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Statement by H.E Valentine Rugwabiza at the UNSC Debate on Peace and Security in Africa: Enhancing African capacities in the areas of peace and security

Thank you Mr. President,

Rwanda congratulates you for assuming the Presidency of the Council for the month of July and for convening this debate on a subject of paramount importance to Africa.

I also thank the briefers, the UN Secretary-General H.E Antonio Guterres and the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui  for their earlier briefings.

Today’s threats to peace and security, worldwide and on our continent have become more complex and this calls for multi-faceted interventions and stronger partnerships with regional organizations.

The African Union is better positioned in terms of knowledge and proximity to mobilize and respond quickly to existing and new threats to peace and security. We believe that the UN and African Union framework for an enhanced partnership in peace and security, which was signed on 19th April, 2017 by the UN Secretary General and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, provides the necessary framework for a much needed closer and more focused cooperation between the two organizations. It now needs to be institutionalized.

Mr. President,

Allow me to make specific recommendations on the issues being considered in our debate today.
First, Rwanda believes in the value of holding regular dialogue and consultations between the African Union and the UN Security Council on all conflicts on the continent. The information shared by both institutions during this dialogue, will, in our opinion increase the understanding of the context and the root causes of the conflicts and therefore help design adequate responses.

Second, Rwanda strongly recommends increased investment in the African Union capacities to intervene and respond effectively to warning signals with rapid interventions to protect civilians and prevent conflicts.

Often in conflict situations, the only credible prevention is rapid action. Enhancing African capacities in the areas of peace and security and more specifically to address the deficit in training, equipment and capacities of security institutions, will augment their ability to respond effectively to current and emerging threats.

Third, in post conflict situations, Rwanda recommends that investment in institutions’ capacities and inclusive governance systems be given priority in development cooperation.

Fourth, predictable and sustainable funding remains however a major challenge to the African Union ability to engage more effectively and use its comparative advantage to address conflicts and sustain peace on the continent.

To address this challenge, the African Union Summit decided at its 24th Ordinary Session held in Kigali in July 2016, to finance 25% of the African Union led peace support operations. The African Union Peace Fund, which was established by the African Union and the report of Dr. Kaberuka serves that purpose. Support to the African Union Peace Fund including access to UN assessed contributions will go a long way in ensuring predictable financing and contribute to the goal of ending conflicts in Africa.

The management structure and accountability as well as transparency systems built in the management of the African Union Peace Fund will ensure value for money. However, Rwanda knows by experience that the highest value for money lies in the millions of African lives that can be saved and protected from mass atrocities by enhancing Africa’s capabilities in peace and security.

None of the ambitious 17 SDGs of Agenda 2030 can be realized without peace and security. Therefore, increased investment in Africa’s capacities in the areas of peace and security are investments in the ensuring that Agenda 2030 leaves no one behind, including and mainly those affected by conflicts today.

I thank you for your kind attention.

 

Minister Nsengimana Highlights Rwanda’s Commitment to Youth and ICTs at the United Nations SDG Innovation and Connectivity Event

Minister Jean Philbert Nsengimana of the Ministry of Youth and Information and Communication Technology of Rwanda participated in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Action Event on Innovation and Connectivity hosted by the Office of the 71st President of the General Assembly.

New York, NY – 23 May 2017

On Wednesday, 17 May 2017, the United Nations Office of the President of the General Assembly held a Sustainable Development Goal Action Event on Innovation and Connectivity. The one-day event encompassed five sessions that brought together innovators, thought leaders, and technology companies alongside Member States to discuss ways emerging technologies can be leveraged to achieve the implementation of the SDGs.

In a packed room, PGA President, Peter Thomson, highlighted the importance of international cooperation and the 17 SDGs to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development. His opening remarks were followed by United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, who was optimistic stating that innovators know no borders and that the international community must join hands to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

Minister Nsengimana of Rwanda’s Ministry of Youth and Information and Communication Technology participated in Session 2. The session was titled, “A New Era of Connected Problem Solvers” which focused on the following question “How can connectivity help unleash the innovativeness of the global population to solve pressing challenges in pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals?” Moderated by Marcus Shingles, CEO XPrize Foundation, Minister Nsengimana was joined by three other panelists: Lara Stein, Founder of TEDx and Director at MIT ReACT; Kevin Lo, Senior Director for Infrastructure Connectivity, Facebook; and Chiyoko Osborne, Serial Entrepreneur and Chief Strategy Officer of Empact Collaboration Platform.

During the session, Minister Nsengimana shared that “Ensuring that people are connected is a priority.” He also talked about the major strides Rwanda is taking to achieve 95% 4G coverage within three years. He also stressed that the solution lies in leadership, creating a clear vision and a platform for young people to dream and innovate. The Minister also invited the audience to the Youth Conneckt Africa Summit happening in Kigali from 19-21 July of this year.

A video recording of this session and the entire SDG Innovation and Connectivity Action Event can be found at webtv.un.org.

About the Ministry of Youth and Information and Communication Technology of Rwanda

The Ministry of Youth and Information and Communication Technology’s mission is to address the national priorities for economic growth and poverty reduction through the development and coordination of national policies and program related to youth empowerment as well as Information & Communication Technology policies and programs. For more information, visit http://www.myict.gov.rw/home/.

For more information, email the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Rwanda to the United Nations at ambanewyork@minaffet.gov.rw.

Follow the Permanent Mission of Rwanda to the UN on Twitter at @RwandaUN.

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Statement by H.E Valentine Rugwabiza Permanent Representative to the UN and Member of the Cabinet at the Security Council Open Debate on Women and Peace and Security: Sexual Violence in Conflict

Mr. President,

I thank you, Hon. Minister of Uruguay and your delegation for organizing this important open debate. I also thank Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed, and USG, Mr. Adama Dieng, for their briefings. It is our hope that today’s debate will continue to mobilize collective action against this war crime given the alarmingly growing number of conflicts where sexual violence is used as a weapon of war and terrorism against civilian populations.

Sexual and Gender-based violence is not inevitable. The prevention of and protection from mass atrocities, including sexual violence is a primary state responsibility. As member states, it is our responsibility to put in place the normative and legal framework, enforcement measures to ensure zero tolerance to sexual violence in times of peace or war. However, as we all know, in times of conflict, the rule of law is broken. In such situations, it is our collective responsibility to ensure the protection of those targeted by sexual violence and most in need of protection during conflicts is guaranteed.

Mr.  President,

As situations of conflict continue to worsen in many places with women and children continuing to be the main target of sexual violence, all UN PK missions should have a robust mandate to protect civilians. The Kigali Principles on Protection of Civilians are an effective instrument towards that end. Protection of those in need should be given a priority by ensuring that we take full measures, to provide more effective protection to the civilian population at risk, to create the conditions for humanitarian assistance and to allow investigation of violations and abuses.

Rwanda believes that member states should systematically train all peacekeepers to address gender issues, prevent sexual violence, and protect individuals, including women and girls. Rwanda has operationalized a curriculum for all our troops and Police in the pre-deployment training that includes lessons related to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. In the same vein, we call other member states to boost women’s participation in each contingent and units, more specifically to include gender advisors, female officers, and the increased presence of female peacekeeping personnel in general. Rwanda meets the target of 15% females in all peacekeeping deployment contingents.

Sexual violence in conflict is a crime that we can eradicate. We strongly believe that our joint efforts can yield tangible results through a combination of preventive and responsive measures; targeted sanctions against all categories of perpetrators, monitoring and systematic reporting, assistance for the victims, empowerment of women and girls, increase of female peacekeepers and advisors and training of all forces in creating an environment of zero tolerance to sexual violence as a weapon of war. Rwanda will continue to support and work closely with the office of the SRSG on sexual violence in implementation of its mandate.

I thank you.

 

Rwanda and Qatar Establish Diplomatic Relations

Permanent Representative of the Republic of Rwanda to the United Nations, H.E. Valentine Rugwabiza, and the Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations, H.E. Alya Ahmed S. Al-Thani signing the Joint Communiqué.

New York May 4, 2017 – Today, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Rwanda to the United Nations, H.E. Valentine Rugwabiza, and the Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations, H.E. Alya Ahmed S. Al-Thani, signed a Joint Communiqué on the establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Republic of Rwanda and the State of Qatar.

The Communiqué reaffirms the growing friendship between the two countries and their wish to formalise and strengthen their bilateral cooperation.

The establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Republic of Rwanda and the State of the Qatar expresses the desire of the two countries to upgrade their relationship and widen the areas of cooperation for the mutual benefit of the People of Rwanda and Qatar.

H.E. Ambassador Valentine Rugwabiza, Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Member of Cabinet of the Government of Rwanda, at the 23rd Commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi

Your Excellency Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Your Excellency Vice President of the United Nations General Assembly,
Excellencies, Permanent Representatives to the UN,
Dear Survivors, compatriots, and friends of Rwanda,

On behalf of the people and the Government of Rwanda, I want to thank you all for joining us at this 23rd Commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi. Your presence means a lot to Rwanda. It is a mark of your respect for the dignity of the victims and the resilience of the survivors. I take this opportunity to thank the Department of Public Information for their cooperation in organising this annual commemoration.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

The purpose of the annual commemoration at the United Nations is to continue to raise awareness of the international community about our collective responsibility to prevent Genocide from happening anywhere in the world. We do so by honouring the memory of the victims; by renewing our resolve to fight the Genocide ideology and by sharing with the world what we have done in Rwanda to make “Never Again” a reality.

The annual commemoration also provides us with an opportunity to reflect on lessons learnt since the failure of the international community to prevent and stop the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. The theme for this year’s commemoration; “Remember the Genocide against the Tutsi – Fight Genocide Ideology – Build on Our Progress,” reminds us that the Genocide against the Tutsi was the result of a well-organised plan and ideology to exterminate all Tutsi. It also reminds us that the ideology didn’t stop with the end of the Genocide. Indeed, the denial, alteration, and distortion of the facts of Genocide are all well-known and documented mechanisms used by Genocide ideologues.

One of the mechanisms used by Genocide deniers is the use of deliberately confusing language. Whenever we refer to the Genocide against the Tutsi, historical clarity and the use of correct words are of critical importance. What we commemorate today is neither the Rwanda Genocide nor the 1994 Genocide. It is the Genocide against the Tutsi. Any other reference is inaccurate, misleading and wrong. Let us remember that the former International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda established by this very body concluded in its judgment on 2nd September 1998 that; “Genocide was, indeed, committed in Rwanda against the Tutsi as a group.”

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We all know that the Genocide against the Tutsi was not inevitable yet it happened. The question to reflect on today is “Why?” Why those who had the responsibility and capability to prevent or stop it didn’t act? Why those in positions of influence and authority at the time, made the wrong decisions? Many elaborate explanations have been suggested to explain the failure of the international community to act and stop the Genocide against the Tutsi. The truth is much simpler; those who were invested by the Charter of the United Nations with the duty and responsibility to prevent and stop the Genocide against the Tutsi did not consider that the lives of those targeted mattered sufficiently to warrant their protection. If faced with a similar situation today, will they act differently? We can only hope so, and it is this hope that lessons have been learnt from our tragic History that informs our annual commemoration at the United Nations.

We pay special tribute to the Ghanaian contingent of peacekeepers in Rwanda in 1994 and to the late Captain Mbaye Diagne from Senegal. These fellow Africans refused the orders of the then UN leadership in New York to evacuate with the rest of the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda and thus to abandon the victims to their fate. To them, the lives of those targeted mattered. These gallant sons and daughters of Africa demonstrated courage, empathy and a sense of responsibility that many others lacked.

In Rwanda, we have learned hard lessons from our tragic history. We have learned that Genocide ideology strives where its manifestations and expressions are tolerated. We have learned that hatred knows no borders. It is a poison that spreads where human rights violations are widespread with no accountability.

We also learnt that the most effective defense against Genocide ideology is our cohesion as a people and it is this lesson that informed our choices for unity, reconciliation and a governance system centered on the wellbeing and dignity of all Rwandans.

Rwanda today offers a story of hope; how a country and its people can stand strong in the face of adversity and together build a new and united nation. Through investing in our people and building institutions, we have delivered peace, security, opportunity and, more importantly, dignity for all Rwandans.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me conclude by thanking all of you again for your presence at the 23rd Commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi. I thank in particular the survivors. Your strength and resilience remains a source of inspiration.

We also remain forever indebted to the Rwanda Defense Forces – men and women who, under the command of His Excellency President Paul Kagame, single-handedly stopped the Genocide against the Tutsis in July 1994. Without them, there wouldn’t be survivors like Sonia to tell their story.

I thank you.

(A moment of reflection at the 23rd Commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi at the United Nations.)