A group of about 50 lawyers from around the country yesterday began a-two-day workshop on the application of international human rights norms in national courts.
The workshop, held in Kigali, was organised by the UN Senior Human Rights Advisor's Office in collaboration with the Kigali Bar Association.
Amata Sangho Diabate, Acting Country Director for UNDP, who officially opened the seminar, said the UN recognises respect for human rights and dignity as the foundation of a fair and free society adding that human rights are a vital tool for development in any country.
"Rwanda has devoted considerable resources both nationally and internationally to the protection and promotion of human rights and it has ratified all the UN conventions on human rights," Amata said.
In the context of Rwanda's national strategy to strengthen the judiciary and the rule of law, One UN is helping to build the capacity of high level authorities on adhering to international conventions that Rwanda has ratified.
She added that the UN is dedicated to always support every stakeholder in the judicial sector in Rwanda in promoting human rights as they are one of the means for peace and development.
Vincent Karangwa, who represented the Kigali Bar Association, said it will play a key role in building the capacity of legal practitioners in the country on the compliance with and application of the international human rights treaties in national courts.
"The Kigali Bar Association's vision is to be a vibrant and independent bar association committed to justice and the rule of law by harnessing the legal profession in this nation, and it's in this regard that I believe this training is of great importance as it will help us in achieving this goal," Karangwa said.
He added that the training will empower them with more knowledge and skills on how best to advocate for human rights in the country.
Karangwa, also the Vice President of the Pan African Lawyers Union in charge of Central Africa, noted that International Human Rights Law provides norms that are likely to apply to a whole variety of legal cases.
Chris Mburu, the Senior Human Rights Adviser to UN Rwanda, said the training is aimed at enhancing the knowledge of lawyers in international and regional human rights laws.
He added that the workshop is also intended to improve the lawyers' access to information regarding human rights standards and case laws.
Karangwa said Rwanda currently has over 700 lawyers and that the Bar association will collaborate with UN Senior Human Rights Advisor's Office to train more lawyers in the same skills.