Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

Rwanda: Proposal to Amend Refugee Law

(June 12, 2013) The Government of Rwanda recently proposed legislation aimed at amending the country’s refugee law, Law No. 34/2001 of July 5, 2001 [in French] (REFWORLD) and its amendment, Law No. 29/2006 of July 20, 2006, (REFWORLD). (James Karuhanga, Government Reviews Refugee Law, THE NEW TIMES (June 10, 2013).) If adopted, the legislation will accord refugees in Rwanda additional key protections. (Id.)

A notable provision in the proposed legislation would protect refugees from expulsion to a jurisdiction where their lives would be in danger; this is also known as the principle of non-refoulement. (Id.) The provision specifically states: “no refugee shall be expelled or returned in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of the territories where their life or freedom would be threatened on account of race, religion, nationality, membership of à [sic] particular social group or political opinion.” (Id.)

Another notable provision seeks to shield refugees from any penalty for illegal entry into or presence in Rwanda. (Id.)

Rwanda is currently hosting over 57,600 refugees, the majority of whom are from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in four camps: Gihembe, Kiziba, Nyabieke, and Kigame. (2013 UNHCR Country Operations Profile – Rwanda Working Environment, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees website (last visited June 10, 2013).)