HUYE- The Minister of Public Service and Labour, Anastase Murekezi, has called upon citizens to protect all children without any discrimination.
He was speaking in Huye District during celebrations to mark the International Day of the African Child.
“We must resolve to seek solutions to problems that children face. We must protect and educate them, take them off the streets and bring them to school as a way of preparing a secure and peaceful future for them,” Murekezi said.
The day was established in 1991 by the Organisation of African Unity (O.A.U) (now the African Union) in remembrance of the 1976 Soweto protests where thousands of brave school children were killed while demonstrating to protest against inequalities that tainted their education system put in place by the Apartheid regime.
On Tuesday, Rwanda joined the rest of Africa and the International Community in celebrating the day, which coincided with the International Day on Fighting against Child Labour and the International Family Day.
Both days were celebrated under the theme: “All together, let us protect street children, eliminate child labour and eradicate poverty within Families”.
The ceremony was characterised by dances, songs, poems and plays.
Murekezi observed that poverty was still a serious threat to the lives of many children and appealed for a joint effort to eradicate it.
“Poor families should be assisted in raising their welfare and creating confidence for a better future,” he said, while encouraging parents to embrace family planning.
“We need families uplifted from poverty, care for their own children and other children. We want to see all children studying, developing and with hope for the future.”
The Minister warned against child labour, noting that it was a crime punishable by law.
UNICEF deputy Country Representative, Francesca Morandini, hailed the government of Rwanda for its efforts in promoting children’s rights.
She affirmed UNICEF’s commitment to helping the government in protecting children and improving their social welfare.
During the celebrations, two local associations were awarded for their role in protecting and supporting street children. Wishavura Kibondo Cooperative and Centre Tuyizere each received a cow in recognition of their efforts.