Hundreds Police, military and corrections services and prisons officers from 41 African countries are attending a three-day training session in Kigali on how to respond to the scourge of gender based violence and human trafficking.
The Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Esperance Nyirasafari, while speaking at the official launch of the training, observed that GBV and human trafficking “threaten our entire societies by fueling cycles of violence and crimes”
This, she added, become costly in terms of healthcare, lost income, decreased productivity and negative impact across generations.
“We all know that we have to do much more to respond to the cries for justice for women, men and children who are suffering from this violence. We have to do much to end this horrible abuses and impunity that allow these human rights violations to continue,” Minister Nyirasafari said.
In 2013 the South African medical research council documented that 45.6 % of women in Africa experienced physical and sexual violence in their lifetime compared to 35% cent globally.
The 2016 African UN Development Report estimated that a one per cent increase in gender inequality reduces a country’s human development index by 0.75 percent and that gender inequality costs sub-Saharan Africa on average $US95 billion a year, peaking at US$105 billion in 2014– or six percent of the region’s GDP, which is seen as one of the serious bottlenecks to the continent’s efforts for inclusive human development and economic growth.
“Security organs have to be far better than the criminals behind these scourges by improving the capacity to respond,” Minister Nyirasafari said.
“This is a perfect occasion to reiterate your commitment to work together to end GBV and human trafficking, and make a real change. These are violation of rights and a threat to progress in Africa and around the world,” she added.
“Our coming together for this capacity building programme will foster critical collaboration, acquiring skills, and knowledge and share experiences to effectively respond to these crimes.”
The Chief Defense Staff (CDS), Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba, who was also present, observed that every year, men, women and children fall in the hands of traffickers in their own countries and abroad.
“In the contemporarily world of rapid advancement of technology, social media has significantly affected many people who fall in the traps of online fliers. This has caused great damage to minors including distribution of images, videos or audio recordings of sexual nature and pornography, among others,” Gen. Nyambumba said.
He added that there is a need for the respective security institutions to pay more attention to capacity development especially effective management of gender based violence and child abuse in order to counter those crimes that require intervention of security agencies.
“Efforts to prevent these crimes, therefore, must be accelerated along with increased access to justice and comprehensive services, empowerment of women and girls, and eradication of stigmatization of victims,” he said.
This requires adoption of holistic approaches and engaging all segment of society and our respective security institutions, the CDS added.
He pledged the full commitment of Rwanda’s security organs to ensure that KICD achieves its objectives and to combat the scourges.
The official launch was also attended by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Emmanuel K. Gasana and the Commissioner General of Correctional Services, Brig. Gen (retired) George Rwigamba, among others.
Stephen Rodriques, the UNDP Country Director, thanked President Paul Kagame for the unwavering commitment to gender equality.
“The leadership that President Kagame has shown has helped to make Rwanda a shining example of what is needed to fight gender inequality across the world,” Rodriques said.
He, however, said that such efforts have created impact where more women have found their voice and standing up against abuse and injustices.
The training was organized in the framework of the Kigali International Declaration (KICD) endorsed in 2010 during the maiden conference that examined the role of security organs in ending violence against women and girls.
It is also a follow up of the 6th KICD AGM held in Kampala, in March last year, which resolved that, the Regional Centre of Excellence on GBV and Child Abuse hosted by Rwanda shall be a centre for benchmarking and capacity building on gender-based trainings and related crimes for member states’ security organs.
The main objective of the training is to foster critical collaboration between investigation, security organs and victim support services to offer justice for victims and to respond collectively and effectively to GBV and human trafficking.