from PHYLLIS BIRORI in Kigali, Rwanda
KIGALI, (CAJ News) – RWANDA has come under international criticism over the abuse of street children held in detention.
Most recently, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child urged the east African country to end the violations that include beatings.
The Geneva-based treaty body called for a halt to the arbitrary detention of the children in transit centres.
There are 28 transit centers across the country (Rwanda).
In those centres introduced in 2017, people rounded up in the streets for such conduct as prostitution, drug use, begging, vagrancy or informal street vending can be held for up to two months.
Children are detained at the center in Gkondo in the capital, Kigali.
Some children have reportedly been held for six months.
Human Rights Watch believes the UN committee’s recommendations to Rwanda to take concrete steps to prevent the arbitrary detention and ill-treatment of children are important to stop further abuse against some of the most vulnerable local children.
“Rwanda should not only take these recommendations seriously and take action immediately, but it should also close down the abusive transit centers,” Lewis Mudge, HRW Central Africa director
The National Commission for Children and the National Commission for Human Rights have also denounced the transit centres.
The Rwandan government of President Paul Kagame has denied that the detention of street children in transit centres is arbitrary.
Government also claimed that children in centers were either placed with a family or transferred to a rehabilitation center within 72 hours.
– CAJ News