AASU On The Commemoration Of The International Day Of Reflection On The Genocide In Rwanda (7 April) - Lest We Forget
Rwanda, an east-central African nation, is composed of two main ethnic groups, the Hutus in majority and the Tutsis, alongside a small number of Twa. Ethnic apprehension, like in any other African country, is nothing new in Rwanda. Unfortunately this situation was substantially exploited by the former colonizers to their advantage by applying divide-and-rule-policy in creating acute animosity between Hutus and Tutsis.
In 1994, between April and July, Africa’s biggest genocide occurred in Rwanda with 800000 people slaughtered mostly Tutsis and moderate Hutus. That dastardly act, started by Hutu extremists, spread throughout the country with shocking speed and brutality. Sadly the International community decided to be spectators while the manslaughter was going on. It is important to recall that the United Nations set up a peacekeeping operation (UNAMIR) to aid with governmental transition under the Arusha accord. This force was withdrawn by a U.N. Security Council vote in April 1994. As the genocide was stretching and intensifying the U.N. Security Council voted in mid-May to supply a more robust force. Before the arrival of that force, the genocide came to an end.
However, under the U.N’s auspices French troops entered Rwanda from D.R. Congo, then Zaire in late June and saved many Tutsi lives, but at the same time helped some of the genocide’s plotters- allies of the French during president Habyarimana regime- to escape.
The after effects of the Rwandan tragedy pointed to the failure of the international community to act in order to prevent such atrocities taking place. Meanwhile the same international community was deeply involved in resolving the Yugoslavia crisis that was happening at the same time. Later, efforts were undertaken to remedy this indifference by bringing back the UNAMIR operation to Rwanda until March 1996 which was considered as one of the largest humanitarian relief efforts in history.
In this same vein, the United Nation General Assembly adopted resolution (A/RES/58/234) on December 2003, designating 7 April, the start day of the 1994 Rwanda genocide, as the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda.
As the world remembers and pays tribute to the victims of the genocide in Rwanda, Africans must draw all the lessons from that horrific period in our history and resolve to take all necessary measures to avoid such ugly occurrence in any part of the continent in the future. The causes of Rwanda genocide linked partly to the legacy of colonialism and the indifference of the international community during those dark days are enough reasons for African leaders to come to the realization that it is only Africans themselves who must stand in unison to resolve their problems.
The All Africa Students Union (AASU) salutes the memory of the victims of the Rwanda genocide and says never again such abhorrent acts in any part of Africa;
AASU hails the people of Rwanda under the leadership president Paul Kagame for their accomplishments after the genocide. Rwanda, with little natural resources and after this terrible past, has become a model for many other countries due to their determination, hard work and visionary leadership.
All for African integration!
All for African Unity!
Peter Kwasi Kodjie
[email protected] ; +233(0)242879028