The fourth UN inter-mission retreat for Heads of Police Component from all peacekeeping missions across Africa opened on Wednesday at the Rwanda National Police General Headquarters in Kacyiru to address challenges faced in missions and promote UN best practices.
The three-day intermission retreat, the second to be held in Rwanda, brings together Police Commissioners and top officials from MONUSCO (Democratic Republic of the Congo), UNAMID (Darfur), UNMISS (South Sudan), UNISFA (Abyei), AMISOM and UNSOM (both from Somalia) as well as the UN headquarters and UN Office to the African Union, among others.
The Inspector General of Police Dan Munyuza, while officially opening the retreat, said that the UN Police plays a key role in protection of civilians, ensuring their safety and security, and serves as a substitute for host-state police capacity to prevent and detect crime, protect life and property, and maintain public order.
IGP addressing delegates
"Rwanda National Police has played its part and we have strengthened our training and working to improve our peacekeeping units' capabilities for them to operate in different and dynamics situations," Munyuza said.
He urged them to work towards empowering nations' Police institutions to take over the policing roles when the peacekeeping missions close down.
IGP Munyuza emphasized protection of civilians and community outreach programmes to sensitize the population against crime, as the central part in peacekeeping operations.
The retreat will assess the implementation of the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P); enhancing performance; protection of civilians and capacity building; challenges; and women, peace and security.
The A4P initiative calls on member states, the Security Council, host countries, troop- and police- contributing countries, regional partners and financial contributors to renew our collective engagement with UN peacekeeping and mutually commit to reach for excellence.
Its implementation is centred on eight priority commitment areas; politics, women, peace and security, protection, safety and security, performance and accountability, peace-building and sustaining peace, partnerships, conduct of peacekeepers and peacekeeping operations.
The UN Police Advisor, Luis Carrilho said that as the people in leadership positions in peacekeeping missions, it's important to come together to identify and discuss issues impeding missions to achieve high level of performance and further contribute to peace and security.
"We want to further make a positive impact, identify and share best practices, and politics, performance and partnership plays key role," Carrilho said.
He commended Rwanda's contribution and strong commitment to peacekeeping and international peace.
"Rwandan Police officers have high level attitude; they are committed with high level of discipline and contribute to a better quality of life in terms of security of the people in peace operations where they are deployed," Carrilho said.
He added: "Rwanda also deployed qualified and highly trained female Police officers, both as Individual Police Officers and contingent Formed Police Units."
RNP, last year, deployed a female dominated contingent to the UN Mission in South Sudan.
The UN Police is currently involved in 14 peace operations with more than 10, 000 officers from 90 Police contributing countries.
With more than 1, 000 Police peacekeepers in all missions, Rwanda ranks the second Police contributing country and first contributor of female peacekeepers.
Carrilho also said that Rwanda's Umuganda and community policing serves as a good example to emulate.
"We need to centre our actions on the people, answer their needs and that's where the community policing aspect comes in," he said.