Kigali — For the first time in the history of the annual National Children's Summit, children from several refugee camps in the country will be represented.

Each refugee camp will be represented by one refugee child at the summit that starts tomorrow. Also making their debut appearance at the summit will be children representatives from the four other partner states of the East African Community (EAC).

Kenya, Tanzania Uganda and Burundi are each expected to be represented by two boys, two girls and one child with disability.

The fifth annual summit will bring together 416 children representatives from the sectors, government officials, UN agencies and NGOs. The Minister in charge of Gender and Family Promotion Jean d' Arc Mujawamariya, said the summit contributes to the strengthening of democratic processes in Rwanda by providing a platform for children's participation and confidence building.

"Children who attend the summit become responsible and enhance their abilities to form and express their views and influence decisions about them," said Mujawamariya. The summit's idea was born during the tenth commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi when children were given a platform to express their views.

Mujawamariya said that the previous summits had yielded a lot in improving the lives of the children. She cited some of the achievements as being the relocating of the education fund from the Local Government Ministry to the Education Ministry, writing a chapter about children in EDPRS, and formation of Children Rights Defence Movements (CDM).

The summit falls on the 20th anniversary of the declaration of the United Nations Children's Rights of which Rwanda is a signatory.

Source: The New Times (Rwanda)