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Obama on Rwandan genocide: ‘We must renew our commitment’

Barack Obama

Barack Obama: It is “Not enough to say ‘never again’” to Genocide

President Obama issued a statement Wednesday marking the 16th anniversary of the start of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. “It is not enough to say ‘never again,’” said Obama. “We must renew our commitment and redouble our efforts to prevent mass atrocities and genocide.”

His full statement:

“On this 16th commemoration of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, we devote our thoughts to those who were lost and honor those who survived.

More than 800,000 men, women, and children were killed and countless others continue to live with the pain and trauma of their memories and their loss.

It is not enough to say “never again.” We must renew our commitment and redouble our efforts to prevent mass atrocities and genocide.

We are inspired by the spirit of the Rwandan people to move forward and we stand with the people of Rwanda and the international community in commemorating the genocide.

“The United States is committed to its partnership with Rwanda and will continue to support efforts to promote sustainable development, respect for human rights, and sustainable peace in Rwanda and the region.”


April 8, 2010   2 Comments

Victoire Ingabire attacks Rwanda Government over conditions of genocide survivors

Victoire Ingabire - Chair FDU-Inkingi

Victoire Ingabire - Chair FDU-Inkingi

Kigali: Under fire from all sides including President Paul Kagame, opposition politician Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza on Wednesday blamed government for not doing enough to support Genocide survivors but without mentioning the word “Tutsi”, RNA reports.

In a statement, the FDU-Inkingi chief says it is “outrageous” that resources meant for Genocide survivors are being embezzled by government officials “to the extent that up to this moment, survivors lack basic essentials.”

Ms. Ingabire’s comments come as bitter criticisms are targeted at her from all sides – with some sections describing her as a Genocide denier – which is actually a criminal offense. Her trouble started on January 16, on arrival from exile, when she called for the recognition of Hutus supposedly killed.

A local daily The New Times branded her as “espousing double Genocide theory”. The following weeks have left her under Police investigation over the controversial comments – which she denies.

As the country commemorates 16 years after the mass killings, Ms. Ingabire says government needs to show “concrete actions” aimed at supporting survivors.

However, in her two-page statement, Ms. Ingabire does not mention the word “Tutsi”, instead referring to those who suffered from the ordeal as “survivors”. As for the actually killings, Ms. Ingabire calls them simply as “Genocide”.

A constitution amendment passed in 2007 recognises the mass slaughter as “Tutsi Genocide” – a move which abandoned the previously connotation of Rwandan Genocide. This essentially means that just calling it the Genocide is a criminal offence – with up to 25 years behind bars.

The FDU-Inkingi also claims government does not have a “concrete programme to protect” survivors against gruesome attacks, saying reports on investigations have never been made public. Ms. Ingabire also calls on the country not to be “prisoner to the past”.

Meanwhile, in the national stadium, the head of IBUKA – the survivors’ umbrella group, Mr. Theodore Simburudali told President Kagame that new rules must be formulated to govern who visits memorial sites across the country.

Mr. Simburudali said with such a mechanism, individuals who he said insult the honour of victims in the guise of “political debate”, may not be allowed anywhere close to the sites. Without making any specifics or names, it was clear Mr. Simburudali was referring to the opposition critic Ms. Ingabire.

In addition to the social difficulties survivors live with such as poverty, IBUKA also expressed concern that remains of victims continue to litter different places. Mr. Simburudali said in places like Kibeho, Murambi and Musha – remains of victims have not been laid to rest.

IBUKA also raised new numbers of victims of the mass slaughter – saying 10,000 Tutsis were killed everyday for the entire duration of killings. Some 100 Tutsi bodies were flooded into Lake Victoria everyday through numerous rivers, according to Mr. Simburudali.

In a related development, in Belgium, the community sympathetic to survivors is also demanding that the Brussels administration change the words inscribed on the Genocide memorial site located in commune of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre. According to IBUKA-Belgium, the inscription needs to change to “Tutsi Genocide” and NOT “Rwandan Genocide”.

Government and survivors argue the latter appellation negates the slaughter which was planned and targeted at Tutsis.


April 8, 2010   No Comments

Victoire Ingabire addresses nation about the genocide memorial period

Here is the statement of Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, the chairperson of UDF (FDU-Inkingi), at the genocide memorial period.
Kigali, 7th April 2010

Dear countrymen,

Today we are starting the commemoration of the Rwandan genocide period. On behalf of UDF party and its entire membership, the interim executive committee extends its deep sympathy to all Rwandan who lost their beloved parents, brothers and sisters, genocide survivors who were aggrieved by the genocide.
The memorial period should be an opportunity for all of us to think about this tragedy that befell our country. It should bring each and every one into devising ways and means of ensuring that innocent blood never be shed again.
It is painful to hear that, 16 years after the genocide, there are still people vowing to harm genocide survivors. It is unbelievable to hear that some of the aid meant for genocide survivors ends up in pockets of those who were supposed to manage them.
Indeed, there are reports of genocide survivors who are still languishing in abject poverty, unattended to, without shelter, and orphans still being at the mercy of charity.

It is not enough to denounce malpractices. People need actions. They need to see that the government is truly behind them. It is nonsense to denounce those who swindle survivors’ aid, without bringing them to justice, or transferring them to other offices in the civil service. It amounts to putting a finger in a wound.
This should be high on the agenda of the government, in order to ease suffering and regain confidence of all orphans and widows who were traumatised by the genocide.
It is urgent for the government to go beyond slogans and unveil plans of ensuring security for genocide survivors. It is high time for the security services to publish reports of investigations that were carried out into genocide survivors’ attacks. The victims are calling for help.

Dear countrymen,
It is paramount not to be hostages of history. We should be courageous enough to think about the long term. We should learn from the past, although it may not be an easay task. We should agree to join forces for the interests of our beloved country, in peace, unity and mutual respect. This is the heritage that we should leave to the future generations.

I will wind up by calling upon every Rwandan to remember our deceased, to remember what happened , but without forgetting the future.

May God bless you all

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza

Chairperson UDF-INkingi

April 8, 2010   No Comments

Belgian Police halt vigil by alleged “Genocide deniers”

Kigali: Brussels Police on Tuesday blocked dozens of Rwandan nationals who were preparing to hold a protest they call a vigil at the genocide memorial located in the commune of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, reports say.

The Genocide commemoration officially starts on April 07 – the date when the Tutsi mass killings started en-mass. The protestors have often chosen the date of 6 April, the day of the attack against the presidential plane to assert the link between the event and the start of the Genocide.

Belgian police told the small group that they cannot be allowed to converge at the Woluwe-Saint-Pierre site at the request of the government of Rwanda. The site was built in 2004 and each year vigils are held there on April 07 organised by the Embassy in Brussels.

According to reports, women could be seen weeping uncontrollably for having been refused to reach the memorial.

Over the years, such vigils have repeatedly been blocked. Last year, the day before, Sunday (April 6), about 60 Rwandans who were protesting in front of the court building were arrested by the Belgian police.

The protest, qualified as “negationnist” by the IBUKA association of survivors and the Rwandan Community in Belgium (RCB), had been prohibited by the Mayor of Brussels.

In an open letter sent to the mayor, Mr. Joseph Matata, the main organizer and President of the Center for the Fight against Impunity and Injustice in Rwanda (CLIIR), claimed that the protest was in the “memory of all the victims of the Rwandan genocide killed in Rwanda and in the DRC”.

Kigali considers such functions which are commonly held by Rwandan exiles as aimed at undermining the Tutsi mass slaughter – branded here as Genocide ideology.


April 8, 2010   No Comments

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame announces: “They call me Hitler”

President Paul Kagame

President Paul Kagame: Only radicals change the world

During the April 7th genocide commemorative ceremony, President Paul Kagame accused the opposition leaders like Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza of practicing ‘political hooliganism’ and announced: “They call me Hitler”.
The crowd, which was supposed to be sad and mourning for the genocide victims, cheered and applauded, a way of saying to him: “Kagame, we are yours” and “Whatever it takes”.

That reminds me the famous speech addressed to the Saddleback Church members in April 2005 by Pastor Rick Warren, member of the Rwanda’s Presidential Advisory Council. See article: Rwanda: Presidential Advisory Council members meet in Kigali

In that speech, Pastor Rick Warren solemnly asked his followers to be as committed to Jesus as the young Nazi men and women who spelled out in mass formation with their bodies the words “Hitler, we are yours,” in 1939 at the Munich Stadium, were committed to the Führer of the Third Reich, a major instigator of a World War that claimed 55 million lives. In that speech, the now Kagame’s eminent official advisor said:
Only radicals change the world
Everything great done in this world is done by passionate people…
Moderate people get moderately nothing done
And moderation will never slay the global giants.”

Watch this video and you’ll have an idea of the kind of influence Rick Warren has on what’s going on in Rwanda and in the Great Lakes Region:

April 8, 2010   5 Comments