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Rwanda Fires Back Over US Human Trafficking Report

8:02 am
Burundi refugees being registered at a camp in Rwanda

Burundi refugees being registered at a camp in Rwanda

Rwanda has rejected a human trafficking Report  sanctioned by the U.S. State Department which undermines government efforts.

The U.S. today unveiled a 2016 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report which assesses government efforts around the world to combat human trafficking.

In this year’s report, the 16th installment, includes narratives for 188 countries and territories, including the United States.

The report claims, in Rwanda there is “lack of overall increasing anti-trafficking efforts”.

Rwanda’s Ambassador to the United States, Mathilde Mukantabana, reacted saying “This report’s assessment of my country bears no resemblance with reality on the ground.”

“It is regrettable that political calculations have influenced the conclusions of a report on such a critically important topic”, she said.

However, in Rwanda’s parliament, a consultative meeting on fighting human trafficking, gender-based violence, alcoholism and drug abuse was held Thursday and new statistics indicate a different picture from US (TIP) Report.

Emmanuel Gasana the Inspector General of Rwanda National Police said in 2015 alone there were 153 cases of human trafficking but by March 2016 only 74 were reported.

According to the statistics, the Western, Southern and Northern provinces have been dormant in human trafficking since the beginning of this year. Whereas Kigali and Eastern had few cases filed.

The Government of Rwanda says it has exerted serious efforts and resources in protecting its citizens from the threat of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Rwanda is  deeply disappointment by the U.S. State Department’s 2016 TIP Report which it views as gross mischaracterization of  the country’s strong record in combating human trafficking.

Mukantabana said the TIP report position on Rwanda is a deliberate misrepresentation of how these issues are being addressed in her country and “ultimately undermines the international effort  to which Rwanda is no less committed than the US to protect people, especially women and girls, from trafficking and sexual exploitation.”

“I categorically reject this report, its conclusions and the false allegations used to support them”, concluded Ambassador Mukantabana.

Rwanda hosts about 75,000 Burundian refugees including several others from DRCongo.

“Our efforts to provide for our brothers and sisters from the region who sought refuge in Rwanda are based on our long-standing values rather than any external reports”, said Ambassador Mukantabana.

The government of Rwanda says a vague and subjective standard has been used to downgrade the country, despite ample evidence to the contrary documented in the report itself.