Seventeen female Police officers, on Monday, October 10, started a two-week 'Training of Trainers' course on the prevention of recruitment and use of children as soldiers.
The course conducted by Rwanda National Police (RNP) in partnership with the Dallaire Institute for Children Peace and Security, was officially opened by the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIGP) Felix Namuhoranye, at the RNP General Headquarters Kacyiru.
It was also attended by the Germany ambassador to Rwanda, Dr. Thomas Kurz.
DIGP Namuhoranye said that the course is very important to gain knowledge and skills to prevent the recruitment and use of children as soldiers in armed conflicts.
He added that the Dallaire Institute for Children Peace and Security is one of the RNP major stakeholders in capacity building programmes especially in pre-deployment training for peace support operations units.
"In line with the implemention of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, the Kigali Principles on the protection of civilians in peace operations, and the Vancouver principles mostly on the role of female police officers in prevention of recruitment and use of children as soldiers in armed conflicts; Rwanda National Police has significantly increased its numbers, especially of female police officers, in peacekeeping operations," DIGP Namuhoranye said.
The UNSCR Resolution 1325 urges all actors to increase the participation of women in conflict resolution, peacekeeping and incorporate gender balance perspectives in all United Nations peace and security efforts.
The RNP and Dallaire Institute for Children Peace and Security signed a Memorandum of Understanding in December 2019.
Since then, DIGP Namuhoranye said, one of the major achievements has been a steady increase of capacity of female officers ready for deployment in peacekeeping missions.
He reiterated the protective service rendered by Rwanda Formed Police Units to the the vulnerable groups in host nations, mostly in IDP camps where children face risk of all sorts of violence and abuse, including forced recruitment into armed forces.
Rwanda is one of the leading contributors of female Police officers to peace support operations, and currently maintains a female-dominated Formed Police Unit (FPU) contingent under the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
"This TOT will enable participants to transfer the knowledge and skills gained to other officers of the force... to ensure sustainability of the training," DIGP Namuhoranye said.
"The knowledge and skills will certainly increase the capacity of trainees and subsequently impact positively on the vulnerable communities in conflict areas where children face the risk of by being forcibly used in armed conflicts," he added.
Amb. Kurz noted that despite the efforts realized, the African child remains threatened by conflict and the risk to be recruited and used as soldiers among other possible grave violations.
"This training reminds us that women police officers, when empowered, have an important voice in the protection of children and have the power to create sustainable peace in communities," Amb. Kurz said.
He commended the Government of Rwanda and RNP in particular, for supporting the peace and security agenda both domestically and regionally.
This, he added, has created a significant platform where female police officers are empowered to fit into their daily duties and giving them space to share experiences and design new localized strategies to respond to the needs of children.
Maj. Gen (rtd) Ferdinand Safari, the Director of Dallaire Institute for Children Peace and Security, said that the training is based on the fundamental techniques of preventing recruitment and the use of children as soldiers in armed conflicts.
He added that the ToT will provide an interactive forum for the trainees to share, explore and discuss concepts and issues related to the recruitment and use of children as soldiers.
This pool of trainers, he explained, can be deployed to support training in other Sub-Saharan Africa.
"Security sector actors are often the first point of contact with children in the context of armed violence. We can create a more comprehensive international response that allows us to take a preventive approach to contribute to a peaceful and more sustainable security," Safari said.
The Dallaire Institute, whose African Centre of Excellence is based in Rwanda, has since its establishment in 2007, trained more than 15,000 people from more than 100 countries across the globe.
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.