The official opening of the two-day convention held at the RNP General Headquarters in Kacyiru was presided over by the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Prof. Jeannette Bayisenge. It was also attended by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dan Munyuza, UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Fodé Ndiaye as well as Deputy IGPs; Felix Namuhoranye of Operations and Jeanne Chantal Ujeneza of Administration and Personnel.
It is held in consideration of the national Covid-19 prevention guidelines.
Bayisenge said that the ‘Police Women Convention’ is crucial to promote gender equality, assess the achievement in line with women empowerment, put much effort in areas where the force still lags for men and women to enjoy equal rights and opportunities, and to have equal contribution in the development of their country.
“Women in Rwanda were marginalized for so many years; they had no equal rights as men is all aspects of life. This negative narrative attributed to women was put to an end by the visionary leadership under President Paul Kagame which developed policy and legal frameworks that provide equal rights and opportunities, no discrimination; developed women empowerment programmes and established institutions to oversee the implementation of these national and international instruments,” Minister Bayisenge said.
Gender equality, she added, is part of the government Vision 2050, the National Strategy for Transformation (NST 1), sector gender mainstreaming strategies and the UN security council resolution 1325 on the call for participation and increase of women in peacekeeping and peace processes.
“These efforts continue to produce results on the increase of women in security organs, and it is a pride to see women and girls working together with their spouses and brothers in ensuring safety and security both at home and in international dimensions. This is a sign that where there is strong governance and legal systems, outcomes are massive,” the Minister said.
She, however, noted that despite the milestone, there are still challenges related to sexual and gender-based violence including defilement.
“This is a moment to reflect on what you can do to ensure safer and able families; how your can help fill the void in gender promotion and equality in your respective areas of responsibility to influence mindset change among the women.”
IGP Dan Munyuza said that the periodic Police Women Convention is part of the RNP women empowerment programmes and a forum to further influence them in their policing duties.
"Through this forum, we listen and exchange ideas, expertise, review the achievements, look at where we are and want to be in promoting gender equality in the Police force," IGP Munyuza said.
The establishment of the directorate of gender promotion in RNP, he added, was meant to spearhead the gender policies and for the female officers to further contribute to the policing mandate and development of their country.
"The number of women Police officers has continued to increase which goes with their promotions and leadership appointments both in the country and in international peacekeeping operations," IGP Munyuza said.
He urged the women Police officers to utilize the forum, apply the knowledge they will acquire to better understand and execute their duties effectively.
The Police Chief thanked UNDP for the continued support in community policing affairs including training of community policing committees, youth volunteers as well as sensitization campaigns against crimes and gender related activities.
UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Fodé Ndiaye, commended the Government of Rwanda’s effort to mainstream gender in policies, programmes and practices as gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable world.
“The results are highly commended at global level and a more authorized voice will certainly elaborate on this. Rwanda ranks one of the leading female contributors to the UN,” Mr. Ndiaye said.
He added: “The women police convention is a clear demonstration of the translation of gender equality principles into practice and provides a good platform for women in policing to reflect on their roles and responsibilities but also challenges and strategies towards a peaceful country free from any form of discrimination and abuse in line with the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Goals especially goal 16—promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”
During the two days, women officers will look at gender mainstreaming in RNP, welfare, GBV status among police officers’ families and prevention mechanism; force conduct and discipline; best practices, experience sharing and challenges and social responsibilities, among others.