ARTICLE 19 encourages Rwandan government to use the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to make far reaching commitments to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression and information.
Rwanda is being reviewed on 4 November during the 23rd session of the UPR Working Group.
“Rwanda has made some positive progress towards implementing many recommendations that it accepted during its first UPR to advance protections for the right to freedom of expression and information. This includes progress in reforming media laws and moving towards a system of media self-regulation. However, more needs to be done,” said Henry Maina, Regional Director, Eastern Africa.
ARTICLE 19 calls upon the UN Member States to put forward clear and strong recommendations to the Government of Rwanda to:
- Give full support to the principle of press self-regulation, and cease interfering with the work of Rwanda Media Commission
- Reform the Penal Code in line with international standards on freedom of expression, including by revising national security provisions, and repealing criminal defamation, libel, insult, and offences that protect the honour of the State and its officials;
- Ensure the revised “genocide ideology” law is not manipulated or interpreted in a manner that restricts the responsible exercise of the freedom of opinion, expression or association, interpreting the offence in line with Articles 19 and 20(2) of the ICCPR and the Genocide Convention of 1948;
- Undertake measures to protect journalists from harassment and attack, and ensure independent and credible investigations and prosecutions into such cases where they do occur;
- Ensure the full and effective implementation of the Access to Information law, including by enhancing information collection and management by authorities, addressing the culture of secrecy and fear of reprisals for information disclosures, and undertaking extensive national public education.