The Rwandan leader made the call on Saturday while opening the 13th National Leadership Retreat, at the Rwanda Defence Forces Combat Training Centre in Gabiro, Eastern Rwanda.
“What happened to our child protection policies? How come there are children roaming streets and begging for survival?” Kagame wondered, tasking government officials to do more to protect children.
He noted that it is unacceptable for Rwandan children to become beggars on streets, to be sold into slavery through human trafficking, or suffer from domestic violence.
“These children lead an unhealthy and often dangerous life that leaves them deprived of their basic needs for protection, guidance, and supervision which exposes them to different forms of exploitation and abuse. We must put an end to this!” Rwanda president emphasized.
World Health Organization studies show that street children suffer from health problems, and that they are exposed to a variety of toxic substances, both in their food and in the environment around them.
Last month Rwanda launched multi-ministry campaign aimed to improve the welfare of children and generally safeguard their rights.
The campaign is implemented jointly by the ministries of justice, local government and that of gender and family promotion.
It was introduced after weeks of public concern over a growing number of street children in Kigali and other urban centres across the country.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday Oda Gasinzigwa, Rwanda Minister of Gender and Family Promotion said that indeed there has been a growing number of street children and the government is committed to put an end to it.
“We stand in support of this call and will continue to push for more campaigns to ensure that no children roaming on streets begging for survival. These young people face immense challenges and deprivations and struggle to access even the most basic social services, forcing them into undesirable situations such as living on the streets,” she said.
Available statistics from the National Commission for Children indicate that about 2,177 children were integrated into families in 2012.
Meanwhile 2,797 former street children were integrated into families between 2013 and 2015.
More than 250 senior leaders from the Central Government, Local Government, parastatals and the private sector are taking part in the annual leadership retreat. It focuses on “Reaffirming Brand Rwanda” to boost local production.
The meeting will deliberate ways to improve delivery towards achieving the country’s Vision 2020 targets and as well how to revamp the country’s manufacturing sector. Enditem