Victim Assistance

Last updated: 13 July 2017

The Association of Landmine Survivors and Amputees of Rwanda and other Persons with Disabilities (ALSAR) estimated there were more than 2,000 survivors in the country.[1]

Victim assistance in Rwanda is incorporated into the broader disability framework, as part of the overall plan for all persons with disabilities that guides the work of the National Council on Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), the National Programme for Mainstreaming Disability in Rwanda (2010–2019), and laws relating to the protection of persons with disabilities (civilians and former combatants) from 2007. The NCPD, established in 2010, included mine/explosive remnant of war (ERW) survivors as members.[2] Its Strategic Plan for 2013–2018 explicitly mentioned persons with disabilities as a result of landmines and includes an operational plan for its implementation.[3] Despite efforts to promote the rights of persons with disabilities, they continue to face many challenges in their daily lives, including the inaccessibility of infrastructures.[4]

As of September 2015, ALSAR reported having 30 members and welcomed others to join the organization.[5] ALSAR continues to advocate for the rights of survivors and to conduct awareness-raising campaigns and peer-support activities.[6]

Handicap International (HI) worked at a national level to support inclusive education as well as disabled people’s organizations. HI was also developing community-based rehabilitation (CBR) by providing financial and technical support to the College of Medicine and Health Sciences (CMHS) so it can provide the necessary training.[7] HI also intends to promote CBR by providing support to the General Disabled People’s Organisation of Rwanda (AGHR) and the Action for Inclusive Education Development in Rwanda (AIEDR), and through the implementation of coordination mechanism.[8]

Mine/ERW survivors are entitled to receive medical care and prosthetic devices free of charge.[9]

The National Union of Disability Organizations in Rwanda, established in September 2010, is a national umbrella organization of persons with disabilities.

The rights of persons with disabilities are protected by the National Laws Nº 01/2007 on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities in general and Nº 02/2007 on the Protection of Former War Combatants with Disabilities.[10] Landmine survivors and other persons with disabilities were still facing social exclusion, discrimination, and other issues in their everyday life.[11]

[1] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Rose Kanyamfura, Vice President, ALSAR, 30 March 2010.

[2] Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), “Norad Report 6/2012 Review: Organisational Performance Review of the Norwegian People’s Aid,” September 2011.

[3] National Council of Persons with Disabilities, “NCPD Strategic Plan and Its Operational Plan for the Implementation July 2013–June 2018,” 31 May 2013.

[4] National Council of Persons with Disabilities, “NCPD salute the effort of Rwanda government in disability movement,” 19 October 2016; and Athan Tashobya, “Persons with disabilities raise concern over inclusion,” The New Times, 8 February 2017.

[5] Eugene Kwibuka, “Local activists unite against cluster bombs,” The New Times, 31 August 2015.

[6] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Georges Wilson Rubanzana, ALSAR, 11 March 2017.

[7] Elise Cartuyvels, “Rwanda Country Card,” HI, August 2016, p. 2.

[8] Ibid., p. 4.

[9] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Georges Wilson Rubanzana, Legal Representative, ALSAR, 11 March 2017.

[11] Jean-Christophe Nsanzimana, “Rwanda: Disability Often Still Carries a Stigma,” AllAfrica, 13 January 2013, quoted in “The Month in Mines: January 2013,” Landmines in Africa, 9 February 2013; and United States Department of State, “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016: Rwanda,” Washington, DC, March 2017.