Rwandan Police, military and prison peacekeepers in Central African Republic, Haiti, South Sudan and Darfur, on Tuesday, spared time off their peacekeeping duties to mark the 23rd Liberation anniversary, observed every July 4.
The peacekeepers were joined by Rwandans in Diaspora and friends of Rwanda in the mission countries, as well as senior UN staff in the four missions.
The separate events were presided over by government and top UN officials.
In Haiti, the Liberation Anniversary activities included a medal parade where Rwandan police peacekeepers were awarded the UN medals of service excellence.
Sandra Honore, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative to Haiti, who officiated at the joint event, commended Rwanda’s leaders for liberating the country by stopping the Genocide, transforming the country and it’s commitment to supporting peacekeeping efforts in other countries.
She thanked the Rwanda Formed Police Unit (FPU) contingent that was awarded medals, for their dedication and professional services, as well as their human security activities.
Rwanda maintains a contingent of 160 police under the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
The contingent commander of the Rwandan Police contingent in Haiti, Faustin Ntirushwa, reiterated Rwanda’s continued commitment to securing and rebuilding the country, and thanked other peacekeepers and the people of Haiti for the partnership in security and humanitarian activities.
The occasion was also attended by the MINUSTAH Police Commissioner, Brig. Georges-Pierre Monchote, among others.
In CAR, the event was held at the Rwandan military peacekeepers’ base in the capital Bangui, and presided over by the Minister of Defence of CAR, Joseph Yakitte.
It was also attended by the UN Special Representative in MINUSCA, Parfait Onanga Anyanga and residents.
Minister Yakitte thanked Rwanda’s support in the restoration of peace and security in CAR.
“A friend is the one who comes to your rescue when in need. Rwanda supported us at the time we needed it most. I want to thank Rwandan military and police for your commitment and sacrifice during such tough times,” Yakitte said.
Anyanga, on his part, urged the Rwandan peacekeepers to uphold their exemplary services.
“The strength and spirit you exhibited to liberate your country is no longer your specialty but a valuable tool for all; it’s a pride to all of us,” Anyanga said.
In South Sudan, the peacekeepers, members of the Diaspora and UN staff from all the 36 contributing countries, braved a downpour to mark the day.
David Shierer, the UN Special Representative for the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), who was the guest of honour, praised Rwanda’s rapid transformation after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, which claimed more than one million lives, and also contributing to peacekeeping efforts in the world’s newest nation.
Present was also UNMISS Police Commissioner Bruce Munyambo.