14 May 2012

Rwanda: Benin, Burkina Faso Learn From Country

Visiting police officers from Benin and Burkina Faso, set to join UN peace support operations, have praised Rwanda's initiatives to bring peace to the rest of the world, saying it is a lesson to all.

Francis Behanzin, the Controller General of Benin Police force, said yesterday in Kigali that the study tour will give them first-hand experience on how to prepare for peace keeping missions.

"It's going to be the first time that Benin deploys a Formed Police Unit (FPU) to a peace keeping mission. We hope to learn a lot from Rwanda Police as they already have Formed Police Units in peacekeeping duties," Behanzin said.

Behanzin is part of the 10-person delegation from the two West African countries, currently on a four-day tour to Rwanda to gain experience on peace keeping operations and gender promotion.

The officers from Benin will be joining peacekeeping mission in Darfur, Sudan.

The tour is part of a South-South exchange programme where Benin and Burkina Faso hope to gain perspective in gender promotion, increase the number of women in security organs and peace support operations.

Rwanda was selected by the Pearson Peace Keeping centre, a Canadian organisation that supported Rwanda on peace keeping initiatives, as a field study.

It is among African countries with peace support operations in various countries, and has established a centre for Peace Support Operations (PSO) at Gishari Police Training School in Rwamagana, for force preparations.

The country maintains more than 500 police officers on missions in Darfur, Sudan, Haiti, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone.

It also maintains more than 3200 soldiers serving under UNAMID.

Col. Yssoufou Sawadogo, from Burkina Faso, said that besides learning from Rwanda's peace keeping initiatives, they would also gain experience from gender mainstreaming in their Police force and other security organs.

The delegation paid a courtesy call on the Inspector General of Police, Emmanuel Gasana, at the force's headquarters in Kacyiru, Gasabo district.

Gasana noted that it was beneficial for Africans to share experiences and forge a future that is fit for Africans.

He explained that force capability was essential in deploying forces in Peace keeping missions.

"You need to have a credible, professional and reliable police force and that is what we have tried to achieve here," said Gasana.

The delegation was taken through a presentation on preparations police officers undergo before they are deployed, including selections and tests.

The delegation also visited several police units, including the anti Gender based Violence desk, Isange One Stop Centre which provides free medical assistance to GBV victims and the Ethics Centre.

The centre recently won the prestigious UN Public Service Award 2012 for its role in the fight against GBV.

They are also set to visit Rwamagana-based peace support centre and other security organs and gender institutions in the country.

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