The Minister for Gender and Family Promotion, Oda Gasinzigwa, has urged Rwandans to protect and empower girls for a safer, healthier, more successful and sustainable tomorrow.
The problem of violation of girl child rights, she said, is global, but the solutions must be found at the national, community and family levels.
Gasinzigwa, who was yesterday speaking at celebrations to mark the International Day of the Girl Child in Fumbwe Sector, Rwamagana District, decried the fact that discrimination and violence against girls and violations of their rights still happen in our midst.
She urged all stakeholders to raise awareness about the challenges that many girls face every day.
“We have a responsibility to protect, educate and empower adolescents. We are all responsible for ending violence against girls. Protecting girls from all forms of violence and empowering them must be at the heart of every development agenda,” Gasinzigwa said.
She said the celebration was an opportunity to step up collective action to break the cycle of violence against girls and women, noting that empowering girls today paves way for a safer, healthier, more successful and sustainable tomorrow.
Globally, October 11 was designated as the International Day of the Girl Child by a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2011, and is meant to highlight the necessity of protecting girls’ rights.
This year’s celebrations will be held under the theme, “Empowering adolescent girls: ending the cycle of violence.”
Edward Maly Wendell, the UNICEF country representative, said girls need protect them from all forms of abuse.
“Rwanda has met the MDG target on gender equality…it remains on the right track. UNICEF reaffirms its commitment to support the country in this effort.
“I am new in the office, but the excellent work done by Rwanda in the promotion of girls’ rights is known worldwide…girl child education is at a good level. We must work hard to help girls realise their full potentials, which is essential for sustainable development. Girl child empowerment and protection cannot be over emphasised,” he said.
Meanwhile, girls said they would work hard towards the development of the nation.
“The socio-political climate in the country is so conducive…we were given all it takes as girls to develop ourselves and the communities. We shall not let down the champions of the fundamental change that saw girls and women gain respect and prosperity…we however, urge government to stamp out a few remaining cases of girl child abuse,” said Honorine Uwase Hirwa, who represented the girls.