Rights activists call for more advocacy

Activists have called for a thorough approach to end human rights violations. The appeal was made on Monday at the start of a three-day sixth Conference of African rights institutions at Hotel Novotel Umubano in Kigali.
Makuza (c) chats with the president of the International Committee for the Co-ordination of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, Jennifer Lynch. Left is Kayitesi, president of RHRC. (Photo/G. Barya)
Makuza (c) chats with the president of the International Committee for the Co-ordination of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, Jennifer Lynch. Left is Kayitesi, president of RHRC. (Photo/G. Barya)

Activists have called for a thorough approach to end human rights violations. The appeal was made on Monday at the start of a three-day sixth Conference of African rights institutions at Hotel Novotel Umubano in Kigali.

The conference under the theme, ‘The Role of Human Rights Institutions in the Protection of Internally Displaced Persons, Stateless People and Refugees’ has attracted participants from over thirty countries, each represented by a national institution for human rights.

Prime Minister Bernard Makuza, who opened the conference on behalf of President Paul Kagame, said that constant collaboration among human rights institutions in Africa will reduce the rampant cases of human rights violations on the continent.

Makuza urged institutions to tackle the causes of human rights’ violation other than waiting to solve the after-effects.

“Your opinions and proposals to your respective governments and sensitisation of people on their rights are very crucial,” Makuza said.

He reiterated government’s commitment towards the support and respect for human rights.

The UNHCR Deputy Director for Africa, Steven Corliss, called on the rights watchdogs to always undertake ground inquiries to unearth cases of human rights abuse.

Corliss said that human rights institutions should always take a stand when humanitarian workers are hijacked, kidnapped or killed to prevent them from accessing displaced communities.

“Be sure that refugees living with HIV/Aids are not turned away from Anti-Retroviral Therapy programmes. Check your prisons to see whether stateless people are languishing in endless detention” he said.

The conference will see Rwanda taking over the presidency of the Network for African Human Rights Institutions for the next two years.

The President of the Rwanda Human Rights Commission (RHRC) Zayinab Kayitesi chairs the network.   
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