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Remarks by Minister of State in Charge of Cooperation, Eugene-Richard Gasana, at the 22nd Commemoration of the Genocide Against the Tutsi

Annual commemoration of the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide Against the Tutsi in RwandaYour Excellency Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations and Madam;

Your Excellency Mogens Lykketoft, President of the UN General Assembly and Madam,

Dear Malcom Hoenlein, Nelly and Frida,

Dear my sister Pauletta,

I also recognize the DSG,

Excellencies, Permanent Representatives to the UN;

Dear compatriots and friends of Rwanda;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

Let me express my gratitude to the UN Department of Public Information for partnering with us to organize this annual event. I wish to particularly pay tribute to the UN Secretary-General for his continued support which will come a bit later for his continued support.

Each year we gather to remember the tragedy that left over 1 million Rwandans dead, killed for the “sin” of being a “Tutsi” and those slaughtered for opposing the killings of innocent women, men, and children. For 100 dark days, 10,000 people were brutally massacred on a daily basis, in full view of the international community.

22 years later, Rwandans are still mourning those we lost. It has been a difficult period for all of us, especially the survivors.  I want to thank all of you, on behalf of my Government and my fellow Rwandans, for your presence here today in supporting the Genocide Survivors, as we remember and pay tribute to the victims.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Honouring those who lost their lives has been smeared by those who indulge in genocide denial. Those who drive people to deny, trivialize, and even distort the figures of the killings. The latter continues to play out to this day, when 800,000 killings are cited, instead of 1 million. Another tactic used is to deflect attention and for perpetrators to rebrand themselves as heroes and not villains.

There are those claim that what happened in 1994 was not a genocide but a war. This attempt as we saw it after the Holocaust, is to seek to nullify, downplay and revise the perpetrators role.

There is also the proliferation of writings aimed at denying or trivializing the genocide, claiming freedom of speech but in reality, these are sheer expressions of hatred that attempt to incite people to overthrow the Rwandan Government and commit a second genocide.

Also with the rise of social media, the denialists have obtained another weapon, which allows anyone to pose as an expert. Such contributions are often a disguise for well-orchestrated campaigns of disinformation. You all know that it’s a tendency in today’s modern world that people will tend to believe those who shout loudest and this often include the most poorly informed and, more dangerously, those with a political agenda that underplays what they know to be false.

I am baffled that anyone can deny the numerous horrific stories that Rwandans have and I ask you to pause and reflect from the testimonies you just heard. Ms. Frida’s courage to come here today and recount all those painful memories is because she wants us to never forget. She is pleading with us, as many other survivors have done before her, to do what we can to guarantee “it never happens again.” She understands and still lives the pain first hand.

Ms. Nelly testimony reflects the resilience of Rwandans and their quest for a common goal of rebuilding a new united Rwanda. But constant hindrances remain, ranging from genocide ideology to wounds of genocide, ethnic based stereotypes. We must continue to work towards reconstructing the social fabric that has been broken.

Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen

Nelly and Frida’s testimonies are two moving accounts of humanity and resilience. Can you imagine being given the tasks of uniting such a multidimensional, complicated society? This is a perfect transition and insight into our President- Paul Kagame’s dedication to bringing peace and stability to Rwanda for we are all RWANDAN. He cultivates a culture where there is no Tutsi or Hutu or Twa. We are ONE.  One Rwanda. It is because of President Kagame why Nelly and Frida and many others including myself are able to tell our stories and live normal contented lives. Our gratitude to him is seen time and time again in overwhelming wish to keep him as our leader.

We Rwandans realized that he was and still is the only one who could mend the social fabric of our so savagely torn society while still having to develop a nation. President Kagame had to be gentle, intuitive locally and still be forceful and smart globally! As we all know Rwanda is a small landlocked country with very limited resources. After the genocide we needed a sustainable economy, quite frankly we just needed an economy and again President Paul Kagame did that for us.

I am here carrying his vision. When H.E President Paul Kagame, pronounced “never again should a genocide happen,” it was not only for Rwanda but for all of humanity. That is why, we have committed to actively participate in the maintenance of peace and security around the world by deploying peacekeepers to protect civilians from massacres. Our responsibility to protect has led us to be one of the top troop and police contributing countries to peacekeeping.

Ladies and Gentleman,

At a time when survivors’ wounds are still fresh, and many still look for the remains of their loved ones, we need an international community that is a partner and not a bystander! An international community that is willing to accompany us on this long and treacherous road of mending the hearts of those broken, and in our concerted and continuous efforts in reconciling, healing and rebuilding our nation.

A loud action in fighting genocide ideology would be for the UN senior officials and many of you here in the room today to reflect on the truth of what happened in 1994, particularly by using the correct terminology that is a “Genocide Against the Tutsi”. The terminology of “Rwandan genocide” or “Genocide in Rwanda”, has become a breeding ground for deniers of all kind, who argue that even the UN didn’t recognize any genocide against the Tutsi, to which it preferred genocide against all Rwandans, as such. Let’s call spade a spade, it was the Genocide Against the Tutsi.

This leads me to acknowledge the support of the Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. Without fail during my tenure, the SG has never missed a commemoration. His support was certainly not just rhetoric; in his capacity as SG, he was rigorously committed to “Never Again”. In 2014 for the 20 year memorial, he journeyed to Kigali to attend services.  We were extremely appreciated. The SG embodies the phrase action speaks louder than words. As he wraps up his tenure, I want to publicly acknowledge H.E Ban Ki Moon’s accomplishments, feats, efforts and leadership that have moved mountains and our hearts.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I conclude by challenging all of you to be on guard for any attempts to suppress, distort or temper with the facts of our history. You should also fight any speech having to do with genocide ideology or genocide denial. From our bitter experience, we know that laws and speeches alone do not prevent injury, protect the vulnerable, or punish perpetrators. Constant vigilance and decisive action are needed to achieve our resolve to condemn and counter genocide ideology and genocide denial in order to prevent reoccurrence.

For Rwandans in the room with us today, always remember that despite what happened, we were able to get out of ashes to create one of the most secure countries across the globe where safety has bred a ground for fast development. We are a new Rwanda, and the spirit of Rwanda will never die. We have a leadership that believes in unity. It is paramount that this level of safety, peace and development be maintained, but it remains everyone’s responsibility, including the international community, to denounce anyone who would act negatively to take our country back to the dark days.

I thank you.

 

Statement by Minister of State in Charge of Cooperation, Eugene-Richard Gasana, at the UN General Assembly briefing on sexual exploitation and abuse involving international forces

Mr. President of the General Assembly,

Thank you for convening this important briefing. We are all gathered here today to once again denounce sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers and although our participation in this chamber is a sign of our commitment to eradicating this virus from UN peacekeeping, we must take concrete action now. We are all aware that time is of essence and we can no longer afford to delay transparent, effective and thorough action when new allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse arise with far too similar traits and perpetrators. Many, Mr. President, question our credibility. Some have even dubbed us “the harbors of bad patterns.” These perceptions should drive us to look internally for the shortcomings that sustain the mechanisms that no longer serve us, as we work to uphold the Secretary-General’s zero tolerance policy. We also welcome his recent appointment of Jane Holl Lute, as Special Coordinator on improving the UN’s response to sexual exploitation and abuse.

Mr. President,

The way forward must be paved with several key actions that target the roots causes of sexual exploitation and abuse. Firstly, we must all concede that sexual exploitation and abuse is also a grave human rights violation. We must steer clear from only seeing it as a disciplinary matter. Secondly, current UN policies fall short of wholly protecting victims of sexual exploitation and abuse, particularly if the alleged perpetrators are non-UN forces mandated by the Security Council to aid in peacekeeping. The recent reports on sexual exploitation and abuse in the Central African Republic (CAR) affirm the pervasiveness of this crime and the subsequent lack of accountability. In these reports we see the same countries being accused of the same crimes. How is this possible?

 

The degree of bestiality of these acts is escalating, which makes the public believe that the accused must be enjoying immunity. Accountability is porous and designed for a select few. This should not be the case. Peacekeepers of troop contributing countries and non-UN forces should all be denounced and face justice. The fact that non-UN forces are not under UN command egregiously hampers our ability to hold all perpetrators accountable. The C-34 Report for the 2016 substantive session calls for non-UN forces to immediately report allegations of human rights violations and sexual exploitation and abuse while also requesting for the appropriate steps be taken to investigate the allegations. The implementation of these measures along with those outlined in Resolution 2272 will rid our system of double standards, hold all peacekeepers to the highest standards of conduct, and put to rest political and bureaucratic motives that breed inaction.

Thirdly, a cultural shift within the UN system is needed in order for real change to take hold. It must be impressed upon all that sexual exploitation and abuse is a system-wide core responsibility. Each department, agency and representative of the UN should understand and own their role in ensuring perpetrators are held accountable and victims receive the assistance they deserve. The UN mechanisms for fighting sexual exploitation and abuse must be strengthened by this unwavering conviction.

Fourthly and consequently, we must close the gap on accountability for it undermines all of our efforts and is a complete dishonor to the victims that had the courage to come forward and share their truths. The lack of accountability extends far beyond the field, past mission leadership, residing in the reports and bureaucratic disarray of the Secretariat. We, the troop and police contributing countries, must also do our parts in timely investigating and prosecuting all credible allegations while simultaneously informing the Secretariat and other relevant parties about the prosecutorial developments, with the ultimate goal of recovering the trust between the UN and the civilians we have been tasked to protect.

Fifthly, we must guarantee that all peacekeepers have undergone adequate training on sexual exploitation and abuse. Such training can not only deter peacekeepers from partaking in such heinous crimes, but also equip them with the knowledge to identify situations that could spiral into future cases of sexual exploitation and abuse. This alertness can significantly impact our missions, strengthening our efforts on all fronts. In Rwanda, our training on sexual exploitation and abuse is coupled with the deployment of a legal advisor and investigator for each infantry battalion serving on the ground. We have deployed these experts since 2011 and found significant gains in their deployment.

Mr. President,

As one of the largest troop and police contributing countries, we do not tread lightly on this matter and furthermore, we align ourselves with those seeking to improve this organization’s response to allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse. For this reason and many more, we, along with other top troop contributing countries and protection of civilian (POC) stakeholders, developed the Kigali Principles in May of 2015. These principles set the benchmark for effective peacekeeping by focusing on the protection of civilians, which includes human rights violations as grave as sexual exploitation and abuse. We ask you to join us in upholding these principles.

Mr. President,

The systematic sexual exploitation and abuse that plagues our peacekeeping efforts must come to an end. The reports that have come out of the Central African Republic are enough to keep us awake at night. What if these victims were your sisters? Your daughters? Your mothers? We must work feverishly to change the mechanisms that have welcomed silence and fostered the deplorable acts of sexual exploitation and abuse that are not representative of us, nor the legacy we strive to leave behind.

I thank you.

 

Statement by Minister of State in Charge of Cooperation, Hon. Eugene-Richard Gasana, at the UN Security Council debate on the Great Lakes region.

 

Mr. President,

I thank you Mr President and your delegation for organizing this important debate on conflict prevention and resolution in the Great Lakes region of Africa, and for the concept note you circulated among member states.

I also thank the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, for his briefing. His presence here today once again highlights his commitment to conflict prevention and resolution particularly in our region. I also welcome the briefings from the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Mr. Smail Chergui, from the UN Secretary-General Envoy to the Great Lakes Region Mr. Saidi Djinnit and Mr. Vijay Pillai from the Office of the ice President, Africa Region, World Bank.

Mr. President,

Although conflict prevention and resolution has become the centerpiece in the work of the United Nations, in the wake of 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, increasing intrastate conflicts in DRC, Burundi, Central African Republic, and South Sudan, the concept of “conflict prevention” has been more in theory than in practice. The UN, especially the Security Council, was and still is, much more focused on crisis management rather than crisis prevention.

The report of the High level Independent Panel on Peace Operations as well as the recommendations of the Secretary General rightly acknowledge the primacy of politics, with focus on mediation and conflict prevention. At the same time, they recognize, among other equally important tools, the usefulness of strong global-regional partnerships in addressing conflicts. Working together with the region in assessing the situation to the implementation of decisions of the Security Council can also help in addressing as early as possible sources of conflicts. These principles that we do strongly support, will not bear any fruit if they are not implemented in good faith, with a cohesive, inclusive and effective strategy, bringing on board all stakeholders.

That is why; early warning mechanisms should be guiding the work of the Security Council in preventing conflict to arise. This can not only improve the work of the UN and the Security Council in particular, but it can also be cost effective when it comes to saving lives.

Mr. President,

The situation in the Great Lakes of Africa speaks for itself. This is a region that has been in turmoil since the 1950s. While various unsuccessful efforts have been deployed, very few of them were aimed at addressing the root causes of these crises. For instance, the Peace and Security Cooperation Framework in the DRC and the Peace process in Burundi created hopes that the epoch of violence in the African Great Lakes region was finally drawing to an end. Progress in these initiatives has however been limited, if not disappointing.

Mr. President,

If we speak of the current situation in Burundi, since May last year, political and security unrest in the country have proven that the Great Lakes region is far from being stable. Burundi is in political turmoil; with state- sponsored militias armed and innocent civilians being murdered in broad daylight. Moreover, the unverified allegations from the two empty paragraphs of the report of the Group of Experts on DRC and the rumors from the Refugee International seek to externalize the responsibility to the current conflict and is another failed attempt to shift focus away from the real causes of the instability

Rwanda readily shoulders its obligations to protect and care for refugees. While my government is committed to meet its obligations under international humanitarian law, it should not however be negatively exploited by those who are expected to find solution to this crisis

The fact that Burundi has now descended into a spiral of violence has not helped make the case for our collective ability and will to prevent conflict, as well as in protecting civilians. The response from the International community has been more of rhetorical exchanges than actions aimed at preventing the escalation and the commission of mass atrocity crimes.

The response from the Burundian officials hasn’t been better either. Instead of exercising leadership and living up to their responsibilities and obligations to protect their own citizens, they have opted to turn the blind eye to innocent civilians being killed daily, and the carnage continues.

On our side, to avoid, Mr President, of any misunderstandings of our intention, we have requested the international community to work with us in planning the orderly and safe relocation of Burundi refugees to 3rd countries.

Let me just add that hatred rhetoric against my country, against my President are [ facing Alain Nyamitwe,..Sir unacceptable. He is our Hero, don’t ever dare, ever treat him that way]

Mr. President,

Moving on to the situation in the DRC, the persistent presence of the roaming predators in the name of the FDLR in eastern DRC and in Burundi; and the inaction by MONUSCO in implementing decisions of the UN Security Council and those of the ICGLR-SADC raise serious concerns of commitment of stakeholders to see sustainable peace and stability in the region. While we welcome the transfer of Ladislas Ntaganzwa yesterday from the DRC, we can only note nothing tangible has been achieved so far on the ground when it comes to dealing with FDLR. Rwanda deeply deplores the lack of meaningful action in the neutralization of this genocidaire group and terrorist organization, including its leadership. It is unfortunate that, the international community, especially MONUSCO and its Force Intervention Brigade, didn’t follow through with any military action, after the defeat of M23, as provided by the region and the UN Security Council. While we were in the Security Council, we vote for this resolution.

Mr. President

Your concept note for this open debate also highlighted the linkage between natural resources and forces of destabilization and conflict. Without doubt, natural resources have been a backbone of the endowed Countries to advance their development agenda and lift their citizens out of poverty. In some parts of the world including the Great Lakes Region of Africa, these resources have been a blessing for some and a curse for others.  Many countries remain in abject poverty, experience poor economic growth and consequently a lower standard of living.  The argument that the more resources a country has will lead to increased economic growth and prosperity does not hold true when it comes to my region.

Illegal exploitation of resources can be a factor in prolonging and in some cases fueling conflicts both in the areas of exploitation and in some cases across borders of neighboring Countries. In our region, armed groups such as ADF, Mai Mai, LRA and the genocidaire group, FDLR, have benefited from illegal exploitation of resources in DRC to cause insecurity to neighboring countries, including my own country.

The Government of Rwanda has set up verification mechanisms that help identify origins of mineral resources on its territory. Rwanda is one of the most advanced countries in the region in the implementation of the ICGLR certification mechanism, as demonstrated by the meeting of the ICGLR held in Kigali in November 2015. The country’s Geology and Mines Authority (OGMR), has set up a mineral tagging and sealing scheme which aims to curb the illegal trading of “conflict minerals” such as tin, tantalum and tantalite.  This project is called iTSCi (ITRI Tin Supply Chain Initiative) was set up by UK tin industry to assist countries in the region, and the Government of Rwanda ensures that minerals from Rwanda are verified and traceable right from their source to smelters.  We encourage countries in the region to adopt similar measures, which will contribute to the transparent of mineral trading in the region.

Before I conclude Mr. President, allow me to respond to H.E Ambassador Samantha Power remarks with regard to her analysis of the situation in four countries of the region, including my own. I hope that she is watching this on webcast, if not, please (addressing the US Representative), convey this message of Rwanda.

First of all, I think and I hope she does not confuse her name with her assignment. Mrs. Power does not have power over Rwanda!

In reaction to her remarks, we need first of all to caution her in lumping together the approaches of the four countries as there is no one size fit all solution in responding to the challenges the region is confronted with.

While we commend her remarks as to the positive trajectory achieved by Rwanda in economic and social fields and in Rwanda playing a key role in maintaining peace and security in the international arena, there is a need to emphasize that Rwanda’ achievements did not occur in a vacuum.

Indeed, the success Rwanda encountered stemmed from many factors including good governance and an enlightened leadership led by his Excellency President Paul Kagame that put together solutions tailored to the Rwanda situation in the immediate aftermath of the genocide against the Tutsi. [Yes, if he was not there, I would be here today talking to you. My grandparents were refugees, my parents were refugees, I was born as a refugee; and luckily, he went back home and stopped the Genocide, and luckily, I went back home too. And you were all here, the Security Council, in 1994; tens of thousands being killed; what have you done? Nothing! We want this man there, he was the only one to take his responsibility…and stop the genocide; he is our hero. So we will never ever accept whoever try to deny what the Rwandans want to achieve, or what is the choice of Rwanda.

Drawing from the bad politics that led to the Genocide, it was imperative for the Rwandan people to build on a culture of ongoing dialogue with all citizens of Rwanda so as to enable them to have a voice, participate and redress any attempt of hampering their wellbeing and the opportunity to claim their rights when they feel that their leaders are not responsible to their plights.

With that approach, pluralism has been deepened in a consensual democracy whereby citizens-led consultations have yielded tangible results in mending the social fabric and in addressing all issues of concern.

Mr. President

Indeed, citizens of Rwanda have been afforded with numerous platforms to convey their views and concerns. Indeed, Rwanda understood as a vital element that the only way to consolidate gains was staying connected through a participatory democracy enabling people to have a voice in all matters concerning their well-being. That well-tested system has prompted the people of Rwanda to opt massively to keep their president at the helm of the nation. So if, as Ms Samantha well stated, that over the past 25 years, Rwanda has made the most progress in the world in term of Human Development, did it come out of the blue? No, it is through his leadership. We know what is good for Rwanda and for Rwandans. You don’t need to agree with us, but you can respect our choices. There are some of the things we might disagree with your country, but there is nothing we can do about it. We leave it to you. You want somehow to occupy our political space; no one will ever occupy our political space; it belongs to Rwandans, and only to Rwandans. If your leaders well stated that democracy was for the people and by the people, then please, let the people of Rwanda have their own choice

Ensuring peace and stability of a country without taking into account the political, economic, historical factors would be mere exercise that would lead nowhere. We in Rwanda came to the realization that it has to be an ongoing process of education and dialogue with the people and cannot be at all means a cut and paste exercise from one country to the other and cannot follow the same pattern as issues are unique to any country.

In conclusion Mr President, let me reiterate my call for the Security Council to shift from a culture of reaction to one of prevention. Indeed, with unfolding events in Burundi, and elsewhere, it is inevitable for the Security Council to improve its record in fully understanding early warning signs of conflict and responding through early action, if it has to remain relevant.

While there has been a huge increase in the level of international preventive diplomacy and diplomatic peacemaking, for the most part by the United Nations, and more recently in partnership with regional organizations, these efforts will remain inadequate if they are not followed up by concrete actions on the ground.

I thank you for your attention

 

Statement by First Counsellor, Sana Maboneza, at the UN Security Council briefing on UN Peacekeeping operations: sexual exploitation and sexual abuse

Mr President,

It is with conviction that I share with you today Rwanda’s stance and commitment to ending sexual exploitation and abuse in UN peacekeeping operations. I thank you Mr President for convening this important meeting, and I thank also the Secretary-General for his briefing. We take note of the recommendations as contained in his report on the Sexual Exploitation and Abuse  to the General Assembly and we hope that all Member States, and in particular  the Troops Contributing Countries will have the opportunity to share their views in this regard. We take also this opportunity to commend the Secretary General efforts in combating the sexual exploitation and abuse.

Mr President,

Rwanda is more than committed to ensuring that as we deliver on our responsibility to protect, we protect with the utmost integrity the lives of those that we have been tasked to safeguard. The Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians has touched on this important issue by advancing the steps that must be taken to achieve a zero tolerance policy while at the same time underscoring the need to report on all human rights abuses.

Rwanda believes that all sexual violence and abuse are unacceptable and our military and judicial policies are a strong testament of this commitment to ending such abhorrent actions.  Let me be clear: One case is just unacceptable in our view. And it should not be tolerated. The protectors should not be perpetrators. There is no justification of whatsoever on the case of sexual exploitation and abuse. And any case of allegation should be reported, investigated and legal actions taken against the alleged perpetrators.

Mr President

Combating sexual exploitation and abuse begins long before peacekeepers arrive to the mission area. Discipline, code of conduct, anchored in our culture and within national jurisdiction is paramount in preventing, fighting and eradicating sexual exploitation and abuse, that at the end, undermine the credibility of peacekeepers who are doing tremendous job in different missions, including paying ultimate sacrifice.

My country has an absolute zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse; we ensure that our troops and police receive thorough training that covers sexual exploitation and abuse, in which we use UN manuals as an additional reference. Judicially, the Rwandan penal code punishes all those found guilty of the crime, including peacekeepers operating internationally.

My Government has committed to combat sexual exploitation and abuse, including the deployment of one Legal Advisor and one investigator in each battalion of our contingents deployed in UN Peacekeeping missions since 2011.

One of the key elements in combating sexual exploitation and abuse is also the Pre-deployment training on sexual exploitation and abuse which can create a culture that does not tolerate any degree of abuse, as witnessed firsthand by Rwanda.

In the case of Rwanda as mentioned in the SG report, it cites three inquiries into inappropriate relationships between adult women and Rwandan police officers formerly serving in MINUSTAH. These allegations represent a serious violation of the Rwanda Government policy. Investigations have been ongoing and administrative measures have been taken while waiting for the completion of the investigations.

Mr President,

As Member States, we must continue to report, prosecute and criminalize those who have been convicted of taking advantage of the most vulnerable: the women and children entangled in today’s conflicts. These victims are our mothers, sisters and daughters. These efforts should also apply to those operating as non-UN personnel working under the Security Council mandate. It should also be expected that national and regional entities deploying outside of the UN mandate are held to the same standards as UN personnel, including independent investigations with the outcomes brought to the attention and action of the Security Council.  Transparency, objectivity and accountability should define the Secretariat’s work when addressing this issue.

In addition to descriptive obligations of TCC, there is a greater need of regular interaction between the Secretariat and the TCC when it comes to investigations and update from both sides is therefore necessary before the release of the report. Most often, the Secretariat does not consult member States and yet we have cases that have been investigated and legal actions taken which are not included in the report.

At the same time, non-criminal policy violations should not divert attention from, or dilute responsibility for numerous unresolved cases of rape and child abuse by peacekeeping forces.

We call upon the United Nations and troop contributing countries to remain focused on accountability for these heinous crimes.

Mr President

To conclude, let me say that the time to take immediate and effective action is now. We must all, individually and collectively, do what is in our means to enforce the zero tolerance policy for sexual exploitation and abuse while also working towards eradicating its existence in peacekeeping operations. As we continue working within our capacity to strengthen all measures relating to sexual exploitation and abuse, we must also hold other stakeholders accountable. By working collectively and in transparency, we can eliminate past wrongdoings and re-focus our efforts on upholding the infinite acts of great courage undertaken by our peacekeepers, time and time again.

I thank you

 

Hon. Minister of State in Charge of Cooperation, Eugene Richard Gasana, on the report of the Secretary-General on Special Measures for Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse

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New York, 4 March, 2016
Rwanda takes note of the Report of the Secretary-General on Special Measures for Protection
from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse.
The report cites three inquiries into inappropriate relationships between adult women and Rwandan police officers formerly serving in MINUSTAH. These allegations would represent a serious violation of United Nations and Rwanda Government policy. Investigations have been ongoing and once complete, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.
At the same time, non-criminal policy violations should not divert attention from, or dilute responsibility for numerous unresolved cases of rape and child abuse by peacekeeping forces.
We call upon the United Nations and troop contributing countries to remain focused on accountability for these heinous crimes.