The United Nations Commission for Human Rights has asked the Rwanda civil society organization (CSOs) to support the government’s implementation of Universal Peer Review (UPR) recommendations.
The UPR is a unique process which involves a review of rights records of all UN Member States with each state making recommendations to implement in five years.
Rwanda is one of the States reviewed by the UPR Working Group and the country’s first and second UPR reviews (cycle) took place in January 2011 and November 2015, respectively and this process is currently in the 3rd cycle.
The documents on which the reviews are based are: the national report – information provided by the State under review; information contained in the reports of independent human rights experts and groups, human rights treaty bodies, other UN entities; and information provided by other stakeholders including national human rights institutions, regional organizations and CSOs.
This year, Rwanda has presented 160 recommendations which are supposed to be implemented in the above period.
Among these include strengthening the role of women, fight against all forms of discrimination, improvement of detention conditions, legal frameworks for association and protecting persons with disabilities among others.
With the pressure of COVID-19 pandemic on the Rwandan economy, Komi Gnondoli a Senior Human Rights Advisory at UN Commission for Human Rights- Rwanda said that CSOs and the National Human Rights Commission (NCHR) should support the government.
“I sincerely hope that despite the difficult economic context, CSOs and national commission for human rights will invest in supporting government for the development and implementation of its national action to follow up on the UPR recommendations,” Gnondoli said.
He was speaking on December 8 during a Human Rights CSOs-driven event to celebrate the 73rd international human rights day.
“We are aware of the difficulties but have faith in your renewed commitment to the noble cause of human rights,” Gnondoli said.
According to the Ministry of Justice and the NCHR officials, Rwanda has already started holding consultative meetings on the UPR road map that will be available before the end of the year for stakeholders review.
Marie Claire Mukasine, NCHR Chairperson said that they are fast tracking the roadmap and will work along with government to make sure the recommendations are implemented.
“We have the will to implement the recommendations and our role will also include reminding the government to fast track the process and compile reports but also work together to ensure this objective is achieved,” Mukasine said.
Tom Mulisa, Founder and Executive Director of the Great Lakes Initiative for Human Rights and Development (GLIHD) – a human rights think tank organization said that more citizens will be sensitized on their fundamental human rights.
He said they will also encourage CSOs to reach the community so as to address key social issues such as legal aid, access to gender based violence services and sexual reproductive health services.