Discrimination is a crime

No child, or any human being for that matter, is to be discriminated against. What, exactly, is discrimination? Article three paragraph seven of the law relating to the rights and the protection of the child provides a broad answer.

Discrimination, according to the abovementioned article, is distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on a wide range of aspects.

The first aspect is race and colour. An example of discrimination based on race and colour is refusing to give someone a seat in class because they are of a different colour. Even giving someone a seat simply because of their race or colour is discrimination because discrimination includes preference.

Another very common aspect when it comes to discrimination is sex. For example, restricting girls from certain types of games and sports because they are deemed fit only for boys is discrimination. Restricting boys from doing certain house chores because those chores are only said to be for girls is discrimination.

Article three paragraph seven of the law relating to the rights and the protection of the child also talks about discriminating against children who have a different opinion. Children have different backgrounds, and because of that, they have different opinions on religion and politics. No one is allowed to discriminate against them based on their opinions.

A child should also not face discrimination just because they are rich or poor or any other reason that might compromise or destroy the enjoyment of their rights.

All children are equal. This is according to article four of the law relating to the rights and the protection of the child. Article four further says that a child is entitled to the enjoyment of rights and freedoms recognised and guaranteed by the law and are provided with the protections which are required by their childhood condition without any discrimination.

Any person who participates in discrimination is liable to heavy punishment under the Penal Code of Rwanda. Article 136 of the Penal Code of Rwanda calls it the punishment for the crime of discrimination and sectarian practices.

Article 136 of the Penal Code says, “Any person who commits the crime of discrimination and sectarian practices shall be liable to a term of  imprisonment of more than five (5) years to seven (7) years and a fine of  one hundred thousand (100,000) to one million (1,000, 000) Rwandan francs.”

The crime of discrimination is particularly serious and grave because as you may have studied, one of the main causes of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi was ethnic discrimination.