Several government officials were on Tuesday in Rutsiro District to raise awareness about human rights.
The Minister for Justice, Johnston Busingye, joined Prof. Anastase, Shyaka, CEO of the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) and Chief Ombudsman, Anastase Murekezi to discuss the issue with area residents.
They urged residents to know their rights and prevent human rights violations.
The event coincided with the launch of this year’s Legal Aid Week.
The government remains committed to protecting its citizens, said minister Busingye.
Busingye said some times people think that its foreigners who are more committed to protection of human rights but this is a misconception.
The minister recalled the country’s history when many were denied the right to education and property such as land.
“Right here we have Rwandans who passed national exams back then but were denied a chance to study because admissions were not based on merit. But all that is in the past now,” he said.
The minister said it is also a misconception to think that people have to fight with government to enjoy their rights.
“Foreign governments can offer help, give all the possible support but the first priority of the government is to protect rights of its people,” Busingye said.
Meanwhile, Prof Shyaka warned Rutsiro residents against drug abuse, alcoholism and domestic violence which he said hinders development.
Reiterating government’s readiness to fight social ills, Shyaka said it’s important that people understand that many vices happen in their midst and they need to cooperate to stem them.
The Chief Ombudsman, Murekezi, said Rwandans should know that rights go hand in hand with responsibilities.
He observed that drug abuse is the source of many other crimes such as theft, assault, and rape, and urged residents to work collectively to prevent crimes.
Maurice Dusabe, a resident of Gihango Sector, said the awareness drive helped raise knowledge about human rights and various forms of violations.
Edith Nyirandayamabje, a farmer, said such awareness campaigns help people to detect and report human rights violations in their localities.
The Legal Aid Week will close on January 26 countrywide.
During the course of the exercise, Legal Aid Forum and ministry officials will be visiting sectors across the country to address conflicts in homes.