Estamos construyendo un nuevo
Durante algún tiempo nuestras páginas estarán en período de transición. Gracias por tu paciencia. Por favor visita nuestro sitio de nuevo para ver las mejoras.

Centro de prensa

News note

President Kagame, UNICEF representative, and key guests at nation’s fifth Children’s Summit

Children speak out against violence; President promises the creation of a children’s commission

KIGALI, November 12, 2009 - In the presence of the nation’s top leadership, including the President of the Republic of Rwanda and in front of representatives of children from East Africa, Rwandese children  – including those who live in refugee camps and those who have been demobilised, spoke out today on violence perpetuated against them.

“It is time our parents had the courage to speak out against violence done to their children,” said child delegates,” rather than feeling ashamed and hiding egregious crime like rape. They need to denounce perpetrators so we can all be protected.”

This was just one of the many recommendations forwarded by children attending Rwanda’s annual Children’s Summit. Other recommendations called on children to take action against violence by informing local authorities of abuse. Yet another recommendation called on everyone to stop stigmatising children who were survivors of violent acts. The government was asked to establish an agency to deal with violence in each of the country’s 416 sectors and every citizen was called to uphold the rights of the child.

“This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,” said Diane Irakoze, a young girl of fourteen. “It is time everyone realised that we are not for sale.”

This year’s Children’s Summit, which has become an annual event in Rwanda, brought together over 400 children from each of the country’s 30 districts to focus on the role of children in fighting violence perpetrated against them. Although there are no reliable statistics on violence against children in Rwanda, over 100,000 children in the country live in child headed households, where they can be exposed to violence and abuse. In addition, 10.6 per cent of children in Rwanda work in conditions that may be hazardous to their health and well-being, including in stone quarries and tea plantations.

Children who are employed as domestic workers are also often exposed to all sorts of exploitation, abuse and violence, including sexual violence. Moreover, child labour contributes significantly to increase the rates of school drop-out

“We are aware of the violence and the risks that our children face,” said President Paul Kagame, in his inaugural address. “that is why children have a right and must participate in nation building. It is only by your actions and ability to stop people from doing harm to one another that we can build a strong nation,” he added.

The President also promised to set up a Children’s Commission to look into issues of violence against children.”

“The United Nations in Rwanda remains committed to promoting children’s rights in this country,” added the UN Resident Coordinator (ai) and UNICEF Representative, Joseph Foumbi, “which is why have supported the establishment of an Observatory on Child Rights, a free legal aid campaign, a recently enacting law protecting children and others from gender based violence and the development of a draft integrated Child Policy that takes into account violence against children.”

Earlier this year, the UN also helped inaugurate the nation’s first one-stop centre for survivors of child, domestic and gender based violence. Since its launching in July 2009, the centre has already provided free medical, psychological and legal assistance to more than 200 children and women.

“We all have a role to play infighting violence,” said the President, “and I ask you all to be brave and courageous and be the first to say no to acts that go against the realisation of your rights.”

The idea of a Children’s Summit was born during the 10th Commemoration of the Rwandan Genocide with children expressing their feelings about what had happened and how this had affected them. Leaders, including President Kagame, were so moved by the voices of children that the Government of Rwanda decided that the summit must become an annual proceeding.

Each year since 2004, children themselves have proposed, not only what they themselves can do about a particular theme, but what adults can do to help them. In 2006, children defined a world that was fit for them. The 3rd Summit held in 2007 resulted in children writing a chapter in the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy for 2008-2012. And last year’s Summit (2008) focused on fighting the genocide ideology.

For more information please contact:
Misbah M. Sheikh, Chief of Communication, Tel +250788300731, Email: