Lawmakers moved by plight of survivors

Senators and Members of the Lower Chambers yesterday failed to contain their anger over the appalling conditions in which children who survived the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi live. The lawmakers expressed their disappointment after the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) presented its first annual report to a joint session.
L-R : REVEALED PLIGHT: Jean de Dieu Mucyo;CALLED FOR ACTION: Joseph Karemera
L-R : REVEALED PLIGHT: Jean de Dieu Mucyo;CALLED FOR ACTION: Joseph Karemera

Senators and Members of the Lower Chambers yesterday failed to contain their anger over the appalling conditions in which children who survived the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi live.

The lawmakers expressed their disappointment after the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) presented its first annual report to a joint session.

According to the report, close to 4,000 student survivors visited the Commission between April and November seeking assistance.

Addressing the session, the commission’s Executive Secretary, Jean de Dieu Mucyo, said that during their field research, the commission found out that accommodation was the most urgent need.

“We discovered overcrowded rooms were children, boys and girls, are crammed together. Sickness and confiscation of property is rampant and the general welfare among them is very poor”.

The commission’s vice president, Christine Tuyisenge, had earlier presented a report detailing achievement of the commission most of which centred at institutional establishment.

Responding to the report, Senator Joseph Karemera called on the government, to come up with more appropriate ways of providing special assistance to Genocide survivors in school.

“This issue of boys sleeping together with girls in the same room that is also congested, should be considered an issue of national concern. We have abandoned these children and this has increased pregnancies, HIV/AIDS and misery among them. We should do something,” Jean Damascene Murara said.

Murara’s observation was also echoed by Marie Rose Mureshyankwano, who questioned where funds allocated for the construction of survivors’ houses go to.

Several lawmakers called on the government to address the issue of accommodation and confiscation of survivors’ property like land by government entities or individuals.

Lawmakers, Mureshyankwano, Karemera, Speciose Mukandutiye and Evode Kalima emphasized the need for security for the survivors’ property, calling on Parliament to come up with a law that protects survivors’ property.

In a related development, Mucyo told the lawmakers that the commission will soon propose to the Cabinet to hold the sixteenth commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis on lake shores and river banks as a sign of honouring those who were thrown into rivers and lakes.

Several MPs backed the idea with some proposing that the commemoration be held at the shores of Lake Kivu while others proposing River Nyabarongo.

Mucyo told the lawmakers that the decision will be taken depending on the Cabinet’s decision.

He told MPs and Senators that latest information indicates that there is a likelihood of Genocide remains in Burundi as well as the DRC.

The CNLG report presented to the parliament also exposed some challenges faced by the commission including lack of enough funds to construct and rehabilitate memorial sites, recurrent Genocide ideologies and dealing with effects of the Genocide.

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