Students and teachers of secondary schools sensitizing the population in different poems and plays about Gender Based Violence
By Ngamije Festo
Gender Based Violence is particularly critical during and after emergence situations such as during wartime where women and children become primary targets.
This was clearly illustrated in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide whereby rape was used as a weapon of war.
Rwanda National Police strategies to prevent Gender Based Violence
The Rwanda National Police has devised different mechanisms to ensure timely intervention in cases of Gender Based Violence and violence against children.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Gender and Family promotion, the Rwanda National Police established the gender desk at the Police headquarters with the aim of providing rapid responses and prevention of gender based violence. The force established a toll free telephone line 3512 for quick reporting of gender based violence related crimes.
During the launch of the Police’s Gender Based Violence week, on 11th May, 2010 in Kisaro sector in Rulindo district, the force emphasized the need for joint efforts to fight Gender Based Violence in the country.
The ceremony marked under the theme “Fight gender based violence” commenced with putting stickers on commercial buildings located in centre of Kisaro.
At least 10 Police officers and 20 mid-wives who had completed training on the gender based violence were awarded certificates.
The occasion was also characterized by poems and debates by both secondary and primary school students in Rulindo district, highlighting the negative impacts of gender based violence in families.
In his speech, the Commissioner General of the Rwanda National Police, Emmanuel K Gasana asserted that since the formation of the force, efforts have been made to work with the local population to fight gender based violence.
Mr. Gasana also thanked the Ministry of Gender and Family promotion and UNIFEM for establishing the child and family protection unit.
“In 2005, the Rwanda National Police established a branch that is in charge of preventing and fighting gender based violence at every police station in the country,” Gasana said.
Police officers have also been trained in handling and counseling victims of sexual abuse, he added.
Additionally, clubs for fighting gender based violence were formed in schools, cells and one stop center for quick reporting of gender based violence related crimes.
The Commissioner General called on the local population to work closely with police to fight gender based violence.
At the same occasion, the Governor of the Northern Province, Mr. Aime Bosenibamwe, commended area residents for reducing on polygamous practices which he said was partly to blame for gender based violence.
The governor encouraged the population to ensure that all children are in school and avoid marrying off underage girls.
The Minister in charge of Gender and Family promotion, Dr. Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya in her remarks noted that child abuse is partly caused by parents who neglect their parental responsibilities. And cited parents who refuse to give school fees to their children or deprive them of other basic necessities.
Also present at the launch were the Mayor of Rulindo district, Justus Kangwagye, officials of Rutongo Hospital, MISS RWANDA and representatives of various Non Governmental Organizations working in the country like UNIFEM, USAID, FACT RWANDA INTRAHEALTH.