The New Times (Kigali)

Africa: Countries Vow to Fight Gender Based Violence

Kigali — Twelve African countries that have been taking part in the 'International Conference on the Role of Security Organs in Ending Violence against Women and Girls,' which ended yesterday in Kigali, affirmed their commitment to rid the continent of Gender Based Violence (GBV).

In a 14-point signed declaration, the countries affirmed commitment to harmonize and standardize legal frameworks pertaining to violence against women and girls.

They also agreed to recruit and promote more women officers at all echelons of the security organs, enhance collaboration, information sharing and foster partnerships among all stakeholders at national and regional level for more effective targeting, prevention, provision of services and promotion of efficient and effective justice.

All signatories to the Kigali Declaration agreed to conduct annual meetings on a rotational basis to monitor and evaluate progress made and Kigali was established as a secretariat to coordinate efforts and follow through with the implementation of the declaration.

The signatories to the declaration are Uganda, Botswana, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, DRC, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia and the host, Rwanda.

Internal Security Minister, Fazil Musa Harelimana who presided over the closing ceremony, thanked the participating countries and added that "this is a testament of your willingness to collaborate in a common cause of ending violence against women."

He thanked the delegates for electing Rwanda as a secretariat to coordinate GBV issues. Harelimana emphasized on scaling up best practices in prevention, provision of services and promotion of justice.

"As security organs, we must form strong partnerships with the civil society to ensure prevention is our first priority of action. As security organs, we must be fully prepared to provide protection and give confidence to women." Harelimana said.

Letty Chiwara, the Chief of Africa Division of the newly created entity, United Nations - Women (UN-Women) saluted the Rwandan police and the army for its commitment to prevent violence against women.

"The police and the army are indeed staffed by highly technical, substantive and more importantly, caring men and women. I salute you." Chiwara said.

"Now is the time to translate commitments into action and for this to happen, we need political will at the highest level," Chiwara, who promised UN's further commitment to end violence on the continent, said.

Earlier in the day, delegates visited Gisozi Memorial Centre to witness the atrocities committed in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi where they laid a wreath. They also visited Isange One-Stop Centre and the Gender Desk in the national police.

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