Over 100 officers from police, military and correctional services from 41 African countries, yesterday, started three-day training in Kigali on how to respond to the scourge of gender based violence (GBV) and human trafficking.
The Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Esperance Nyirasafari, while speaking at the official opening of the training, observed that GBV and human trafficking “threaten our entire societies by fueling cycles of violence and crimes”.
This, she added, become costly in terms of healthcare, lost income, reduced productivity and negative impact that cuts across generations.
“We all know that we have to do much more to respond to the cries for justice for women, men and children who are suffering from this violence. We have to do much to end these horrible abuses and impunity that allow such human rights violations to continue,” Minister Nyirasafari said.
The 2013 report by the South African medical research council stated that 45.6 per cent of women in Africa experienced physical and sexual violence in their lifetime compared to the average 35 per cent globally.
The 2016 African UN Development Report estimated that a one per cent increase in gender inequality reduces a country’s human development index by 0.75 percent and that gender inequality costs sub-Saharan Africa on average $95 billion a year, peaking at US$105 billion in 2014– or six percent of the sub-region’s GDP.
This, officials said, is seen as one of the serious bottlenecks to the continent’s efforts for inclusive human development and economic growth.
“Security organs have to be far better than the criminals behind these scourges by improving the capacity to respond,” Minister Nyirasafari said.
The Chief Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba, also observed that every year, men, women and children fall in the evil hands of traffickers in their own countries and abroad.
“In the contemporary world of rapid advancement of technology, social media has significantly affected many people who end up falling in traps of online scammers. This has caused great damage to minors including distribution of images, videos or audio recordings of sexual nature and pornography, among others,” Nyamvumba said.
He added that there is a need for the respective security institutions to pay more attention to capacity development especially effective management of gender based violence and child abuse in order to counter those crimes that require intervention of security agencies.
“Efforts to prevent these crimes, therefore, must be accelerated along with increased access to justice and comprehensive services, empowerment of women and girls, and eradication of stigmatization of victims. This requires adoption of holistic approaches and engaging all segment of society and our respective security institutions,” the CDS said.
He pledged the full commitment of Rwanda’s security organs to ensure that KICD achieves its objectives and to combat the scourges.
The launch was also attended by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Emmanuel K. Gasana and the Commissioner General of Correctional Services, Brig. Gen (retired) George Rwigamba, among others.
Stephen Rodriques, the UNDP Country Director, thanked President Paul Kagame for the unwavering commitment to gender equality.
“The leadership that President Kagame has helped make Rwanda a shining example of what is needed to fight gender inequality across the world,” Rodriques said.
He, however, said that such efforts have created impact where more women have found their voice and standing up against abuse and injustices.
The training was organized in the framework of the Kigali International Declaration (KICD) endorsed in 2010 during the maiden conference that examined the role of security organs in ending violence against women and girls.
It is also a follow up of the 6th KICD AGM held in Kampala, in March last year, which resolved that, the Regional Centre of Excellence on GBV and Child Abuse hosted by Rwanda shall be a centre for benchmarking and capacity building on gender-based trainings and related crimes for member states’ security organs.