Uprooting the rural poor in Rwanda

Uprooting the rural poor in Rwanda

Reports on the human rights violations as a result of the Rwandan governments implementation of the National Habitat Policy. Established without any form of popular consultation or act of parliament, the policy dictated that all Rwandans living in scattered homesteads throughout the country, as well as the rural dwellers with homes (both Tutsi and Hutu) were to reside instead in government-created "villages" called imidugudu. Home owners were forced to destroy their homes before leaving.

The paper asserts that the Rwandan government violated the rights of tens of thousands of its citizens:

  • by compelling them to reside other than where they choose
  • by arbitrarily and unlawfully interfering with their homes
  • by obliging them to destroy or cede their property without due process and without compensation
  • by punishing those who spoke out against this policy and
  • by failing to provide adequate remedy for those whose rights were violated

Paper makes recommendations to the Rwandan government, U.N. agencies, and nongovernmental organizations. Examples of recommendations made to Rwandan government

  • order all civilian and military authorities to cease immediately any use of force, intimidation, or threat to compel rural-dwellers to leave their homes against their will to reside in imidugudu. Investigate charges against government officials accused of violating this order and impose legally-provided administrative sanctions if they have done so
  • initiate a widespread public information campaign to inform all citizens that they are not required to move to imidugudu and will suffer no consequences for deciding to remain in their homes
  • permit those now in imidugudu to return to their homes if they so desire and provide those who destroyed their homes on government order with reasonable assistance in rebuilding them. Assure that needed resources are provided to the most vulnerable persons, including particularly women and children

  1. How good is this research?

    Assessing the quality of research can be a tricky business. This blog from our editor offers some tools and tips.