By Elie Mutangana, Kigali
Rwanda’s Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration will soon embark on requesting licenced transport carriers to electronically share in advance, passenger information, according to a new bill.
The new bill was proposed to Rwanda’s Chamber of Parliament by Minister in the Office of The President last month.
According to the Bill, all carriers including, air, road, water and railway will be requested to share Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR), before taking off journeys or flights.
“Once this is enacted, we will oblige all operating licenced carriers to provide the information by electronic means to the Immigration and Emigration organ. The information will be processed and the results will be forwarded to other responsible organs with an aim of containing terrorism offences and other serious crimes,” said Judith Uwizeye, Rwanda’s Minister in the Office of the President
According to her, there are currently no laws that obliges carriers to provide passenger data before starting a journey.
“Actually, a certain organ had to have mutual agreement with a carrier to share someone’s information, typically in case of serious reasons, including suspicion or wanted passengers for serious crimes”.
Uwizeye pointed out that international bodies such as the International Civil Aviation Organizations (ICAO), United Nations Security Council, also request countries to set up mechanism for managing passengers information for safety and security concerns.
“We typically want to comply with international standards and ensure safety in the transport landscape,” she added.
Furthermore, the bill notes that the law shall legitimately ensure that the responsible organs generally abide with confidentiality and protection of passengers personal information and privacy.
Given that Rwanda recently waived Visa for nationals from African countries, Members state of international organizations La Francophone and Common wealth in 2018- and giving them visa on arrival- the country wants to contain a situation where it can receive offenders and people wanted for serious crimes.