Violence against women and girls is one of the most pervasive violations of human rights in the world. The United Nations estimates that one in three women will experience physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime, while a 2013 report documented that 45.6 per cent of women in Africa experienced physical and sexual violence in their lifetime compared to 35 per cent globally (SA Medical Research Council 2013).
Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Human Trafficking (HT) threaten entire societies by fuelling cycles of violence and carries significant economic impact in the form of health-care costs, lost income, decreased productivity, and negative impacts across generations.
The United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women, Peace and Security was the first landmark Resolution to be adopted in 2000, and there have been six related Resolutions since then, namely; UNSCR 1820 (2008), UNSCR 1888 adopted in 2009; UNSCR1889 of 2009; UNSCR 1960 of 2010; and UNSCR 2106 and 2122 adopted in 2013.
All these resolutions provide member states with the framework for implementing and monitoring the Women, Peace and Security agenda.
Human trafficking and violence against women and children symbiotically are serious crime and a grave violation of human rights too. Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad. Almost every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims.
Thus, African Security Organs have made firm commitments and considerable progress to support the move to end violence against women and girls. In response to the call for Action by the former UN Secretary General in the Global campaign “UNiTE campaign to end Violence against Women and Girls” (VAWG), and later launched Africa UNiTE campaign in January 2010 in Ethiopia; Rwanda`s security Organs in partnership with the One UN-Rwanda launched the campaign in Rwanda in October 2010 in high level international conference under the theme ”The role of African security organs in ending violence against women and girls”.
The conference was concluded with a proclamation and signing of the Kigali Declaration (KICD) and the subsequent establishment of the Secretariat to follow up the implementation of the Declaration.
During the 6th KICD Annual General Meeting held from March 6th to 7th 2017, in Kampala-Uganda, a number of interventions showcasing security organ’s efforts in ending VAWG and support to victims of trafficking were shared.
The meeting resolved that the Regional Centre of Excellence on GBV and Child abuse in Kigali be a Centre for benchmarking and capacity building by the respective National Centers and that Member States incorporate gender based trainings and related crimes in their respective curricula.
The Regional Centre of Excellence
In 2013, then UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, flanked with the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, laid the foundation stone for the construction of KICD Secretariat at Rwanda National Police (RNP) Headquarters in Kacyiru, to oversee the implementation of the Kigali Declaration.
The following year, the centre was established and dedicated to ending Gender Based Violence and Child Abuse, and a mission to conduct research, build capacity of security organs and civilian personnel; promote regional initiatives; and share good practices on ending Gender Based Violence and Child abuse. It would pursue six aims:
To provide policy oriented research to inform training materials for practitioners in the management of SGBV cases
To develop regional coordination and standardized curricula that provides common skills, common frameworks and a common access to content
To provide regional knowledge-generation, scientific evidence gathering, documentation and sharing framework
To provide a database of regional and international technical experts for quality enhancement of SGBV training across the Region
The centre becomes a coordination centre of best practices in VAWG management across the region and takes the initiative to disseminate important updates in this area
Coordinate KICD activities
So far, the Centre of Excellence has been able to mobilize different actors across the African continent with a particular focus on integrating security forces due to the recognition that wherever there is potential for violence, its effects on women and children is especially pronounced.
Since that time, membership of the body increased from 12 founding members in 2010 to an entity of over 40 actively participating member countries. This is an indication of the significance of matching the desire to end gender based violence with the requisite commitment.
Presently, strategies and standard operating procedures are being developed to operationalize the mandate of the centre. In the meantime, joint exercises, conferences, and seminars have been taking place countries across Africa on different themes of gender based violence.
Training on Gender Based Violence and Human Trafficking
Rwanda security organs and other partners will host a high level training on Gender Based Violence and Human Trafficking from 13th to 16th June 2018. The training will bring together Police officers, officers from correction service and military from 54 countries to establish a strategic partnership among the regional security organs and partners to prevent and respond to GBV and human trafficking. The training will be facilitated by subject matter experts from AU, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the UN, and regional experts in these fields.
The main objective of the training is to foster critical collaboration between investigation, security organs and victim support services to offer justice for victims and to respond collectively and effectively to GBV and human trafficking.
The training specific objectives include:
To strategically bolster multilateral and multi-sectorial regional coordination and cooperation within the Judicial, Law Enforcement, and security organs as elements of government to provide justice for victims of GBV and HT
Provide a forum for law enforcement, security organs, and senior executives for dialogue and exchange lessons learned in key aspects of GBV and human trafficking
Provide a forum for security organs and stakeholders to share experience in prevention and response of GBV and human trafficking
Build capacity of stakeholders on investigation of GBV, child abuse cases, and human trafficking.
Enhance coordination, communication, collaboration and overall synergy between security organs and different stakeholders.