Every year, on 10th December, the World celebrates the International Human Rights Day. This day was set aside by the United Nations following the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on 10th December 1948.
The Declaration established respect for human rights and human modesty as the pillar of freedom, peace and justice in the world.
Rwanda, on this occasion, joins the International Community in celebrating this day that provides an opportunity to confirm its commitment to protect and promote respect for human rights.
2016 International Human Rights Day
Generally, the International Human Rights Day is celebrated by Governments and Non-Governmental Organizations that are active in the human rights promotion and protection whereby they organize conferences, meetings, exhibitions, cultural events, debates and many more events to discuss issues pertaining to human rights with a focus on empowering people to know their rights.
In 2015, the UN human Rights office launched year- long campaign: “our rights our freedoms always” to promote and raise awareness about two importance conventions – The international Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) – whose adoption 50 decades ago forever changed international human rights.
This year, Human Rights Day calls on everyone to stand up for someone’s rights! Under the UN International slogan “Stand up for someone’s rights today!” it is a call for everyone in their own capacity to stand up for the rights of refugees, migrants, persons with disabilities, women, children, indigenous people, minority groups, LGBT persons and anyone else who is a risk of discrimination or violence.
Human Rights Day Celebrations in Rwanda
In Rwanda, the day will be celebrated under the theme “ Stand up for Someone’s rights today and promote child’s rights to education”. This is a call to Rwandans to know their rights and particularly children’s right to education.
On the occasion of celebrating the International Human Rights Day, the National Commission for Human Rights organised a human rights week which took place from December3 to 6.The week was characterized by sensitization sessions on human rights in higher learning institutions and local communities through media.
The Commission also organised an essay writing competition in fifteen higher learning institutions on International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICESCR) under the topic “Situation of human rights in Africa, particularly in Rwanda vis à vis the four fundamental freedoms that people everywhere in the world ought to enjoy”. The fundamental freedoms being – Freedom of speech, freedom of worship, Freedom from want and Freedom from fear.
The national celebrations will be held at Umuganda Stadium of Rubavu District on December 10.
National commission for Human Rights
As provided for by Article 42 of the Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda of 2003 revised in 2015, the promotion of human rights is a responsibility of the State which is particularly supported by the National Commission for Human Rights.
The National Commission for Human Rights was established by the Law N°04/99 of 12 March 1999 which has often been amended in order to provide more power and responsibilities to the Commission.
As of today, the Commission is governed by the law N°19/2013 of 25/03/2013 determining mission, organization and functioning of the Commission. By this law, the Commission has the overall mission of promoting and protecting Human Rights. It is an independent and permanent institution with a legal personality and autonomy in its administrative and financial matters.
Regarding the promotion of human rights, the National Commission for Human Rights educates and sensitizes the population on matters relating to human rights.
Moreover, the Commission provides views, upon request or at its own initiative on laws, regulations of public organs in force in the country and bills so as to ensure their conformity to fundamental principles of Human Rights.
The Commission carries out research on thematic issues and publishes findings with the purpose of promoting human rights.
Regarding the protection of human rights, the Commission receives, examines and investigates complaints relating to human rights violations and then urges relevant authorities to address identified cases of violation.
National Commission for Human Rights values the extent to which the respect of human rights in Rwanda has been protected and promoted.
Some of the complaints dealt with by the Commission include claims on the right to property, delays in compensation during citizens’ relocation, justice and children rights violation.
The commission has observed that there are some instances where children are denied their right to education. The commission therefore calls upon families and schools to partner to ensure that children’s rights are not violated.
In a bid to ensuring full respect of human rights, the National commission is consistently educating citizens on their rights in close collaboration with local authorities.
[Source:-The new Times]