Women in security organs from African countries, on November 29, joined Rwanda and the rest of the World to mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV).
The 16 Days of Activism against GBV which runs from November 25 to December 10, is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world.
The days of activism coincided with the two-day ‘Africa Convention of Women in Security Organs’ which brought together about 250 delegates from across Africa, under the theme: “Women’s impact in security: Rethinking Strategy.”
The delegates, who joined top officials from the government and security organs in particular, held a walk against GBV from the Parliamentary Building to Kigali Convention Centre.
The Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Esperance Nyirasafari, while speaking shortly after the walk, called for “renewed commitment” adding that the effectiveness in this common course requires common understand and approach.
Rwanda, she said, enacted strong legal and policy frameworks and adopted measures to ensure effective implementation in the fight against GBV, and that this has been “elevated into a matter of national security.”
“Rwanda’s security and law enforcement organs are zero tolerant against all forms of gender based violence and child abuse,” she noted.
“This campaign, therefore, serves as a good opportunity to inform the general public that the Government of Rwanda is still committed to eradicate gender based violence. GBV has been,” the Minister said.
The UN-Women country representative, Fatou Lo said that violence against women is a grave violation of human rights.
“Women and girls, who experience violence, lose their dignity, they live in fear and pain, and in the worst cases they pay with their lives,” Fatou said.
She observed that the devastating impact of violence goes beyond the women and girls and that it affects every individual directly or indirectly as well as communities and the entire society.
“The extent to which violence is embedded in the society means that uprooting it is also a job for all of society. This means that we need to keep standing together and saying no to sexual and gender based violence, whether it happens in private or public spheres,” Fatou said.
“Even relatively small-scale investments that are timely and well targeted can bring enormous benefits to women and girls and to their wider communities,” Fatou said.
Experts are unanimous that the benefit of ending violence against women and girls would far outweigh the investment necessary.
At least one in every three women has experienced violence in their lifetime, according to the United Nations.