for teachers, poor school infrastructure leading to over-crowded class rooms, and low availability of school materials.
54. JS7 expressed concern about: (a) the lack of electricity in some schools in remote areas; (b) the lack of computer literacy as a subject in the revised Science and Elementary Technology Curriculum for upper primary school; and (c) the persistent teachers’ incentive fees requested from parents in some public schools and the introduction of school feeding programmes for which the parents are required to pay the costs.
55. JS9 stated that access to secondary school remained a challenge with a net enrolment rate of 36.4 percent as of 2013. There was a geographical disparity with a higher percentage of children in urban areas attending school as compared to children in the rural areas.
56. JS9 stated that employment of children in labour activities outside of school represented a critical challenge to school attendance and completion.
10. Persons with disabilities
58. JS9 stated that access to and availability of health services for children with disabilities, especially those with intellectual disabilities, remains a challenge. Discrimination of those children was widespread with some families ashamed of them and thus not ensuring their access to health care.
59. JS9 stated that despite the presence of a comprehensive policy framework, children with disabilities faced numerous challenges to the full enjoyment of their right to education.
11. Minorities and indigenous peoples
65. CS stated that the housing conditions of the Batwa were far below minimum standards, and not suitable for human habitation. CS stated that there was a complete lack of representation of the Batwa in Government, as there was only one Batwa representative in the Senate. The minimum requirement to be a candidate was six years of education effectively excluding many Batwa. CS stated that despite the Government policy effectively exempting the Batwa children from paying school fees, they faced many difficulties in education. Poor living conditions and hunger affected the ability of Batwa children to attend school and to achieve good education outcomes. Many Batwa children faced discrimination at school and were often chased away from the classroom.
66. CS stated that despite the enactment of a health insurance scheme for the most vulnerable, many Batwa remained uninsured. With poor education and health information, the Batwa were vulnerable to high rates of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections. High infant mortality was common and there was a lack of access to sufficient maternal health care. UNPO stated that many Batwa could not access the health insurance scheme because of the lack of official health documents, the required payment of ten percent of the costs of medical treatments, health centres being very far from where the Batwa lived.
Accepted and Rejected Recomendations
133. The recommendations formulated during the interactive dialogue and listed below have been examined by Rwanda and enjoy the support of Rwanda:
133.15 Implement urgent measures to guarantee birth registration for all children born on its territory (Mexico);
133.16 Take necessary measures to guarantee all children immediate registration at birth by simplifying administrative procedures, while increasing awareness-raising activities on the subject (Turkey);
133.20 Adopt a comprehensive policy to address the root causes of child trafficking (South Africa);
133.21 Ensure the protection of the rights of children, particularly those in vulnerable situations, and ensure their perpetrators of sexual violence and trafficking are held to account (Botswana);
133.22 Continue efforts to provide protection for children living in difficult circumstances, such as poor children and street children (Egypt);
133.23 Continue to pay particular attention to children, incorporating into social programs measures to eradicate all forms of violence against girls, boys and adolescents (Nicaragua);
133.37 Take measures to ensure the protection of the right to an adequate standard of living for children in vulnerable situations, in particular the rights of children affected by HIV/AIDS and boys and girls with disabilities (Paraguay);
133.38 Persevere with efforts to better protect the rights of vulnerable groups, particularly women and children (Senegal);
133.39 Develop a lasting protection mechanism for small children against food insecurity, through strategies aimed at facilitating access to food through fair agricultural policies (Turkey);
133.43 Increase funding in order to create an education system that upholds the right to free, universal and quality education for all children without discrimination (Namibia);
133.45 Strengthen efforts to guarantee the rights of children, and particularly those of children with disabilities, observing at all moments the best interests of the child (Colombia);
133.46 Redouble efforts to protect and improve the rights of disabled children (Djibouti);
134.13 Encourage the ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, as well as the ratification of Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure (Greece);
134.14 Ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure, the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Portugal);
134.18 Bring national legislation into compliance with the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Guatemala);
134.33 Continue to pay close attention to the full realization of the rights of the child, including the right to education (Portugal);
134.37 Adopt a comprehensive policy against human trafficking and establish a mechanism to provide support to victims, in particular to children exploited in the commercial sex industry and trafficked for prostitution (Italy);
134.38 Implement effective strategies which address child trafficking, and thoroughly investigate all cases of disappearance of child refugees (Sierra Leone);
134.40 Take measures improving the security of citizens and enhancing protection of children (Ukraine);
134.41 Effectively prevent and prosecute those responsible for sexual violence against children and fully protect children in vulnerable situations (Portugal);
134.46 Effectively combat child prostitution and sexual exploitation of children for commercial ends (Djibouti);
134.50 Establish independent children’s courts and review the role and functioning of the Child Protection Committees in order to enhance their effectiveness (Italy);
134.69 Provide a clear definition of child labour and extend coverage of the Labour Code to include the informal sector, where children are mostly employed (Uganda);
134.74 Ensure that its agriculture policies do not undermine the food security or land rights of the most vulnerable and consider applying the technical guidance on the application of a human rights-based approach to the implementation of policies and programmes to reduce and eliminate preventable mortality of children under 5 years age (A/HRC/27/31) (Ireland);
134.81 Reinforce and improve the education system, reducing the disparity between urban and rural areas, with special attention to children with disabilities (Holy See);
134.82 Recommend greater investment in the education sector and improvement of the quality and coverage of Rwanda’s early childhood care and education (Hungary);
134.83 Continue making efforts in raising the quality of education and to ensure that secondary education is fully free and accessible to all children (Lithuania);
134.84 Follow-up on the recommendations of the Committee on Rights of the Child to devote greater resources to the improvement of the quality of the educational system (Luxembourg);
134.85 Take necessary measures to ensure quality education by providing sufficient training for teachers, ensuring the presence of quality school materials, books and appropriate infrastructure in all schools and available to all children, especially the most vulnerable children (Slovakia);
134.86 Increase budget allocation to the education sector to ensure a fully free and inclusive education for all children (Slovakia);
134.87 Continue to strengthen its ongoing efforts in the education system, to ensure quality universal primary and secondary education for all children (Sri Lanka);
134.88 Continue efforts to ensure access to education for all Rwandan children (Sudan);
134.94 Continue to undertake steps to ensure access to quality education for
all children (Armenia);
135. The recommendations below did not enjoy the support of Rwanda and would thus be noted:
135.29 Adopt a comprehensive policy to avert the trafficking of children, in particular the disappearance of adolescent girls from refugee camps, and to protect them against exploitation, and especially child labour (Holy See);
135.30 Approve a comprehensive policy with specific measures aimed at addressing the deep-rooted causes of trafficking in children and investigate the alleged disappearances of adolescent girls in the refugee camps (Panama);
135.29 Adopt a comprehensive policy to avert the trafficking of children, in particular the disappearance of adolescent girls from refugee camps, and to protect them against exploitation, and especially child labour (Holy See);
135.30 Approve a comprehensive policy with specific measures aimed at addressing the deep-rooted causes of trafficking in children and investigate the alleged disappearances of adolescent girls in the refugee camps (Panama);
135.68 Implement effective strategies and provide adequate funds to improve the quality of education and ensure inclusive and equal access to primary and secondary education for all children in Rwanda, including girls, children with disabilities and children belonging to minority groups and indigenous peoples (Latvia);