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Statement by Minister of State in Charge of Cooperation, Eugene-Richard Gasana, at the presentation of the report on Peacebuilding Commission

Mr. President,

Allow me to extend my sincere thanks to Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota of Brazil, former chair of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) for his presentation of the PBC’s report on its eighth session. I also wish to thank him for his dedication and strong commitment as he led the work of the Commission during the year 2014. I also thank Ambassador Olof Skoog of Sweden, Chair of PBC, for his statement.

Rwanda would like to join others to note with appreciation reports of the PBC and the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF), which provide a comprehensive analysis of progress made so far in the implementation of the recommendations of the 2010 review, as well as the continuing challenges that the Commission must address as it accompanies countries emerging from conflict.

The topics covered by the report before the Assembly today reflects the scope of these challenges. The Commission has thus emerged as the voice of our conscience calling for greater commitment and collective efforts to ensure that we live up to the expectations of peoples and societies aspiring for sustained peace and development.

Mr. President

My delegation would like to highlight the importance of building on the important areas of focus identified in 2014, namely: (1) the preparation for and convening of its first ever annual session in June this year; (2) the advance preparation for the 2015 review of the peacebuilding architecture; and (3) the mainstreaming of regional perspectives into the work of the Commission. We also note particular engagement of country-specific configurations through a continued focus on its three core functions.

We note with appreciation the Commission’s focus on, and engagement in countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. While the outbreak has had an impact on peace, security and development, the Commission has contributed to sustain international attention, which curtailed the spread of the outbreak, and minimized its impact, especially on peacebuilding-related gains in the affected countries.  Stakeholders, including the United Nations and international financial institutions, should maintain this momentum in order to sustain the recent gains towards a lasting solution to the crisis.

Mr. President

On resource mobilization, we call for the continued advocacy on behalf of the countries on the agenda and help underscore political and socio-economic progress to attract assistance and investments; as well as identify entry points to tap into the potentials of foundations, private sector and other non-traditional donors.

On country-specific configurations, we welcome the configuration’s engagement in Burundi, which oversaw the planning for the transfer of responsibilities from the United Nations Office in Burundi (BNUB) to the Government of Burundi and the United Nations country team; including intensified engagement with key regional partners, at a time when Burundi witnesses political tensions ahead of general elections. The visit undertaken in May last year by Ambassador Paul Seger of Switzerland, Chair of the Burundi configuration, to Rwanda and to the headquarters of the Economic Commission for Africa is commendable in this regard.

Mr. President

Mindful of the positive role of women in post-conflict reconstruction, Rwanda welcomed the Commission‘s consideration of the gender dimension in peacebuilding activities. We welcomed the recommendations from the special event held on 3rd September last year, under the theme “Women, everyday peacebuilders”. The Commission should promote regular events of that nature, not only in New York, but also in countries on its agenda, as well as with the relevant regional groupings.

On the working methods, we encourage the Commission to identify and document good practice of the past 10 years, including by encouraging cross-learning among configurations. We believe that, since 2005, the UN should have been able to identify a set of good practices and lessons learnt of how the support to national efforts to build and sustain peace can be more effective. Although there are positive developments in this regard, further progress is still needed.

Mr. President,

We hope that the ongoing review will provide an opportunity to address the broader landscape of UN response in post-conflict situations, and how the PBC, the PBF and PBSO’s roles and responsibilities can be adapted to strengthen such response. We also hope that the review would help reinforce efforts to promote a more effective and complementary relationship between the PBC and the main organs of the UN, mainly the General Assembly, the Security Council and ECOSOC. We encourage the Commission to continue to explore ways to strengthen the advisory function to and improve interaction with the Security Council; especially by convening periodic stock-taking meetings, at the expert level; as well as informal interactive dialogue among members of the Council and the Commission’s group of chairs .

From Rwanda’s experience as former coordinator of this stock-taking exercise, during our 2013-2014 term in the Security Council, it has allowed the Council to examine the scope of the Commission’s advisory function and the modality of interaction when countries are on the agenda of both bodies. It also allowed us to receive regular update from countries on the agenda.

I will conclude by saying a word on the report of the Peacebuilding Fund. We noted that in 2014, there was a significant increase of contributions compared to the level of 2013; and we thank the Member States and donors that have made this valuable contribution. We welcomed the General Assembly-mandated periodic review of the Peacebuilding Fund to guide the revision of the Fund’s business plan in 2014, and we hope that the PBF will be able to grow in size and scope in order to further strengthen its contribution to greater and more coherent UN contribution to peacebuilding in countries emerging from conflicts.

I thank you.

 

 

 

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative, Jeanne d’Arc Byaje, at the CPD session

Madame President,

At the outset, let me take this opportunity to thank you for organizing this timely and important meeting.

Allow me to first acknowledge the 400 migrants who have perished in the Mediterranean Sea hoping to secure a better future for them and for their offspring. This should prompt us to take a moment to gauge why such tragedies are happening and commit to address issues affecting our populations to ensure the wellbeing of our people.  Rwanda hopes that this session will shed some light on some of the possible avenues to embark on in order to fulfill that noble objective.

Let me also state how delighted we are to participate in this important session and on behalf of the Government of Rwanda, I would like to thank the Secretary-General for his reports and findings; Rwanda reaffirms its commitment to a human centered agenda with a view to ensuring improvement and sustainability of quality of life to the current and succeeding generations.

As the session devoted to integrating population issues into sustainable development, including in the post 2015 development agenda, we consider this 48th session of the CPD as a critical opportunity to create enabling conditions to address the world’s population and development challenges so as to deploy all efforts to improve the lives of our people, with equity and dignity to ensure sustained economic growth and sustainable development for all.

Rwanda has taken to the center stage that sustainable development entails striking a balance between meeting the social, economic, and health needs of current and future generations and that our population dynamics influence prospects for sustainable development.  In our resolve to eradicate poverty and ensure a decent life for all, we are confronted with new challenges compelling us to rethink our way of doing business if we are to consolidate our gains.

In that regard, we have reinforced integration of population dynamics and the environment at all levels of development planning and programme implementation.  To achieve the above linkages, Rwanda has reformed and harmonized formal and non-formal education systems and curricula to ensure quality education that fosters innovation, development of productive skills, spirit of entrepreneurship, and visionary leadership that meets emerging needs, through ensuring universal enrolment, retention, and progression at primary, secondary and tertiary levels to close inequities relating to gender. Our goal is to ensure relevance of education that includes promoting technical, vocational education and training programs, making use of new information, communication technologies, research and Innovation and one that is applicable to current labour market trends and demands.

Rwanda would not have achieved a lot without a healthy society. In light of that, Rwanda embarked on operationalizing the health society by adopting equity and rights-based planning and resource-allocation, universal access to family planning and other reproductive health services, facilitating community participation in health decision-making and programming, and educating healthcare providers and communities on what the right to health means in service provision. More importantly, Rwanda provides universal health coverage through Mutuelle de santé.

With regard to human security, Rwanda has embarked on ensuring food security through strengthening agricultural productivity and livelihoods by supporting ecological agriculture and securing ownership of land especially for women, and strengthening capacities to adapt to climate change and related natural disasters.

In this regard, Rwanda believes that ensuring sustainable Gender equality and the empowerment of women in the post 2015 development agenda should be based on a comprehensive vision of gender equality, women’s rights and women empowerment.  This can be achieved through financing for gender equality and institutionalizing a gender-sensitive approach to public financial management, including gender-responsive budgeting across all sectors. Integrating financing for gender equality into the national planning processes with the adoption of a gender sensitive organic budget law is one way of ensuring that women are not left at the margins of the society.

On inclusive Economic Transformation, Rwanda is harnessing the Demographic Dividend by ensuring empowerment of women, investments in education and public health, and economic reforms that facilitate savings, investment and promotion of industries that reinforce value addition, create quality jobs, with particular attention to job creation and livelihood opportunities for men, women and youth and insuring financial inclusion for all. In light of that Rwanda has strengthened governance, political and economic systems that are grounded in the Human Rights framework, integrity and accountability in use of public resources and service delivery, inclusiveness and investment in human development. To further this important agenda, Rwanda has enacted policies that strengthen the capacity of communities to access, control and manage land and information, especially for women, youth and  persons with disabilities.

The impact of population dynamics on the micro and macro levels requires the integration of population dynamics into development planning at national, regional and international level. Evidence from my country indicates that Rwanda population has more than doubled between 1978 and 2014 from 4.8 million to 11.3 million projected in 2015 and a projected life expectancy at birth for 2015 of 65.7%  for males and 67.5% for females.

As Rwanda urbanizes, development challenges faced will require systematic participation of all stakeholders in crafting responses to that daunting situation. Considerable progress has been made to implement national priorities in line with the ICPD Programme. The Total fertility rate has decreased from 6.1 in 2005, to 4.6 in 2010 and down to 4.0 in 2012.  Child and maternal mortality has reduced and, progress was made on skilled birth attendance moving from 39% in 2005 to 69% in 2010.

In conclusion, our goal is to harness the Demographic Dividend to achieve sustainable development. Our government will simultaneously continue to invest in universal access to family planning and reproductive health services, public health, quality education, adopt economic policies that will create employment, and ensure accountable use of public funds.

I thank You!

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative, Olivier Nduhungirehe, at the UN Security Council open debate on Women, Peace and Security

Madam President,

Let me join others in thanking you for organizing this important open debate. I also thank Ms Zainab Hawa Bangura, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict and Ms Hamsatu Allamin of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, for their respective statements earlier today.

In recent years, Madam President, the International community, especially the UN Security Council has, quite rightly, directed considerable energy to the fight against sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Unfortunately, as we gather here today, one year has passed since the kidnapping of 276 girls from a school in the Nigerian town of Chibok. Today, of the many terrifying stories emerging from the Daesh-occupied Iraq and Syria, the violence directed towards women is perhaps the most difficult to contemplate. The United Nations last month estimated that Daesh has forced some 1,500 women, girls and boys into sexual slavery, which is unacceptable. In the same vein, we also remain in solidarity with affected families of the victims of the recent attacks at Garissa University in Kenya, a majority of which were women.

All these crimes, like many others, present a particularly egregious example of the use of sexual violence in terrorist activities; and are a testimony that conflict-related sexual violence is one of the most urgent challenges for the affected Governments and communities, and is also a serious threat to international peace and security. While the leadership and responsibility on the part of the affected Governments is critical to tackling this issue, with the support of the international community, we believe that the focus should now be on our collective efforts to convert the political commitments into concrete prevention on the ground.

Rwanda once again condemns all forms of violence against women and girls worldwide, especially in conflict and post-conflict zones. We believe that, as previously stated in this Council, sexual violence in conflict, shall now be qualified as “sexual terrorism”.

Madam President,

Now that sexual violence has also spilled over in countries that are not in conflicts, clarifications should be set on measures deployed both in the situation of conflict and that of non-conflict. In the conflict zone, we believe that protection of women and girls should be given a priority by ensuring that we take full measures, in particular to provide more effective protection to the civilian population at risk, create the conditions for humanitarian assistance that remains hampered; increase female peacekeepers and Gender protection advisors in all UN Missions; and conduct investigations on violations and abuses by all parties.

We should all send a unified message to remind those responsible that acts of sexual violence can’t be tolerated. Perpetrators must face justice; and the culture of impunity enjoyed by some non-state actors should be shattered. Some of the groups enjoying impunity are those who committed these types of atrocities during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, and continue such practices today in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); under the name of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

On this particular issue, it is regrettable to see that, as Rwanda commemorates for the 21st time the genocide against the Tutsi, the international community, which was quick to neutralize other armed groups in eastern DRC, has turned a blind eye to their heinous activities, and continue to offer them a soft landing. If this trend continues, not only FDLR sexual violence campaigns but also its destabilizing tactics will have long-lasting, devastating impacts in the DRC and the region.

Madam President,

In a non-conflict situation, we believe that national security and justice institutions  should strengthen their response in addressing sexual violence; including awareness raising and education, strengthening of security institutions to detect acts of terror; effective boarder control measures, among other things. Furthermore, ending impunity for those who commit sexual violence should be our collective effort and goal. In the same line, we believe that the Security Council should ensure that all country-specific reports and mandate renewals evaluate the level of protection and promotion of women’s human rights, as enumerated in several Council resolutions. We call on the established UN Team of Experts on Rule of Law and Sexual Violence to support national institutions in discharging their duties.

I shall conclude, Madam President, by recalling that defeating sexual violence in conflict should include addressing root causes of conflicts and creating institutions that fulfil their constitutional duties. Moreover, a successful reform of the rule of law in conflict-stricken countries will largely depend on the smooth demobilization of the various militias run by warlords. With this being said, let me pay tribute to a committed Secretary-general and to his tireless Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict for their action and achievements in fighting sexual violence in conflict.

I thank you.

Statement by Minister of State in Charge of Cooperation, Eugene Richard Gasana, at the 21st Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda

Your Excellency Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations;

Your Excellency Samantha Power, Permanent Representative of the United States to the UN,

H.E. Mr. Nicholas Emiliou, Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the United Nations  Acting President of the sixty-ninth session of the United Nations General Assembly will speak on behalf of the PGA;

Ambassador Antonio Tete, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the UN,

Dear Ms. Regine King;

Excellencies Permanent Representatives to the UN;

Dear compatriots and friends of Rwanda;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

Let me express my gratitude to you all for being here with us, this evening, to commemorate for the 21st time the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. I also take this opportunity to thank our moderator and the UN Department of Public Information for its invaluable partnership with the Permanent Mission of Rwanda in organizing this annual event. The Government of Rwanda decided that this year’s commemoration would be the occasion to reflect on Genocide denial and its impact on the lives of survivors, while at the same time showing solidarity with them and forging a united front to combat all forms of genocide denial in Rwanda and elsewhere.

As you are aware, from April to July 1994, more than a million people were slaughtered in Rwanda in a hundred days for the only “sin” of being born Tutsi or for simply opposing the massacre of innocent human beings. Despite the fact that the systematic slaughter of men, women and children was perpetrated in full view of the international community, there have been several attempts to deny or trivialize the genocide, as well as to minimize its scale, which resulted in adversely impacting on the lives of survivors.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen;

For the past years indeed, genocide perpetrators and their henchmen have been offered platforms to deny the occurrence of the 1994 Genocide committed against the Tutsi; to distort facts and; attempt to rewrite our history. Unfortunately, such actions continue to be not only an ugly shared reality for all those touched by this heinous crime, especially survivors and their families, but also have further bearing on their healing process. Indeed, genocide denial harms survivors to the extent of attempting to kill genocide memory.

H.E President Kagame today during the National Commemoration of Kwibuka21, stated that “today, hunting down to kill is no longer easy but it is done in the form of denial and denigrating survivors.” So even if recognition of the crime committed against the targeted victims will not bring back their loved ones, at least this is an essential step for healing and reconciliation.

As we gather here tonight, I would like to offer an honest challenge to some of us. The fact is that the ICTR Trial Chamber concluded, on 2 September 1998, that “genocide was, indeed, committed in Rwanda against the Tutsi as a group” and that the Appeals Chamber confirmed, on 16 June 2006, that it is a “fact of common knowledge” that “[between 6 April and 17 July 1994, there was a genocide in Rwanda against the Tutsi ethnic group”, this should  at least serve as a basis for all  of us to desist any attempt to deny or trivialize facts of genocide, as well as to minimize its scale.

Moreover, if it is indeed a fact that the Genocide was committed against the Tutsi in full view of international community, including UN peacekeepers on the ground; if that Genocide was well documented by the United Nations to warrant the establishment of an International Criminal Tribunal, and if that Tribunal reached the above conclusion, why would anyone, including politicians and scholars in the region and beyond, be reluctant to denounce genocide denial? Why should we, as an international community, continue to refrain from clearly and without a doubt, refer to its factual name?

Ladies and Gentlemen;

In this context, even the UN itself, which was present in Rwanda at the time of the genocide; the very same UN whose powerful body, the Security Council, monitored the events in 1994 as they unfolded until the last minute; and the very same body that recently adopted resolution 2150 reaffirming that indeed the genocide against the Tutsi was committed in Rwanda in 1994; it is regrettable that, up to now, the UN consistently refers to our tragedy as “Rwandan genocide.”

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This failure to use the right terminology by the UN, or even as today in the UN, this day is known as the “International Day of Reflection of the Genocide in Rwanda” has been an argument picked up by deniers of all kinds as an evident truth that this body does not recognize that a genocide was indeed committed against the Tutsi.

In fact, genocide deniers, from the grassroots, the mainstream media to scholars, continue to refer to the Genocide against the Tutsi as “Rwandan genocide” or “Genocide in Rwanda”; arguing that the genocide was committed not against the Tutsi, but against all Rwandans. We once again call on this respectable organization to live up to its responsibilities and act in line with the conclusions and decisions of its institutions, including ICTR rulings and resolutions of the Security Council, if it is truly committed to prevent future genocides.

As for the Government of Rwanda, you would recall that in order to make our commitment “never again” a reality, we have enacted a number of laws proscribing genocide ideology, genocide minimisation and denial. As the historian Richard Hovannisian reminded us, denying, altering or distorting the facts of Genocide is the “final stage” of genocide, fulfilling the perpetrator’s ultimate intentions by erasing the one thing remaining of those who died and those who were left alive – the memory of genocide. Therefore, we shouldn’t shy away of fighting genocide denial!

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me also take this opportunity to pay tribute to UN Secretary General Mr Ban Ki-moon for his tireless efforts in the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities. We recognize his commitment to uphold the responsibility to protect, that Rwanda holds dear, and to find a lasting solution to the current conflicts involving massive losses of lives. We further look upon your leadership to Reflection our call to once and for all call this day “International Day of Reflection of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda.”

Finally, let me conclude with an uplifting message that I received from somebody this morning “Remember but stay upright. Lift oneself up each day for the beauty, of a collective act which is an act of humanity.”

I thank you.

Statement by First Counsellor, Emmanuel Nibishaka, at the 3rd session on intergovernmental negotiations on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets

Distinguished co-facilitators,

Distinguished co-facilitators,

Thank you co-facilitators for giving me the floor. I would like to share my country’s experience in implementation of  Goals and targets with an emphasis on Governance and Rule of Law due to the fact that, in 2014, Rwanda has been selected by the UN Development Group as one of the pilot countries for the illustrative goals of post 2015 SDGs on Governance and Rule of Law. To participate in this pilot project, the Government of Rwanda has appointed the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) as the institution in charge of the implementation of this task. Rwanda Governance Board is the government institution responsible for, among others, generating data and evidence related to governance; documenting and conducting impact assessment of home grown initiatives; monitoring governance practices in all domains as well as advising the government on governance policies. RGB, in collaboration with ONE UN/ UNDP country office, drafted a set of indicators and potential targets and coordinated the piloting exercise in 7 urban and rural districts. The consultation exercise is now completed and Rwanda will submit its report in the coming days.

The Government of Rwanda considers good governance and accountability as backbone for achieving national development agenda. In our long and mid-term development plans- Vision 2020, EDPRS I&II-, Accountable Governance and Institutional Capacity & Effectiveness are always highlighted among the key pillars. It goes therefore without saying that for Rwanda, issues of accountability, inclusiveness, gender equality, participation, security and rule of law are of paramount importance for socio-economic development. In the last 20 years, Rwanda applied home grown innovations to all domains, particularly in justice and governance. These innovations- and measuring governance was one of them- have been instrumental in the positive socio-economic transformation of Rwanda.

The Government of Rwanda, through RGB, has started measuring governance since 2010.  On May 13th, 2015, RGB released the 3rd edition of the Rwanda Governance Scorecard (RGS) which

is an annual assessment conducted to accurately gauge the status of governance and accountability in the country. RGS is as well published online and can be found at: www.rgb.rw/governancescorecard. As it can been seen from this publication, RGS measures already a good number of indicators that are proposed in various goals of the post 2015 SDGs. It is on this background that RGB’s scorecard was used as a practical tool to provide an illustrative adaptation of Goal 16 of the SDGs.

The Rwanda Governance Scorecard’s indicators provide illustrative mentions on Goal 16 of the SDGs. Indeed, the RGB’s scorecard measures 6 out of 10 targets of Goal 16. Let me clarify that point with examples: Regarding the target 16.1 (goal 16, target 1), RGS measures citizen’s satisfaction with Personal and Property Safety, Homicides rates (per 100,000), and the percentage of gender based violence cases processed against those reported. For target 16.3, we assess the Access to Justice, Disposal rates in the courts and Rwanda’s compliance with reporting obligations on core UN & AU international human rights convention. Regarding the target 16.5, we look for example at asset declaration of senior government officials (in the Executive, Judiciary & Legislative branches and including senior security officers), the prevalence of bribe tendencies in the society and the effectiveness of the institutions in charge of fighting corruption.

Within target 16.6, we assess the quality and efficiency of the services delivered to the citizens especially at local level and the accountability of public institutions.  For target 16.10, RGB gauges the Access to public information in law and in practice, levels of citizens satisfaction with fundamental freedoms and how Rwanda comply with the reporting responsibilities of the Core international human rights conventions.

We can therefore conclude that governance and rule of law are definitely measurable. Rwanda has measured them; we believe other countries can also do the same.  From our experience, measuring them has been a milestone in itself. It has enabled systematic, consistent and imperative improvement. However, it is absolutely necessary to define targets and indicators with clarity and realism so that they are unambiguously understood, practically measurable but also realistically attainable.

I thank you