Finding Lasting Solutions to African Conflicts
Kigali, 12th July, 2013 – The African Study Tour for Defence Attaches to the African Union which was attended by defence attaches accredited to 27 member countries of the African Union and from diplomatic corps present in Rwanda, was closed today. The training, which was sponsored by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in partnership with the Government of Rwanda, was launched on July 9th, 2013 in Nyakinama at the Headquarters of the Rwanda Peace Academy (RPA) by the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba.
During the Official Opening Ceremony, the Rwanda Peace Academy Director, Lt Col Jill Rutaremara emphasized that the objective of the study tour was for the participants to gain common understanding of conflicts in Africa, with particular attention to the Great Lakes Region’s Conflict Mitigation, Resolution, and Post Conflict Peace Building, and for them to discuss lasting solutions for these conflicts.
In his opening remarks, Gen. Nyamvumba commended the One UN for its contribution in the organization of the trainings, before thanking the African Union Military Attaches’ Association based in Ethiopia for choosing Rwanda as their first case study. He then said that conflict resolution in the Great Lakes Region includes the fight of rebel groups such as FDLR (a rebel group composed mainly of the perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis).
The Resident Coordinator of the One UN and Resident Representative of UNDP-Rwanda, Mr. Lamin Momodou Manneh, said that development comes hand in hand with long-lasting peace and stability, and that Rwanda’s commitment to global peace is demonstrated in the different peacekeeping missions undertaken in countries such as Mali, Haiti, and South Sudan. “It is important that the continent realizes that conflicts are at the helm of its weaknesses and that African countries should put their hands together to address these conflicts” added Mr. Manneh
During their study tour, the Defence Attaches met with officials from the Government of Rwanda, including the Minister of Defence, Gen. James Kabarebe who told them that conflicts persist because the solutions prescribed to mitigate them do not address the root causes of the problems. The attaches also met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Ms. Louise Mushikiwabo, who hailed them to draw strategies, which not only address conflict resolution, but also emphasize protecting the citizens who are caught between enemy lines.
The Rwanda Peace Academy organized a training for the defence attaches, before they conducted a study tour at the border of Rwanda and Burundi in the South and at the border of Rwanda and DRC in the Northwest, as well as at Gako Peacekeeping Training Center. Some of the discussions which took place during the workshop evolved around good governance, development and politics in post-genocide Rwanda; the causes and solutions to conflict and insecurity in the Great Lakes Region; and the security situation on the border of Rwanda and Eastern DRC, as well as the current efforts made to resolve these security issues.
The Rwanda Peace Academy (RPA) is an initiative of the Government of Rwanda, which was funded by the Japanese Government through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) since 2010, with the objective to conduct research and train military, civilian personnel and police on post-conflict recovery, as well as conflict prevention and management. The RPA has conducted 21 courses for participants from various African countries since November 2011, during which more than 300 women were trained. Today, the Academy has become a continental centre of excellence in conflict prevention and management, post-conflict recovery, and peace building.