From The Rwanda Focus newspaper: http://focus.rw/wp/2013/06/ibuka-calls-for-reparation-fund-to-genocide-survivors/
The umbrella body of genocide survivors Ibuka calls for partnership in convincing people of the need for a reparation fund for genocide survivors. The call was made on this Friday at Ibuka headquarters as the umbrella consulted officials from government, legislative, and genocide survivors’ organizations among others, on the proposal for the International Trust Fund for survivors of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi to deliver reparations. Ibuka officials said the reparation aims to restore the identity of victims who have suffered genocide and other related crimes during the genocide, to repair and compensate victims, including social, psychological and materials, to strengthen the unity and reconciliation among Rwandans, thus restoring the affected Rwandan community and broken social fabric among others. Egide Nkuranga, the organization’s vice-president said that even today survivors continue to endure the social, psychological and material consequences which negatively impacts on perceptions of justice rendered and the trust that survivors have in national and international judicial institutions. Thus, the lack of reparation would be a violation to the right of the survivors, justice among others. According to Nkuranga, in order to fill this justice related gap, Ibuka came-up with a proposal of establishing reparation fund it named International Trust Fund through which people may contribute to improve on the lives of survivors. He said the idea to the proposal came in mind after realising that currently, in the context of Rwanda, there is no governing law requiring the government to provide reparations to victims of the genocide, adding, then, cases relating to reparation are yet to be solved. Thus, reparations to the victims are important mainly because they serve as an acknowledgment of the crimes that were committed against them, adding, it helps restore survivors to the position they were in before the genocide, allowing them to move forward with their lives.
“Assistance and reparation are totally different. People don’t need to confuse these two terms and think genocide survivors are refunded”, Nkuranga said. “We thank the government for what it does to help survivors through various initiatives but still what it does is a moral obligation which has nothing to do with reparation as people may think.”
Nkuranga castigated some leaders who said the government cannot afford to establish the reparation fund. He referred to for instance, UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women, UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking which were put-up by the UN in various countries to assist same kind of victims and said there is no clear reason why similar funds cannot be established for Rwanda. To him, the fund is only viable if people understand its significance. The proposal stipulates that once funding is available, registred local survivors organisations will be invited to apply for funding from the secretariat for specific project in accordance with the priorities and eligibility criteria determined by the Board of trustees in consultation with other organs which would be concerned. After participants contributed ideas on the proposal, they agreed the reparation fund to be established and confirmed it has to be an international and independent fund and suggested the government would be a partner for support and advocacy. Participants agreed to lobby for the success of the fund and suggested Ibuka to proceed for the next step about where the funds to be from, and how to convince people to fund among other requirements so the fund starts to be operational.
As for Jacqueline Kanyamugenge, a Member of Parliament from Human Rights Commission, the government supports the reparation fund and promised that the law regarding the practicality of this is to be released very sooner.
She said she is happy because basing on the discussion outcome, people now understand the importance of the establishment of a reparation fund comparing to the previous understanding.
She promised more advocacy for quick establishment of the fund.
This Article First Appeared in the Rwanda Focus here http://focus.rw/wp/2013/06/ibuka-calls-for-reparation-fund-to-genocide-survivors/
- IBUKA Press Release: Roundtable Discussion, 28 June 2013 (justicetosurvivors.wordpress.com)
- Genocide survivors to set up trust fund (justicetosurvivors.wordpress.com)
- Justice for survivors (justicetosurvivors.wordpress.com)