Genocide against the Tutsi remains a stain on our conscience, says UN official

The United Nations Special Advisor on Genocide Prevention, Alice Wairimu Nderitu, has said that the failure of the international community to prevent and respond to the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi in Rwanda with the intention to systematically annihilate them “remains a stain on our consciousness.”

She was speaking at the African Union, Peace and Security Council, on April 6, during an open session on prevention of the ideology of hate, genocide and hate crimes in Africa.

On January 26, 2018, the UN General Assembly adopted a decision designating April 7 as the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

“I know that it is not possible to look at news without confirming the fact of humankind continuing to perpetrate atrocities globally,” said Nderitu. “Yet this is why this commemoration is so important as not only must we remember the horrifying instances of past genocides, but we must also draw lessons for the present and future and continuously express commitment to prevent them from happening in future.”

The Special Advisor also noted that denial or distorting the facts of the holocaust, and the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda and in Srebrenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina is an extreme form of hate speech that could itself constitute preparation for another genocide.


“Let us not forget that these revisionists and deniers are often diverting attention with these claims from their own responsibility in these crimes and that many perpetrators of these genocides including those who planned, ordered, and committed them, remain at large even as their victims and survivors wait for justice,” she said.

“In understanding genocide ideology,” she continued, “we must remember that to kill a million people as happened in Rwanda in 1994, many perpetrators are required. We must also remember that those who carried out the killings, were ordinary people. They were tailors, teachers, neighbors, people the victims knew. Genocide deniers and revisionists know this – and with their false narratives, they seek to subordinate individual thinking to collective think of ‘we’ versus “them.” They make the ‘we’ believe they have a duty to get rid of the ‘them’.”

Nderitu stated that the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda happened because hate speech against them was common and accepted, adding that this made it simple for regular people to participate in the killings of innocent Tutsi individuals.

According to the New times, she highlighted that, today, hate speech fuels xenophobia, racism, anti-religious and gender-based hatred, declaring that social media has accelerated its speed at an unprecedented rate.

“Preventing genocide requires our constant engagement and vigilance. To the victims and survivors, I have this to say to you. We are here. We continue to do everything possible to ensure the world does not forget the crime of genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, we support peace and reconciliation initiatives,” said Nderitu.

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