Dutch government remains committed to collaborating with Rwanda in training a critical mass of future peacekeepers from across the world, Brig. Gen. Jan Blacquiere, the Chief of International Military Cooperation at the Ministry of Defence in the Netherlands, has said.
Blacquiere said this on Friday, February 21 at Rwanda Peace Academy in Musanze District as a delegation of twenty-five Dutch defence attachés to different African countries and officials from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs toured the academy.
Speaking to the media, Blacquiere noted that their visit was part of the ‘Annual Regional Africa Conference for Netherlands Defence Attachés’, which is underway in Kigali.
He revealed that they chose to hold the conference in Rwanda this year after they were impressed by the remarkable recovery of the country after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“We hold this conference every year and we chose to be in Rwanda this year, but why Rwanda? Because we are really interested in this beautiful country, we are also interested in the ways you Rwandans managed after the terrible events in 1994 to turn the country into a prosperous nation,” Blacquiere said.
The Dutch government is one of key partners of Rwanda in training future peacekeepers; the former contributes through availing financial support and trainers for specific courses, which Brig. Gen. Jan Blacquiere noted his country was keen to extend.
“We are trying to develop more courses with Rwanda because as you might know the Netherlands is also contributing to this academy through financing and sometimes sending people to teach, we are developing intensive bilateral military activities together, we are really open to greater bilateral cooperation with Rwanda.”
The Chief of International Military Cooperation at the Ministry of Defence in the Netherlands went on to say that the fact that Rwanda is the third largest contributor to UN peacekeeping missions in the world and second largest in Africa is a testament to how committed Rwanda is towards contributing to world peace.
“Rwandans know better than anyone else what it means to live in peace so when Rwandans are able and willing to send people from your own country abroad to help and to keep peace in other countries then this is an example other countries should follow and do the same,” He noted
In an interview with The New Times, the head of the research department at the Rwanda Peace Academy, Eugene Methode Ruzindana, noted that the role of the Dutch government in various courses that the academy offers is critical, given that it avails financial support and brings in experts.
Ruzindana added that the partnership between Rwanda and the Netherlands benefit the military, police and civilian officers from across the African continent and beyond, adding that the trainees are later deployed to various peacekeeping missions by their respective countries.
As a result of this partnership, a total of 207 military, police and civilian officers from different African countries have so far been trained by the academy through five different peacekeeping courses since 2010, according to officials.
The courses range from law of armed conflict, and Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians, to UN Protection of Civilians.