Members of Children Rights Protection Committees in Burera and Ruhango districts moved to draw and implement conclusive strategies to improve the welfare of children and generally safeguard their rights.
The members include security organs, Women Councils, Umuhuza Parents Facilitators representatives at Sector level, local leaders, and civil society among other partners.
The move came after discussions that brought together stakeholders to discuss ways to promote children’s right and fight against their violation.
The discussions were organized by Umuhuza organization in partnership with Burera and Ruhango Districts under a project dubbed “Strengthening an Accountable Governance that Protects and Delivers Child Rights.”
The project started in 2017, and was implemented by Umuhuza organization in partnership with Save the Children.
Despite efforts and achievements the country has made in promoting rights of children, it was noted that there are still cases of child abuse in different parts of the country.
Among challenges, there is a high number of teenage pregnancies, school drop outs, in addition to issues of child labor, domestic conflicts, and unregistered children among others.
According to Margarete Mujawamariya, the National Women Council representative in Burera District, most cases of children’s rights violation are caused by domestic conflicts.
“When there is no peace in a family, children are affected in one way or the other. Protecting the rights of the children should be a responsibility for everyone. Any case in which a child’s right is violated should be reported on time and by every community member,” she said.
To end the challenges, the activists have said that families living in conflicts should be identified and educated on children’s rights using positive discipline in everyday parenting approach.
In addition, there should be collaboration among community members and security organs against children’s rights violations like child labour.
Clement Hodari, District Chief Investigator at Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) in Ruhango District, warned families and people who conceal information about abuse of children’s rights.
“We still have cases of children whose rights are abused by their relatives, but their families prefer to conceal these issues. This shows that community members need to be sensitized enough about children’s rights and know that every suspect who violates them should be brought to justice,” he said.
Eumene Musabwa, District Director of Education in Burera and Rugendo Byiringiro, Gender Officer in Ruhango district, shared the same remarks commending Umuhuza. They said that although the project was in its fifth and final year, it was clear that Umuhuza’s intervention was still needed to support the work related to child’s rights protection.
According to Beatrice Nisubire, Umuhuza senior Project officer, under the project some issues violating the rights of children were fixed such as their return to school, protection from child labor, advocacy for justice and their civil registration.
The project was launched in 2016 in Burera district and later expanded to Ruhango District in 2017.
2021 marks the end of the project and other activities are underway in 12 sectors of Burera and Six sectors of Ruhango district, to engage community stakeholders, including local leaders, Faith-Based Organizations, youth and parents working together towards promoting child protection through the creation of free child violence communities and families.