Rwanda: New Report Exposes Divisionism Among the Youth

7 November 2019

Twenty-five years since the Genocide against the Tutsi, there are still parents who continue to plant seeds of divisionism into their children, grooming them as early as six years old, the Senate heard yesterday.

This was revealed by the President of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), Bishop (Rtd), John Rucyahana yesterday while presenting his institution's 2018/2019 annual report to the Senate.

Rucyahana said that a research carried out in all the 30 districts of the country involved 6,051 youths.

Of these, 516 were aged between 6-10, 1,015 were aged between 11-15 while 4,520 were aged between 16-30.

He pointed out that 50.3 per cent ages between 16-30 know their tribe while 44.6 per cent aged between 11-15 also said that they are aware of who they were.

"The most shocking revelation was the discovery that divisionism is sowed from a young age ranging between 6-10 according to the research where the children in this age group admitted they had been told who they were by their parents," he said.

The report also indicates that 12.3 per cent of the respondents whose age ranges between 11-15 years and 21.5 per cent aged between 16-30 think that the harmony in Rwandan societies is more about the fear of the laws instead of the understanding of the value of unity and reconciliation.

Rucyahana also told the Senators that there were several challenges being faced by the perpetrators, the survivors and their children when it came to confronting the past.

"Most parents who participated in the Genocide against the Tutsi still find it challenging to talk about what happened while children whose parents are serving sentences for crimes related to the Genocide are still told by their guardians that this was conspiracy against their families," he said.

He said that survivors feel uncomfortable to talk to their children about their experiences with some fearing that this could cause trauma.

The research also found that the involvement of the youth was still minimal, which was attributed to the lack of enough discussion forums at the grassroots, school and family level.

Genocide ideology

The report also touched on the issue of genocide ideology where Rucyahana indicated that the issue is still rampant in some districts especially during the Genocide commemoration period.

This year alone, 224 Genocide ideology-related crimes were filed. In 2018, 141 cases were filed, 193 in 2017 while 304 in 2016. During commemoration last year, Kayonza and Gatsibo came in the first ten districts most affected.

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