Recently, the Cabinet endorsed and established the National Commission for Children that is yet to be operational.
Rwanda has several laws in place that vie for the rights of children. The commission was established following the guidance of the constitution.
The law under Article 27 states that, “The State shall put in place appropriate legislation and institutions for the protection of the family and the mother and child in particular in order to ensure that the family flourishes.”
Law N° 27/2001 of April 28th, 2001, relating to the rights and protection of the child against violence under Article 22 states that, “necessary administrative, legal measures and those concerning social welfare and education must be taken in order to reinforce protection of the child against any kind of violence, psychological or physical brutality, abandonment, neglect, mistreatment, or exploitation.”
The Commission shall be autonomous in its administrative, financial and human resource management duties and supervised by the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF).
During a two- day conference on Violence against children which was held early this month, at Kigali Serena Hotel, MIGEPROF in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reviewed strategies to curb violence against children.
Teachers were also encouraged to fight against child abuse while all children were asked to break the silence and speak out against any form of violence inflicted on them.
The Minister for Gender and Family Promotion Aloysia Inyumba reviewed the recommendations and said they would be implemented in form of ‘Imihigo’, Rwanda’s performance- based contracts, in order to speed up the initiative.
“The cabinet has also announced that the National Children’s Commission will mainly focus on violence against children and fight for their rights” Inyumba said.
She said that some of the major forms of violence against children were defilement, child labour, and negligence of children living with HIV AIDS as well as the silence of families when members violate children rights.
The children commission will enable leaders and parents to listen to the voice of children through quarterly newsletters on child issues.
It will also promote the culture of people protecting children living with disabilities resulting from the abuse of their rights. These would include the deaf and those suffering from psychological trauma.
The Violence against Children Conference, brought together over 200 child rights activists, civil society organizations, researchers, doctors, educators, government officials and development partners. Their knowledge on child rights was deepened as they discussed different types of violence, social norms related to violence, its impact on children and their families and developed more insight on positive parenting options.
Marie Immaculee Ingabire, the Chairperson of Transparency Rwanda, said that children are everyone’s responsibility.
“A child belongs to the nation therefore we should not leave our children to be swayed in all direction by the winds. It’s our role as parents and citizens of this country to get involved in the life of each child. If anyone tries to violate a child’s rights, they should be reported to the authorities,” Ingabire said.
With more vigilance, violence against children can be dealt with square and fair in Rwanda’s society. Children are important and deserve to enjoy their childhood.