UNDP contribution on peace, unity and reconciliation, conflict prevention, safety and security.
On 21 September 2016, the One UN in Rwanda joins the rest of the world in celebrating the International Day of Peace. The celebration of International Day of Peace provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace. This year’s theme is timely and unique: The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace. On this day, the UN Secretary General has made a global call to work together to help all human beings achieve dignity and equality; to build a greener planet; and to make sure no one is left behind.
The celebration of the International Day of Peace is also an opportunity to look backward, and to reflect on what has been achieved in the promotion of peace. The One UN through its programme Promoting Access to Justice, Human Rights and Peace Consolidation in Rwanda (2013-2018), has worked with the Government of Rwanda through its institutions, especially the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), the Rwanda National Police (RNP), and the Rwanda Peace Academy (RPA) and the Ministry of Justice in promoting peace, unity and reconciliation, dispute resolution, conflict prevention, safety and security.
In the area of peace, unity, reconciliation and conflict prevention, the programme supports the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission to ensure reconciliation processes at both the central and local level to further restore relationships and build trust. The technical and financial support provided through this program helped to strengthen the capacities of the NURC and community actors, promote community dialogue, undertake research on unity and reconciliation, and facilitate documentation of the reconciliation process. The Rwanda Reconciliation Barometer (RRB), which is a national public opinion survey, has been produced twice by the NURC under the programme and is used to track progress on the road to reconciliation in the country. The recent Rwanda Reconciliation Barometer findings have revealed positive trends in the current status of reconciliation and social cohesion in Rwanda. The barometer, which considers six variables measuring reconciliation in Rwanda (i.e. Understanding the past, present and envisioning the future; Citizenship and Identity; Political culture; Security; Justice and Social cohesion) shows that the current status of reconciliation is 92.5%. This is a positive indication of Rwanda’s progress towards reconciliation. Of course this was made possible by a number of factors, including the involvement of youth, faith based organisations, non-government institutions, and community dialogue sessions with different groups of the population.
The One UN also supports the Government of Rwanda in training of community mediators known as Abunzi, for effective resolution of conflicts within communities. The mediators have been trained on issues such as the new land law, family law and matrimonial regimes, and on mediation law. This has helped to increase their capacity to deliver justice. The number of cases resolved by the Abunzi compared to the number of cases received is currently above 90%. This also contributes to a reduction of cases going to the formal courts.
In the area of safety and security, theOne UN supports capacity building of the Police Force to prevent, investigate and adequately respond to crimes, particularly related to Gender Based Violence (GBV), domestic violence and violence against women and children. Special focus was put on building the capacity of female police officers to handle and respond to GBV cases.
In addition, the One UN has helped to enhance the capacity of the Rwanda National Police in implementing Community Policing Concepts. Specifically, UNDP supported the capacity building of around 6,000 Community Policing Committees across the country, the establishment of anti-crime clubs in schools and universities, as well as the establishment of police-community structures in six refugee camps. These efforts are helping to bring the Police Force closer to the people, thus increasing trust between the police and citizens. (Official data indicate that there has in fact been an increased level of trust between the citizens and the Rwanda National Police). This is expected to contribute to a decrease in crime rates in the country.
In partnership with the Government of Japan, UNDP also supports the Rwanda Peace Academy (RPA) to strengthen capacity building on Peace Support Operations. The Academy has become a reference point for training and research on conflict prevention and management, post-conflict recovery, and peace building. The Academy hosts hundreds of participants yearly from a number of African countries who come to Rwanda for training on a variety of courses related to peace building and security. UNDP and Japan have supported RPA financially and technically since 2009.
The Justice, Reconciliation, Law and Order Sector (JRLOS) has taken the domestication of the Sustainable Development Goals (SD) as a key priority for the sector for the coming years. The One UN recently supported a workshop of JRLOS stakeholders to review the SDG indicators against sector plans and strategies and explore ways to measure progress against the SDGs. Special focus was put on SDG 16: “Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, while providing access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels’. The One UN will continue to work with this and other sectors on the domestication agenda in the coming months.