18 October 2016

Africa: UN Special Representative On Sexual Violence in Conflict Lauds Isange Center

The United Nations Under-Secretary and Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Bangura, said that the world can end gender-based violence (GBV) and child abuse if countries adopt a multi-sector approach and south-south cooperation.

She made the remarks on Monday while visiting Isange One-Stop Center (IOSC) at Kacyiru District Hospital. She was accompanied by the UN Women country representative Fatou-Lo.

Isange was created in July 2009 as a multi-sector and interdisciplinary program aimed at providing free psychosocial, medical, police and legal services to victims of GBV and child abuse. It also has provisions for emergency contraception, HIV prophylaxis, STI prevention, and other medications.

Bangura noted that Rwanda's approach to fighting GBV and child abuse is inspiring and that countries need to learn and adopt the Isange model.

"Ever since I joined this office, I always campaigned for a similar model like Isange which is a victim-centered approach and this is why this center is very inspiring. The logic behind such a set-up is that it provides support to the victim and collects evidence to be presented in courts of law," Bangura said.

Bangura added that ending GBV and child abuse is possible, saying that the world needs a turning point where "everyone should feel bothered and concerned" with these issues.

"We need a multi-dimensional approach to end GBV and this includes having the commitment and the will to end it, increasing awareness, breaking the silence and exploit south-south cooperation - that way, there is no doubt we can end this vice," she said.

The coordinator of Isange Supt. Shafiga Murebwayire, explained on the idea behind the creation of Isange, the services it offers and its impact in fighting and preventing GBV, child abuse and its impact in ensuring fair justice system.

Commissioner of police Daniel Nyamwasa, the director of Kigali Forensic Laboratory who received the officials, noted that part of the work that IOSC does requires DNA tests to secure evidence to support the judicial process.

"Effective January 2017 we will be doing the tests from our forensic laboratory which will improve the services we provide at Isange," Nyamwasa said.

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