The New Times Kigali Eugene Kwibuka
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Women serving in security organs in more than thirty countries in Africa have pledged to keep up efforts against gender-based violence (GBV) by meeting more often to share their experiences and monitoring violence against women and girls more closely in their countries.

The pledge was made in Kigali, yesterday, at the closure of a two-day, first-ever ‘Regional Convention of Women in Security Organs’, which tackled issues around GBV in Africa and how to improve efforts against it.

The commitment is contained in fourteen resolutions that were made at the end of the conference, which include calls for more workshops and regular conferences for women in security organs across the continent and opening anti-GBV centres in all member countries of KICD.

KICD, to which about 34 countries in Africa have so far subscribed as members, stands for Kigali International Conference Declaration and is an initiative dedicated to encouraging Africa’s Security Organs to continue taking concrete measures to end violence against women and girls.

Following the launch of KICD in 2010, different activities have been conducted so far, including the construction of the ‘Regional Centre of Excellence’ in the fight against gender-related crimes at Rwanda National Police General Headquarters in Kigali, which was launched on Monday and will host the initiative’s secretariat.

Among other resolutions, the women officers’ convention recommended that KICD Permanent Secretariat work with member states to identify countries that need more attention in terms of fighting violence against women and girls and be prioritised in capacity building and technical support.

Member countries of the initiative were also requested to attach seconded staff to the Regional Centre of Excellence in Kigali as a way of improving skills offered by the centre.

The women officers also advocated for the establishment and support of centres similar to Rwanda’s Isange One-Stop-Centre model to provide holistic services to end violence against women and girls and help its victims in all KICD member countries where they don’t exist.

Bringing together over 250 African women from security agencies in 35 countries across the continent, the meeting was organised under the auspices of Kigali International Conference Declaration (KICD) to redraw up strategies to enhance the role of women officers in the fight against crimes, especially child abuse and violence against women and girls.

At the meeting, participants included women officers drawn from police, military and prison services from across Africa.

While officiating at the closure of the seminar, Rwanda’s Minister for Justice, Johnston Busingye, urged the participants to take what they learned at the summit to their home countries and keep up the drive against GBV.

“The fight to end violence against women and girls is a fight for development, good governance, and dignity,” he said.

The Minister for Gender and Family Promotion, Esperance Nyirasafari, pledged the Government of Rwanda’s support in the fight against GBV, explaining that the country is fairly advanced in the area with plenty of experiences to share.

“Since Rwanda has made some progress in this area of fighting GBV and child abuse, we are ready to share our experience and provide support where needed,” she told participants shortly after an anti-GBV walk that started from Parliament Buildings to the Kigali Convention Centre in Kimihurura.

KICD was initiated as a result of UNiTE, a global campaign by UN Secretary-General Ban KiMoon to end violence against women and girls.

The campaign was supported by Rwanda through different meetings that started with the high-level international conference on the role of African Security Organs in Ending Violence against Women and Girls.

Held in Kigali in October 2010, it is this conference that produced the Kigali International Conference Declaration (KICD).