Land Policy Reform in Rwanda and Land Tenure Security for all Citizens: Provision and Recognition of Women’s Rights over Land


Uwayezu, Ernest, and Theodomir Mugiraneza. 2011. "Land Policy Reform in Rwanda and Land Tenure Security for all Citizens: Provision and Recognition of Women’s Rights over Land." Paper presented at FIG Working Week, Bridging the Gap between Cultures, Marrakech, May 18-22.  

Authors: Ernest Uwayezu, Theodomir Mugiraneza

Keywords: rights to land, female orphans, land reform policy, land law, inheritance law, land tenure security


In Rwanda, for many years ago, rights over land for women and female orphans were not recognized. The main causes were the inexistence of efficient land administration systems and the prevalence of traditional system of land tenure which were complex and did not favor women and female descendants. In 2004, the Government of Rwanda had adopted a new land policy which was complemented by the 2005 Organic Land Law and a series of laws and regulations with regard to access to land, land management perspectives, and to the modalities of land rights transfer. The main goal of land policy reform in Rwanda is to protect and to enforce land holders’ rights and the provision of land tenure security for all citizens without any discrimination. The study investigates the effects the land policy reform on rights over land for widow and female orphans. Data collected from the field survey in five districts of Rwanda and literature review were analyzed using qualitative and interpretative methods, following the principles of impact/outcome evaluation approach. Findings show that the implementation of a new land policy and associate regulations are having a positive impact in safeguard, protection and enforcement of land rights for widow and female orphans. Widow and female orphans are given back their lands previously grabbed by their relatives. However, there is a need to continuously and widely empower widow and female descendants for defending themselves against practices of land grabbing and/or land deprivation through sensitization and reinforcement of land related laws and regulations in place. 

Topics: Gender, Women, Land Tenure, Land Grabbing, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2011

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