Rwanda: Peace Day - Youth to Interact With Legislators

24 September 2019

Government seeks to get the youth more involved in initiatives aimed at promoting peace, unity and reconciliation as Rwanda joins the world to celebrate International Peace Day.

The day is globally observed on September 21 as designated by the UN but in Rwanda it will be celebrated on September 27, according to the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC).

On this day, countries from across the globe commit to promote and contribute to building a culture of peace for future generations.

This year's celebrations are being held under the theme 'Climate Action for Peace', after it appeared as a topic for debate as a way to set motion for global action out of concern that it could pose as a security threat if left unmitigated.

At the national level, the Peace Day celebrations will be held at Parliament under the theme 'Carry the Light-Twara Urumuri', where youth representatives from all 30 districts will meet parliamentarians, government officials and UN representatives, among others in a 'Youth Parliamentary Exchange' to discuss the achievements, challenges and opportunities as well as strategies to promote peace in their communities.

The day is marked in Rwanda when the country is celebrating 25 years in the process of unity and reconciliation as the country continues to make commendable progress uniting and reconciling Rwandans, following the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Addressing the media on Monday at NURC headquarters, Fidèle Ndayisaba, the Executive Secretary of the commission, said the exchange will be an opportunity for the youth to learn from leaders' experiences on their contribution to Rwanda's journey to building peace, unity and reconciliation among Rwandans and commit to carrying on the journey.

"We have a country that values youth, whom we think it is important to help understand what we want to achieve. That is why they will be given time to interact with leaders, ask them whatever they want," Ndayisaba said.

"25 years on, Rwandans have contributed a lot to the nation's journey to unity and reconciliation and our country values peace a lot because it, and its people, know very well the cost of lack of peace," he added.

Ndayisaba said the youth will draw inspiration from testimonies that will be shared by those who have made, and still making, remarkable contributions to peacebuilding.

According to the 2018 Rwanda Governance Scorecard, unity, reconciliation and social cohesion stood at 93.95 per cent compared to 83.45 per cent in 2012.

The Government, through the commission targets to improve have this at 96 per cent by 2024, in line with the National Strategy Transformation (NST1) projections.

To achieve this, the commission will next month launch the 'Unity and Reconciliation Clubs' initiative at the village level to deepen and bring unity and reconciliation closer to the communities.

The clubs will be launched during the opening of the 'Unity and Reconciliation Month' which will run from October 1 to 30, during which Rwandans will reflect on the role of unity and reconciliation in building good relationships among them and a way to regain value to the Rwandan personality.

The month-long initiative will be held under the theme, '25 Years Towards Unity and Reconciliation: Our Unity, Our Choice'.

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