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International Course on the Kigali Principles on Protection of Civilians in Conflict Zones kicks off at Rwanda Peace Academy

36 Military, Police and Civilian officers from 14 countries including 12 African countries started a week long International Course on the Kigali Principles on Protection of Civilians (PoC) in Conflict Zones. The course conducted at Rwanda Peace Academy in Musanze District was officially opened on 9th November 2016 by the Minister of Justice, Hon Johnston Busingye.

 The RDF Chief of Defence Staff, Gen P Nyamvumba, the Ambassador of The Kingdom of Netherlands to Rwanda, HE Frédérique Maria De Man, and the Chargé d’Affaires at US Embassy, Mr Matthew Roth were among other officials also present at the opening ceremony.

In his remarks, the guest of Honor, Hon Minister Busingye said that the Course was relevant and very urgent given the contemporary emerging conflicts and their complexity. “The contemporary operating environment is being more and more complex and requires peacekeepers to be credible, impartial and professional” Minister Busingye pointed out.

He further said that the current UN doctrine and guidelines in Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) often fall short in responding timely and appropriately to the protection of civilians. Hon Minister Busingye highlighted that the Kigali Principles on Protection of Civilians (that were adopted during the High Level Conference held in Kigali back in May 2015) were not meant to replace UN guidelines, but to complement those guidelines to insure that Peacekeeping Operations can deliver more effectively while executing the PoC mandate.

The Ambassador of The Kingdom of Netherlands to Rwanda, HE Frédérique Maria De Man deplored that the world is experiencing increasing violence and conflicts in different countries with a high number of civilians becoming victims. She urged participants to the course and their facilitators to share their vast experiences and learn from various peacekeeping missions around the World. She said that the Course should emphasise on the responsibility to act in PKO and to prevent atrocities to happen. She insisted that her country is proud to be signatory of the Kigali Principles on PoC and to organize in partnership with Rwanda and US this kind of Pilot course in alignment with those principles.

The Charge d’Affaires at the US Embassy to Rwanda, Mr Matthew Roth, hailed Rwanda for the major contribution in Peacekeeping missions around the world and the engagement of Rwanda peacekeepers in saving the lives of Civilians. He said the US is proud to work with dedicated partners on PoC endeavor adding that his country firmly stands with other countries that signed the Kigali Principles and look forward to their implementation to shape the PKO.

Countries represented in the ongoing International Course on PoC include Burkinafaso, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Tanzania, The Netherlands, Uganda, USA, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The Course was organized by the Republic of Rwanda in partnership with the Kingdom of Netherlands and the United States of America.