Rwanda: In Rwanda, Seeds of Disunity Were Planted in 1930s - Envoy to Sudan

The Rwandan community and friends of Rwanda in Sudan on Wednesday gathered to honor the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi which claimed more than a million lives in a span of 100 days.

The hybrid event - held both physically and virtually - included the lighting of the Candle of Hope as a symbol of hope and resilience and the minute of silence in honor of the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, among other events.

In his remarks, Abel Buhungu, Rwandan Ambassador to Sudan highlighted in detail the early planning of the Genocide during the colonial rule, and post-independence regimes.

Buhungu shared the example of demeaning social research involving measuring lengths and width of peoples' noses by the colonialists back in 1932, citing that the findings were used as basis for issuance of discriminatory ethnic-based National IDs to all Rwandans back in 1933.

"Today marks twenty-seven years since the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi whose seeds of disunity and exclusion were planted by the colonialists back in 1930s and got nurtured and flourished by the two post-independence Republics until 1994," he said.

The envoy also explained how discrimination and ethnicity-based politics got entrenched with participation and facilitation of the Catholic clerics in 1957 in aid to the policy of the colonialists.

"The church facilitated the drafting of the Hutu Manifesto in 1957 followed by the infamous ten Hutu Commandments. These infamous policy documents and the discriminatory ethnic-based IDs were first tangible seeds that fruited into cyclic killings and mass production of Tutsi refugees."

The climax of this exclusion and hate was the 1994 genocide against Tutsi which aimed at their total annihilation, he said.

Fastest mass murder in human history

Speaking of the impact brought by the dark history, Buhungu pointed out that the Genocide against the Tutsi which that was executed from April 7 through July 4, and decimated over a million innocent lives, was the fastest mass murder in human history.

Against this background, the envoy applauded the heroism by the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) in moving quickly and against many odds ably stopping the 1994 genocide against Tutsi.

"The RPF-led Government has since the end of the genocide commendably worked hard in uniting and reconciling Rwandans as well as impressively rebuilt the economy albeit from an extremely low base of 1994."

"This is despite a very hostile environment that had been occasioned by the genocide where, as example, survivors had to co-exist with some of their yester-year tormentors", he argued.

Call for justice

While there is a lot to commend, Buhungu called for a joint campaign to bring to justice the perpetrators of this heinous crime who are still roaming the globe.

Consequently, he commended countries especially in the West that have lately increased arrests of these genocide fugitives.

"These genocide fugitives are either tried in the jurisdictions of their countries of residence or they are extradited to Rwanda for trial. The most recent case in point is the infamous genocide financier, Felicien Kabuga who was arrested in France and is now undergoing trial in The Hague."

According to the ambassador, it is by these actions that the International community can avoid another epic failure on their part or avoid ever having another genocide anywhere.

Ambassador Khaled Farah, who spoke on behalf of the Sudanese government, expressed solidarity of his government with the people of Rwanda during the period of commemoration.

He also expressed his belief that the commemoration aims at promoting strong collective memory which is very essential for bringing about sustainable nation-building and Genocide prevention in the future.

"The lessons of our history have united us. They teach us the value of good leadership that cares for the well-being of all Rwandans. We learned the importance of working together to build the better future of all Rwandans", Farah said quoting President Paul Kagame.

During the event, he applauded the achievements that Rwanda has gained in the post-genocide period and affirmed that Sudan would benefit from these realized success stories of Rwanda.

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