The Minister of Internal Security, Sheikh Musa Fazil Harelimana said the government is committed to supporting female police officers to further execute their duties effectively.
The Minister was speaking at the third Female Police Officers Convention held at Petit Stadium, yesterday.
Minister Harelimana observed that for the government to effectively accomplish its development programmes, gender equality is a must.
“Rwanda cannot develop if one side – female – is left behind. Women were left behind because of bad politics by the previous governments,” he stated. He applauded Rwanda National Police (RNP) for supporting female police officers, in all ways possible, to accomplish their duties.
“This fulfills the government programme of gender equality and involving women in decision making,” said the Minister.
He urged the female officers to work with integrity, professionalism and uphold discipline.
The convention is an annual event that seeks to help female officers lay strategies to help in effective execution of their duties professionally and encourage more women to join the force.
The female officers now have a network and focal points at all District Police Units (DPUs) in the country, which helps them to identify problems that might affect their work and ensure that they participate in all activities.
Plans are also underway to increase the proportion of women in the national police force to 30 per cent as the constitution stipulates, up from 19 percent of the over 10,000 force.
The RNP, which was set up in 2000 with about 3,500 officers, had no female officer.
The Inspector General of Police, Emmanuel K. Gasana disclosed that more females were recruited and are currently undergoing training.
He noted that the force is committed to implement government and international community policies, including gender equality in the force and supporting female officers in various ways.
The UN Security Council Resolution 1325/2000 requires governments and institutions to protect women and girls during and after armed conflicts, and to fully involve females in conflict prevention, management and resolution, peace building and reconciliation.
Rwanda now maintains over 150 female police officers on various missions, the highest worldwide. Plans are also underway to deploy the first female Formed Police Unit (FPU).
In the spirit of implementing government policies on gender, the Rwanda National Police also established an ant-Gender Based Violence desk, a directorate in charge of gender promotion in the force and deploys married police officers to their respective home areas.
Chief Inspector of Police, Cecile Umuhire, who heads the Directorate of Gender Promotion in the force, thanked RNP for valuing their input and offering them “more opportunities” especially in peacekeeping missions, education and allowing married officers to work in the vicinity of their families.