Access to Justice and Human Rights Education (Rwanda)

Grantee: Human Rights First Rwanda Association

The project’s general objective was to increase access to justice for marginalized groups among the rural population of the southern district of Kamonyi, including people living with HIV/AIDS and the Twa ethnic minority. The project document highlighted that access to justice in Rwanda was a privilege reserved for the elite: an urban prerogative that discriminates against uneducated, low-income populations living largely in rural areas.
The project was built around three main areas of activity: providing direct access to free legal assistance, through the opening and daily operation of a Legal Aid Clinic in the rural district of Kamonyi; setting up a citizens’ system and strengthening local capacity to address judicial issues through the education and training of paralegals; and creating a responsible and solidarity-based dynamic where law students provided direct legal as part of their school curriculum. The project was highly relevant, as it was tailored to local legal mechanisms put in place by the national framework to reform and decentralize the justice system. Overall the project improved legal structures and services in the Kamnoyi district and contributed to greater justice at the local level.