Women living with HIV/Aids in Gasabo and Nyanza districts are being denied their rights to inherit family property by their spouses and other relatives, a research conducted by the Women’s Network for Rural Development, commonly known by its French moniker Reseaux Des Femmes, has shown.
According to the research, carried out in three sectors in each of the districts, husbands say they cannot offer property to someone destined for death, leaving women stranded. Worse, they are threatened and, at times, thrown out of their marital homes once the husband dies, says the report, made public at a workshop in Remera, Kigali last week.
The survey, sponsored by UN Women, focussed on issues related to women’s property and inheritance in the context of HIV/Aids. Nutritional needs were highlighted as the other challenges facing the women, it said.
The research was carried out as part of efforts to mitigate the impact of women’s vulnerability to HIV/Aids through enhanced advocacy and increasing their access to property, according to Beata Busasa, the National Coordinator for Women’s Network for Rural Development.
“The research provides broader understanding of the challenges to women infected with HIV. People living with HIV need a lot of support to live their full lives just like anybody else,” Busasa said in an interview with The New Times.
In the case of discordant couples (where one partner is negative), the report says, women are mistreated and accused of being responsible for bringing the virus. With an estimated three percent of the adult population infected with HIV, Rwanda is less affected than other regional countries.
The National Strategic Plan on HIV and Aids 2009 to 2012 provides that people infected and affected by HIV have the same opportunities as the general population. However, grassroots leaders are not keen to resolve issues of violation of the inheritance rights of women infected with the virus, the report indicated.
And most women, especially in rural areas, are ignorant of where to seek appropriate help in case their rights are abused, the researchers said.