By Eric Birori
The post-genocide Rwanda government committed to be a state governed by the rule of law by respecting fundamental human rights, power sharing, political tolerance and consensual democracy. But there are different segments of community members that are not fully enjoying their rights.
The Constitution of Rwanda as amended in 2016 provides fundamental principles that should govern social justice and other human rights that youth should take advantage of as stipulated in the 16th article: “All human beings are equal before the law. They shall enjoy, without any discrimination, equal protection of the law”.
Several sections of young men and women especially from rural districts feel excluded in participating to governance related to different reasons including social life, skills, low self-esteem and communication between them and their elders.
To bridge the gap, Never Again Rwanda is implementing Inzira Nziza project in 5 districts (Nyamagabe, Gisagara Nyabihu and Ngororero to contribute to the promotion of peaceful dialogue and democratic values through human rights based approaches and influence their understanding on the rights of the most vulnerable groups in Rwanda.
Participating to the training on human rights, democracy, critical thinking and youth participation, youth from Nyamagabe district showed they hadn’t enough knowledge on how to exercise their rights especially participating in governance and communities.
Mukeshimana Anitha, a youth volunteer in Kaduha Sector, emphasized that the training deepened her skills about different principles of human rights.
She said “From today I know that none may be deprived of their rights. I have decided to participate in sector council in purpose of raising youth issues; which we used to underestimate and exclude ourselves from decision-making processes for so long. I’m determined and I’m strongly determined to improve my levels of participation”.
Mukeshimana also urges youth to engage in different activities including community work for different purposes either advancing their issues and ideas or influencing their leaders.
Learning from experiences
Umubyeyi Adeline, a youth volunteer from Cyanika shared one of her experiences where the old woman rights violated by members of her family especially the land rights. The youth volunteer advised her to never give up and decided to take the case to the Police.
“We had advised her to never be silent about violations of her land rights. We connected her with the police to resolve that problem after sharing information. Most importantly I learnt that we need to be associated with our communities to show them they should be aware of their rights” Adeline said
Iyamuremye Frodouard is a sector councilor in Kibirizi Sector, he said that one day he raised an issue of a deteriorated road in the council meeting and he regrets to have kept quiet after missing his idea in final meeting resolutions.
Iyamuremye emphasized “Because I didn’t recognize my rights and responsibilities my ideas were despised and ignored. If the same issue happens in the future, I will make serious follow up and make my voice heard”.
Hategekimana J Baptiste, The Inzira Nziza project coordinator noted that youth should stand up for their rights and enjoy their responsibility to participate in governance by actively participating in decision-making processes and holding their leaders accountable.