From left to right: Nirere Madeleine, Chairperson of NCHR, Busingye Johnston, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Gatabazi Jean Marie Vianney, Governor of Northern Province and Fode Ndiaye, UN Resident Coordinator during the ceremonies



On December 8th, 2017, Rwanda celebrated International Human Rights Day held at Musanze Stadium under the global theme “Stand up for someone’s rights today”. The theme at global was chosen to highlight 70 years working in human rights. It is a kicking-off a campaign to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The year-long initiative will provide an opportunity to promote, engage with and reflect on the Declaration and its relevance in everyday life.


Rwanda joined the global human rights community to celebrate Human Rights Day under the national theme “Let us protect Human Rights while preventing drug abuse among the youths.” The purpose was to give out a message for the youths and bringing them together is an opportunity to engage them and discourage them from taking drugs because they are the future of Rwanda.



The Minister of Justice, Johnson Busingye, who is also the Attorney General, explained that drug abuse had been a root cause of human rights violation in the society. He said that drugs are the root cause of human rights violations. Reports have shown that most cases of domestic violence as well as gender based violence are caused by drugs. A society where drug abuse thrives, children can’t attend school or work.



He added that the country targets to end drug abuse completely to zero case. “We shall do whatever we can to end the vice. I advise everyone who consumes drugs to give up peacefully. No room for anything that compromises our security. We have dealt with bigger problems and are now history,” he said.


The Minister of Justice and Attorney General promised that the Government will do whatever it can to uproot drug abuse in the country as part of its mandate to safeguard human rights for the people of Rwanda.


The Chairperson of the National Commission of Human Rights (NCHR), Madeleine Nirere, said that the Commission values the extent to which the respect of human rights in Rwanda has been promoted and protected. She reminded the community that every person has rights but also responsibilities.



The Chairperson explained that the country is currently facing the challenge of drugs. So, it is important to engage youth in fighting and youth are called to be the agents in promoting human rights. This is everyone’s duty to protect one’s rights.


The celebration of the day was characterized by different activities including cycling race and the winners were awarded. Nirere said that the cycling race was an opportunity to attract as many young people as possible so that anti-drug abuse message, as stipulated in the theme, can reach as many possible victims as possible. 


Nirere said that the race was yet another medium of encouraging youth to engage in sports activities to develop better health disciplines that would prevent them from isolation that is more likely to develop bad habits such as drug abuse. 


The Chairperson of Rwanda National Commission for Human Rights pointed out that the country still has gaps to fill despite the progress made and therefore, youth should be empowered and engaged in the development of the country as well as solving its challenges. She concluded by saying that once one is a drug addict, they can’t control themselves and no hope for their vision. We have to treat young generation as future leaders.


The UN Resident Coordinator, Fode Ndiaye recognized the role of the country in protecting human rights worldwide such as hosting refugees from other countries. He also added that Rwanda has been a lesson to the world in making a tremendous progress in protecting its citizens after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.



On the occasion of celebrating the International Human Rights Day, the National Commission for Human Rights organized a series of events intended to promote and protect human rights that have been held successively during Human rights week. The week was characterized by a televised talk show which fully explored the theme of the year. The same day was also International Human Rights of People with Disabilities. The National Commission for Human Rights joined other institutions to commemorate the day.


There has been an anti-drug abuse campaigns in relation to the national human rights day theme emphasizing on prevention of drug abuse especially in some districts located on the borderlines of Rwanda with DR Congo, Burundi and Uganda. They include; Nyagatare, Kirehe, Burera, Gicumbi, Rubavu, Rusizi, HuyeDistricts and Nyarugenge District in the City of Kigali. These campaigns were conducted in partnership with National Youth Council and Civil society members.