Peacekeepers Day: UN commends our discipline, Police
On May 29 UN Peacekeepers’ Day is celebrated, and at this occasion, Superintendent Egide Ruzigamanzi, director of peace support operations at the Rwanda National Police explained that Rwanda’s effort in this respect is commendable because since 2005, the country has sent 1500 policemen in 8 phases lasting 12 months each.
So far, the Rwandan police is intervening in North and South Soudan, Haiti, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leonne, Guinea. “If the UN keeps assigning us missions, it is because they found that we are highly disciplined. After every mission, they give to each and everyone of our peacekeepers a certificate that shows how he performed. Our men and women are always commendable, which is good for our country’s reputation,” Ruzigamanzi pointed out.
He added that the fact that there is gender balance among RNP is another advantage. “The UN is still looking for more women in its mission which is why they always ask us to send more of them”, Ruzigamanzi said, noting that out of 500 policemen that are on mission in different countries, 160 are female.
As for what Rwanda policemen in mission would do if the UN makes the same mistake as it did in Rwanda in 1994 of giving a mandate which in the end exposes the lives of people that they are supposed to save, Ruzigamanzi said that a mission is not a matter of one person or one country. “Diplomats get involved, as well as the UN itself and many other actors. Rwanda police on mission itself cannot decide to go a different way,” he explained.
Speaking about the difficulties the police have met in missions so far, Ruzigamanzi highlighted the adaptation to other cultures which he says is not easy, as well as the fact that policemen spend a whole year away from their family.
He also noted that unfortunately two policemen have lost their lives in a mission.
Superintendent Theos Badege, the police spokesperson, for his part pointed out that such missions consist of more than just peacekeeping, and often also the supervision of the reorganization of the country’s daily life in specific sectors. In this respect, Badege said, Rwandan police has been involved in monitoring or even training staff in different domains in the host country.
In other cases, a Formed Police Unit (FPU), consisting of officers with different skills, is assigned a collective mission in the host country, Badege explained. This is for example the case of the 160 policemen that are currently on mission in Haiti.