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UPR of Rwanda – Joint submission from MRG, AIMPO, FPDO and WOPU

9 July 2020

Minority Rights Group International (MRG) together with the African Initiative for Mankind Progress Organization (AIMPO), First People Development Organization (FPDO) and Women’s Organization for Promoting Unity (WOPU) have submitted a written contribution ahead of the third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Rwanda, scheduled for January 2021.

Our submission provides information and recommendations about the human rights of the Batwa indigenous peoples in Rwanda. with a specific focus on concerns related to their enjoyment of their social and economic rights.

The full report can be accessed here.

MRG, AIMPO, FPDO and WOPU’s suggestions of recommendations include the following:

  • The Government must adopt affirmative action to support Batwa historically Marginalized People to access public services and participate in decision-making.
  • The National Action Plan of the Human Rights Commission must include the protection of historically Marginalized People, including people with disabilities, children, and women.
  • The Government must include Batwa in all decision-making organs and public structures to ensure that unity and reconciliation are achieved. 
  • The Government must sensitize the local leaders to respect the HMP’s right to expressing their constructive ideas, their problems for promotion the Unity and reconciliation of the country.
  • Prevent and punish the discrimination, harassment and violence against HMP and establish measures to raise awareness about their situation and put them on equal par with other Rwandans, and hold accountable people who participate in discrimination, harassment and violence against them. 
  • The Government should take measures to ensure that Historically Marginalized students have full access to education despite school fees, lack of notebooks and Uniforms.
  • Government and Ministry of Education ensure that Batwa students oriented in Technical Vocational Education Training (TVT), Teacher Training Centers (TTCs), and other Sciences in boarding schools have a complete school cycle with zero dropout due to lack of school fees. 
  • Provide Special Support to Historical Marginalized people to study in university, Short-courses and Adult literacy.  
  • Empowering Batwa women and helping them access finance through supporting their small income-generating activities.
  • Protect Twa-activist and facilitate their organizations to access funds and legal documents.
  • Help victims of gender-based violence to go to school through the establishment of anti -GBV and child protection committees from the grassroots level to the National level. 
  • Enhance the mechanisms of HMPs’ hygiene, access to clean water and safe house for increasing health protection and limiting the contagious illnesses which are responsible for stained child growth.
  • Distribute the land to landless HMP as stipulated in article 67 of Land Law, and provide the parts of wetland as a source of clays to support HMP pottery cooperatives
  • Register and give the cards to HMP with disability so that they can benefit from health services.
  • Help children with disabilities from HMP families, especially those with intellectual disabilities, to join Special Education in Centers, as stated in the Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda, Article 51.
  • Help Batwa to get jobs in the Tourism sector as former guardians of the national parks and forest.
  • Allow Batwa to access natural environments for collecting honey and forest food.
  • Provide adequate housing units to Batwa families that do not have and give land titles to such families.

MRG, AIMPO, FPDO and WOPU’s submission – UPR of Rwanda – 2020