Rwanda: Land Reforms Boost Women Rights
Rwanda's land reforms have allowed the public to safeguard their rights on land which has significantly improved livelihoods among communities, according to the 2012 ActionAid report.
By Frank Kanyesigye, 22 October 2012
The report, titled 'Lay of the Land Improving Land Governance to Stop Land Grabs', is a result of a survey that covered 24 countries worldwide.
"By making land registration a top government priority, Rwanda's communities' and women's land rights are better safeguarded. Women-focused legislation has improved women's access to land, removing, on paper and customary gender discrimination," the report reads in part.
"The research has revealed that the new land policy and legislation are, in practice, ensuring that women's land rights are protected, especially land access and rights for widows and female orphans."
The survey states that women and vulnerable groups are safeguarded from land grabbing and uncompensated displacement, which is remarkable considering Rwanda's recent history and existing pressure on land.
In 2004, the government enacted an organic law on land to guarantee a safe and stable form of land tenure. Before that, the country never had a proper land policy.
In order to define and decide how the land registration process should be carried out, a Ministerial Decree determining modalities of registration was enacted in 2008 and a year later, the land registration process kicked off.
The land registration exercise that was completed in June saw about 10.4 million land parcels demarcated and adjudicated around the country.
Speaking to The New Times yesterday, Deputy Director General of the Rwanda Natural Resources Authority (RNRA) in charge of Department of Lands and Mapping, Eng. Didier G. Sagashya, noted that the report acknowledges Government efforts to address issues of land ownership.
"It is true Rwanda is carrying out land reforms since 2004, this started by putting in place the national land policy and then the organic law determining the use and management of land, and lately the implementation of systematic land registration process through the Land Tenure Regularisation," he observed.
Sagashya said the institution has so far distributed 2.8 million land titles to land owners with the remaining expected to be issued by December 2013.