MPs have major role to play in rights protection - UN official

KIGALI - The Acting UN Resident Coordinator has commended the government of Rwanda for its tremendous achievements in promoting Human Rights, and pointed out that it’s the duty of lawmakers to ensure that fundamental rights are respected.
Dr Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo (L), Dr. Joseph Foumbi and the Speaker Rose Mukantabana yesterday (Photo; F. Goodman)
Dr Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo (L), Dr. Joseph Foumbi and the Speaker Rose Mukantabana yesterday (Photo; F. Goodman)

KIGALI - The Acting UN Resident Coordinator has commended the government of Rwanda for its tremendous achievements in promoting Human Rights, and pointed out that it’s the duty of lawmakers to ensure that fundamental rights are respected.

Dr. Joseph Foumbi made the remarks yesterday while addressing Parliament during a two-day capacity-building workshop on human rights instruments and mainstreaming for Rwandan lawmakers.

“I congratulate the government of Rwanda for the progress made so far in advancing Human Rights in this country, and also commend the government for harmonizing its laws with international treaties on Human Rights,” said Foumbi.

He pointed out that in the country has made significant efforts in creating a conducive environment for a functioning economy and political structures.

Rwanda is a signatory to major international instruments on human rights and the 2003 Constitution puts human rights at the forefront of State affairs.

“Parliamentarians play an important role in the ratification of international Human Rights treaties; you also ensure that reservations made are necessary and well justified,” Foumbi told MPs.

He added: “It is also the duty of the parliament to ensure that the State complies with the international obligations by passing laws which are in conformity with the conventions and treaties.”

Speaker Rose Mukantabana also concurred that protection of human rights was an obligation of the parliament.

“In modern society, we are protected by laws unlike in the primitive age were people were managed by the law of the jungle where only the strongest would survive. This means that we have to consider fundamental human right of every citizen when we are drafting our laws,” said Mukantabana.

She urged her colleagues to take the opportunity to assess themselves to ensure that the rights of the people who sent them to parliament are dully respected.

The Speaker used the occasion to call upon MPs to take a lead role in sensitising the public to elect a person who will lead them to sustainable development in the upcoming presidential polls slated for August 9.

The Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Unity, Human Rights and the Fight against Genocide, Kalisa Evariste, said that the country has made a significant progress in restoration of Human Rights since 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

“All forms of discrimination are now prohibited and punishable by the law as enshrined in the constitution.”

He pointed out that Rwanda reaffirmed its commitment to the rule of law and the protection of human rights in particular. 

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