Rwanda Defends Freedoms, Rights In Geneva
Justice and freedom of speech are among key human rights that Rwanda has been nurturing since 2011 in response to Universal Period Review of the UN Human Rights Council concerns.
Justice Minister Johnston Busingye on Wednesday led delegation of Rwandan officials to the 2nd review.
“Out of 67 UPR recommendations issued to Rwanda in 2011, 63 have been fully implemented,â€ said Busingye in the session.
Most countries at the session expressed concerns on Rwanda’s record on human rights; media and political freedoms, human trafficking and low levels of civil society growth.
Clarifying the issue on most of the concerns raised; Busingye cautioned participants at the session to be mindful of Rwanda’s historical past which guides the country’s context.
“We have had a history with the media. We don’t sweep it under carpets and just continue…in 1994 two newspapers and two radio stations participated in genocide using their platforms as a form of media freedoms and expressions. We continue to be cautious because the line can be crossed easily,” Busingye said.
Commenting on the same move, Prof. Shyaka told the session that Rwanda had implemented various reforms especially adopting self regulation for media sector.
The sector has improved; capacity and efficiency, as an industry and its interactive relationship between media and policy makers.
â€œSelf regulatory mechanism is vibrant with only 10% of complaints from media against public offices,â€ Prof Shyaka said.
In regard to the subject of Rwanda accenting to the Rome statute that ratifies the International criminal court,
Busingye told the session that Rwanda was not blind to the other side of International Justice as he referred to Rome statute.
â€œWe are not blind to this question. We support international justice through (East African Court of Justice, International Court of Justice, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda)…So we know what international justice means.” He remarked
Alongside with human rights observation; Busingye dismissed claims that Batwa ethnic group in Rwanda are discriminated, clarifying:
“The nationality of Rwanda is more important than the ethnic or racial value. In 1994 these narrow ethnic thinking caused us a million livesâ€ Said Busingye.
Rwandaâ€™s Attorney General and Justice Minister Johnston Busingye and Prof. Shyaka Anastase CEO of Rwanda Governance Board presented the report as part of the second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) cycle.
UPR is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States.Â In the previous review in 2011, Rwanda promised it would implement 67 UPR recommendations.
Rwandaâ€™s Envoy to Switzerland Francois Xavier Ngarambe accompanied the countryâ€™s officials.
This is the 23rd session of the UPR that started on November 2, 2015. The states to be reviewed include; Rwanda, Australia, Austria, Georgia, Lebanon, Mauritania, Micronesia (Federated States of), Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, Oman, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Sao Tome and Principe.