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Rwanda

An article in Health and Human Rights, Vol 12, No 2. 

Kigali — The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo, said yesterday, that Parliament could revisit a law banning prostitution which is currently before the Senate, days after the UNAIDS Regional Director – Eastern and Southern Africa, Prof Sheila Tlou, appealed to legislators to do so.

By Matthew Greenall, independent consultant

According to reports, the new penal code currently being considered by Rwanda’s Senate includes a provision to criminalise sex work.  The existing penal code, which dates from the 1970s, gives judicial authorities the option of placing restrictions on the movement of sex workers, and contains a number of provisions against facilitating or promoting sex work, running sex work establishments and living off the earnings of prostitution.  The proposed new article would introduce jail terms and fines for sex workers themselves. 

This newsletter from Community Socio Economic Development Initiatives (CSDI) covers the proceedings of a meeting held on the 22nd and 23rd of February 2010. The meeting brought together Rwandan civil society organisations working on HIV & AIDS, health promotion and human rights and was lead by the Rwanda NGO Forum on AIDS Health Promotion and Fact Rwanda. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the provision in the draft penal code that would criminalize sex work. This legal provision, article 225, would sentence sex workers to 3 years in jail and a fine of 50.000 to 500.000 RWF.

An article by Leclerc P M & Garenne M in Int J STD AIDS. 2008 Oct;19(10):660-4. The study compares the association between buying sex and male HIV seroprevalence in Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi and Rwanda. Given the relatively small proportion of men involved, the risk attributable to ‘ever paying for sex’ remained low suggesting that commercial sex seems may play a minor role in the spread of HIV in mature epidemics.

The study was led by the National AIDS Control Commission (CNLS) of Rwanda, with technical assistance from MEASURE Evaluation. It presents findings from a behavioral surveillance study (BSS) of men who have sex with men (MSM) in Kigali carried out in 2008-2009. The aim of this study was to describe the population of MSM in Kigali and explore the nature of sexual activity between MSM.

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