President Paul Kagame has announced that Rwanda will provide two additional infant battalions totalling 1600 troops, two attack helicopters, and all-female police unit and a field hospital to help bolster UN peacekeeping missions around the world.
The President made the pledge on Monday during a high-profile leaders’ summit on international peace operations on the sidelines of the 70th United Nations General Assembly in New York, U.S.
Rwanda, with more than 5000 military and police peacekeepers in different parts of the world, is already the fifth largest troop-contributing nation to UN peacekeeping missions globally.
More than 50 countries pledged up to 40,000 new peacekeepers at the event hosted by US President Barack Obama, and they are expected to shower up UN peacekeeping missions around the world, now totalling 16.
“Including those seemingly with limited resources and/or capacities, have meaningful contributions to make, whether it is funding, equipment, or forces. The important thing is to cooperate and be able to fully prepare for any mission,” Kagame said.
The President pointed out that effective peacekeeping requires “clear mandates and shared norms as detailed in the Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians”.
Peacekeepers must not compound the problems on the ground, as evidence has shown with the surge of different forms of abuse, pointing to a deeper culture of impunity, he observed.
“Accountability has to be swift both at the national and international levels, because everything is going to be conveyed by the conduct of forces,” the President added, in reference to recent cases of reported abuses involving the blue helmets against civilian populations.
Kagame said peacekeeping missions need to earn and keep trust, and inspire confidence among the communities they are deployed to protect.
“Rwanda has been on both sides of the equation. Without a relationship of trust between the protector and the protected, peacekeeping loses its meaning and relevance,” he said.
The lesson for us is that earning and keeping that trust, and inspiring confidence, has to be the priority, the President added.