You may heard of the phrase “ignorance of the law is no excuse.” What this simply means is that if you are caught committing a crime, you cannot be forgiven just because you didn’t know it was a crime.
It is therefore important to know your rights and responsibilities as a Rwandan child in order to avoid going outside the boundaries and breaking the law. In fact, it is your right to know your rights.
This is according to article 25 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.
Firstly, it’s important to know what a charter is. Simply put, a charter is a written agreement on the way that an institution or society is operated.
Therefore, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights is an agreement signed by some African countries agreeing on the rights of people in those countries. The countries which sign a charter are called state parties to the charter.
Rwanda is one of the African countries which signed the charter which means that the country has the responsibility to uphold the rights stated in the charter.
Article 25 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights says: “States parties to the present Charter shall have the duty to promote and ensure through teaching, education and publication, the respect of the rights and freedoms contained in the present Charter and to see to it that these freedoms and rights as well as corresponding obligations and duties are understood.”
What this means basically is that you have the right to know your rights. You are supposed to be taught your rights at school and through other means such as books, newspapers, television and other platforms.
Not only does knowing your rights help you to keep in line with the law but it also helps you to avoid people taking advantage of you. One of the most dangerous things is ignorance because people can lie to you and cheat you and land you in trouble.
It’s also important to be vigilant on your right to know your rights because article 43 of Rwandan constitution says: “In the exercise of rights and enjoyment of freedoms, every person shall only be subjected to the limitations set by the Law in order to ensure the recognition and respect of others’ rights and freedoms, good morals, public order and social welfare which characterize a democratic society.”
And the only way to know your limitations is to actually get to know your rights.