Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo Thursday to attend a conference aimed at fighting violence against women.
According to the African Union website, The Men’s Conference on Positive Masculinity aims at “involving men in leadership to engage other men and boys in efforts to end violence against women and girls”
Five other African Heads of State also in Kinshasa for the conference include Zambia’s Hakainde Hichilema, Senegal’s Macky Sall, Congo’s Denis Sassou Nguesso and Togo’s Faure Gnassingbé.
The conference seeks to tackle various issues around gender violence like sexual violence, early marriage and pregnancy, female genital mutilation and other harmful cultural practices, limited access to land and other resources, and women’s participation in decision-making.
Terming the conference as “very important”, and that “men have a crucial role in ensuring violence against women and girls is eliminated”, Kagame said the meeting also provided an opportunity for DR Congo and Rwanda to “renew the friendship and cooperation between our two brotherly countries”.
On arrival, President Kagame and DRC Head of State Felix Tshisekedi held a closed-door meeting. They, however, did not divulge details about the talks with Kagame only saying that they touched on “relationship and cooperation between our two countries.”
After the closed-door meeting, Kagame congratulated President Tshisekedi on the initiative meant to fight gender violence.
In Kenya, statistics show that about 41 per cent of women reported having experienced physical or sexual violence from their husbands or partners in their lifetime.
About two-fifths of those women reported physical injuries from the violence. Sexual violence against early adolescents aged 15 years and below is highest in the conflict and post-conflict countries of the DRC, Mozambique, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
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