The Price Paid in Kigali to Keep the City’s Image Pristine

Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, stands out as a safe and tidy city.

Keeping Kigali clean, however, comes at a high price for those who can least afford to pay it – the city’s homeless, its street hawkers, and others living on society’s edge. Rounded up on a regular basis, these ”undesirables” are locked away in Rwanda’s Gikondo Transit Center, where several hundred people may share a room in cramped conditions, supplies of food and water are insufficient, and certain detainees called “counselors” beat other detainees with wooden sticks.

A Human Rights Watch researcher speaks with Birgit Schwarz about the new report, ‘Why Not Call This Place a Prison?’, and the realities in Gikondo Transit Center.