RUBAVU—The government has committed itself to improve the wellbeing of children living in prisons with their incarcerated mothers, an official said.
Dr. Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, the minister in charge of Gender and Family Promotion recently told a meeting at Serena Hotel in Gisenyi, that that her ministry will work with the Ministry of Internal Security to achieve this in various prisons countrywide.
“Our new 2009 strategic plan will involve improvement of children’s welfare and their rights. Innocent children living with their convicted mothers in prisons are among those that should enjoy their rights,” she said.
The three-day meeting brought together workers of the Gender ministry aimed at evaluating their achievements and failures this year and to set a strategic plan for the year 2009.
The meeting that started on August 11 to end on 14 was sponsored by UNICEF.
Mujawamariya explained that separating these children from their mothers especially those below three years of age was not easy since it would deny them a right to parental care. But the ministry will support them from their respective prisons, she stressed.
“We shall facilitate them to join nursery schools near those prisons because education is every child’s right. We shall also try to locate families to take over children above three years of age so as to enjoy family care as well as learning good conduct and culture from the community rather than living in prisons,” she said.
On achievements, she pointed out that although there were still many challenges facing the ministry, a lot had been achieved on family and gender promotion.
“The ministry has achieved a lot on gender and family Promotion. Some laws that hindered gender equality have been changed, women have been encouraged to participate in developmental activities and many have managed to participate in public affairs rather than staying indoors and behind the curtains,” she explained.
According to the minister, the 2009 action plan will tackle the implementation of the laws on the prevention, protection and punishment of any gender based violence in order to reduce the prevalent violence against women in the country.
Mujawamariya noted that gender equity was giving boys and girls, women and men equal opportunities in the utilisation of personal capabilities to duly enjoy human rights.
She observed women communal funds (micro-credit schemes) were set-up and supported which has helped women to boost their independence, command respect from their male counterparts, and above all women have managed to meet their basic needs.
“There is however along way to go. That is why we are here to design new measures and the action plan that will see women fully participate in the government’s developmental plans thus contributing to the achievements of the Vision 2020,” she said.