Whether children born of a Congolese father whose mother is Rwandan by descent (father is Rwandan) would have any rights to Rwandan citizenship; If not whether the minors have any rights of abode in Rwanda should their mother take up residence there (2002) [RWA41052.E]

According to Rwandan citizenship law (Code de la nationalité rwandaise), a child is entitled to Rwandan citizenship by descent only if his or her father is a citizen of Rwanda regardless of the child's country of birth, or if his or her mother is a citizen of Rwanda and the father is either unknown or stateless (United States 16 Apr. 2002; ibid. Mar. 2001).

A Rwandan student in law (Doctorate level) at Université Laval, who is a former judge of the Court of First Instance (tribunal de première instance of Kigali), explained during an 18 March 2003 telephone interview, that minors (under 18 year old) are entitled to reside in Rwanda if their Rwandan mother takes up residence in that country. However, referring to Article 8 of the Code de la nationalité rwandaise, he added that children whose mother is of Rwandan origin, but whose father is not can, if they are between 18 and 21 years old, opt for Rwandan citizenship (ibid.). At their majority (18 year old), the status of such children in Rwanda is no longer linked to their mother's status.

For further information on the status of a person whose mother is of Rwandan origin while his father is of foreign origin, please see RWA39066.F of 20 June 2002.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Former judge of tribunal de première instance, Kigali, and currently a law student, Doctorate level, Université Laval, Quebec City. 18 March. Telephone interview.

United States. 16 April 2002. Defence Security Service (DSS). Adjudicative Desk Reference. "Rwanda." http://www.dss.mil/nf/adr/forpref/country7.htm [Accessed 18 March 2003]

_____. March 2001. Investigation Service, Office of Personnel Management. Citizenship Law of the World. http://www.opm.gov/extra/investigate/IS-01.pdf [Accessed 18 Mar. 2003]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases.

Resource Centre country file. Rwanda.

Websites, including:

European Country of Origin Information Network (ecoinet.)