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The ICRC in Rwanda

04-04-2014 Overview

The ICRC has maintained a permanent presence in Rwanda since 1990. It works with the national authorities to improve conditions for those held in detention, promotes greater understanding of international humanitarian law (IHL), including its incorporation into domestic legislation, works with the Rwandan Red Cross to reunite children with their families and restore family links, and assists the National Society in strengthening and developing its humanitarian response capacity.

Visiting detainees

The ICRC works with detention authorities to improve the conditions of detention and treatment of detainees, in accordance with internationally recognized standards. It visits over 57,000 detainees held throughout the country in central prisons, police stations and military camps, sharing its findings and recommendations with the respective authorities through confidential oral and written reports. Among those visited regularly are detainees transferred to Rwanda by the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), as well as former weapon bearers in Rwandan Demobilization and Reintegration Commission camps.
In addition, the ICRC continues to assist the Rwandan authorities in improving living conditions for detainees by providing technical and material support to the Rwanda Correctional Service. Under a cost-sharing agreement, a variety of initiatives are undertaken to boost the nutritional status, health and hygiene of inmates.

Restoring family links

In cooperation with the National Red Cross Society, the ICRC continues to assist children separated from their families by conflict and/or natural disasters. This involves locating their relatives, reuniting them with their families when appropriate, and supporting their reintegration into family and community life. The ICRC also helps to restore contacts between family members who have been separated, including former weapon bearers, illegal immigrants and minors in detention.

Promoting international humanitarian law

The ICRC helps  to raise awareness and understanding of IHL, in particular within Rwandan political, military, police and academic circles, as well as working with the Rwandan authorities to incorporate IHL into domestic legislation.

Cooperation with the Rwandan Red Cross

ICRC assistance provided to the Rwandan Red Cross includes the training of instructors and local disaster response teams in first aid ¬– in so doing also helping the National Society in its aim to expand free first-aid services throughout the country.