The warning follows 22 children who were recently rescued from rice plantations while others were found carrying crates of beer.
According to Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Sylvestre Twajamahoro, the Police spokesperson for the Southern region, 14 children were being used to distribute beer to different bars and customers in Muganza sector of Nyaruguru District, during the festive season.
They were being paid between Rwf100 and Rwf200, depending on the distance, per crate delivered.
Eight others were rescued on Thursday in a rice plantation in Ntyazo Sector in Nyaruguru District where they were working as casual labourers.
All the children are aged between 13 and 15.
“Some parents, who are contracted to cultivate, harvest or carry rice in Kanyamugenda marshland use their children, who almost spend the whole day in this hectic work. Other minors are directly contracted by rice farmers," said CIP Twajamahoro.
“Parents and the community in general should take the primary responsibility to protect children from such hectic activities, which are harmful to their health," he added.
“Several campaigns are being conducted to sensitize the public against child abuse and other child rights violations. Child protection is a collective responsibility; everyone should understand that whoever exploits or deprives a child of their rights will face the wrath of the laws,” he warned.
Article 6 of law No. 71/2018 of 31/08/2018 relating to the protection of the child defines a child as “any person under 18 years of age.”
Article 6 of the law regulating labor in Rwanda, prohibits subjecting a child below the age of 18 to any form of works, which are physically harmful to the child; work underground, underwater, at dangerous heights or in confined space; work with dangerous machinery, equipment, and tools or which involves manual handling or transport of heavy loads; work in an environment, which exposes the child to temperatures, noise levels or vibrations damaging his/her health; work for longer hours or during the night or performed in confined spaces.