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Rwanda questions UN human rights body over terminated mission | Coastweek

GISAKURA Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Mist covers Gisakura in southwestern Rwanda. Known as "the Land of a Thousand Hills" Rwanda is a landlocked country situated in the Great Lakes region of central Africa, XINHUA PHOTO - LYU TIANRAN

 

Rwanda questions UN human rights body over terminated mission

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- The Rwandan government on Monday called on the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) to make public the impediments that the committee claims compromised its mission to Rwanda.

The treaty body in the UN human rights system abruptly terminated the mission and turned to the media before discussion with the Rwandan government, said the Rwandan ministry of justice in a statement.

The committee violated its own guidelines as well as the pre-agreed schedule of the visit, said the ministry.

SPT said last Friday it had suspended its visit to Rwanda due to a series of obstructions imposed by authorities.

“Rwanda considers the termination an act of bad faith,” said Johnston Busingye, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, in the statement.

According to the minister, the committee conducted field visits for five days to institutions including prisons, police stations, transit centers, and a psychiatric hospital, interviewing staff, inmates, and patients. Any technical issues that arose during field visits were immediately resolved, he said.

Rwanda voluntarily ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, part of the minority of states-parties to have done so, read the statement. The SPT exists to reinforce national institutions, not replace them, it added.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

Rwandan parliament condemns Human Rights Watch report

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Rwandan Parliament Thursday condemned what it called false report by the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), which it said is aimed at discrediting the country.

The HRW report published on July 13 said Rwandan security forces summarily executed at least 37 suspected petty offenders in Rwanda’s Western Province between July 2016 and March 2017.

The HRW also said it documented enforced disappearances of suspected petty offenders in Rwanda and the incidents in which authorities encouraged local residents to kill suspected thieves, who were beaten to death.

“The Parliament of Rwanda condemns HRW for its ignominious acts and information contained in its report, including rumors of death of people who are still alive, in order to discredit the country, its leadership and security organs, humanity and Rwandan people in general,” said a parliament resolution.

Rwandan National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) last Friday disproved the report, saying “the entire report is built on fabricated information.”

NCHR presented findings of its inquiry at a press conference, which indicated that people reported executed in the HRW report are either alive, or died from various accidents or shot by border patrols while using a pathway usually used by a Rwandan Hutu rebel group to infiltrate Rwanda following regular alerts by local authorities for security reasons.

“The Parliament of Rwanda is convinced that HRW did not use professionalism, skills, truth and independence, which should be the basis of its work in order to win credibility as an international human rights organization.”

The parliament requested the Rwandan government to re-examine the memorandum of understanding between the government and HRW so that “ignominious acts tarnishing the image of Rwanda and Rwandan people could not continue.”

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Rwanda seeks increased investments in renewable energy

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Rwanda is looking for big investments in renewable energy sources in order to stimulate the country’s green economic development, top government officials said Thursday.

Rwanda has a lot of untapped investment opportunities in the renewable energy sources, said Claire Akamanzi, chief executive officer of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) at a renewable energy conference held in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali.

She said Rwanda is looking for investors in various renewable energy options available across the country.

Rwanda has set clear targets in renewable energy and other power generation sources, as it is targeting to achieve 100 percent access to electricity countrywide by 2024.

Rwandan Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente in September presented the government’s development strategy up to 2024, which said the country sets to increase electricity production both on and off grid to ensure that 100 percent households will have electricity by 2024 from the current 22 percent.

Rwanda hosts the international renewable energy event from Oct. 19 to 20 dedicated to advancing renewable energy for rural electrification and agricultural development.

The meeting will provide an international business and partnerships platform by highlighting attractive investment opportunities in renewable energy, according to organizers.

According to James Musoni, Rwandan minister of infrastructure, the Rwandan government is ready to facilitate investments and cooperation in renewable energy to meet and scale up green and clean energy sources in the country.

Musoni said the country aims to increase electricity access through off-grid technologies and facilitate private-sector to participate in renewable off-grid electrification

Rwanda’s current energy generation is at 210.9 MW on the national grid. Of this, hydro power accounts for 48 percent, thermal 32 percent, Solar 5.7 percent and methane-to-power 14.3 percent, according to Rwanda Energy Group (REG).

REG said in a report in August that the country has achieved about 40.5 percent access rate, of which on-grid access represents 29.5 percent with off-grid access standing at 11 percent.

Rwanda has set an ambitious target to increase installed electricity generation capacity to 563 MW within the next two years which requires massive investments in the energy sector.

In May, Rwanda launched the construction of a 350 million U.S. dollar peat power plant in Akanyaru marshland, Gisagara district, Southern Province that is expected to add 80 MW to the national grid.

Last year, the country unveiled power plant projects including a mega methane gas power plant project which is expected to produce 100 MW from Lake Kivu, the world’s only methane rich water body, and a 23.7 million dollars solar power plant.

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Over 86 percent of Rwandans save: survey

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- At least 86 percent or about 5.1 million Rwandan adults in the country save, according to the 2016 Finscope Survey released on Monday in Rwandan capital Kigali.

According to the survey released during the launch of 2017 Savings Week, saving through formal institutions currently stands at 49 percent, an increase of 13 percent from 36 percent in 2012.

The uptake in formal savings has been attributed to savings at credit and savings schemes locally called Umurenge SACCOs which stand at 27 percent and mobile money savings at 17 percent.

Speaking at the launch of the savings week, Rwandan minister of finance Claver Gatete said the government seeks to raise savings rate from the current 10.2 percent to 20 percent of the Growth Domestic Product (GDP) by 2020.

He stressed the importance of savings in the country, citing examples from developed countries which he said have a higher savings rate.

The Savings Week will run until Oct. 31, featuring showcasing of new savings products by financial institutions, and other savings groups promoters.

The Rwandan government mobilizes savings through Iterambere Fund launched in 2015 to promote financial inclusion targeting mainly people with little means. Currently, the fund with over 2,000 savers has accumulated about 1,651,020 U.S. dollars, according to the chief executive of Rwanda National Investment Trust.

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African ministers meet in Rwanda for easing people movement across continent

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- African ministers on Friday met in Rwandan capital Kigali to ease movement of people on the continent.

“Free movement of persons is equally regarded as one of the key strategies in achieving Pan-African ideals,” Rwandan justice minister Johnston Busingye said at the opening of a ministerial session during the second ordinary Specialized Technical Committee (STC) on migration, refugees and displaced persons.

The two-day meeting will discuss free movement of persons, African Union(AU) migration policy framework, and common African position on the global compact on migration. The meeting, following a three-day experts meeting, drew nearly 30 African ministers in charge of emigration.

To accelerate free movement of people and goods will require going beyond political commitments to immediate implementation, officials said at the meeting.

“The difficulty resides in a lack of sense of urgency and capacity to implement the political commitments and decisions taken at the ministerial level in different meetings at regional and continental level,” said Minata Samate Cessouma, AU’s Commissioner for Political Affair.

She said African governments are reluctant when it comes to empower institutions to implement regional integration and intra-African trade policies.

“We need to refocus on the policies and measures to facilitate the movement of persons to deepen regional integration and promote trade between countries across the continent,” said Samate.

To achieve visa-free Africa, free trade area and free movement of persons and goods on the continent will take much more than political commitments, said Mohamed Salem Ouid, minister of foreign affairs of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic. He said it will require practical steps on the ground.

According to AU, Africa is faced with a difficulty in free movement of persons in Africa where Africans are forced to go through lengthy and restrictive processes in order to travel and many Africans embark on long, complicated and dangerous routes across the desserts and the Mediterranean Sea.

African citizens need visas to travel to 54 percent of other countries on the continent in 2016, said a report of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The report revealed that 24 percent of other countries on the continent issue visas on arrival to African nationals and 22 percent of African countries waived visa requirements to African visitors.

             

 

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