By. Eric Birori
Inzira Nziza is a NAR project dedicated to empowering young people to participate in political and governance processes.
Launched in February 2017, Inzira Nziza has so far engaged more than 400 young men and women; and 100 local leaders in five districts of Rwanda to advance democracy and the culture of Human Rights specifically in districts of Huye, Nyamagabe, Gisagara in Southern Province; Ngororero and Nyabihu in Western Province.
Through Inzira Nziza, NAR facilitates the exchange of ideas, experiences and best practices across the country to ensure that youth have a stronger voice in decision-making. Through this work, young people are building the leadership skills needed to become the next generation of democratic actors in their communities, leading to more youth-friendly policies. Inzira Nziza is made possible through the support of the USAID Rwanda.
It is through Inzira Nziza that Never Again Rwanda hosted a National Human Rights Conference organized in Kigali on December 11th, 2017 on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day celebrated worldwide on every 10th December 2017. Here are stories of youth narrating the impact of their participation to that important conference:
Umubyeyi Bonne fête Adeline (Inzira nziza Nyamagabe)
It was a pleasure to attend the International day of Human rights organized by Never Again Rwanda as it had given a space for youth to express their opinions and ideas but also to gain the skills on how our country (Rwanda) defend human dignity and fulfill universal declaration of human rights.
However, it thought me that all the people should be aware of their rights because “ignorance of the law is no excuse.” Specifically, young people have to know their rights in order to make a positive contribution in their families and their communities.
Taking advantage of the presentation of Mary Barikungeri, President of Rwanda Women’s Network (RWN), she reminded us that a number of 64% percent of seats that secured by women in Parliament is not only the evidence that women’s rights were reached. But she showed the other figures in the local level where 30% of women are not fulfilled.
Barikungeri pointed out that regarding the number of women in decision-making processes, the fact that should be considered the most is their performance and service delivery.
Barikungeri reminded the girls and women to earn their space and to stand up for their rights because they will not receive their rights as a Christmas cake.
Furthermore, young people should not believe that all the changes will be implemented from the top level, but they will be started within their homes and their communities with their full responsibilities.
All these skills have developed a sense of responsibility in me and I decided to be responsible citizen in order to help those people who are not aware of their rights.
Besides this, through the meeting, I have been able to meet with human rights experts and I learned a lot from them including how to better integrate human rights values into my daily life.
Uwiringiyimana Ernest from Huye District
The International day of human rights conference was very important for everyone specifically to young people, as for me it was a supplement to the skills I have earned in Inzira nziza training on human rights, democracy and youth participation.
Thus, the conference reminded me that in my community there are many people who don’t know their rights and others who suffer violations of their human rights.
After this conference, I have committed myself to play my part in the decision making processes as a way to inform and educate people about their rights by reminding them that they have rights which should be respected in order to advance peace, democracy and respect for everyone’s rights.
Iradukunda Ruth from Ngororero
To be invited to this conference has been evidence that Never Again Rwanda offer young people opportunity to participate in the decision-making processes as well as preparing them to become responsible citizens who are aware of their rights.
Mary Barikungeri, President of Rwanda Women’s Network (RWN), asserted that human rights should start within a family as a fundamental group unity of society and country’s development.
Because I knew that all the people are equal before laws, I will use the skills I was given by Never Again Rwanda to make human rights well known in my family as well as my community.
Delphine Iraguha from Save, Gisagara district
Delphine Iraguha is an Inzira Nziza project beneficiary from Gisagara District. She is studying at the University of Rwanda, Huye Campus. She has offered to share, with us, what she has learnt from the international day of human rights celebrated in Kigali by Never Again Rwanda on 11th December 2017.
I had the privilege of attending the National Human Rights conference, organized by Never Again Rwanda. I noticed that young people must use their creative ideas in the decision-making processes of their respective communities in order to build an inclusive society.
Most people in Rwanda are not aware of their rights to the extent that their rights are violated. Since my participation to the Inzira Nziza training, I decided to regularly attend community dialogues as a good way of sharing the message about human rights.
I have also been informed that a country can refuse to ratify a certain number of international agreement accordingly to national interests. This informs me that it is better to think critically before taking decisions, but also to read books, journals and laws to keep updated.
As young people, it is our responsibility to promote human rights, social justice and equality in our communities and to empower our peers through mobilization towards positive change and inclusive participation in our communities.
Mugabo Robert, from NAR’s youth club from Kagarama in Kicukiro
After being invited to the National human rights conference, I felt that they needed me to express my views and opinions on human rights. This made me think about how I can participate and how to express my ideas.
Therefore, I raised the issue of the ongoing review of the penal code, over some clauses criminalizing defamation. I asked whether or not these clauses will violate human rights once they are passed.
Despite expressing myself, I gained a lot of skills from the conference, I met with different people including panelists, moderators and they gave me guidance on how I can develop my human rights and leadership skills.
NAR’s working experience with young men and women indicates that youth engagement is best viewed as both an intrinsic democratic value and as an instrumental driver of democratic change.