By Tom Ndahiro
On 24th October 1995 former Rwandan President Pasteur Bizimungu, delivered a speech at the 50th ordinary session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Today, it is exactly 19 years. Umuvugizi brings you a larger part of his statement as prelude to the 20th genocide commemoration. The unlearnt lessons, international irresponsibility, moral failures …etc.
“As we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Organisation, we pay homage to the founding fathers of this organisation, whose vision has charted the way for humanity. The organisation was founded in the aftermath of two devastating world wars.
The purpose was to save mankind from similar calamities arising from social injustices by providing moral tenets for peoples and nations. Indeed the UN formulated and developed significant basic principles relating to human and fundamental rights, equality of nations and peoples, and promotion of social economic progress for the entire humanity. A lot has been achieved. However, the proclamation of those noble objectives on one hand and their implementation on the other, have reflected on many occasions double-standards.
While the Charter stipulated self-determination and sovereignty of nations, colonised people had to resort to armed struggle to restore their freedom. Even after flag-independence new nations remain burdened by the influence of the dominant powers. If ours were not sham independence, former colonies would no longer be considered as areas of influence, where the strategy of divide and rule is still applied and the traditional relationship is still that between the dominator and the dominated.
Last year’s horrendous genocide that took place in Rwanda and took over a million lives was the direct consequence of the factors I have just mentioned above.
Before the advent of colonialism Rwanda was already a coherent nation. Our ancestors successfully strived to build a nation and a people called Banyarwanda from many kingdoms and peoples.
For centuries, Rwanda had existed without divisions on the basis of ethnic or any of other sectarian tendencies. Colonialism introduced racist theories and ideologies and practiced discrimination. The first ethnic massacre engineered by the authorities in the history of Rwanda, occurred in 1959. Rwanda was still under the colonial rule. It is important to recall that ever since the end of the First World War up to 1962, Rwanda was administered under the Trusteeship of the League of Nations and subsequently the United Nations.
Since that time, Rwanda has had its nationals living in exile as refugees. The plight of those refugees, who numbered about two millions before last year’s genocide, did not get any attention for over three decades. The existence of those refugees is a vivid testimony of discriminatory policy that was pursued inside the country. In actual fact, it is the present government in the history of modern Rwanda that does not prevent its nationals in exile to return home.
Were it not for the external interferences intended to divide our compatriots Rwandese people basing on moral principles and legal instruments set by the United Nations, would easily find solutions to the consequences of genocide and a path towards national reconciliation.
But now, planners and perpetrators of genocide are welcomed in some capitals not only as ordinary, innocent refugees, but as heroes deserving to lead people.
Those same criminals, encouraged by such complacency plan to carry on genocide, are being re-armed while at the same time they forbid refugees to return home.
This is not only a violation of international conventions but also reflects moral decay. How can the world be peaceful when there is no respect for basic principles and morality? It is in this context that President Daniel Arap- Moi of Kenya pretends to serve a good cause by associating with those criminals and protecting them.
…The future of our Organisation, our future, requires of us to strive for unconditional solidarity and more dynamic cooperation between nations and peoples. Mankind should never witness the horrors of genocide that took place in Rwanda, and the current ethnic-cleansing in the former Yugoslavia must be brought to an end. We count on the United Nations to direct and support our efforts in creating a better world for humanity.”