Human rights are meant to ensure the inherent human dignity and equality of all human beings. From the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the international community has built a great foundation of human rights law. We must continue these efforts to ensure and enhance promotion and protection of all human rights, including by creating necessary safeguards against new and contemporary manifestations of discrimination, injustices and obstacles to the full realization of all human rights.
In the twenty-three years since the Genocide against the Tutsi, the Government and people of Rwanda have embarked upon a path of reconciliation, nation building, development and the consolidation of human rights and the rule of law.
Rwanda’s Constitution is built on the principle of equal rights and equal treatment of all citizens and persons without any distinction. It guarantees fundamental rights and freedoms. Article 42 of our Constitution, states that “The promotion and protection of human rights is a responsibility of the State. A further forty-one articles are dedicated to the guarantees of fundamental human freedoms including all of the human rights stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Rwanda is a State Party to 8 core United Nations Human Rights Instruments and has ratified a number of optional protocols including the Optional Protocols to the Convention against Torture and to the Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Rwanda is up to date in reporting on all of these Conventions to the relevant Treaty Bodies. Rwanda also issued a standing invitation to all UN Special Procedures and has welcomed a number of Special Procedures mandate holders.
The Rwanda National Commission for Human Rights, which is Rwanda’s Independent National Human Rights Institutions and enjoys a status under the Paris principles is tasked with the overall promotion and protection of human rights and advise the Government, Parliament and any other competent body on issues related to legislation and general compliance and implementation with international human rights instruments.
In addition, key institutions for the protection of human rights have been created such as the National Commission for Children, the National Council for Persons with Disabilities and the Rwanda Governance Board which is responsible for promoting good governance and for creating an enabling environment for civil society organisations and media.
In addition: a strident and determined civil society is playing an active role in assisting the victims of human rights in getting their grievances addressed, helping the government in shaping human rights compliant policies, fostering a culture of accountability and assisting in changing societal attitudes through awareness raising. Similarly, our independent judiciary and office of ombudsman, has taken wide ranging steps to guarantee protection of constitutional rights of all citizens.
In conclusion, Rwanda is committed to the observance of human rights as enshrined in the UDHR and the universality, interdependence, indivisibility of civil, political, economic, social and cultural human rights. In that regard, Rwanda remains ready to continue its cooperation with UN human rights mechanisms and all stakeholders; further strengthen the UN’s human rights pillar including through; ensuring that it is able to prevent violations of human rights globally; implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals which seek to realize the human rights of all including through ensuring the right to development; and cooperate with all stakeholders in the promotion and protection of human rights in a transparent, impartial and non-politicized manner.
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