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 Editions Sources du Nil  : Livres sur le Rwanda, Burundi, RDCongo

Plus de 600 enfants dans les geôles du Rwanda

28 Juillet 2009 , Rédigé par Editions Sources du Nil Publié dans #Justice et Droits de l'homme

Kigali: All the 618 minors locked up in Rwandan jails are scheduled to face court to have their cases settled this week, the UN children’s’ agency UNICEF said Monday.

The children who are accused for crimes ranging from “murder, rape, drugs consumption/trafficking, assault, money forgery, etc” - will all be judged during these five days, according to Mr. Francois Mugabo, UNICEF’s Child Protection specialist.  

Figure from an assessment of the situation of children in prison done by local campaign group AJPRODHO early this year (Jan-Feb 09), show that there were 607 children in prisons aged between 14 and 17 years old. Boys were 490 (81%) against 117 girls (19).

About 50% of them weren't yet judged, said Mr. Mugabo.

During this Legal Aid week, courts, parquets, the national police, the Bar Association and the Legal Aid Forum will work with prison officers to clear the backlog of children’s cases around the country. They will also conduct a survey of minors and conditions in prisons as well as provide information briefings to targeted rural areas.

For UNICEF Representative in Rwanda, Dr. Joseph Foumbi: “These children have been in prison without trial and I would like to congratulate the Government of Rwanda for inaugurating a week to ensure that the rights of these children are met.”

“When the Government of Rwanda decides to do something, they go all the way and we continue to be impressed with your diligence and dedication,” he added.

The child specialist Mr. Mugabo said the “main cause of this big number of minors in prisons has been the lack of a sound and well coordinated legal aid service to vulnerable people including children”.  

As per the current situation, minors are detained with adults in the same facilities. A separate prison for children is being put up in Nyagatare district (Eastern Province) but it is receiving only those children already sentenced.

“We are advocating with GoR (government of Rwanda) to create alternative detention systems for minors”, said Ms. Misbah M. Sheikh, UNICEF’s head of Communication and External Relations.

Source: ARI/RNA

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