Rwanda discusses its future National Preventive Mechanism

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

What is the role of the National Preventive Mechanism in the torture prevention system, and what would be a suitable model for Rwanda? These key issues were discussed at a recent stakeholder consultation in Kigali.

Rwanda ratified the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture on 30 June 2015 and now has the obligation to establish a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM). To assist this designation process a workshop was organised by the Human Rights Implementation Centre of the University of Bristol, UK, and the Rwandan National Commission on Human Rights on 30 November and 1 December 2015.

The aim of the workshop was to raise awareness of the OPCAT and the important role of the NPM in the torture prevention system, and to facilitate discussions to identify an effective structure for an NPM in Rwanda. It was also an opportunity for the Ministry of Justice to engage key stakeholders by sharing with them its roadmap for the establishment of the NPM. The aim is to keep the deadline of July 2016, one year after the ratification of the OPCAT.

The APT was invited as expert to facilitate the discussions and to share experiences from other countries in regard to NPM models and options. The workshop brought together some 40 participants, including representatives from the government, law enforcement and correctional services, the National Commission on Human Rights, and civil society organisations.

To move the discussions forward on the designation of an NPM the following recommendations were adopted at the end of the workshop:

  • Awareness training on the OPCAT and the functioning of NPMs is needed for decision-makers within various government ministries, as well as for other key stakeholders, such as officials from the law enforcement and correctional services and CSOs.
  • Consultations and discussions with all relevant stakeholders should be continued.
  • Consultations should be done with other countries, to identify good practices towards creating effective and credible NPMs, including through a study visit to a country with a functioning NPM.
  • A document showing existing NPM models and how they could fit the Rwandan context should be drafted and distributed to relevant stakeholders.
  • The process of elaborating the NPM law, focusing on independence, diversity and expertise of members, reporting process and impartiality, should be expedited.