The ministry of Justice and civil society organizations in Rwanda have agreed on working together to prepare data and evidence-based human rights reports that will be presented at the African Union (AU) peer review in 2022.
The move was reached on Thursday December 2, 2021 during a stakeholders’ meeting on compliance with the concluding observations and recommendations under the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol).
The discussions organised by Great Lakes Initiative for Human Rights and Development (GLIHD) and the Center for Human Rights University of Pretoria (CHR-UP) were aimed at evaluating six AU recommendations on human rights review and finding a way forward before the next review.
The Rwandan government will in May, 2022 present to the African Commission on Human and Peoples rights its report on implementation of Maputo Protocol and the update on implementation of the received concluding during the last review in 2017, this time including an earlier recommendation of data on the impact of the protocol”.
This presentation, under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) will require Rwanda to collect alternative reports and data from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) especially on how the protocol has been implemented in areas of women and girl’s rights, Gender Based Violence (GBV), Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) and Inclusion among other requirements.
The last time Rwanda presented a UPR report on Human Rights was three years ago. It is also highly recommended that CSOs also present parrell (or alternative) reports to back or guide a government on implementation of UPR recommendations.
”We (Rwanda) have been doing a lot on human rights activities but the AU Commission peer review had recommended that we present our reports with data. So, we are counting on the civil society to collect this data that reflects what is happening on ground because this shows what we are doing and its impact,” said Providence Umurungi, head of the International Justice and Judicial Cooperation Department at Rwanda’s Ministry of Justice.
Lawyer Husna Vestine Umulisa, the Deputy Executive Director of GLHID in charge of women and girl’s rights said that six recommendations given by AU will be worked on but there is need for a collective response to the issue of data collection by all CSOs.
Umulisa said that expected results and outcomes on these recommendations, for example on data collection, cannot be possible without all civil society organisations doing it to show their perspective on the impact of human rights activities .
”We (GLIHD) have been presenting the alternative reports to accompany those presented by the government but other organs have not, thus a need for all CSOs to do likewise so that the government can find solutions from our findings,” Umulisa said.