Twenty-three years after the genocide against Tutsis, wounds inflicted by the tragedy are still fresh, accorsing to Never Again Rwanda (NAR), a social justice organization that arose in response to the genocide.
The organisation said on Thursday in a workshop with the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission and different stakeholders while discussing the existing challenges facing recovery.
Immaculee Mukankubito, the Coordinator of Never Again said that one of the challenges that the Rwandan society still faces today is the deep wounds of the past inflicted by the genocide.
“The research that is being conducted today shows that the wounds are not on the side of the victims only but also children of the perpetrators,” Mukankubito said. “What makes them worse and not easily recoverable is that they all still feel humiliated to talk about them because [some of] those who perpetrated the genocide were also wounded.”
Immaculėe revealed that that the meeting was an opportunity to discuss their journey of healing and bringing other actors on board. They will then assess gaps and challenges and suggest strategies to deal with them.
“For Never Again Rwanda, it is sharing our experiences, our journey to healing after three years of implementing a societal healing and participatory governance programme. The journey is full of challenges and lessons but also opportunities,” she said.
Fidele Ndayisaba, the Executive Secretary of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission said that healing those wounds takes long.
“Research conducted to see how this problem keeps changing shows that wounds are emerging. They take long because people pass them to one another but what is exciting is that they have been decreasing over the years,” he said.
Ndayisaba said that Rwanda faced a genocide, but Rwandans still have to be proud of the good steps that have been made. He said that the wounds have been healing considerably because in the past five years, they have decreased from 11.1% to 4%.
He attributed those positive changes to Rwandans themselves and their culture as well as the leadership of the country which has built a very strong trait of resilience in the society.
Never Again Rwanda says that in order to diminish those wounds, there is need for combined efforts of different stakeholders. They showed the need for the ministry of health to increase the stance on mental health and allocate specific services in that regard.
NAR also said that there is need to decentralize mental health advisory instead of only being available in hospitals.
Among the key causes of the wounds that NAR mentions are mainly being a refugee, poverty, loss of parents, relatives and loved ones, and loss of properties among others.