Rwandan Government launches initiative to Promote Children’s Rights

Olivier Rwamukwaya, the State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education (L),chats with Minister Gasinzigwa,(R) as Justice minister, Johnstone Busingye (C) looks on. (Timothy Kisambira)

A multi-ministry campaign was launched yesterday in Rwanda with an aim of drawing and implementing conclusive strategies to improve the welfare of children and generally safeguard their rights.

The campaign is to be implemented jointly by the ministries of justice, local government and that of gender and family promotion.

It seeks to promote children, protect their rights and increase their participation in the development of their country.

According to Oda Gasinzigwa, the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, the joint efforts between the ministries, local leaders, the civil society and many other partners will be crucial in ensuring children are in a better place in the country.

“Religious institutions, the Police and many other stakeholders have continually played a key role in sensitising people about the rights of children and ensuring that their welfare is prioritized.

“However, there is a lot that is yet to be achieved which is why we have launched this campaign to evaluate our progress and design other strategies to achieve our ultimate goal of protecting the rights of children,” Gasinzigwa added.

Minister Gasinzigwa speaks to the media as Minister Busingye looks on.
Street children

Key among the issues discussed was addressing the emerging challenge of a growing number of street children.

The campaign’s launch comes after weeks of public concern over a growing number of street children in Kigali and other urban centres across the country.

“We have renewed our commitment to ensure that no children live on the streets or any other place that is unfit for habitation. This commitment also includes fighting child labour or any other vice that undermines the rights of a child,” she added.

Gasinzigwa clarified that the campaign to relocate children from orphanages and integrating them into families is different from the campaign to take children off the streets and also integrating them back into their communities and families.

Statistics indicate that since 2012, when efforts to relocate children from orphanages to place them into homes was launched, 2,177 children have been integrated into families.

On the other hand, 2,797 former street children were integrated into families between 2013 and 2015.

Gasinzigwa appealed to Rwandans to embrace raising children through fostering and adopting them hence bringing them up within a proper family environment.

Francis Kaboneka, Minister for local government answers a question during a media briefing at Primature yesterday. (All photos by Timothy Kisambira)

Dr Claudine Uwera Kanyamanza the executive secretary of the National Children’s Commission (NCC) told The New Times that in the initiative to relocate and integrate children into families, there is an extensive follow up to establish and maintain their welfare standards.

“There are experts and experienced people like social workers and psychologists to follow up on the children’s needs, welfare and progress. They prepare the families in which the children will be integrated and also explain to the children the process of relocating into different families.” she said.

“There are also cases of young adults who have lived in orphanages all their lives, there are programmes in place to help them integrate back into society. These include giving them vocational skills that can help them gain financial independence. It is quite a long process but a difference is being made,” Kanyamanza added.

Commenting on the growing concern of children consuming drugs, the Minister of Local Government Francis Kaboneka said that very many campaigns have been launched to sensitise young people about the dangers of drug abuse.

“There is an ongoing campaign to fight drug abuse among young people including starting anti-drug clubs in schools. The significant co-operation of the police and other agencies in devising anti-drug strategies has been key in fighting the vice,” he said.

Source: The New Times

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