Saturday, September 26, 2015

Rwanda's Clean Image Due to Forced Labor of the Poor

Source: Human Rights Watch

The Human Rights Watch recently released a report on Rwanda, detailing the treatment of the poor in its capital, Kigali. Since 2011, Rwandan officials have been detaining sex workers, beggars, and the poorest, more vulnerable people living near Kigali. The detainees have been forced to clean up the capital without payment, and have been kept confined in horrendous living conditions in a place called Gikondo. The detainees are also cruelly punished and endure beatings and other forms of humiliation. 

Evidently, there is a lot of power corruption here. The clean image of Kigali is kept up literally off of the blood and toil of the poor. Rwanda's government is unjustly abusing the rights of the poor to portray a good image. Rwanda, however, is playing it off as rehabilitation and assistance to the poor. 

On the Human Rights Watch page, they say a lot of "shoulds" regarding action. Yes, Rwanda should investigate the misconduct of the police supervising Gikondo, as well as the abuse of human rights on  Rwanda's part. I am not sure if this means that the Humans Rights Watch will take action... 

Anyways, I would like to pose a few questions and considerations. Since the Rwandan genocide (which I'm sure the after effects are still reverberating today), the President, Paul Kagame, has greatly improved Rwanda's economy. However, I'm wondering if this is spun, because the lives of the poor don't seem to be all that great. What do you think should be done? What are your thoughts? And universally, how can we protect the poor and the marginalized from those who abuse their powers?

Sources:


4 comments:

Elliot Quan said...

If it's happening at Gikondo, it likely is happening elsewhere as well. I believe it's clear that such cases of abuse should not be happening at all; as such, pressure should be put on Kagame's government to correct such cases of abuse. While it's not right to intervene and dictate the country's policy, it is not unreasonable for instances of abuse to be called out by members of the international community. It would also be helpful to the cause if instances of abuse were confirmed by other groups as well.

Adjon Tahiraj said...

I don't think that anything can be done about this until a new president comes to power. Obviously the current president does not really care that this is happening, he might even be encouraging it. I think the only way to help the people is if someone who cares for all levels of society gets into power. One problem with this is that in Rwanda the president is elected every 7 years, so the people get to voice their opinions less often. And it is hard to find a a person that meets those qualities.

As to protecting the poor, I believe that the UN and other nations should be able to intervene in countries that things like this happen. I don't think that anyone should have to go through a life like this just because they are born in that country. Everyone has certain inalienable rights and in this case those rights are being violated, Just because they are born in a country with corruption where the leader doesn't care about the poorest, doesn't mean that outside nations shouldn't help these people due to political reasons.

Horace He said...

I disagree with Elliot in that "it's not right to intervene and dictate the country's policy". If a country does have widespread abuse going on, the UN should definitely intervene and attempt to prevent such abuse. This isn't particularly a case of rogue groups causing these human rights violations, it's the government.

However, in the end, Rwanda must be willing to stop such corruption by themselves. There's only so much effort the UN is willing to/can put in.

Monica Mai said...

Elliot, I agree that there should be another source to confirm this abuse of human rights. Right now, it is only the Human Rights Watch. Perhaps another IGO or the UN should investigate. It isn't right for another country to dictate another country, but I think that the rest of the world shouldn't stand idly and watch on as the rights of other humans are being abused. So, some amount of intervention after thorough investigation is definitely reasonable.