Parliament on Tuesday adopted a recommendation by its standing committee proposing that government increases annual allocation to a national fund that supports survivors of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi called FARG.
Every year, since 1995, government had until 2017 been putting 5% of the budget into this fund. It was increased slightly to 6%.
It means that from the 2019 budget of Rwf2.6 trillion, FARG will be getting more than Rwf 150billion.
Available figures show, out of FARG’s budget, 70% goes to education support at various levels for the young and grown-ups. The other spending goes to healthcare, many of whom need specialized treatment.
A portion of the money also goes to building houses and continuous rehabilitation of those already available.
The lower chamber’s Committee on Unity, Human rights and the fight against Genocide told the House in a session yesterday evening that the budget is too small as many survivors still live in squalid conditions.
The concerns of the MPs are not new, but are significant now because they came as Rwanda and the world prepares for the 25th commemoration of the genocide that starts this coming Sunday April 7.
In 2014, data compiled showed that 900 elderly widows were extremely vulnerable, homeless and urgently needed a descent place to call home. Around the same time, studies were suggesting that desperate living conditions were contributing to long-term trauma among the tens of thousands of genocide survivors.
Hundreds of survivors have scars, inflicted on them by genocide militia, which require permanent treatment for as long as they are alive.
Thousands of women were infected with HIV/Aids – which means they need a lot more in terms of treatment and care. Some of these women have children, some of whom are also infected.
The parliamentary committee did not say by how much it proposes the FARG budget should be increased.
In other resolutions of the House, the Foreign Affairs Ministry was directed to urgently construct a new genocide memorial site in Tanzania.
In the Ngara district of Kagera province, directly neighbouring Rwanda, there is a site where 917 victims are buried.
However, according to the parliamentary committee, not only does the site need urgent rehabilitation, the words written on it negate the 1994 genocide.
The Prime Minister has been given six months to have worked out a plan for a decent burial for genocide remains that are currently found at a river in Kayonza district.