The United Nations General Assembly has officially designated 7 April as the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
On Friday, the United Nations referred to its previous events, resolutions and activities in regard to the Genocide and changed its stance.
Since April 7th 2004, UN General Assembly has been observing the atrocities in Rwanda as just the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda, which, according to Rwanda was demeaning and ignoring facts.
The UN has now changed the narrative and it has decided to “designate 7 April as the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.”
To change the narrative, among others, the UN General Assembly referred to precedents of its own United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) which indicated that it was a “fact of common knowledge” that “between 6 April and 17 July 1994, there was a Genocide in Rwanda against the Tutsi ethnic group” where more than a million people were killed in a period of 100 days.
The United Nations, which in 1994 also had soldiers on a peacekeeping mission in Rwanda who did not help much to save the victims of the Genocide against Tutsi views its new stance as an effort to combat Genocide denial and impunity for all violations that constitute the crime of Genocide.
“This is a day the world should think about the atrocities of the Genocide,” Naphtal Ahishakiye, Executive Secretary of Ibuka told KT Press.
“But, it’s not just about reflecting about it; the World should also make it a day of never again, when they brainstorm about preventing the Genocide from happening again, in any part of the World.”
Ibuka is an umbrella organization of Genocide against Tutsi survivors’ associations. Students survivors, widows of the Genocide against Tutsi and other organizations that defend the cause of genocide survivors and seek justice in regard to this Genocide are part of Ibuka.
For Laurent Nkongori, a practicing lawyer and former commissioner at National Human Rights Commission told KT Press that this step is good, but Rwanda expects more.
“We would wish them to make another step; let them think about compensation,” Nkongori said.
“We are not necessarily interested in money because compensation or reparation can be in several forms. Let it be symbolic at least.”
Nkongori 68 years today, said, “The biggest event I am awaiting is to see the UN, countries like France accept their role in Genocide against Tutsi, then compensate the survivors.”
In the case of France, Nkongori said that previous events where the United Nations Human Rights Commission asked the country to reflect about their role is an indicator that “France should break the ice, admit its role and compensate the Genocide survivors.”
Having taken that step, Nkongori says UN, should also do that final gesture of compensation.