Twenty female Police officers, on Monday, March 14, started a week-long training on preventing the recruitment and use of children as soldiers, at the Regional Centre of Excellence on Gender-Based Violence and Child Abuse in Kacyiru.
The training, the second of its kind, is conducted by Rwanda National Police (RNP) in partnership with the Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace and Security.
The Dallaire Institute, whose African Centre of Excellence is based in Rwanda, works to end the recruitment and use of children as soldiers globally.
Gen (rtd) Romeo Dallaire is a Canadian, who commanded the UN peacekeeping force that was deployed in Rwanda during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
It is part of the partnership between RNP and Dallaire Institute signed in 2019 in preventing the recruitment and use of children as soldiers around the world.
The basic training course looks at the impacts of conflict on children, detention and handover of children, and security sector actors and children in conflict.
While opening the course, Commissioner for Training and Development, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Safari Uwimana, said that RNP as a law enforcement institution, prioritizes among others, protection of children against any form of violence and abuse.
“Protection of children against any form of violence and abuse is a responsibility that should be upheld by all, an obligation that Rwanda as a country and RNP as an institution gives due attention,” ACP Uwimana said.
“As a major troop and police contributing country to the United Nations peace operations, Rwanda’s peacekeeping apparatus embodies the values of UN peacekeeping, including respect for Human Rights, ensuring protection of civilians and rights of children not to be recruited and used as soldiers. This is a major component within the overall Human Rights spectrum,” he added.
He added that the course will continue to build a solid foundation for training of RNP officers on this critical and very relevant domain.
On her part, Francisca Mujawase, the Acting Director at the Dallaire Institute for Peace and Security - African Center of Excellence, said that course was organized to enhance knowledge and skills that should support women in peacekeeping to increase readiness to respond to the issue of child soldiers.
“The rationale for this training is very pertinent because child soldier is a global concern and Rwanda is a leading advocacy in efforts to end the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict situation," Mujawase said.
She added: “Child Soldiers is a global issue and we believe that the prevention approach starts with the security sector actors. This training aims at enhancing knowledge and skills on how they can interact better and also make sure that children are protected in case they meet them... Children to be seen as the victims not perpetrators.”
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