12 July 2013

Rwanda: Ending Violence Against Women Is a Moral Duty - Kagame

President Kagame greets the Uganda Police chief at the launch of the Africa Unite exercise in Kigali

President Paul Kagame has said that for Rwanda, ending violence against women and girls is a moral duty, a legal obligation and a definition of who Rwandans are as a nation.

President Kagame said this on Thursday while launching the Africa Unite Command Post Exercise at the Rwanda National Police Headquarters.

The Africa Unite exercise brings together 172 participants from three different security organs for 33 African nations to learn best practices in ending violence against women and girls.

"Every sector has its role to play and efforts need to be intensified to eradicate violence against women and girls. I am happy to see that Africa's security organs are at frontline of the battle against gender based violence," he said.

According to the President, it is unacceptable that one in every three women around the world has been beaten, sexually assaulted or abused.

The ramifications of this kind of violence go beyond the individual concerned and therefore, issues of handling violence against women and girls should be an integral part of training of security and law enforcement," he emphasized.

The Head of State urged Africans to reject the notion that violence against women and girls is an African problem and recommended that African nations should ensure that security forces do not perpetuate the culture of silence around violence against women and girls.

"More can and should be done to ensure the safety of women, and Rwanda remains committed to this cause."

Clotilde Mbaranga Gasarabwe, Assistant UN Secretary General for Safety and Security, delivered a message from the UN Secretary General to President Kagame, and stated that the United Nations appreciates the great strides made in fighting gender based violence and advancing gender equality in Rwanda.

According to the Command Post Exercise Director, John Bosco Kabera said the training is based on the 'One stop center' concept where victims receive physical and psychological support.

In response to the call for action by the UN Secretary General in the campaign UNiTE to end Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) launched in 2008, Rwanda security organs in 2010 organized a high level conference on the role of security organs in ending VAWG.

The conference culminated into the proclamation and signing of a 14-point Kigali International Conference Declaration (KICD), as well as the establishment of a secretariat to coordinate and monitor implementation.

The KICD was further reaffirmed in November 2012 at an international conference hosted by Burundi that brought together 31 African security organs, United Nations Agencies, African Union and COMESA. The conference unanimously resolved that Rwanda hosts the KICD permanent secretariat.

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