The New Times (Kigali)

23 November 2012

Rwanda: Kagame Speaks Out On International Injustice

THE Rwanda of today will not at any point accept to be branded the villain of the region and will stop at nothing to protest international injustice, President Kagame has said.

We are a small country but not a small people. We can be flexible but flexibility has its limits

The President made the remarks at the swearing-in ceremony of Ambassador Eugène-Richard Gasana at the parliamentary buildings, yesterday.

Ambassador Gasana was, Thursday, appointed the Minister of State for Cooperation and Rwanda's Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

Rwanda will in January take up one of the non permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council.

This will be the second time Rwanda is elected to the Security Council. The first time was in 1993-94.

"In 1994 if you recall, the government then was committing Genocide (against the Tutsi)," Kagame pointed out.

"The (Rwandan) leaders in the Security Council then were on one hand drafting resolutions for the UN not to do anything (about the Genocide) yet committing Genocide on the other."

The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi left more than one million people dead.

"Today we have a new Rwanda," Kagame emphasised, adding that those who represent Rwanda should learn from the country's history and always speak out against injustice.

The President noted that being voted to the UN Security Council is an opportunity to show that Rwanda is now a different country from the one that occupied the seat in 1994.

"It's an opportunity to stand for justice, for what is right... based on the truth," Kagame said.

President Kagame protested the continued framing of Rwanda as the cause of the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

A controversial UN Group of Experts report - whose draft versions were leaked to the media on several occasions - alleged that Rwanda is behind the DRC conflict and is supporting the M23 rebels.

And, while credibility of the experts was questioned after it emerged that some of them were sympathisers of the genocidaires or deny the Genocide took place, nothing was done about it.

Rwanda issued a rebuttal detailing the flaws in the report, including fabricated evidence; however, the authors seemed to be determined to create the perception that Rwanda was the villain in the conflict.

"Perception comes before the truth. The facts, evidence doesn't matter, it is the perception that matters because you can create it," Kagame pointed out, adding that Rwanda is willing to deal with perception, but also pursue the truth.

The President urged Rwandan leaders to always speak the truth and not accept to be bullied by countries that are wealthier, more powerful or believe to be better than Rwanda.

"We can be poor materially, but not poor spiritually or intellectually," Kagame said. "We are a small country but not a small people. We can be flexible but flexibility has its limits."

Rwanda was elected to the Security Council after winning 148 out of 192 votes. The country has of recent risen to be a major player on the international scene. It is among the leading six countries in the world contributing to peace keeping missions across the globe.

"As we take on responsibility in the region and on the continent we should exercise it without favour or fear," the President said, adding that even though Rwanda may not be able to change a lot on the global scene, it will advocate for the truth as it's the voice that matters.

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