Rwandans have been called on to break the silence on gender and child abuse-related crimes committed in communities in order to combat the vices and ensure that justice is served.
Oda Gasinzigwa, the minister for gender and family promotion, made the call, yesterday, while launching the national anti-gender-based violence and child abuse awareness campaign at Nkumba Ubutore Training Centre in Burera District.
The campaign is running under the theme, “Responsibility for all.”
The launch was also graced by Local Government minister Francis Kaboneka, IGP Emmanuel K. Gasana, Northern Province governor Aime Bosenibamwe, and the Chairperson of National Itorero Commission, Boniface Rucagu.
Gasinzigwa said this should be a moment for all Rwandans to reflect on what still affects community safety, mainly issues related to gender violence and abuse of child rights like forced labour and defilement.
She challenged the youth to actively partner with government institutions to bring to light individuals involved in committing gender related crimes in communities.
“Your role in fighting and preventing challenges faced by women, girls and children is crucial. Be ambassadors of change; let’s join hands together, identify and point a finger where these crimes still exist so as to turn back what tarnishes the Rwandan tradition,” the minister said.
“We have sensitised the community enough, what follows now is to expose and shame those who have kept deaf ears. We should meet again when we are celebrating a milestone in this fight,” she added.
Lamin Manneh, the One UN Rwanda resident coordinator, noted that the international community attaches values to such awareness programmes as an effective tool to break silence about issues faced by women and children and to bring everyone on board in the fight.
“Women shouldn't be treated like an object. The UN stands by Rwanda in this fight, and we are grateful for what Rwanda and the national police have done to protect women and children’s rights. No doubt these awareness campaigns will reach the intended goal,” Manneh said.
He commended Rwanda National Police for the holistic approach of scaling up the anti-gender violence medical wing, Isange One Stop Centre.
The scale up of Isange One Stop Centre, implemented in partnership with the Dutch government, provides free medical, psycho-socio and legal services to GBV and child abuse victims and ensures that human rights are respected.
Established in 2009 at Kacyiru Police Hospital as a pilot project, more 12 centres have since been established in various parts of the country.
The launch of the national awareness campaign against GBV and child abuse proceeded the official closing of the third intake training in crime prevention of over 500 youths organised under the banner of “Rwandan Youth Volunteers in crime Prevention.”
The organisation is composed of over 10,000 youths countrywide, with the aim of supporting vulnerable communities by providing medical insurance, livestock and other needs.
They carry out crime prevention awareness programmes in schools and communities against drug abuse, corruption and gender-based-violence, among others.