On December 12th 2016, Never Again Rwanda (NAR) joined the world in commemorating the International Human Rights Day and on this day it was noted how the government of Rwanda has made strides in the promotion and protection of Human Rights.
The UN General Assembly proclaimed 10th December as the ‘Human Rights Day’, to bring the attention ‘of the people of the world’ to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard of achievement for all nations.
The day is set aside for reflection on the progress made in the global struggle for justice, equality, non-discrimination and the respect of fundamental human rights of all people of the world.
Back in Rwanda it was a perfect opportunity to talk about the state of human rights in our country and more specifically the role the youth can play in promoting them. In Rwanda, the youth make up approximately 39 percent of the total population and they are the future generation for Rwanda as a country. This is why it is imperative for them to play a key role in the protection and promotion of human rights.
Since the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis, Rwanda has made great strides in many different sectors. The economy has witnessed constant growth and poverty rates have significantly dropped. The country has recorded higher primary school enrollment rates and up to date, Rwanda has the highest number of women representation in Parliament.
All of these achievements are attributed to the policies, which are implemented by the government. Despite all these achievements, Rwanda still has a long way to go and this task is for the youth as leaders of tomorrow to take on.
For the youth to take on this enormous task, they need to be given platforms where they can share their ideas and find solutions to those challenges. NAR provides those platforms and the National Conference on Human Rights was one of them. The youth were able to interact with lawmakers, civil society, government officials, media and other stakeholders, in order to share thoughts and come up with solutions together.
Some of the most pressing issues were gender-based violence, domestic abuse, school dropouts and the rights of the disabled. Various suggestions were given by the different stakeholders, but it all comes to education. Education as a tool of advocacy is the main way in which human rights can be protected and promoted. It is through educating the young people that they will know its primitive to beat a woman home.
how wrong it is to beat a woman, no matter what he has seen at home, that you stop him from continuing that harmful practice. It is only through education that people in the community can understand, that despite his/her physical or mental limitation, the person still have the same rights and them and deserves the same opportunities.
It is mostly through that education that those issues can start to be tackled. It is everyone’s responsibility be it stakeholders or the government, Civil Society Organizations, development partners and the media to educate the youth. Never Again Rwanda, through the Youth for Human Rights project, is doing its part educate young people about those rights, this is done through discussions with different youth across the country, training on human rights, human rights themed essay competitions, radio shows and of course the hosting of the National Conference on Human Rights.
The writer is a Never Again Human Rights Expert