KIGALI - Prime Minister Bernard Makuza has called on African security forces to join hands to uproot Gender Based Violence (GBV) from the continent.
Makuza made the call yesterday in Kigali where he represented President Paul Kagame at the official opening of a two-day International Conference on the Role of Security Organs in Ending Gender Based Violence against Women and Girls.
“Security forces in Africa must recognize GBV as a crime and develop partnerships which could extend beyond regular inter and intra-collaboration among themselves. This will lead to exchanging ideas, training and mounting joint operations.” Makuza said
He emphasized the need to work with communities and national partners to formulate and amend programmes to rout out violence against women, but most importantly, report cases of GBV.
Makuza outlined the establishment of the police GBV desk, ISANGE One-Stop Centre which provides free services to victims of GBV and initiatives in peacekeeping operations as one of the measures that have been undertaken to combat the crime.
He commended the Rwanda National Police (RNP) and Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) for organizing the conference and thanked the UN family which financed the conference for its continued partnership with the government of Rwanda.
Mukuza urged African security forces to fight all sorts of GBV, which, he said, is “an abomination and unacceptable.”
He observed that GBV affects children in households and other members of the family, and affects the development and upbringing of children. He added that it also deprives them of self confidence and affects the individual’s productive potential.
“To some victims, GBV amounts to a silent killer,” Makuza noted.
He urged participants, who included high profile government policy makers, and other senior managers from the army and police forces from African countries, to go beyond their usual shelling and dissemination of best practices to end the crime.
“We all need to go beyond and demonstrate actions to fight this crime. It is not the resources that lack…but it’s the will to act. Therefore, let’s unite to correct this wrong that has been pervasive in our societies for too long,” Makuza said.
“Through a disciplined force that is professional and well trained, violence against women can be prevented. We will only attain the social and economic development and the prosperity that our countries deserve only if all members of our society are engaged and feel that they are equal stakeholders in development”.
Makuza also commended African countries that give deaf ears to all sorts of irrelevant accusations.
“Never mind the irrelevant accusation like the recent one in the UN Mapping Report on the DRC, where Rwandan forces were accused of massacres and other crimes, when in fact this force has distinguished itself as a highly professional, disciplined and proactive in attempt to protect the rights of vulnerable groups. Indeed it’s the very force which has performed in an exemplary a manner and continues to do so, both in the country and in international peacekeeping missions, in ending violence against women and girls, in addition to protecting the whole population in line with the mandate. You can imagine and see how this world is in contradiction.” Makuza said
The conference also attended by UN agencies, members of civil society organizations, international, regional and local media practitioners involved in advocacy programmes for ending violence against women, is in line with the UN Secretary General’s global campaign dubbed “Say No – UNITE to End Violence against Women” (2008-2015) launched on February 25, 2008.
It is also organized in the spirit of the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325/2000 which is aimed at protecting women and girls during and after armed conflicts, and to fully involve females in conflict prevention, management and resolution, peace building and reconciliation.
Rwanda is among the few countries with a steering committee to implement the UN resolution.