PRINT PAGE SHARE THIS ACCESSIBILITY AT UNOG A A A A The United Nations in the Heart of Europe

News & Media

COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD REVIEWS REPORTS OF RWANDA
31 May 2013

The Committee on the Rights of the Child today concluded its consideration of the combined third and fourth periodic report of Rwanda on its implementation of the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  It also reviewed the two initial reports of Rwanda on the Optional Protocols to the Convention: on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and on involvement of children in armed conflict.

Introducing the reports of Rwanda, Zaina Nyiramatama, Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Children of Rwanda, said that significant progress towards achievement of the highest possible standards in the implementation of the Convention and its two Optional Protocols had been made.  Rwanda had adopted its Integrated Child Rights Policy in 2011 and had established the National Commission for Children in 2012, which was in charge of coordinating all child-related interventions.  Rwanda had put in place strategies and policies to reduce maternal and infant mortality, to increase access to health care, to prevent child labour, and to protect children with disabilities.

Committee Experts commended Rwanda for the creation of an impressive architecture of laws, policies and institutions to protect and promote the rights of children.  However, challenges remained such as gender and geographical disparities, pervasive gender-based violence, and high levels of poverty affecting up to the 60 per cent of children.  Experts also inquired about the serious discrimination and stigmatization affecting many children, especially those born out of rape during the genocide, children with disabilities, children heading households and children from the Batwa minority.

Responding to the questions raised during the dialogue on the report under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Rwanda’s delegation said that centres to stop violence had been established in 13 districts so far and there were plans to reach the remaining 17 districts.  A study on violence against children was being prepared and would underpin future programmes and measures in this area.  The childcare reform was indeed ambitious and aimed at moving 3,000 children currently in institutions to families and foster homes by 2014, and to transform orphanages into facilities that would support families at the community level.

Concerning the involvement of children in armed conflict and, in particular, the situation on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Experts expressed concern about the recruitment of Rwandan children, and refugee children residing in Rwanda by armed groups operating on the Congolese territory and asked about the demobilization and repatriation of those children.  Experts also inquired about the situation of children in military schools; about the possibility of lowering the minimum age for conscription in emergency cases; and the inclusion of human rights education in the school curriculum and in teacher training programmes.

The delegation stated that the legal age of recruitment into police and army forces was set at 18 years of age.  Non-State armed groups did not operate in Rwanda’s territory and there was no evidence of recruitment of children by or for armed groups operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  There was no credible method to assess how many Rwandan children were involved in armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  So far about 700 children had been repatriated and reintegrated into Rwandan society, either on their own or with their families.
 
Concerning the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Experts took note of legislative progress made to ensure the applicability of the provisions of the Protocol.  However, there were no specific provisions under the law regarding the sale of children, prohibiting sale of organs, and child forced labour.  Experts inquired whether the Optional Protocol provided the sufficient basis for extradition of foreigners who committed crimes in Rwanda’s territory; if centres for victims of sale and trafficking were available; and about the coordinating body for the activities under the Optional Protocol

The delegation indicated that trafficking in persons was criminalized by the law on children and the Penal Code; and that trafficking in children for purposes of prostitution was specifically prohibited.  The dissemination of the Optional Protocols and the reports of the Committee on the Rights of the Child among children had not systematically taken place in the past, but it would be done in the future.  Psychosocial and legal services for victims of human trafficking were available in one-stop centres located at the district level.  Rwanda stressed that the level of support provided to victims went hand in hand with the level resources available.

Agnes Akosua Aidoo, Committee Rapporteur for the report of Rwanda under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in closing remarks, commended Rwanda for its remarkable achievements.  It was necessary to recognize that in reality not all children enjoyed equal access to their rights.  Disadvantaged and marginalized children must be identified and efforts must be made to understand their realities, needs and conditions; and to take into account their views and views of their families. A true gender approach to children was needed, so that all children in need, boys and girls, were catered for.

Also in concluding remarks on both reports under the two Optional Protocols, Gehad Madi, Committee Rapporteur for the report of Rwanda under the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict, encouraged Rwanda to do more, particularly concerning the revision of legislation with a view to strengthening its legal framework.  The situation on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo remained the main concern of the Committee in relation to the protection of children in Rwanda.

In her closing remarks, Zaina Nyiramatama, Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Children of Rwanda, thanked the Committee for their relevant comments and recommendations, these would be shared with the concerned Government institutions, partners and the forum of children in Rwanda.

The delegation of Rwanda consisted of representatives of the National Commission for Children, the Ministry of Justice and the Permanent Mission of Rwanda to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

The Committee will next meet in public on Monday, 3 June, to consider the combined second to fourth periodic report of Israel on the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC/C/ISR/2-4).

Reports

The combined third and fourth periodic report of Rwanda on the Convention of the Rights of the Child can be read here (CRC/C/RWA/3-4), the initial report on the Optional Protocols to the Convention: on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography can be read here (CRC/C/OPSC/RWA/1), and on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict can be read here (CRC/C/OPAC/RWA/1).

Statements by the Delegation

ZAINA NYIRAMATAMA, Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Children of Rwanda, said that the genocide committed against the Tutsi population in 1994 had caused tremendous challenges and the loss of over one million citizens.  Since the submission of its last report, Rwanda had made significant progress towards the achievement of the highest possible standards in the implementation of the Convention and its two Optional Protocols.  The Integrated Child Rights Policy and its Strategic Plan had been adopted in 2011 and it was structured around seven areas: identity and nationality; family and alternative childcare; survival, health and standards in living; education; protection; justice; and child participation.  The national strategy for childcare reform had been adopted in March 2012 to streamline the child protection system; and had been translated into the national programme framework for the implementation of the Convention.  The integrated child policy had also allowed for the mobilisation of human resources and financial support from key development partners. 

In the area of child health and welfare, Rwanda had put in place strategies aimed at: reducing maternal and infant mortality, increasing access to health care, improving the nutritional status of children and mothers, and the improvement of living conditions of children in institutions.  Legal and policy frameworks had been established to prevent child labour and to protect children with disabilities.  A new policy, on children in conflict with the law, was being drafted and aimed at making juvenile justice more child-friendly.  Education was inclusive and non-discriminatory; the “Ubudehe” system was being used to define the most vulnerable children who would benefit from support from the Government.  The National Commission for Children had been established with the mandate to coordinate all child-related interventions.  Two new laws had been enacted, on rights and on the protection of the child.  A new Penal Code criminalized the infliction of suffering on children, the imposition of degrading and humiliating punishments on a child, human trafficking, and the involvement of children in pornography, exploitation, armed conflict, labour, narcotic drugs and arms trafficking.

Examination of the Report under the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Questions by Committee Experts

AGNES AKOSUA AIDOO, Committee Expert and the Country Rapporteur for Rwanda, noted that barely 20 years had passed since the horrific experience of genocide and commended the courage and determination to reconciliation and post-conflict development that was still ongoing.  Today, Rwanda was one of the most vibrant economies in Africa and was well on track to achieve most of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.  Worthy of commendation was the creation of an impressive architecture of laws, policies and institutions to protect and promote the rights of children, including the integrated child rights policy, early childhood development policy and the establishment of the National Commission for Children in 2011.  Rwanda faced important challenges in implementing the Convention, some of which were systemic and needed to be addressed vigorously.  Those included geographical disparities and inequalities between the northern and southern provinces and rural and urban areas; gender disparities and pervasive gender-based violence; and high levels of poverty affecting 44 per cent of the population and up to the 60 per cent of children, which had serious consequences on issues related to child health, education, labour and exploitation. 

The Country Rapporteur asked the delegation to clarify that the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion was in fact the body with the authority to coordinate legislation, policy and programmes to fulfil the rights of children and that the national Commission for Children was the lead agency in this regard.  The Rapporteur also requested the delegation to provide information about the capacity of the Commission to fulfil this task in the four provinces and 30 districts and whether it had fully trained personnel at those levels.  Concerning funding and budgeting, could the delegation explain what measures were being taken to increase the funding for all areas of the Convention, whether child-budgeting approach or child rights perspective was being used in the budgeting process and whether there were any budget lines earmarked to support specific activities for disadvantaged children?  What was the system of data collection and how did various institutions involved in the data collection collaborate together?  The delegation was also asked to comment on the reports of serious discrimination and stigmatization affecting many children, especially those born out of rape during genocide, children and girls with disabilities, children heading households and children from the Batwa minority. 

The Committee was rather concerned about low rates of birth registration and birth certificates issued and asked whether Rwanda undertook a study on the reasons behind those phenomena and what was being done to address them.  How was it possible to establish paternity of children born out of wedlock, who could initiate the procedures and how the lack of father was reflected in birth certificate?  The cooperation and coordination with various United Nations bodies and agencies took place at a rather high level, but the Committee was concerned about the coordination with the civil society.

Committee Experts inquired about the coordination between decentralized bodies at the district and community levels with the central bodies, the involvement of civil society organizations and children themselves in these systems; and about the mechanisms in place to ensure that resources supported the policy and strategy for children.  The delegation was asked about the preservation and guarantee of identity in the area of ethnicity, geographical locality, sexual orientation and gender identity; gender-based violence; national youth summits; and about the national human rights institution and access of children to this institution.

Response by Delegation

Concerning disparities among regions and different groups, the delegation stressed that ethnicity did not exist in the country.  All citizens lived in the same country, spoke same language and declared themselves as Rwandans.  All disparities were addressed through the Ubudehe system whereby people themselves identified the vulnerable individuals and groups in their communities and agreed who among them should benefit from various programmes.  The Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion was in charge of making national policies and programmes concerning children and family; while the National Commission for Children, supervised by the Ministry, coordinated the implementation of these policies with the assistance of an Advisory Council composed of high-level individuals from the relevant ministries.   The Commission counted with 19 permanent staff at the central level, while additional staff was hired for the implementation of specific projects; and the recruitment and training of social workers for district levels was ongoing.  Community-based child care workers provided direct support to families, in order to avoid situations of vulnerability for children, and liaised with village and district authorities.

The Commission decentralized its work to village and district levels: there were village-based structures which followed children in need, including children who left institutions and children victims of violence.  A database was currently being developed at the central level and it would contain data on children collected at the village level; this information would make it possible for the Government to mobilize the necessary institutions and to plan for budgetary allocations in a child-friendly manner.  The Observatory on Child Rights was an independent monitoring system of the National Human Rights Commission; it collected data on children and families and was a part of the Advisory Council, which ensured a connection and coordination with the National Commission for Children.

More needed to be done to ensure birth registration and birth certificates.  Rwanda was planning to undertake the revision of relevant laws, to raise awareness among parents, and involve hospitals and local authorities in the process.  The members of the National Children Summit were elected democratically and met annually since 2004; meetings at village and district levels would take place before the national Summit, where the key theme for the year would be selected. 

One-stop centres to stop violence had been established in 13 districts, and would be rolled out in all 30 districts.  The Ministry was preparing a study on violence which would underpin future programmes and measures to address violence against children.  An initiative to combat gender-based violence involved 52 organizations, which mobilized men to address violence against women; and civil society was very active in the country, media were free and there was freedom of expression.

In terms of monitoring and addressing disparities, the delegation said that a household census that took place every five years provided relevant information.  Currently there were plans to establish separate monitoring mechanisms at the village level that would ensure that data about families was collected on a more regular basis.

Responding to the follow up question concerning corporal punishment, the delegation said that the Government had started looking into this issue and had developed a draft Ministerial Order to define what corporal punishment was in collaboration with civil society.  Rwanda was moving towards the approach known as positive parenting.

Questions by Experts
 
AMAL ALDOSERI, Committee Expert and Co-Rapporteur for Rwanda, noted that educational opportunities had been expanded after the 1994 genocide and that Rwanda continued to demonstrate consistent progress on a number of criteria.  Issues of concern included budgetary allocations for education and its quality; the availability and quality of data on education; declining secondary school rates for boys; school drop out rates for girls and enrolment rates for children with disabilities.

AGNES AKOSUA AIDOO, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur for Rwanda, asked about the implementation of the framework for early childhood education and whether it was being used as a method to ensure a good start to life for children in vulnerable situations in an approach that would involve their families.  Could the delegation comment on measures to address children poverty; to support child-headed households; and to ensure decent living conditions for children, especially for the Batwa and for the families which were displaced by the Bye Bye Nyakatsi village development campaign?

Committee Experts noted that 2010 had seen a 27 per cent rise in child labour in the country and that about 60,000 children were involved in hazardous work, and asked about the progress achieved during the implementation of the five-year national plan to combat child labour.  Were children as young as 17 indeed allowed by law to work in the underground mines; if so, this was an issue of great concern to the Committee.

The delegation was asked about inter-country and domestic adoption and the system of monitoring of the welfare of children; about awareness raising campaigns on the rights of children with disabilities and how those children were removed from institutions; whether detention of children as young as 10 for offences carrying five years imprisonment was indeed possible and whether they were judged by special judges; the system of foster care system and services, training and support provided to foster families; and about access to safe water and sanitation for children.  Were reproductive health services and other health issues freely available to adolescents on a confidential basis?

Response by Delegation

There were several free hotlines which both children and adults could use to denounce cases of violence.  Rwanda strived to prevent the use children for domestic work.  It was not very common for children to be engaged in farming and agricultural activities because they were obliged to go to school and, in addition, legislation prohibited child labour.  Rwanda was in the process of amending the law of refugees while an administrative system was in place in refugee camps that allowed registration of children being born and residing there.

With regard to education issues, the delegation noted that some form of informal education was provided for children who could not attend regular classes, especially for those who have dropped out of school.  The Government had recently appointed a person in charge of such matters, particularly with respect to the problem of school dropouts, while families experiencing economic difficulties were receiving aid from the state to encourage the education of their children.  Some 3,072 classrooms had been built in 2009 and 2010, and almost as many had been built in 2011.  The legislation on safe abortion was under discussion and was not yet enacted. 

The childcare reform regarding institutionalization was indeed ambitious, but responded to a study conducted several years ago which had shown that more than 70 per cent of children of the 3,000 currently in institutions were not orphans.  Most of those children had already been moved out of institutions and jointed with their families.  The vision was to move all children out of institutions by 2014 and transform orphanages into various institutions which would support families on a community level, for example, by transforming them into early childhood facilities.  Rwanda had decided to implement de-institutionalization rapidly because it was not good for children to spend too much time in institutions and had created a system of professional social workers which were supporting the children leaving institutions.

Child labour in Rwanda was prohibited by law, but it continued to exist.  After a study on the subject had been conducted by the relevant ministry, action focused on awareness raising among employers and private entities, and on the strengthening of the work of labour inspectors at district level.  There were no children working in the mines or on plantations; the law prohibited work of children under the age of 16 in all sectors, while the work in mines was prohibited to all children.  In addition to measures taken so far, other mechanisms would be introduced at the community level to ensure a proper follow up, for example, whether children had been registered and counted with a birth certificate, whether they attended school and received regular health check ups, and whether they were involved in child labour.

Children under the age of 14 could not be prosecuted and punished for offences committed and those aged 14 and over would receive half the sentence prescribed for a crime.  In collaboration with the National Commission for Children and local governments, sensitization activities were being been conducted targeting parents who were keeping their children with disabilities out of school.  The National Council of Persons with Disabilities was active at the district level and had started to identify children with disabilities and to ensure that they attended schools.  The Ministry of Education planned to increase equipment and materials necessary for their education.

Youth friendly centres provided information on reproductive health to adolescents and this subject was included in the high school curriculum.  Peer-to-peer education and behaviour change methods were also used to ensure access to information about reproductive health for adolescents.  The Government offered free DNA tests to underage mothers in order to identify the fathers; this test was too expensive for adult mothers, who could register a child on her own without the need to provide name of the father.

Examination of the reports under the Optional Protocols on the involvement of children in armed conflict, and on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

Questions by Experts on the reports under the Optional Protocols on the involvement of children in armed conflict

GEHAD MADI, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for the Report of Rwanda under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, commended Rwanda for bringing its legislation and police and army regulations in line with the Optional Protocol.  Considering that only seven per cent of Rwandan children counted with birth certificates, what criteria were being used to verify the age during military recruitment?  The Committee would welcome a specific legal prohibition on the recruitment of children under the age of 18 by the police, army and non-State armed groups.  Mr. Madi commended the progress achieved in the demobilization and repatriation of Rwandan children involved in armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and asked how many were still involved in this conflict; some sources indicated a figure of 2,500 children?  What obstacles remained regarding the demobilization and repatriation of those children? 

The situation on the Rwanda-the Democratic Republic of the Congo border was of a great concern to this Committee.  Many reports indicated that Rwandan children and refugee children residing in Rwanda were being recruited by armed groups.  Some of the reports indicated that Rwandan border authorities were facilitating the recruitment of children, particularly into the M23 rebel group, and that Rwanda was providing this group with weapons and ammunition.  There was an international arrest warrant for the former rebel leader, Laurent Nkunda, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for war crimes and crimes against humanity.  Mr. Nkunda had been arrested by the Rwandan army in 2009 but no judicial action had been taken against him so far.

BENYAM DAWIT MEZMUR, Committee Vice-Chaipreson and Co-Rapporteur for the Report of Rwanda under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, asked about the role of the national human rights institution in the follow up on the issues under this Optional Protocol.  Were there any children in military school and, if so, was the training and education programme aligned with the provisions of the Protocol?  Was there any possibility in the legislation to lower the age of conscription in case of an emergency?  Did Rwanda intend to include human rights education in the school curricula and in teacher training programmes? 

Discussion on the report under the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict

The delegation said a birth certificate and an acte de naissance, a document issued to children whose birth had been registered after the legally prescribed period of 15 days following the birth, were required for recruitment.

In the follow up comments, the Committee expressed concern about the procedural provisions and statistical data regarding birth registration.  In 2010, while 63 per cent of children had been registered only 7 per cent had a birth certificate.  Experts expressed hope that the 15 days deadline given to parents to register their children would be extended, in order to take into account their place of residence and the distance from the registration centre; that the issuing of birth certificates would be coupled with the act of registration of birth; and that number of children without certificate would be significantly reduced.  Birth registration and the possession of a birth certificate had multiple implications on the rights of children guaranteed under the Convention and its two Optional Protocols.

The delegation stated that the legal age of recruitment into police or army forces was 18 years of age.  There were no non-State armed groups operating in Rwanda’s territory and there was no evidence of recruitment of children by or for armed groups operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.   

A Committee Expert noted that reports of recruitment of children on the territory of Rwanda came from credible sources, such as the United Nations Security Council, and asked whether Rwanda had conducted an independent and impartial investigation into these claims.  The Expert also asked for an explanation of the involvement of 2,500 Rwandan children in armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In response, the delegation said that the Government of Rwanda had responded in detail to the allegations contained in these reports on the basis of credible investigations.  The presence of Rwandan children on the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo was a consequence of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, after which the whole machinery responsible for genocide had fled.  They were still Rwandans despite having fled its territory for twenty years and being members of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which the United Nations listed as a terrorist organization. 

About 700 Rwandan children involved in the armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo had been repatriated and reintegrated; some were repatriated with their families and some through demobilization and repatriation programmes in place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Rwanda did not have evidence concerning the recruitment of refugee children residing in its territory. 

There was no credible method for estimating the number of Rwandan children involved in armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Estimates were based on the number of FDLR members, thought to be 5,000.  The recently established joint-verification mechanism between Rwanda, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania and other States, counted with the specific mandate to look into allegations coming from either side of the border in order to verify their credibility. 

There were no children in military academies and there were no provisions allowing for lowering the minimum age for conscription in emergency cases.  Human rights education was part of the curriculum in primary and secondary schools and several additional programmes on human rights and peace education existed.  Human rights education was also part of teacher’s training.  The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was one of the key partners of the Government and they enjoyed a fruitful cooperation.  The monitoring of refugee camps was undertaken by the Government, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.  The National Human Rights Commission’s mandate also included refugee camps. 

The delegation confirmed the presence of Laurent Nkunda in the territory of Rwanda, where he was detained.  Charges had been brought forward against him by the Democratic Republic of the Congo for crimes committed in its territory and an extradition request had been made.  In principle, Rwanda did not extradite persons for crimes punishable by the death penalty and his extradition was subject to judiciary proceedings in Rwanda.  Because the alleged crimes had been committed in the territory of another State, it had not been possible for Rwanda to establish their credibility and to start a trial.

Questions by Experts on the report under the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

HATEM KOTRANE, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for the Report of Rwanda under the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, noted the progress made by Rwanda’s legislation to ensure the applicability of the provisions of the Protocol and said that there were no specific provisions under the law regarding the sale of children, prohibiting sale of organs, and forced labour of children.  Was the Optional Protocol considered as a sufficient basis for extradition of foreigner when they committed a crime? 

Other Experts asked about centres for victims of sale and trafficking and about the coordinating body for the activities under the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

Discussion on the report under the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

The delegation said the National Human Rights Commission was involved in the implementation of the provisions of the two Optional Protocols and played a key role in their dissemination in Rwanda.  The Commission was in charge of receiving complaints for violations of rights protected by the Protocols and conducting investigations in this regard. 

Trafficking was criminalized and punishable by both legislation on children and the Penal Code, and the prescribed sanctions were particularly severe.  Monitoring of child pornography activities, particularly on the Internet, was still not systematic, but discussions on the subject were ongoing with the police.  The main concern was not to infringe on freedom of expression and speech and the right to access to information.  The Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedures counted with provisions to judge crimes committed outside of Rwanda’s borders; but collaborating with other States sometimes took a long time.  It was possible to bring into Rwanda culprits charged with the crime of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, crimes of trafficking and others, and Rwanda’s jurisdiction in such cases was guaranteed.

Trafficking in children for purposes of prostitution was specifically prohibited in national legislation and the delegation agreed that laws needed to be even more specific and list the acts that were criminalized.  A study into the complete set of international treaties ratified by Rwanda was needed, as well as identifying provisions which were not yet applicable in domestic legislation, and to prepare the necessary laws.  The dissemination of the Optional Protocols and the reports of the Committee on the Rights of the Child among children had not systematically taken place in the past, but it would be done in the future. 

In a series of follow up questions, Experts inquired about the availability of assistance, recovery and rehabilitation services for children victims of sale, prostitution and pornography; about measures for the protection of children from sale for purposes of adoption; and whether any legal provisions existed in addition to the Penal Code prohibiting the import, export and possession of child pornography.  In its response, the delegation noted that psychosocial and legal services for victims of human trafficking were available in centres located at the district level; and that the level of support provided to victims went hand in hand with resources available. 

Concluding Remarks

AGNES AKOSUA AIDOO, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur for Rwanda, commended Rwanda for many remarkable achievements over the past 10 years and for the new vision for the creation of a new society based on peace, democracy and human rights.  Rwanda had ratified all the core human rights instruments; established institutions and monitoring systems; and laws and institutions did provide a framework.  However, this was still work in progress.  Rwanda should recognize that not all the children enjoyed equal access to their rights and efforts were needed in order to identify those disadvantaged and marginalized; to better understand their realities, needs and conditions; and to take into account their views and those of their families.  Women and girls faced challenges in a number of areas, including access to secondary education, in the area of domestic work, and in the form of gender-based violence.  These issues needed to be addressed but equal attention must be given to boys.  A true gender approach to children was needed, so that all children in need, boys and girls, were catered for.

GEHAD MADI, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for the Report of Rwanda under the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict, in his closing remarks on both Optional Protocols, encouraged Rwanda to do more, particularly concerning the revision of the laws with a view to strengthening its legal framework.  The Committee fully understood the sensitive situation on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and it remained the main concern of the Committee in relation to protection of children in Rwanda.

ZAINA NYIRAMATAMA, Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Children of Rwanda, expressed appreciation to the Committee for their relevant comments and recommendations which would be shared with the concerned Government institutions, partners and with the forum of children in Rwanda.

KIRSTEN SANDBERG, Committee Chairperson, thanked the delegation and wished them a safe journey back.


For use of the information media; not an official record

CRC13/015E