KIGALI, (CAJ News) – THE rights of children have been violated as Rwandan authorities are rounding up poor people and arbitrarily detaining them in transit centres across the country, rights groups reported.
The conditions in these centres where homeless people, street vendors, street children, have been reportedly kept are harsh and inhuman while beatings are commonplace.
Human Rights Watch reported the detainees have inadequate food, water, and health care, suffer frequent beatings and rarely leave their overcrowded rooms.
The organization said children as young as ten in a centre in Muhanga, were detained in the same building as adults.
In Mbazi, they were held in a separate building with slightly better conditions than the adults, but lacked proper hygiene and access to education.
Several former detainees from Mudende and Gikondo said they had also seen children in these centers, ranging from infants held with their mothers to children up to about 18 while some former detainees said children were beaten in Gikondo and Muhanga.
Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch said government should close the unofficial detention centres and instead provide voluntary vocational training, help, and protection for vulnerable people.
– CAJ News