Rwanda: Children Commission Dissolved

The National Children Commission (NCC), and the National Early Childhood Development Programme (NECDP) are to be merged into one institution once a new bill that the Government tabled before the Parliament on July 28, 2020 is enacted into law.

While presenting the relevance of the draft law repealing law establishing the National Children Commission before the Chamber of Deputies, Fanfan Rwanyindo, the Minister of Public Service and Labour, said that it is in line with the government decision to rationalize public services.

The minister said that the new institution to be created from the merger will be in charge of child development and protection.

"Bringing the new entities together will help consolidate efforts, prevent overlap in responsibilities, and achieve efficiency in child protection," she said.

MP Elizabeth Mukamana said that NECDP has responsibilities to ensure the welfare of children from conception to six years of age, while NCC has been mandated to ensure the rights of all children under the age of 18 are fully respected.

"I would like to get clear explanations about how the Government is ready to ensure the rights of children while the two institutions are merged yet they have different responsibilities," she said.

For MP Germaine Mukabalisa, the two institutions had similar responsibilities and merging them into one institution is a laudable move.

However Mukabalisa said that NCC had a major responsibility to implement the programme of reintegrating children from orphanages into families.

"NCC's employees including those in districts have been helping in identifying families to foster those orphaned children. There are children, especially those with disabilities who often do not easily get welcoming families. How will the new institution be able to catch up and make sure that such children enjoy their rights," she wondered.

MP Gamariel Mbonimana said that sometimes when entities are fused, some responsibilities are not effectively carried out.

He said that there should be a thorough story to protect the workers who might be affected by the rationalisation so that they do not end up being jobless.

MP Theogene Munyangeyo said that the Government should show how the move will benefit the country by comparing the existing arrangement and the proposed one.

He wondered why the programme - NECDP - should not be included in the NCC.

"The Government should be showing the state of the already existing results including how much was being spent, and how much it plans to spend under the new change so that we understand the benefits being brought about," he said.

Minister Rwanyindo said that the employees who work for NCC will be managed by the Ministry of Public Service and Labour.

She told lawmakers that a presidential Order establishing the new institution was prepared. She added that the draft organisational structure was made; pointing out that both the mandates of NCC and NECDP will be catered for under the new entity.

She explained that NECDP was established by the Prime Minister's Order to address the stunting issue among [under five] children, in order to ensure a well-coordinated response.

"NCC has been looking at the child's rights in a comprehensive way - including the rights and the development of a child. Tackling malnutrition among children [which has been a responsibility of NECDP] is part of a children's rights. Therefore, we realise that the work of NECDP is, in fact, part of NCC. And, combining the two will cater for the child's welfare in a holistic way, from conception to teenage," she said.

The Chamber of Deputies approved the relevance of the above-mentioned bill, but resolved that it will be scrutinised by a responsible parliamentary committee before holding its vote into law.

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