Arusha, 3 July 2008 (FH) - Rwandan prisons had in February 375 infants living with their detained mothers, according to the website of the Rwandan League for the Promotion and the Defence of Human Right (LIPRODHOR). All 14 Rwandan civilian prisons, except for Remera, Kigali, which does not have woman, have infants, according to LIPRODHOR.

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“Usually, these children do not benefit from any particular treatment over food, although in certain prisons, they can have their diet improved by vegetables coming from the vegetable gardens of the penal establishments”, adds the organization. It also said that in the prison of Nyagatare (eastern Rwanda), the infants can receive milk.
These children can remain at their mother’s side until they are three years old before being transferred to foster families.
Rwandan prisons held 531 minors and 3,572 women during the period on a total incarceration population of 59,590 people, the majority accused of having played a part in the1994 genocide which resulted, according to the UN, in nearly 800 000 killed, primarily Tutsis.
The majority of the minors are boys imprisoned for theft or rape, while the girls are generally held for infanticide and abortion.
The women are held in separate blocks from men and are generally under the supervision of female guards. They work on basket weaving and embroidery and cleaning activities in front of the administrative offices.
Except for those of Remera and Mpanga, southern Rwanda, all the prisons are over-populated, in certain establishments, the prisoners sleep in the inside ward without covers, notes the organization.
LIPRODHOR, however, noted “an improvement in the detention conditions and a reduction in the density of the incarceration population due to the efforts of the Rwandan government to relieve the suffocation of the prisons”