Kigeme — The UN first Assistant Secretary-General for Safety and Security Clotilde Gasarabwe Mbaraga has commended the government of Rwanda for efforts to shelter and protect Congolese refugees who fled the recent fighting between soldiers loyal to the Kinshasa government and M23 rebels.
She made the comments on Saturday during a one day visit to Kigeme refugee settlement, which is home to over 14,000 refugees.
The Congolese nationals arrived in the country after the May 2012 insurgency in the DRC fragile North Kivu province which resulted into an armed fight between the Congolese army (FARDC) and the rebels.
Thousands of civilians fled their homes to neighboring countries, Rwanda included, while others are living in internally displaced persons camps inside the vast country.
Last month, over 4,000 other refugees crossed the Rwandan border, raising fears that the numbers of those fleeing their homeland might grow in the coming days. Subsequently, the government of Rwanda announced plans to expand the 29-hectares Kigeme camp to cope with the growing number of refugees.
Gasarabwe said she was delighted by the treatment and protection refugees are receiving at Kigeme.
She commended, among others, the "cleanliness, infrastructure and security" within the camp.
The UN official also expressed appreciation for Rwanda's efforts to find a lasting solution to the conflicts which have affected millions of individuals in the sub region.
More effort needed
She urged warring parties in the Democratic Republic of Congo to make every effort to settle their differences so as to allow the civilians return back to their homeland.
Talks between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government and the M23 rebels aimed at bringing peace to eastern Congo, resumed in the Ugandan capital Kampala at the weekend.
Gasarabwe, a Rwandan, was appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as the first Assistant Secretary-General for Safety and Security in April 2011.
Prior to her UN position, she was Resident Coordinator/UNDP in Mali, and served in the same capacity in Guinea and Djibouti, and as Deputy Resident Representative in Benin since 1998.
Meanwhile, on the same day, Gasarabwe also visited Rwanda National Police headquarters, where she toured anti-Gender Based Violence (GBV) initiatives established by the force.
Among the visited initiatives are the anti GBV block and the anti GBV medical wing - Isange One Stop Centre - situated at Kacyiru Police Hospital.
"This is a very impressive centre and a great commitment to the fight against sexual violence," Gasarabwe, who was received by the Inspector General of Police Emmanuel K. Gasana, said.
"This is a best practice to be shared around the world, especially in Africa where so many people are being abused," she added.
Isange One Stop Centre was established in 2009 by the Rwanda National Police (RNP) in partnership with Imbuto Foundation and the United Nations, to provide free medical, legal and psycho-social services such as counselling to victims of GBV.
At Isange One Stop Centre, she inspected different rooms, including safe room where traumatised GBV victims are received and the laboratory.