CESTRAR (Rwanda Workers’ Trade Union Confederation) is the most influential National Centre in Rwanda with 16 affiliated Rwandan trade unions, with a progressive membership of more than 165,000 workers in different sectors. Historically CESTRAR is the oldest and most representative National Centre in Rwanda and was created in 1985 through the recognition of democracy and freedom of association in Rwanda. In 1992 CESTRAR acquired its legal existence but only two years later in a situation where workers had not yet learnt the value of free and independent trade unions, the 1994 Genocide of Tutsi highlighted the precarious state of trade unionism through the loss of numerous trade union leaders and supporters, the destruction and plunder of trade union properties.
By its own nature and constitution CESTRAR is an inclusive and non-political organization that only organizes members according to their professions and believes that they should be given the same rights and opportunities regardless of political affiliation, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, minority etc. therefore, in its trade union work and (project) activities, CESTRAR takes into account the differentiated circumstances of its membership (and potential members).
CESTRAR represents workers at all levels to protect and promote the socio-economic and well-being of workers in order to create social justice. It promotes workers’ rights and defends the professional interests of workers as a part of a fight for good governance, democracy and the respect of the rights of individuals and in particular of workers.