Share Best Practices, Premier urges peacekeepers
Participants at the ongoing UN Senior Mission Leaders Course (UNSMLC) have been urged to share best practices while carrying out peacekeeping assignments in volatile areas.
The 10-day high level course is designed to prepare candidates for senior leadership roles in UN peacekeeping missions.
While opening the course in Kigali yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Pierre Damien Habumuremyi noted that Rwanda has lived through the brutal consequences of deep failures by the UN peace mission.
The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, which claimed the lives over a million people in a record 100 days, took place under the watch of a UN peacekeeping mission, the UNAMIR – which had been ordered not to intervene.
“As we remember the lives that perished in the Genocide against the Tutsi, Rwanda’s commitment to the restoration of world peace is partly informed by that painful past. As a result, we have vowed to do our best – to advise, intervene, and resolve situations that threaten peace in our region and beyond,” the premier said.
He told the participants that, while in Rwanda, they will find very relevant historic experiences that would help enrich their learning experience.
Currently, Rwanda’s Lt Gen Patrick Nyamvumba is the Force Commander of the United Nations African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur, (UNAMID), the world’s biggest peacekeeping operation. The mission also boasts more than 3200 Rwandan troops.
This year, the country also deployed 850 peacekeepers in South Sudan under the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), and also maintains peacekeepers in Ivory Coast, Liberia and Haiti.
Habumuremyi reminded the participants that peacekeeping responsibilities require determination and sacrifices.
“In such situations, leaders are expected to demonstrate unchallenged resolve to assist the affected countries and communities to achieve not only short- term settlement of problems but to establish a framework for longer term and sustainable peace and development,” he said.
At the course, Rwanda has four trainees, namely, Maj. Gen. Frank Kamanzi Mushyo, Commandant, Rwanda Military Academy – Gako, and Brig. Gen. Charles Rudakubana, Head, Department of Peace Support Operations in the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF).
Others are Chief Supt Gumira Rwampungu, Regional Police Commander (RPC) North; and Ben Rutsinga, Director General in charge of Europe, America and International Organisations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
Former UNAMID Force Commander Gen. Martin Luther Agway of Nigeria is among the facilitators of the course, which seeks to nurture candidates for future postings as Force Commanders and Special Representatives for the UN Secretary General.
“(Peacekeeping missions) require leaders to have the professional competencies and supported by relevant personal to operate in tense environments and should strive to be the voice of the voiceless, in most cases, innocent civilians,” premier Habumuremyi said.
The Minister of Defence, Gen. James Kabarebe, said Rwanda’s tragic history offered lessons to current and future peacekeeping missions.
“Leadership failures both by the then (Rwandan) government and the UN can serve as vivid lessons for the current and future generations,” he said.
Australian High Commissioner to Rwanda, Geoff Tooth, thanked the Rwandan government for hosting the course.
“Rwanda and Australia are major contributors to world peacekeeping missions, both in the numbers of peacekeepers and in the range of operations that we support,” the envoy noted.
“Rwanda is among the world’s highest per capita contributors to peacekeeping. This is something that all Rwandans should be extraordinarily proud of,” he added.
Over 45 senior military and civilian personnel from around the world are attending the course, which is conducted by the Rwanda Peace Academy (RPA), in collaboration with the UN Integrated Training Service and the Government of Australia.
Contact email: james.karuhanga[at]newtimes.co.rw