Rwanda has adopted two National Action Plans (NAPs) to date, in 2009 and 2018, to be implemented for the period of 2009-2012 and 2018-2022, respectively.
Rwanda’s second NAP builds on an evaluation of and lessons learned from the implementation of the previous 2009-2012 NAP in Rwanda. This previous NAP provided a post-conflict framework to the country for women’s participation in peace and security processes and the fight against sexual and gender-based violence. The second NAP takes a close look at the incremental gains achieved as a result of concerted efforts to implement UNSCR 1325 and the WPS agenda in Rwanda as well as challenges that continue to face the country in addressing women’s meaningful participation in all facets of life, the occurrence of sexual and gender based violence, and access to resources.
Rwanda’s history is marked by the 1994 civil war that resulted in a genocide where an estimated 800,000-1 million people, mostly the Tutsi minority, were killed by the majority Hutus. The war had a distinct gendered impact on women, as rape was systematically used as a weapon of war. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was established in 1994 to prosecute the perpetrators of the genocide, and for the first time in international law, the court recognized sexual violence as a component of genocide.
The Rwandan government placed particular emphasis on post-conflict reconstruction in the aftermath of the war, with women playing a key role in recovery efforts. This concerted effort resulted in a constitution that implemented a mandatory 30% quota for women in elected positions. Today, Rwanda is a world leader in women’s political representation, with women holding over 60% of positions in the lower house. Despite this promising number, systemic barriers still exist to women’s equal rights in daily life.
In 2018, Rwanda spent $119 million on military expenses. Rwanda has been a member of the UN since 1962 and is among the top contributors to UN Peacekeeping Operations, with a total of 6,520 personnel serving in missions as of July 2019. Rwanda signed the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which regulates the flow of weapons across international borders.
Update: In its national report for Beijing+25, Rwanda reported that women represent 44.3% of community mediators and 48% of the access to Justice Bureaus. They also reported on women’s involvement in disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration processes, including through grassroots cooperatives of women ex-combatants (pg 46). They reported, however, that further work is needed to integrate women more fully into peace processes.