База данных по гендерной проблематике и правам на землю


Права, закрепленные в Конституции

The Constitution, adopted in May 2003 was last amended in 2010

Article 9 on fundamental principles:

  • 4° building a state governed by the rule of law, a pluralistic democratic government, equality of all Rwandans and between women and men reflected by ensuring that women are granted at least 30 percent of posts in decision making organs. The State of Rwanda commits itself to conform and to promote and enforce the set of fundamental principles.

Article 11:

  • All Rwandans are born and remain free and equal in rights and duties.
  • Discrimination of whatever kind based on, inter alia, ethnic origin, tribe, clan, colour, sex, region, social origin, religion or faith, opinion, economic status, culture, language, social status, physical or mental disability or any other form of discrimination is prohibited and punishable by law.

Article 16:

  • All human beings are equal before the law. They shall enjoy, without any discrimination, equal protection of the law. 

Article 26:

  • Only civil monogamous marriage between a man and a woman is recognised.
  • No person may be married without his or her free consent.
  • Parties to a marriage have equal rights and duties upon and during the subsistence of a marriage and at the time of divorce.

Article 29:

  • Every person has a right to private property, whether personal or owned in association with others.
  • Private property, whether individually or collectively owned, is inviolable.
  • The right to property may not be interfered with except in public interest, in circumstances and procedures determined by law and subject to fair and prior compensation.

Article 30:

  • Private ownership of land and other rights related to land are granted by the State.
  • The law specifies the modalities of acquisition, transfer and use of land.

Article 76:

  • The Chamber of deputies shall be composed of 80 members including 24 women with two from each Province and the City of Kigali. These shall be elected by a joint assembly composed of members of the respective District, Municipality, Town or Kigali City Councils and members of the Executive Committees of women’s organizations at the Province, Kigali City, District, Municipalities, Towns and Sector levels;

Article 82:

  • The Senate shall be composed of 26 members serving for a term of 8 and at least 30 percent of whom are women.

Article 178:

  • Sets up the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission

Article 185:

Establishes a Gender Monitoring Office:

  • to monitor and supervise on a permanent basis compliance with gender indicators of the programme for ensuring gender equality and complementarity in the context of the vision of sustainable development and to serve as a reference point on matters relating to gender equality and non-discrimination for equal opportunity and fairness;
  • to submit to various organs recommendations relating to the program for the promotion of gender equality and complementarity for national development.
  • The gender Monitoring Office shall submit each year its program and activity report to the Cabinet and submits copies thereof to other State organs determined by law.

Article 187:

  • Establishes a National Council of Women

Article 190:

  • Upon their publication in the official gazette, international treaties and agreements which have been conclusively adopted in accordance with the provisions of law shall be more binding than organic laws and ordinary laws except in the case of non-compliance by one of the parties.

Article 201:

  • Unwritten customary law remains applicable as long as it has not been replaced by written laws, is not inconsistent with the Constitution, laws and regulations, and does not violate human rights, prejudice public order or offend public decency and morals.

Права собственности и пользования женщин, закрепленные в Гражданском кодексе, Трудовом кодексе и Семейном кодексе

  • The Law No. 22/1999 of 12/11/1999 to supplement book one of the civil code and to institute part five regarding matrimonial regimes, liberalities and successions  - It governs marital property and inheritance rights an only recognizes martial property rights arising out of civil marriages; consensual unions and polygamous marriages are not recognized. 
  • Couples in registered marriages can elect one of three marital property regimes: (1) a community property regime in which property is held jointly; (2) a limited community of acquests in which the couple designates property acquired during marriage as either community or separate property; or (3) a separate property regime. 
  • Article 2:
    Upon entering marriage spouses shall choose one of the following matrimonial regimes:  
    - community of property;
    - limited community of acquests;
    - separation of property. 
  • In case no provision is made, the spouses shall be deemed to be married under the regime of community of property.  
  • Article 17: The management of the patrimony shall include powers to administer, to enjoy and to dispose, subject to exceptions provided by law. 
  • In case of marriage under the regime of community of property of that of limited community of acquests, the spouses shall choose who, among themselves, shall be responsible of the management of the common patrimony, they are also equally entitled to monitor, to represent. 
  • Each spouse shall administer the patrimony and properties put to his or her personal use. 
  • Article 21: Whatever be the matrimonial regime chosen and the management modalities of the patrimony of the spouses, the agreement of both spouses shall be required for the donation of an immovable property and of any other property in the community, as well as for the acknowledgement of any right attached to these properties.
  • Article 22: When one of the spouses is involved in a transaction which requires the consent of the other spouse, he or she shall obtain this consent at the time of ratification of this transaction or within six months thereafter. 
  • A Bill governing persons and family is pending adoption:
  • Article 159: Recognises cohabitation 
  • A cohabiting union grants the couple equal rights to the children born into their union and to the property acquired together.
  • However, in case of death of one of those who continue to engage in a cohabiting union, his/her property shall be subject to succession in accordance with laws governing succession. But the current law on succession, 1999 makes no reference to cohabitation and the new pending Bill on matrimonial regimes and succession does not address the issue. 
  • Article 160: Conversion of polygamous cohabitation into civil marriage 
  • When a man has been cohabiting with many women and he decides to legalise the marriage, he does it according to the principles governing monogamous marriage. In such a case the man is free to choose the woman with whom to celebrate the civil marriage. 
  • If a man had acquired property with his other wives, and if they have children from that cohabitation, the man is entitled to a quarter (¼) of the common property. 
  • If they had no child together, that acquired property must be shared equitably between the husband and each of the women.  
  • Article 161: Recognition of customary or religious marriage celebrated abroad 
  • Customary or religious marriage legally celebrated abroad is recognised in Rwanda if it is not contrary to public order and good morals. 
  •  For such a marriage to come into effect in Rwanda, it shall be recorded by the Rwandan civil status registrar in the marriage register. […]
  • However, any polyandry and polygamy cannot be recognised in Rwanda even if it has been celebrated abroad.
  • Article 162: Marriageable age 
  • A boy and a girl cannot enter into a marriage contract before attaining the age of twenty one.
  • Article 198: Administration of the household 
  • Spouses conjointly assure the moral and material support and management of the household. 
  • One spouse may assume those duties alone, if the other is in a state that cannot permit him/her to do it after approval by competent authorities. 
  • Article 199: Contribution to expenses of the household 
  • Each of the spouses contributes to the household expenses in accordance with his/her capacity.
  • The Law No. 47/2001 of 18/12/2001 instituting punishment for offences of discrimination and bigotry 
  • Article 1:
  • 1° Discrimination is any speech, writing, or actions based on ethnicity, region or country of origin, the colour of the skin, physical features, sex, language, religion or ideas aimed at depriving a person or group of persons of their rights as provided by Rwandan law and by International Conventions to which Rwanda is party 
  • Article 3: 
  • The crime of discrimination occurs when the author makes use of any speech, written statement or action based on ethnicity, region or country of origin, colour of the skin, physical features, sex, language, religion or ideas with the aim of denying one or a group of persons their human rights provided by Rwandan law and International Conventions to which Rwanda is party.  
  • Article 5: Any person guilty of the crime of discrimination or sectarianism mentioned in article 3 of this law, is sentenced to between three months and two years of imprisonment and fined between fifty thousand (50,000) to three hundred thousand (300,000) Rwandan Francs or only one of these sanctions. 
  • When the offender of the crime of discrimination or sectarianism is a government official, a former government official, a political party official, an official in the private sector, or an official in non-governmental organisation, he/she is sentenced to between one year and five years of imprisonment and fined between five hundred thousand (500.000) to two million (2.000.000) Rwandan Francs or one of those two sanctions. 
  • Citizenship
    Up until 2003, the legislation in place prevented women from conveying their nationality to their children, if the father was an alien. Consequently, a child in these circumstances had no right to the nationality of its mother, except through naturalization (7).
  • The Law No. 30/2003 of 29/08/2003 amending and complementing Decree-law No. 01/81 of 16/01/1981 relating to the census and identity cards recognises the right of a woman to record the child on her identity card, a right that, prior to this law, was exclusively reserved to the father of the child (7).
  • The Organic Law No. 29/2004 of 03/12/2004 amending the Law of 28 September 1963 establishing Rwandan nationality Code 
  • Grants men and women equal rights to transfer their nationality
  • Article 4: Any child whose one of his or her parents is a Rwandan, is a Rwandan.
  • Articles 4 and 5: Men and women apply for identification documents under the same conditions.
  • Article 9: A foreigner or stateless person married to a Rwandan after two (2) years from the date of civil marriage celebration, can acquire the Rwandan nationality upon his or her request made before the Registrar of civil status in accordance with procedure determined by the order of the Minister having civil status in his or her attributions and should have continued to stay together with his or her spouse until the day of his or her request.
  • This however changed to three  (3) years with the adoption of Organic Law No. 30/2008 of 25/07/2008 relating to Rwandan Nationality:
  • Article 11: Any foreigner or stateless person married to a Rwandan may acquire Rwandan nationality after three (3) years from the date of marriage upon application to the Director General and provided that he/she has continued living with his/her spouse until the date of the application. Modalities for application and acquisition are determined by a Presidential Order. Marriage however cannot guarantee Rwandan nationality if it has not been registered in a Rwandan Registry of civil status. 
  • Labour
    The Law No. 51/2001 of 30/12/2001 establishing the Labour Code 
  • Article 11: It is prohibited to hire for labour a child under the age of sixteen. However, where the child has reached the age of fourteen, to respect the provisions of articles 64, 65, 66 and 67 of this law, he/she may be hired with special authorisation from anyone who has parental authority on him/her.
  • Article 84: For equal working conditions, professional qualification and cost effectiveness, the salary is equal for all employees regulated by this law whatever be their origin, sex or age.
  • Articles 67 – 70: right to paid maternity leave without loss of job

Наследование/ правовые механизмы

The Law No. 22/1999 of 12/11/1999 to supplement book one of the civil code and to institute part five regarding matrimonial regimes, liberalities and successions:

  • Article 50: All legitimate children of the de cujus (the deceased whose succession is open), in accordance with civil laws, inherit in equal parts without any discrimination between male and female children.
  • Article 70: Succession of spouses married under the regime of community of property shall be carried out as follows:

    - In case of death of one of the spouses, the surviving spouse shall ensure the administration of the entire patrimony while assuming the duties of raising the children and assistance to the needy parents of the de cujus;

    - When both spouses die leaving children behind, the latter shall succeed to the entire patrimony, but must also assist their grand-fathers and grand- mothers. When the children are not blood- related, the patrimony shall be divided in two, and each child shall succeed to the part of his or her respective parent

    - When the spouses die without leaving a child behind, the patrimony shall be divided in two, one half being allocated to the successors of the husband, the other being allocated to the successors of the wife
  • Article 75: The surviving spouse remains the usufructuary of the conjugal house as well as of the movable furniture where they are the only property in the succession or are part of the inheritance property.
    - In the event of remarriage of the surviving spouse, the Council of Succession can, in the interest of the children, allow him or her to remain the usufructuary of the same patrimony. 
  • Article 77: In principle, the partition of the property in the succession shall be made in kind.
    - However, where it is impossible to establish equal shares in kind, the council of succession determines the compensation to be given by the heirs who" receive a share greater than, their legal or testamentary share of the succession, for the benefit of the heirs who received a smaller share.

Pending Bill

Bill regarding matrimonial regimes, family donations and successions:

  • Article 45: Equal treatment of children in succession
    - All children of the de cujus, as defined by the Civil Code, shall inherit in equal parts without any discrimination between male and female children.

- Supresses the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate children in succession

  • Article 69: Order of irregular heirs
    - The surviving spouse succeeds together with the heirs of the second level. In the absence of heirs at the second level, s/he succeeds together with heirs of the third level, and so forth. In the absence of any other legal heirs, s/he succeeds to the whole patrimony of the de cujus.

Notwithstanding the matrimonial regime, the surviving spouse shall inherit half of the property of the deceased, and the other half goes to the other successors.

  • Article 88: Manner of partition of property

    - In principle, the partition of the property during liquidation shall be made in-kind. The value of the property is determined at the moment of partition.

    - However, where it is impossible to establish equal shares in-kind, the liquidator determines the compensation to be given by the heirs who receive more than their share to those who receive less.

    - If the heirs disagree on the value of the property in the estate or the payment of compensation, they shall make a request to the competent court to determine the value.

    - When it is impossible to clearly partition property, the interested parties may decide to sell it and share its value. In such a case, heirs have the right to purchase such property before anyone else.
  • Article 89: the rights to the family house are conditional upon the surviving spouse having had children with the deceased and this right is lost upon remarriage. If the surviving spouse had no children with the deceased, he or she can claim the family house but it is not automatic.

    - “Notwithstanding the matrimonial regime, if the surviving spouse had children with the deceased but did not acquire the family house and its furnishings in his/her share of the property, s/he shall stay in the house until s/he dies.However, s/he may agree with the other heirs to live at another appropriate residence, at their expense.

    - If the surviving spouse remarries, s/he loses the right to use the family house to the benefit of the person who held bare ownership rights. However, in the interests of the surviving spouse or children, the Succession Council may allow him/her to continue staying in the house.

    - If the surviving spouse did not have children with the deceased, s/he has the right to claim the family house to the exclusion of the other heirs. If the value of the family house and its furnishings exceed his/her succession share, s/he may keep the house, but must compensate the other heirs.”

Законодательство о земле

Organic Law No. 08/2005 of 14/07/2005 determining the use and management of land in Rwanda

  • Article 3: Land is part of the public domain of all Rwandans; ancestors, present and future generations.

With exceptions of the rights given to people, the state has supreme powers to manage all the national land, and this is done in public interest aimed at sustainable, economic development and social welfare, in accordance with procedures provided for by law.

In that regard, it is the state that guarantees the right to own and use the land. The state also has rights to expropriation due to public interest, settlement and general land management through procedures provided by law and prior to appropriate compensation.

  • Article 4: Any person or association with legal personality has the right over the land and to freely exploit it as provided by the organic law. Any discrimination either based on sex or origin in matters relating to ownership or possession of rights over the land is prohibited. The wife and the husband have equal rights over land.
  • Article 7: The organic law protects equally the rights over the land acquired from custom and the rights acquired from written law.

With regard to laws, owners of land acquired from custom are all persons who inherited the land from their parents, those who acquired it from competent authorities or those who acquired it through any other means recognized by national custom whether purchase, gift, exchange and sharing.

  • Article 11: Individual land is composed of the land acquired through custom, written law which excludes public land or district, town, municipality and the City of Kigali land, the one acquired from competent authorities, purchased land, gift, and exchange and sharing.
  • Article 20: […] it is prohibited to reduce the parcel of land reserved for agriculture of one or less than a hectare. Similarly, the land between one hectare and five hectares may be reduced if the land commission at the level of jurisdiction where the land is found authorizes the owner of the land
  • Article 30: Registration of land a person owns is obligatory. 
  • Article 31: establishes a land bureau at the level of every district, town or municipality responsible for registration of land. […]

The Land Officer shall keep land registers and issues certificates approving ownership of land.

  • Article 35: Final transfer of rights on land like sale, donation or exchange by a representative of the family requires the prior consent of all other members of the family who are joint owners of such rights.
  • Article 55: The landowner has no right over minerals and any other wealth underground; they belong to the State. However, he or she is allowed before others to enjoy rights of their exploitation upon his or her request and if he or she is capable.
  • Article 62: Obligation to use the land in a productive way

Any person who owns land must use it in a productive way and in accordance with its nature and intended purpose.

The use of land in a productive way is to protect it from erosion, safeguard its fertility and ensuring its production in a sustainable way.

Any person who uses another person’s land, either basing on the contract he or she entered into with the owner of the land or whether he or she acquired it through legal procedures is required to properly maintain it and use it in a productive manner.

  • Article 73: Monitoring

The district, municipality and town land commission shall always monitor that individual and leased district land in the district, municipality and town is well managed and productively exploited. Every year, the commission shall make a report on the monitoring and submits it to the mayor of the district and other officials with powers to donate or lease state private owned land.

Those officials may impose sanctions provided for in this chapter of this organic law against the landlord or any other person allowed to lease the land who fails to respect the obligation of efficiently conserve the land and productively exploit it

Ministerial Order No. 009/16.01 of 23/08/2011 determining the procedure to obtain a freehold land title

  • Article 5: Application for a Certificate of registration of a freehold land title shall be made to the Registrar or Deputy Registrar.
  • Article 9: The Registrar and the Deputy Registrars, according to their respective competences, are the only ones with power to issue freehold land title.

Law No. 18/2007 of 19/04/2007 relating to expropriation in the public interest

  • Article 2: defines expropriation as the taking of private property in the public interest aimed at development, social welfare, security and the territorial integrity and just compensation as an indemnity equivalent to the value of land and the activities performed thereon given to the expropriated person and calculated in consideration of market prices.
  • Article 5: Acts of public interest include (inter alia) valuable minerals and other natural resources in the public domain
  • Article 6: excludes expropriation for private purposes but introduces an exception “if it is clear that such individual activities are of public interest and the nation at large” in which case “they shall be considered as being in public interest, but the owners of the activities shall be liable for payment of charges for inventory of assets and of just compensation of the person to be expropriated”
  • Article 18: The person who owns land intended for public interest shall provide evidence to confirm that he or she possesses rights on that land and presents a certificate of acknowledgement of the members of his or her family.

Among the evidence to confirm ownership of the land, there shall be included:

  • written evidence indicating that he or she purchased the land, received it as a donation or as a legacy or a successor;
  • a document or a statement of local administrative entities, indicating rights of the expropriated person on the land;
  • a document or testimony of the neighbours confirming the ownership of the land;
  • a Court certificate.

The person who owns land intended for public interest shall also indicate a certificate of his or her spouse if legally married in accordance with community of property or limited community of acquests.

Law No. 43/2013 of 16/06/2013 governing land in Rwanda

  • Article 4: Equal right to land

All forms of discrimination, such as that based on sex or origin, in relation to access to land and the enjoyment of real rights shall be prohibited.

The right to land for a man and a woman lawfully married shall depend on the matrimonial regime they opted for.

  • Article 10: Individual land

Private individual land shall comprise land acquired through custom or written law.

That land has been granted definitely by competent authorities or acquired by purchase, donation, inheritance, succession, ascending sharing, and exchange or through sharing. […]

  • Article 20: Obligation to register land

Registration of land is obligatory for that land owner.

  • Article 21: Prior consent to transfer of land

Any transaction on land rights made by a family representative requires the consent of all the registered right holders on the land title. Persons not legally qualified to represent their own interests shall be represented by a person authorized to do so under the law. […]

  • Article 39: Obligation of exploiting a land in a productive way

Any person owning land shall exploit it in a productive way and in accordance with its nature and intended use.[…]

Меры в области политики/правовые механизмы, реализующие или препятствующие реализации земельных прав женщин

Vision 2020

  • This is a comprehensive long-term development programme, based on the principles of good governance and decentralisation of decision-making in order to achieve sustainable development, where every citizen plays an active role and is able to enjoy the benefits from it.
  • The pillars of the programme are good governance, democracy, national reconciliation, political stability and national security, participation in decision-making and the development process, and a fully inclusive economic system in which people participate effectively (7).

The Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (www.migeprof.gov.rw)

- It used to be the Ministry of Gender and Promotion of Women

- In March 2001, the Ministry's mandates were defined as follows:


  • To develop policies and programmes to overcome existing disparities in the socioeconomic status of men and women, to ensure equal facilities and opportunities to compete;
  • To develop policies and programmes to accelerate women's participation in economic development, with particular emphasis on education and their productive capacities;
  • To co-operate in implementing programmes for women's self-determination. (7)


- It organises training sessions in gender and development, targeted at members of the National Transition Assembly, radio and TV journalists, government officials, members of civil society, and the senior officials of ministries and commissions. (7) 

The Ministry works with the Ministry of Justice and Institutional Relations to identify any legal provisions that discriminate against women and need to be revised. It has contributed to the drafting of other legislation that has been adopted to protect the rights of women and children, including the Constitution of 2003 and the Law No. 22/1999 of 12/11/1999 on matrimonial regimes, liberalities and successions. (7)

The Ministry has prepared a national gender policy document that the government adopted as part of its Vision 2020 programme, and a five-year action plan to promote gender equality, with the emphasis on mainstreaming gender considerations in combating poverty and in the decentralisation policy. It has also conducted a survey of social and cultural beliefs, attitudes and practices relating to gender, and has carried out research on the impact of gender on the decentralisation policy. In cooperation with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, it also conducted a survey on the profile of women, which yielded gender-disaggregated data for various sectors of activity. (7)

The National Women’s Council


  • Set out in Law No. 27/2003 of 18/08/2003 determining the organization, attributions and functions of the National Women's Council
  • It was instituted to ensure coordinated action in gathering the views of Rwandan women, strengthening their capacities, enhancing their representation in the governance of the country, and supporting their struggle for equality and complementarity with men. This amounted in fact to formal, legal confirmation of the women's organizations that had been operational since 1996, right down to the grassroots level of government.


The National Gender Policy, 2010 (http://www.rcsprwanda.org/spip.php?article127)

The policy targets 10 key areas of intervention (16):

- Poverty reduction.
- Agriculture and food security.
- Health.
- Education and vocational training.
- Governance and decision making.
- Human rights and gender-based violence.
- Peace and reconciliation.
- New information and communication technologies.
- Protection of the environment.

More specifically, the NGP sets out a number of objectives that include inter alia:


  • Preparing the national poverty reduction policy, taking into account the constraints, options, motivations and needs of women, men, girls and boys, and ensuring that everyone has equal access to and control over economic opportunities such as employment and credit.
  • Integrating the gender dimension into legislation governing land ownership and into agricultural policies and programmes, while ensuring that all citizens—men, women, girls and boys—have equal access to and control over their property, seeds, fertilizers, markets and modern farming techniques that will contribute to food security.
  • Ensuring equitable representation and effective participation by women, men, girls and boys in decision-making at all levels, and promoting affirmative action to increase women's representation in decision-making bodies.


The Ministry Of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) (www.minagri.gov.rw)

The Agriculture Gender Strategy, 2010

The purpose of this gender strategy is to provide guidance to the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI), its agencies and development partners to be gender sensitive in their programming and interventions to transform the agriculture sector.

It identifies the challenges to achieving gender equity and equality in the agriculture sector and sets out specific measures to address them (15).

The policy has 5 strategic objectives:


  • Objective 1: To institutionalise gender equality in the agriculture sector
  • Objective 2: To develop capacities in the agriculture sector to enable gender sensitive programming
  • Objective 3: To enhance the gender responsiveness in delivery of agricultural services
  • (Crop intensification, livestock, Value chain development, Access to commodity markets, Access to extension services such as training and technologies)
  • Objective 4: To promote equal participation in decision making processes
  • Objective 5: To develop and coordinate partnerships and collaborative mechanisms amongst government institutions, CSOs, private sector and development partners and integrate appropriate actions to respond to practical and strategic gender needs in the agriculture sector


Importantly, the Policy devotes an entire section on implementation and lists the key element for achieving gender equality:

  • Commitment at ministerial level and advocacy for gender equity and equality by the leaders. Support from the highest-level leaders for specific objectives on gender equality and efforts made to achieve these objectives are the most important condition;
  • There is need for all stakeholders to have a shared understanding of gender issues in the agriculture sector;
  • Appropriate resources – both human and financial (including domestic and international financial assistance) – are required for capacity building;
  • Policies and programs in the sector should be formulated on the basis of separate data for men and women. Reporting systems should be based on analysis and reports using gender disaggregated indicators;
  • Concrete plans should be developed to train and prepare female personnel for decision making positions;
  • Accountability mechanisms at all levels. Efforts should be focussed on measuring the impact of strategies and development programs on both men and women. Frequent dissemination of findings is necessary in order to improve measures aimed at increasing gender equality at the highest levels;
  • Internal systems and procedures (internal gender audit, mainstreaming tools, generation and use of gender statistics);
  • Gender steering committee – to coordinate activities and monitor progress

The Ministry of Natural Resources (MINIRENA) (www.minirena.gov.rw)

The National Land Policy, 2004 sought to create a new equitable legal framework and institutional structure, altering the land ownership system and reducing ownership and land usage concentration. Rwanda’s policy reform agenda was designed to increase security of tenure for the most marginalised in society, including but not limited to female orphans and widows. Implementation of land legislation has been a priority for the government, which sees tenure security and access to land as crucial preconditions for national development.

The overall objective of the policy is to establish a land tenure system that guarantees tenure security for all Rwandans and give guidance to the necessary land reforms with a view to good management and rational use of national land resources.

The policy recognised that the land tenure was unfavourable to women, and identified 11 guiding principles including:

  • Land is a common heritage for past, present and future generations.
  • According to the constitutional principle of equality of all citizens, all Rwandans enjoy the same rights of access to land without any discrimination whatsoever.
  • Land administration should guarantee land tenure security.
  • The determination of the real purpose of land and information about land are a pre-requisite to good management and rational use of land, which is the basic element of development and source of life.
  • Methods of land management and land use will differ according to whether they concern urban or rural land.
  • Existing fragile zones that are of national interest should be protected
  • Good land management should develop land use planning, including organization of human settlement and consolidation of small plots for a more economic and productive use of land.
  • Land transactions and land taxation should be included in land administration as elements of land development.
  • Cadastral plans and maps are the best method for obtaining, registering and analysing comprehensive and accurate data regarding land.
  • An appropriate cadastral system is an essential basis for really understanding the land situation of a country, and thus for planning any land reform action.
  • A well-defined legal and institutional framework is an indispensable tool for the establishment of a national land policy.

In order to guarantee environmental conservation, state-owned lands should be governed by special measures and regulations. In this regard, the following shall be classified as the state’s public lands:

  • Lakes and waterways
  • National roads and their feeder roads
  • Land with public buildings
  • Natural reserves and national parks
  • Marshlands classified as natural reserves

The following shall be classified as the state’s private land:

  • Economically viable marshlands
  • Communal land
  • Vacant land (comprising abandoned land, land recovered from religious concessions and from large-scale traditional landowners)
  • Land used by state institutions (schools, hospitals, research institutions, military entities).

The National Land Tenure Reform Programme

The National Land Policy, 2004 and the Organic Land Law, 2005 articulate the land tenure reform. The aim of the reform is to improve land tenure security, land administration, land use, management and planning and to create new institutions governing access to and ownership of land.

The National Land Tenure Reform Programme manages the process of land tenure reform, from its design, phasing, implementation, monitoring and eventual evaluation. The Programme was launched in 2005 to coincide with a technical assistance project supported by the UK Government's Department for International Development (DFID) to design a strategic road map for the implementation of land tenure reform. The project created a methodology for the formalisation of land rights and prepared a strategic roadmap for a national implementation of the Organic Land

Law, including recording and registering all land in the country (14).

The Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC) (www.minaloc.gov.rw)

MINALOC has three Directorates on Territorial Administration and Good Governance; Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation; and Community Development and Social welfare.

Decentralisation has, since 2000, been a key policy of the Government of Rwanda (GoR) for promoting good governance, service delivery, and national development.

In terms of administrative decentralisation, Local Government structures are in place and functioning with institutional systems and staffing levels that are comparable to those in Central Government. The way they deliver services with cost-efficiency is perhaps the most impressive. In every domain, including public financial management, all 30 districts can be regarded as having basic competences. However, they are not yet fully functioning as strong local governments capable of effectively initiating, planning, financing and implementing service delivery programmes and accounting for resources in a timely and accurate manner.

A major constraint remains inadequate functional linkages and collaboration between Local Governments and line Ministries/departments as well as joint planning among Local Governments and between Local and Central Government entities. Local Governments also may not be in position to feel and act as independent and autonomous on some policies and programs (12).

Among the fundamental principles of the revised Decentralisation Policy, 2012 is gender equality and social inclusiveness. The policy recognises that while progress has been made, the voices of women, the poor, and other marginalised groups must continue to be amplified through decentralisation (12).

The Ministry of Justice (MINIJUST) (www.minijust.gov.rw)

Its mission is to organise and oversee the promotion of the rule of law and justice. It is responsible for:

  • Developing, disseminating and coordinating the implementation of policies, strategies and programmes;
  • Organising and coordinating national legislation;
  • Providing legal advice and representation of the Government and its institutions;
  • Ensuring the institutional capacity development of the Justice Sector to improve their organisation and functioning.
  • Monitoring and evaluating the implementation of policies, strategies and programmes of Justice Sector and allied entities;

The National Law Reform Commission (NLRC) is governed by Law No. 44/2013 of 16/06/2013

According to Article 5, the NLRC analyses the laws of Rwanda and provides recommendations on how to improve and modernise them with the specific objective to eliminate imperfections in laws and simplify them. It also prepares draft proposals for laws that need to be adopted or modified (13).

The Rwanda Natural Resources Authority (RNRA)

It was established by Law No. 53/2010 of 25/01/2011:

  • Article 4: The RNRA is responsible for (inter alia):

1°: implementing national policies, laws, strategies, regulations and government resolutions in matters relating to the promotion and protection of natural resources

4°: registering land, issuing and keeping land authentic deeds and any other information relating to land of Rwanda;

  • Article 6: at least 30 percent of members of the Board of Directors must be females
  • Article 13: the RNRA merged three institutions: the National Land Center (NLC), the National Forestry Authority (NAFA) and the National Geology and Mines Authority (OGMA) (http://rnra.rw/index.php?id=2)

The Gender Observatory

Set up by the 2003 Constitution for ongoing monitoring and evaluation of gender indicators, from the viewpoint of sustainable development.

The National Human Rights Commission

  • Established by Law No. 04/99 of 12/03/1999 and amended by Law No. 37/2003 of 31/12/2002
  • It builds on the 1999 a National Commission on the Rights of Man (Commission Nationale des Droits de l’Homme) which was created with educational and investigative duties, and the power to refer human rights violations to the courts. The 2003 Constitution replaced the Commission with the National Human Rights Commission (Commission Nationale des Droits de la Personne) with the same responsibilities and powers as those of the previous commission. - Article 4: The Commission is particularly responsible for (inter alia):

- Sensitising and training all categories of Rwandan population as regards Human Rights;

- giving upon its own initiative or upon request its advice on bills relating to human rights;

- Sensitising the government institutions as regards ratification of International Conventions relating to human rights and making sure they are integrated in internal laws;

- Receiving and examining claims relating to human rights violation, either on its own initiative or upon request;

  • Article 7: The investigations of the Commission are unlimited in time in order to shed light on and punish within the limits of the law, past and present cases of Human Rights violations.

There is also a body responsible for co-ordination and follow-up for implementing the Beijing Declaration. (7)

The Office of the Ombudsman, instituted by the June 2003 Constitution, may accept complaints from individuals and private associations against the actions of officials and public and private agencies, in the context of preventing and combating injustice, and may submit these complaints to the courts if they are not satisfactorily resolved by the official or agency concerned.

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