The applicability of the principle of non-refoulement in refugee treatment in Rwanda

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Kampala International University, School of Law
The study assessed the applicability of the principle of non-refoulement in refugee treatment in Rwanda. This was guided by specific research objectives, which were thematically formulated around issues pertinent to refugee operation and rights such as: Rwanda’s legal and policy framework for dealing with refugees; standard of treatment accorded to refugees; refugee safety in post conflict Rwanda; the role of the international community in responsibility sharing in refugee operations, and better practice. To examine these issues, mainly qualitative methods were applied for data collection, presentation, analysis and interpretation. Particularly, the study employed a hermeneutic or interpretive inquiry based-on documentary review for data collection. The data collected was analyzed and presented in form of a written report using qualitative or interpretive analysis techniques such as open and axial coding processes. Accordingly, the study reveals that Rwanda’s Legal framework and policy for refugees are not enabling enough for considerate treatment of refuges in conformity with international and regional expectations. Notwithstanding some positive gestures in refugee operations, refoulement practices in the post conflict Rwanda despite increasing stable peace have become a tradition rather than an exception. Failure of the domestic legal and administrative systems to guarantee respect of international standards makes the post conflict Rwanda not safe enough for refugees and indirectly accountable for the sporadic refugee treatment practices. The contribution of the international community to refugee operation in Rwanda cannot be underrated, given its support especially through multinational organizations and institutions like the UNHCR and WFP, but there is still need for more considering the refugee situation in the Great Lakes region and Rwanda in particular. It was deduced; overall no single excuse outlives the fundamental right of a refugee to non-refoulement. Rwanda, UNHCR and the international community at large have a crystal-clear responsibility to ensure that under no circumstances should refugee rights be jeopardized. It was observed that the interests of Rwanda as a sovereign state and host country can be harmonized with the rights of refugees much better buy adopting the doctrine of cessation
A thesis presented to the School of Post Graduate and Research in partial engulfment of the requirements for the award a degree of Master of laws of Kampala International University
Principle of non-refoulement, Refugee treatment, Rwanda