An 18 year old girl, was discovered living in the piggery last year at her home in Muhanga district, after spending months with her hands tied and starved almost to death.
She had been abandoned by her mother when she was a baby and left with her Grandmother. The mother is believed to have married another man in Uganda but has of recent been sighted in Kamonyi district.
With no status in the grandmother’s home, the girl was put in the piggery by her grandmother as punishment for her misconduct.
Days passed and the helpless girl only got fed when her ageing caretaker remembered that she exists, and threw her some food in the pit like a ‘dog in the cage’.
Neighbours who saw this happen reported the case to authorities who reported the case to the Human Rights commission in Rwanda, compelling the commissioners to visit the area.
“We found her in a terrible shape and she needed to see the doctor before involving the judicial police and district officials,” Madeleine Nirere, the Chairperson of Rwanda’s National Commission for Human Rights said while presenting the annual report 2016-2017 before both Chambers of Parliament.
On the intervention by the commission the accused caretaker (only identified as Esperance) was arrested but released later and given Rwf100, 000 by district officials on grounds that there was no one to take care of the girl and this money would help in doing so.
An investigation by the human rights commission shows that the victim was not helped and was later taken to a home for the disadvantaged children in the district, where she has underwent physical therapy to reshape her bones and was put feeding plan.
Now the Commission says that the family of the abused child and the grandmother that kept her captive in a piggery will stand prosecution trial on December 5th 2017, after parliament questioned why such a case involved paying money to someone who abused a child in their care.
“How comes that the money was paid to this lady yet it was evident she abused that girl. Was the money for constructing a new home for her? How sure, were you that she would use the money to help the girl,” Lawmaker Coltilde Mukakarangwa asked the commission.
“We are working with the district to have the suspect taken to court. In the meantime the welfare of the young lady is promising, but the prosecution of this case will serve as an example for all who abuse children,” Nirere responded.
The Human rights commission told parliament that the case is being followed up to act as an example for families that abuse their children.
In the meantime, the commission said that it received 2174 human right cases in 2016/17.
Among these cases, rights to property had the highest with 704 cases (34.73%) followed by judicial rights, anti-rape, rights to education, and the lowest cases (88 cases) were on rights to know parents and parental care.