Politics

The UN Speech That Offended Rwandans

On April 6, 2017, a day before the commencement of the commemoration of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, recorded a statement titled the, “International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda.”

The statement irked the survivors. Guterres’ statement carried a benevolent language. All was good until the speech spoilt the broth.

The first factor that annoyed survivors is his failure to state clearly that it was genocide against the Tutsi. In his speech he says, “Tutsi along with moderate Hutus, Twa and others.”

The second element is of the figure 800,000. This is a wrong number, according to UBUKA, the umbrella of genocide survivors. The real number is estimated to be slightly over 1,071,000. Lowering this number has baffled many.

Here is his full speech

“Today, we remember all those who perished in the genocide in Rwanda 23 years ago. More than 800,000 people were systematically murdered across the country, overwhelmingly, Tutsi along with moderate Hutus, Twa and others. Today, we also honor those who survived. We recognize their pain and courage and the struggles they continue to face. The survivors’ resilience and their capacity to for reconciliation are an inspiration to us all. The only way to truly honor the memory of those who were killed in Rwanda is to ensure that such events never occur again. Preventing genocide and other monstrous crimes is a shared responsibility and a call to duty to the United Nations. The world must always be alert to the warning signs of the genocide and act quickly and early against this threat. History is filled with tragic chapters of hatred, in action and indifference, a cycle that has led to violence, incarceration and death camps. In the past century alone shows again and again the poison of intolerance still loose in our societies. Even today minorities and other groups suffer and exploitation based on who they are. Let us learn the lessons of Rwanda and work together to build a future of dignity, tolerance and the human rights for all.”

Some of the reactions to his speech 

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