Activists push for trauma commission

Anti-Genocide activists have called for the creation of a national commission that will coordinate efforts to deal with trauma among survivors of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis. The call was made during a trauma experts’ meeting yesterday, held as a build up activity to the Genocide commemoration week scheduled for next month.
CNLG Commissioner Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu (L) talking to Coordinator of Mental Health,Yvonne Kayiteshonga and Deogene Bideri of CNLG. (Photo J Mbanda)
CNLG Commissioner Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu (L) talking to Coordinator of Mental Health,Yvonne Kayiteshonga and Deogene Bideri of CNLG. (Photo J Mbanda)

Anti-Genocide activists have called for the creation of a national commission that will coordinate efforts to deal with trauma among survivors of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis.

The call was made during a trauma experts’ meeting yesterday, held as a build up activity to the Genocide commemoration week scheduled for next month.

“There should be a commission to help in coordinating activities by various stakeholders involved in the fight against trauma. These stakeholders can be government, religious organizations and NGOs,” the experts recommended.

The participants, who included officials from several districts in the country and representative from NGOs that fight trauma, called for stringent security measures for people who will hold the commemoration near water bodies in the country.

Apart from celebrations at national level, some venues that are expected to host the commemoration events include Rusumo (Eastern Province), a historical area that borders Tanzania and Burundi.

It is also near Akagera River into which thousands of bodies were dumped and later ended up in Lake Victoria.

Epimaque Sherti, the Director of Research at the National Commission for the fight against Genocide (CNLG) said that there is need to deploy about 45,000 trauma counsellors countrywide, who will take care of trauma cases right down to the village level.

He advised that the 2,000 counsellors trained by various organizations in should be brought together and allocated responsibilities in different sectors of the country.

The officials recommended that at least one trauma expert should be stationed at every district to sensitize the population on trauma and closely monitor activities ahead of the commemoration week.

They cautioned that trauma is a complicated situation that needs consistent monitoring, and advised that efforts to control it should not only come as the Genocide commemoration week approaches.

There was general consensus that youth between the ages of 15 - 21 are the most affected by trauma – related cases.

The 16th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi will be held under a theme that emphasizes the need to commemorate the Genocide as the nation strives to deal with trauma.

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