Rwanda: Human Rights

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 11th January 2021.

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Photo of Naseem Shah Naseem Shah Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he made an assessment of the human rights record of the government of Rwanda before agreeing to attend the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting with Rwanda.

Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The Commonwealth places a high priority on being a community of peaceful, democratic countries which promote and protect shared values, including the rule of law and human rights. The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) - of which the UK is a current member, is the custodian of these fundamental values.

Rwanda has made huge strides over the past two decades. It has a strong track record of equality of women in Rwanda's cabinet and parliament, and there have been significant improvements in healthcare, reconciliation, development and prosperity. However, the UK remains concerned by Rwanda's overall human rights record and regularly raises specific cases of concern with the Rwandan Government. We continue to encourage Rwanda to model Commonwealth values of respect for human rights and rule of law as enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter, and to match its impressive development progress with gains in civil and political rights.

Rwanda was selected at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018 (CHOGM18) as the host of the 26th CHOGM. The summit, re-scheduled to take place in Kigali, Rwanda in June 2021 presents a valuable opportunity for Heads to meet and for the Commonwealth family to demonstrate how, by upholding and promoting the principles of the Commonwealth, a bright common future can be built for all. The UK plans to attend in our capacity as Chair-in-Office.

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