The Responsibilities of NGOs

A new book by Noam Schimmel, Advancing International Human Rights Law Responsibilities of Development NGOs: Respecting and Fulfilling the Right to Reparative Justice for Genocide Survivors in Rwanda published by Palgrave Macmillan this month explores the potential responsibilities to respect, protect and fulfill international human rights law (IHRL) of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).

It calls for NGOs pursuing development to respect and fulfill the human right of genocide survivors to reparative justice in Rwanda. It argues that NGOs have social and moral responsibilities to respect and fulfill IHRL, and for greater accountability for them to do so. It uses post-genocide Rwanda as a case study to illustrate how respect and fulfillment of the IHRL pertaining to reparative justice are hindered by failing to hold NGOs responsible for IHRL. Consequently, this results in discrimination against, marginalization, and the disadvantaging of survivors of the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi and violations of their human rights.

As the book concludes…

“Rwanda’s genocide survivors – as represented by the full cross-section of their communal organisations – have made it clear that what they need and deserve after the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi is a comprehensive programme of reparative justice in accordance with international human rights law. Whether or not the international human rights law is respected and fulfilled … depends on the choices of donor nations able to contribute the necessary funds to enable such a programme, and the NGOs currently delivering social services in Rwanda to make a more concerted effort to contribute to reparative justice efforts. These include bilateral and multilateral aid agencies and agencies of the United Nations such as UNDP and international NGOs such as CARE, Oxfam, World Vision, Save the Children, and other members of the Network of International Non-Governmental Organisations in Rwanda (NINGO). THey can organisae on their own initiative and without any delay a voluntary Trust Fund for Genocide Survivors.

Noam Schimmel, Advancing International Human Rights Law Responsibilities of Development NGOs (2020)


The book is available in electronic format, and hardcover now, from Palgrave Macmillan. It is dedicated to the memories of three remarkable survivors, sadly who have passed away: Berthe Kayitesi, Daphrose Mukangarembe and Simeon Karamaga.

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