woensdag, juli 02, 2014


All Africa

Rwanda: Women Killed in Genocide Honoured

Rwandans have been urged to own the culture of remembering Genocide victims and pass it onto to their children in order to ensure the notion of 'never again'.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Gender and Family promotion, Henriette Umulisa, made the remarks over the weekend at an event to commemorate women killed in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Kirehe District.

Umulisa said remembering Genocide victims helps Rwandans reflect on how far they have come and the need to work hard for a better future.
She urged women to play a critical role in the development of the country.

Survivors at Nyarubuye memorial site gave chilling testimonies of how Tutsi were killed at Nyarubuye Parish where they had sought refuge.

Beatrice Mukasine, the president of the Women Council Committee, said remembering offered an opportunity to reflect on what happened in the Genocide.

"It's our responsibility to remember women killed in the Genocide in order to honour them, reflect on the barbaric way they were killed, and ensure that the tragic history does not happen again," she remarked.

Although the post Genocide challenges are still evident, Mukasine commended women survivors for their continuous commitment towards self-reliance and active participation in the country's development.

She slammed women who instead of protecting their neighbours participated in the killings.

Statistics from the research conducted by the Association of Genocide Widows (Avega) in 1999 show that 250,000 women were sexually violated and 66 per cent contracted HIV/Aids during the Genocide.

The Women Council also provided cows to widows and vulnerable women groups.

Involving more women in decision-making has been important in Rwanda's meteoric rise two decades after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, experts attending the ongoing Women In Parliament Summit have said.
For the country to register such progress, the experts say, it had to put women at the centre of everything.

Rwanda last year received the award of Women in Parliament for Leadership and in Closing the Gender Gap at the Women In Parliament inaugural summit.
"So it is logical and fair that today we are convening in the parliament of a country that has the highest number of women members," Silvana Koch-Mehrin, the founder of Women In Parliament (WIP), said at the opening of the forum yesterday.

"Twenty years ago when the world let the genocide against the Tutsi happen, this country was no longer on the world map, it was back to zero."
She said to rebuild the society, women were put at the centre of socio-economic empowerment and this was articulated in the Constitution.

"The results are telling and showing, not only in the parliament, but also when you look at Rwanda across the country, you can see how this incredible development has worked over the past 20 years," Koch-Mehrin said.
Koch-Mehrin, who was speaking at the opening of the conference, said countries that give women and men equal opportunities have better economic performances.

"It is simple mathematics; the international monetary fund says that if women would be able to turn their work into a profession and advance according to their abilities, global GDP would raise by 27 per cent," she said.

Women in conflicts:
On global security, Koch-Mehrin said the WIP Resolution 1,235 calls for an increase of women's participation in matters of peace and security in conflict situations.

"Traditionally, women try to protect themselves and their children; they don't gain from conflicts and too often they are the most affected victims. Giving a woman a seat on the negotiating table and giving them a voice in decision-making in matters of peace will truly change the world," she said.

About 150 delegates from more than 50 countries across the world are attending the three-day summit that is discussing issues related to ways in which women can contribute toward advancing societies.

The Speaker of the Chambe of Deputies, Donatille Mukabalisa, outlined Rwanda's recovery journey after the Genocide and noted that the affirmative action taken to involve women in decision-making contributed to the country's progress.

"In our recent history, Rwandan women joined their brothers in the political and military struggle to liberate our country," she said.
"After the Genocide, women continued to play a salient role in peace building and national reconstruction. We recognise their immense contribution and salute their courage."

The Speaker also said Rwanda had to go through several reforms as a way of ensuring the involvement of women in all spheres of life.
She said the Genocide did not just end, but it was "stopped by our struggle for freedom."

The United Nations resident coordinator, Lamin Manneh, said besides tremendous progress Rwanda has registered in several sectors, the country still stands out in the number of women in the Parliament.
"We thought that 56 per cent was was already good enough, but from the last elections, Rwanda raised the bar further to 64 per cent. This is very positive," he said.

"This conference comes at the 20th commemoration of the liberation of Rwanda from the genocidal regime, so our focus is on the role of women in that struggle."

The summit is running under the theme, "The Spirit of Women in Parliaments: Advancing Society."

During the summit, the MDG Advocacy Group, co-chaired by President Paul Kagame and Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway, is expected to join participants for a joint session on the post-2015 development agenda.
Participants are also discussing topics such as gender balance in politics and its role in societal change and the impact of constitutionalism in gender equality and women empowerment.

What they said . . .

Dr Anne Itto, Secretary-General of Sudan People's Liberation Movement.
'There are many lessons to learn from Rwanda regarding advancing women in decision-making positions. This was surely the best place to hold this meeting. Women are being abused in all manners in South Sudan. In my country, we have 34 per cent women parliamentarians, a year after our independence, and they are encouraged to work harder and results are visible. Women should be the change they want to see.'

'We believe we will get inspiration from Rwanda and the entire summer summit to strive for gender equity, as a tool to sustainable development.'
Shitaye Minale Tizazu, Deputy Speaker of the Ethiopian Parliament.
'I hope we shall be able to implement Rwanda's practical achievements in our respective countries, for our national development. Ethiopia is working hard to empower women; hopefully we shall match Rwanda's statistics. '

Maria-Andreea Paul, Member of the Chamber of Deputies, Romania.
'Rwanda and Romania share a lot in common; the Genocidal regime of Rwanda and the communist regime in Romania. With one million people left dead in Genocide in 100 days, 45 years of communism in Romania. We should leave here knowing that we have the common issues around the world, and we should be ready to confront these issues as strong women.'

Margaret Komuhangi, Member of Parliament, Uganda.
 'Sixty-four per cent of women in parliament is not a mean achievement. This has a lot of implication for the continent and the women. As we convene here, we must consider challenges facing Africa, like rape, kidnapping, and gender-based abuse, among others. I hope we will be able to put up measures to curb these challenges.'

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