Kigali, 18 August 2015
President Kagame has called on men not to be bystanders in continental efforts to fight violence against women and children. While officially launching the 2nd Command Post Exercise, dubbed ‘Africa Unite II’ that has brought together security organs from various countries of Africa, President Kagame pointed out that ending violence against women and children is an essential part of entrenching good governance and development.
“If we don’t work together to end these crimes we risk undermining our work to entrench good governance and development. When gender-based violence is left unchallenged, it diminishes the nation as a whole. Women are our mothers, our daughters, our wives; what debate is there in treating them as decently as we have to? Violence against women and girls is a violation of rights, a crime and a threat to progress in Africa and around the world.”
President Kagame stated that the equality of women was a cornerstone of democracy and that the starting point is that their abuse is completely unacceptable:
“Perpetrators must be held accountable and those who protect them must be shamed. Bystanders are an even bigger problem than the perpetrators. Men must not be bystanders in efforts to end violence against women and children. Let’s work together. Being there for women is being there for yourselves. I am inviting you to join in the campaign for action that will deliver tangible results.”
Calling on the individual participants representing different Africa security organs to put theory into practice, President Kagame said they must cultivate determination to act decisively, without fear or favour.
“The right mindset and values must be inculcated within the ranks and file of all our forces. There must be the will both within our governments and within force commands to make this issue a top priority. It requires more than words, to protect women and girls from violence.”
In 2010, Africa security organs (Police, Military and Correctional Service) from 14 countries in partnership with One-UN, made a commitment to prevent and respond to gender based violence women and girls face, by adopting the 2010 Kigali International Conference Declaration (KICD) on the “Role of Security Organs in ending Violence against Women and Girls”. It was decided that the KICD secretariat be based in Kigali.