Policy Brief: The Impact of Gendered Legal Rights to Land on the Prevalence and Nature of Intra- and Inter-Household Disputes | Land Portal
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Resource information

Date of publication: 
August 2015
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 
Rwanda LAND (Research) - 81
Copyright details: 
USAID

Before 1999, land rights in Rwanda were governed by three regimes: customary
(traditional) law, colonial laws still in effect, and laws enacted after independence. In each of
these, men were privileged in ownership and control of land whereas women were excluded
or had fewer rights.
The 1999 Succession Law restructured and harmonized land ownership in Rwanda,
superseding all prior legislation. A significant portion of these changes related to gender
equality. Equal rights to umunani (umunani or ascending partition is an act accomplished by
parents while they are still alive, by which they share their patrimony between their children
or their descendants who acquire, each for the portion devolved to him or her, full
ownership. This partition shall be regarded as the accomplishment of parents' duties to
educate their children and to provide them with a personal patrimony.) and land succession
were granted to both sexes, and legally married spouses (including widowed and divorced
spouses) were provided with joint property rights and gender-neutral protections. Gender
equality is also reflected in the Constitution of 2003 and Law N° 08/2005 of 14/07/2005
Determining the Use and Management of Land in Rwanda repealed by Organic Law N°
03/2013/OL of 16/06/2013 and replaced by Law N° 43/2013 of 16/06/2013 governing land
in Rwanda which focuses on standardizing land registration within a revised ownership
framework.
Sixteen years have passed since the adoption of the 1999 Succession Law and its
recognition of and protections for gendered land rights. Questions are now being raised
regarding the actual impact of this legislation: What is the level of awareness of the 1999
Succession Law's gendered provisions? How much has women's land ownership actually
increased? What measures are women taking to assert their rights? How successful are
they? How are disputes resolved? What is the level of gender-based violence related to
land disputes? Do disputes within families result in more gender-based violence than those
between families? Overall, have land disputes increased or decreased?
An evaluation of the progress made in women's access to and enjoyment of their land rights
was needed to answer these questions. To this end, the USAID LAND Project contracted
the Institute of Legal Practice (ILPD) in Nyanza to conduct a study measuring “The Impact
of Gendered Legal Rights to Land on the Prevalence and Nature of Intra- and InterHousehold
Disputes”.
The ILPD research team collected data in every region of the country, using a large-scale
randomized household survey, focus group discussions, key informant interviews, and data
collected directly from Primary and Intermediate Court records.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 
Havugiyaremye Aimable Dr. Simeon Wiehler Dr. Wibabara Charity Ndayisaba Daniel Prof. Susana Lastarria-Cornhiel
Publisher(s): 

The Institute of Legal Practice and Development(ILPD) was established by the Law No. 65/2013 0F 27/08/3013 Establishing ILPD, and was assigned to provide legal professional education to persons holding at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Law,  provide training to those working in the field of justice and in related fields,  promote research and disseminate law, collaborate with other institutions of learning and research in Rwanda and abroad, and support any other initiative that may contribute to the promotion of law and justice.

Vision

The LAND Project is a five year program supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Its primary goal is strengthening the resilience of Rwandan citizens, communities and institutions and their ability to adapt to land-related economic, environmental and social changes.

Data provider

The LAND Project is a five year program supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Its primary goal is strengthening the resilience of Rwandan citizens, communities and institutions and their ability to adapt to land-related economic, environmental and social changes.

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