US Foreign Policy
Data Tool
CSPA Implementation Tracker

Country Profiles

Monitoring U.S. government efforts to leverage arms sales and military assistance to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers
Part of the Child Soldiers Project

Rwanda

Country Profile
Years Listed

Each shaded box corresponds to a year the country appeared on the CSPA list and what types of waivers it received, if any.

Rwanda appeared on the CSPA list in 2013, 2014, and 2016. The U.S. president waived, either in part or in full, CSPA prohibitions against the provision of U.S. arms sales and military assistance to Rwanda for two of the three years it was listed (2014 and 2016, affecting FY2015 and FY2017 arms sales and military assistance), resulting in the provision of more than $1.3 million in arms sales and military assistance over two years.

Specifically, the president has waived nearly $40,000 in Direct Commercial Sales and more than $1.3 million in International Military Education and Training. Due to CSPA prohibitions, the president denied over $489,000 in arms sales to Rwanda, including $1,464 in Direct Commercial Sales and $488,000 in Foreign Military Sales.

According to the U.S. State Department, the Rwandan government reportedly provided support to armed groups that recruited and used child soldiers between 2012 and 2015, including the M23 and Burundian opposition groups. In 2012, Rwandan government officials reportedly provided material support – including weapons and ammunition – to the M23, an armed group operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that was known to recruit and use child soldiers in combat and support roles. In 2013, these activities expanded to include the provision of logistical support – including training and reinforcements – by the Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF). There were also reports of the RDF conscripting soldiers into the M23 and forcibly returning deserters to the group between 2012 and 2013. There were no reports of these activities continuing after the M23’s military defeat in November 2013, and Rwanda was subsequently removed from the CSPA list in 2015.

Rwanda reappeared on the 2016 CSPA list following reports that it facilitated or tolerated the recruitment activities of Burundian opposition groups that recruited child soldiers, as well as reports that it provided these groups with training. In 2015, these armed groups recruited Burundian refugees – including at least three children – from a refugee camp in Rwanda for use in their effort to overthrow the Burundian government. Rwandan security forces tasked with protecting the camp reportedly facilitated or tolerated the recruitment activity, including by threatening and physically assaulting those who refused recruitment attempts. Rwandan military personnel also provided weapons training to Burundian recruits, some of whom were children. There were no reports of these activities continuing in 2016, and Rwanda was removed from that year’s CSPA list.

From 2013 to 2016, Rwanda took several steps to prevent the recruitment and use of child solders by government and government-backed forces. For example, the Rwandan government continued its victim protection efforts, including by providing psycho-social support, education, and reintegration services to former child soldiers, in part to prevent their re-recruitment. It passed and implemented a national anti-trafficking action plan in 2014, and increased government spending on anti-trafficking programs the following year. However, the Rwandan government – in addition to supporting armed groups that recruited and used child soldiers – did not allow former M23 child soldiers to reintegrate through its facilities, nor did it investigate credible allegations that Rwandan officials were complicit in child soldier recruitment.

For more information, see the U.S. State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report and Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

Total Waived and Prohibited

Since the CSPA took effect.

Rwanda CSPA Country Profile

Explore the Data

Country- and program-level data on the number and type of national interest waivers granted, as well as the amount of arms sales and military assistance waived.

Amounts and Waivers by Program

Amount Waived and Prohibited by Fiscal Year & Program

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