On October 7th the US Ambassador to the UN Samatha Powers along with United Nations Security council ( UNSC ) team including its current President amb. Agshin Mehdyev , paid tribute to over 250,000 buried in the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre . Recalling how the united nations failed to prevent the genocide in 1994, Amb. Samantha Powers could not hold back her tears over what happened.
watch the video below (credits to AEGIS Trust)
Ambassador Powers while speaking at the Kigali Memorial expressed some sort of remorse and sympathy to Rwandans and presumably survivors . She reminded the commitment of the international community to stand with Rwandans in the process to recover from the genocide.
While this may sound promising to some Rwandans, for an ordinary survivor of genocide living in the hills of Rwanda and witnessing the consequences of genocide on a daily basis, genuine statements like this could be seen at best as a diplomatic rhetoric, at worst an empty gesture. Some thing beyond remorse is ultimately compelling here.
The United nations failed to either prevent or stop the genocide when it broke out in 1994 and it is still doing barely nothing to at least mitigate its ever continuing effects in the lives of survivors 20 years on now . One best way to fix this flaw and inspire hope in the lives of genocide survivors is by honoring the UN’s own resolutions calling for assistance to survivors of the genocide against Tutsi and by establishing a dedicated UN or Voluntary Trust Fund for Survivors of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda.
In fact, the United Nations General Assembly has consecutively issued resolutions calling for UN agencies to provide support for survivors, but such calls have largely disregarded . Resolution 59/137 in 2004 called for “Assistance to Survivors of the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda” and has been readopted at consecutive General Assemblies, including most recently in December 2011 withResolution66/228 calling for “the Secretary-General to continue to encourage the relevant agencies, funds and programmes of the United Nations to implement resolution 59/137 expeditiously, inter alia, by providing assistance in the areas of medical care and treatment for victims of rape, including HIV-positive victims, trauma and psychological counselling, and skills training and microcredit programmes aimed at promoting self-sufficiency and alleviating poverty.” But to date the resolution has yet to be meaningfully honoured. In fact , there is no framework for restorative justice for survivors of the genocide, either in Rwanda or internationally
With the support of influential figures like Ambassador Samantha Powers and the current members of the UN security council, There is a unique chance to express meaningful sympathy to survivors by addressing the issue of reparation and setting up an explicit form of restorative justice for survivors to be prioritised through funding from agencies, funds and programmes of the United Nations, or through the support of the international community through other means. Such support would send a tangible message that something beyond remorse is underway and that the pervasive effects of genocide for survivors and Rwanda has not been forgotten
by Albert Gasake
- Reflection on “I have a dream” speech 50 -year-anniversary (justicetosurvivors.wordpress.com)