La Tribune Franco-Rwandaise
RWANDA 2014 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT
Rwanda is a constitutional republic dominated by a strong presidency.
The ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) led a coalition that included four smaller parties. In 2010 voters elected President Paul Kagame to a second seven-year term with 93 percent of the vote. Three other registered political parties participated in the elections. Elections for parliament’s lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, took place in September 2013. Candidates from the RPF and two other parties that supported RPF policies won all of the open seats, and election observers reported numerous flaws, including possible irregularities in the vote tabulation process. State security forces (SSF) generally reported to civilian authorities, although there were instances in which elements of the security forces acted independently of civilian control.
The most important human rights problems in the country were disappearances, government harassment, arrest, and abuse of political opponents, human rights advocates, and individuals perceived to pose a threat to government control and social order; disregard for the rule of law among security forces and the judiciary; and restrictions on civil liberties. Due to restrictions on the registration and operation of opposition parties and nontransparent vote-counting practices, citizens did not have the ability to change their government through free and fair elections.
Other major human rights problems included arbitrary or unlawful killings, torture, harsh conditions in prisons and detention centers, arbitrary arrest, prolonged pretrial detention, and government infringement on citizens’ privacy rights. The government restricted freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and association. Security for refugees and asylum seekers continued to improve but was at times inadequate. The government restricted and harassed local and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), particularly organizations that monitored and reported on human rights. There was a small and declining incidence of trafficking in persons. The government restricted labor rights and child labor continued to be a problem.
The government in many cases took steps to prosecute or punish officials who committed abuses, whether in the security services or elsewhere, but impunity involving civilian officials and the SSF was a problem.
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