Kagame rallies support to end gender violence

Violence against women and girls is totally unacceptable in every society and concerted efforts are needed to end the vice, President Paul Kagame has said.
President Kagame receives the African Union flag, shortly before flagging off the ‘Africa UNITE’ Command Post Exercise, at the Rwanda National Police Headquarters in Kigali yesterd....
President Kagame receives the African Union flag, shortly before flagging off the ‘Africa UNITE’ Command Post Exercise, at the Rwanda National Police Headquarters in Kigali yesterd....

Violence against women and girls is totally unacceptable in every society and concerted efforts are needed to end the vice, President Paul Kagame has said.

The Head of State made the remarks yesterday at the launch of a training course for more than 170 senior security officials from across Africa, dubbed the ‘Africa UNITE’ Command Post Exercise, at the Rwanda National Police Headquarters in Kacyiru, Kigali.

The security officials drawn from 34 countries across Africa are undergoing an intensive training to explore ways to end all forms of violence committed against women and girls.

Launched in February 2008 by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, ‘UNITE to End Violence against Women’ is a multi-year campaign aimed at preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls in the world.

Kagame said: “It’s paramount to see that Africa’s security organs are at the frontline of this battle, it’s a security issue of great concern that needs to be confronted seriously and in coordinated manner.”

He observed that women and girls continue to be subjected to diverse forms of violence, most of which are gender based.

 “Violence against women and girls can be prevented and defeated, it’s simply unacceptable that one in every three women around the world has been beaten, sexually assaulted or abused in another form and that four women are murdered each day worldwide by a male partner,” the President emphasised.

The event which also attracted members of diplomatic corps, African Union and UN official and gender activists emphasised the need to share the best practices and end the global scourge.

The Head of State noted: “We all know the consequence of these kinds of violence go beyond the individual concern. Research has shown that women survivors of violence lose motivation to earn a living and to care for their children.”

“Children who have witnessed violence inflicted on their mothers are often traumatised leading to poor performance in schools and more often than not, end up involved in violent behaviour themselves.”

He wondered: “What is lacking for us to be able to combat and conquer the scourge of gender based violence?” Every sector has its role to play for us to be able to address and eradicate violence against women and girls.”

Raising public awareness

He stated that legal and political institutional frameworks exist virtually in all countries and it’s clear that they are not enough to effectively tackle gender based violence.

“We need to take seriously the call for action by the United Nations Secretary General to raise public awareness and increase political will and resources for preventing and ending all forms of violence against women and girls across the world,” he said, urging the security officials to focus on how to handle violence against women.

We must have the capacity for early detection, quick and appropriate response to victims, he added.

According to the President, there needs to be in-house sensitisation to ensure that security forces do not unintentionally perpetrate the culture of silence around violence against women and girls and instead provide women, especially victims, with the opportunity to report abuse and seek redress.

The President pointed out that in some countries in the region and beyond, action against gender based violence was taking root.

 “In Rwanda ending violence against women and girls is not only amoral duty and legal obligation but also definition of who we are as a nation. We should not allow some things to be established that will lead people to believe that some of these things are African, they are not. Violence against women and girls is not African so we should even start from the premise and deject it, as we fight against the pandemic,” the President said.

To end the pandemic, Rwanda has one stop centres at the National Police hospital and in all the districts across the country as well as gender based violence desks at the Ministry of Defence, National Police and Rwanda Correctional Services.

According to Mbaranga Gasarabwe, the Assistant Secretary-General for Safety and Security at the United Nations, the world body is committed to build strong synergies and take concrete actions to put an end to violence against women and girls.

“Violence against women and girls constitute the most severe expression of gender based discrimination which is a threat to democracy, peace and security as well as human rights violation,” she added.

Gasarabwe also said that on July 26, UN will launch a campaign to end violence against men and boys in order to address gender based violence in totality.

Rwanda National Police statistics indicate that last year, about 3,472 women and girls were raped, defiled, beaten or killed.

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