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Rwandan Government Seeks Sexual Castration of Targeted Males

In June 2009, the Rwandan Government introduced a bill to the parliament seeking the castration of the so called “socially degenerate people”. We wrote a discourse arguing that if the bill were to pass, it would be a repeat of the tragedy of the Jews (see our July 3, 2009 discourse: Rwanda Government seeks sexual castration of socially degenerate people: a repeat of the tragedy of the Jews and the Gypsies). The measure did not pass. Frankly, the Rwandan regime, led by a small clique within the minority ethnic Tutsis, is known for more horrendous crimes. People could have seen the bill as another of these crimes. But this one was an insidious pogrom targeting social groups for extermination, under the cover of “good”. Only Nazi could have achieved a worse crime! The World must have pushed a sigh of relief when the bill died. But did the bill really die. Maybe, but the intentions of the Rwandan government have since taken another form: male castration under the cover of family planning.
As the Rwandan official, Ms Agnes Bigwanabo (pictured above), the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health put it, while defending both the initiative and the Rwandan government’s intentions: “there is not target for voluntary vasectomy.” As we know, in Rwanda, “no target” usually means “anyone” the government wants to be castrated. We saw that in elections, in government run programs, and any other government directives. Castration can hardly be an exception. If the Rwandan dictator Paul Kagame wants a male castrated, then the man will be castrated.
Ms. Agnes Bigwanabo was quick to add: ‘’[the] advantages of male castration over female sterilization include lower rates of postoperative complications, shorter recovery time, reduced costs and increased involvement of men in reproductive decision-making.”
That may be true, and actually it usually is if you want to make the comparison from the cost perspective. The problem is: this is a false analogy. The argument should have been on why they want to castrate the males. Our understanding was that it is for family planning. Family planning is a family matter, not a government decision. The family, a man and woman, have the right to agree between them what best birth control method they prefer, based on factors such as convenience, cost, efficacy, etc. Imposing a birth control on families is a grave human right violation. Unfortunately, this is the second such an attempt to the violation within two years.
As we said earlier in late June 2009, the Rwanda government, mostly composed of the Tutsi minority ethnic group, introduced the so called “Reproductive Health Bill” to the Rwandan Parliament, pushing for a law to sterilize people deemed “socially degenerate” or “mentally unstable or ill.” The main purpose of the bill is to legalize the forceful sterilization of people judged mentally handicapped, ill, or unstable. According to people inside Rwanda, the bill targeted basically anyone deemed having behaviors not falling within the norms. Apart from the violation of basic human rights, another major problem of the bill is to determine what these norms could be.
Despite the backing of the bill by the Rwandan president General Paul Kagame, the Parliament referred the bill back to the Rwandan Parliamentarians for the Population’s Development (RPRPD) and eventually sent back to the bill’s initiators – among them former Health Minister Dr. Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo [pictured above], one of the very few ethnic Hutus in the Tutsi led government. The Vice Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee that analyzed the bill, Mr. Samuel Musabyimana argued that “[Rwandan] parliament found that there was language in the Bill that was not clear and seemed to be infringing on basic human rights.” Clearly, even the puppet Rwandan parliament had the courage to reject the monstrosity.
At that time, in Kigali, several government officials confided to an AfroAmerica Network correspondent that the bill constituted one of the many tools used by the Rwandan government to control the birth rate of some components of the Rwandan society by sexual sterilization. The bill also targeted those opposed to the Rwandan government and their relatives. The Rwandan officials argued that anyone may be labelled mentally degenerate by the government; especially those accused of genocide ideology or anyone under stress due to torture, wrongful imprisonment or persecution by the government Gacaca courts. Hutu ethnic group members were particularly targeted by the bill and several were allegedly already candidates for legal sterilization if and whenever the bill were to pass.
Fatefully, the argument of “socially degenerate could not pass then. Now the government has switched the gear: family planning. Definitely the lessons of the Nazi against Jews, Poramojas and gypsies during World War II did not teach the current Rwandan leaders much. For the history, arguments like the ones used by Rwandan Government were used in Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, East Germany, and Romania after World War II. In Czechoslovakia, the women were sterilized as part of a state policy to reduce their population. The report published in December 2005 upon an official inquiry from the Czech Republic, condemned the Communist authorities for having practiced an assimilation policy towards gypsies and Roma, which "included efforts by social services to control the birth rate in the Romani community by sexual sterilization.

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