The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: New Initiative to Reduce Backlog of Land Disputes

Rwanda Initiative for Sustainable Development (RISD), a non-government organisation, has embarked on a new initiative designed to help resolve land disputes in the country as well as sensitising nationals on their land rights.

The move also seeks to reduce the backlog of cases related to land that have been filed in different courts across the country, according to Annie Kairaba, the director of the organisation. "We realised that there are many land disputes in the country and but we want to empower community mediators (Abunzi) to play their rightful role in reducing the number of cases that unnecessarily end up in courts of law," she said.

Kairaba said they will be monitoring on a routine basis how the cases are resolved.

The three-year project is already being implemented in 10 districts on a pilot basis but will be expanded to a total of 15 districts next year, with a view to cover all the 30 districts by end of the project in 2015.

The government has welcomed the development.

"If implemented as planned, I am convinced that, by the end of this project in 2015, land related cases will have reduced by between 75 per cent and 80 per cent", said Anastase Balinda, the Executive Secretary of the Mediators' Secretariat in the Ministry of Justice.

The project, funded by the Netherlands, is implemented by civil society in partnership with the Natural Resources Authority and the Ministry of Justice, through the Mediators Secretariat.

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