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Reproductive Health Issues in Rwanda, Research Paper Example

Pages: 2

Words: 540

Research Paper

The Human Rights Watch has criticised the Government of Rwanda for the inadequacy of provisions in the reproductive health bill.  This is in particular reference to the transmission of HIV/AIDS. The concept of forced HIV screening and compulsory sterilization is seen as counterproductive to the reproductive cycle in Rwanda.  Current legal provisions were said to stigmatize women, remove their dignity and provide a platform of fear leading to coercion. The government has been seen to panic over a HIV/AIDS crisis without really thinking through a dignified set of policy changes.  (Human Rights Watch). The concept of forced sterlizationhas been condemned by Human Rights activists “In our experience on this issue, every single time a sterilization campaign has a hard target and a timetable attached to it, it inevitably involves coercion and abusive expansion, just as night follows day” (Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch).

In 2006 only 6% of the total health budget was spent on reproductive health.  This despite a HIV/AIDS crisis that has serious impacts on medicine related to reproductive health.  In 2008 this matter was addressed by a Government Select Health Committee that stated the urgent need for funding in the family planning sector.(Government of Rwanda).

The Government stated that the main cause was limited funding and the fact that it was fighting a number of other serious medical crises at the same time.  This included the serious diseases of Malaria, Tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS etc. In addition the health sector is highly dependent upon a donor funding program for its very survival.(Government of Rwanda). Despite the stated efforts by the government little progress has been made in improving the health related issues

The Human Rights Issues

A large degree of Human Rights criticism has surrounded the HIV/AIDS problem in Rwanda. In particular the level of coercion placed upon women and the stigmatism and persecution of HIV/AIDS.A survivor of the 1994 Genocide Godeliève Mukasarasi (Rwanda), Laureate has made a significant contribution in terms of highlighting the Human Rights issues in Rwanda.  This particularly concerning brutal rapes and sexual violence that resulted in the transmission of HIV/AIDS to unprotected women.  (Mukasarasi).Rwanda has been cited as breaching three aspects of international law : Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, The norms prohibiting crimes against humanity , The Genocide Convention (Woman Aid International)

In the war years it was estimated that up to half a million women were systematically raped and that the soldiers used this as a weapon of fear and coercion.  The women were subsequently stigmatised and rejected by Rwanda society.  The majority of these women are destitute and cannot afford the retroviral treatment.  The United Nations (UN) has stated that the Rwandan Government has a responsibility to place effective health policies that protect the rights of women and provide remedial treatment plans (UN Women)

Works Cited

Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch. Stand up Against Forced Sterilization in Rwanda . 14 2 2011. http://greatlakesdemocracy.blogspot.com/2011/02/stand-up-against-forced-sterilization.html. 6 11 2011.

Government of Rwanda. National Health Accounts. Government Report. Kigali: Government of Rwanda, 2006. Report.

Human Rights Watch. Rwanda: Revise Reproductive Health Bill. 1 7 2009. Website. 2 11 2011.

Mukasarasi, Godeliève. Rights and Democracy. 2004. Web Report. 3 11 2011.

UN Women. Law and Policy Reform. 2009. Website. 3 11 2011.

Woman Aid International. Rwanda: Crimes Against Humanity. 2011. http://www.womenaid.org/press/info/humanrights/rwanda%20hr.html. 6 11 2011.

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