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Rwanda, 21 November 2014: Children from across the East Africa Community join Rwanda in celebrating the 25th Anniversary of CRC combined with the 10th Annual Children’s Summit

November 2014 – On 20th November 2014, the 10th National Children’s Summit took place in the Rwandan capital Kigali and was combined with the 25th anniversary celebrations for the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The Summit has been supported by UNICEF from the start and has proven to be an outstanding platform for dialogue and change, with children at the centre of the debate and ideas.

This special anniversary featured the participation of children representatives from across the East Africa Community members; Kenya, Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania. The representatives set out significant successful steps their own countries have taken towards developing child rights and set the tone of collaboration and sharing best practice among children at the summit.

All of the speeches from the EAC representatives set the bar high for the day and were delivered eloquently, passionately and from a well-informed view point. Notably, Isabelle Kansiime, 16, from Uganda highlighted to the audience that “You do not measure the success of a country by the number of big buildings or nice cars, but in the investments made in its people.”

The overall theme for this year’s conference was 20 Years and Beyond; Advancing children’s rights in Rwanda to highlight many achievements in the country, such as the impressive decline in under-five mortality (the highest improvement in East and Southern Africa) which UNICEF Representative, Noala Skinner, described as “a child survival revolution.”

The Rt. Honourable Prime Minister, Anastase Murekezi, opened the ceremony with a personal message from H.E. President Paul Kagame and the First Lady Jeannette Kagame directed at the children; “We have you in our hearts and wish you a successful 10th anniversary of the Children’s Summit.” The Prime Minister concluded his opening remarks with advice for the children; “You are the hope of this country, you are the future leaders of this country. Always uphold characteristics that reflect good citizens.”

Since 2004, Rwanda has annually succeeded in ensuring meaningful child participation in the country through the National Children’s Summit and this year was no different. The Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion, through the National Children’s Commission, organised the event which was supported by UNICEF and partners. More than 500 children were in attendance in total including representation from across all 30 districts of the country. Children living with disabilities and those from refugee camps also joined. An engaged and active youth population, which knows its rights, is a vital part of any country. With youth as knowledgeable and passionate as these, the countries of the East African Community have a bright future.

 

 
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