By Elias Hakizimana
Rwanda’s Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have pledged commitment to update their knowledge about laws so as to help citizens easily access to justice and be aware of their human Rights.
Rwemalika Felicitée, Chairperson of Rwanda NGOs Forum on health and human rights commended the efforts by the justice sector of Rwanda so far; and requested for more support to civil society to increase members’ knowledge in laws.
“The justice sector of Rwanda has made a tremendous journey to avail access to justice and civil society are key partners. In Rwanda, Civil societies play a significant role in justice sector by engaging in anti-corruption activities, regal aid as well as promoting human rights,” she said.
She said that lack of such skills and collaboration with government can lead some to fail to provide for equality before law, equal access to justice and equal accountability under law.
Rwemalika said that in order to close the gap, there is a new project to help civil societies get updated on laws and play role in giving ideas that initiate or reform the laws.
“We will be able to ensure better support in terms of access to justice since we even reach further the grassroots citizens. Whatever sector that they cover, they need to be aware of related laws,” she said.
She was addressing members of CSOs last week during a round-table on the role of these organizations in enhancing access to justice.
“Rwanda needs a vibrant civil society portfolio that makes proper analysis of the society’s real challenges, associates with the community in a journey of searching for solutions, and able to network to influence all development and inform the partners all across the world,” said Johnston Busingye Busingye, the minister of justice.
He noted that one of overarching pillars of Civil society in the justice sector is the respect and promotion of human rights and social justice as the basis of the rule of law.
“In that respect, CSOs are effective development actors when they implement activities being individual and collective rights, including the rights to development, the rights to dignity, descent work, social justice and equity, etc. The Rwanda civil society role reaches and impacts anti-corruption, gender equality, poverty eradication, HIV management, tolerance, promotion of participatory governance are very recommendable,” Busingye said.
He said that justice and reconciliation are among the key elements of the National Strategy for Transformation set from 2018 to 2024.
The 2018 Governance Scorecard shows that satisfaction of the citizens with access to justice was at 77 per cent, the scenario that shows that some people are not aware of laws that protect them.
The scorecard shows that the vitality of CSOs in policy formulation was at 63.7 per cent, recommending further participation of civil society in making awareness and streamlining legal aid policies
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