The Canadian Association for Survivors of the Genocide against the Tutsis – Humura, in partnership with the Rwandan High Commission in Canada, has organized a series of commemoration events to honour victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The opening ceremony will be held at Parliament Hill on April 7th where Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Canada, Edda Mukabagwiza, and various dignitaries from Canada and Rwanda will speak. A minute of silence will be observed and testimonies from survivors will also be heard.
“The main purpose of the events is to keep the memory of these victims alive and to raise awareness about the Genocide among Canadian citizens,” Robert Manzi, the coordinator of the events and a member of the Executive Committee of Humura said in a phone interview yesterday.
“As Rwandans living in Canada, we want to be part and parcel of the Rwandan community during the commemoration period through the annual commemoration.”
As part of the awareness programme, several Canadian parliamentarians, Cabinet ministers and citizens, have been invited to participate in the commemoration events.
Among them is a conference under the theme, “Canada’s Criminal Justice and Genocide against Tutsis: Can Justice be an Instrument for Healing?” where Murrielle Paradelle, a professor at the University of Ottawa, will give a public lecture on the subject.
The MP for Ottawa Centre, Paul Dewar, who is also chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity, is also expected to speak at the conference.
“During the conference, Gaston Segakiga, a Genocide survivor, will narrate his ordeal to highlight the need for justice worldwide and Canada in particular,” Manzi said.
During the month-long commemoration, traditional vigils will be held at the Notre Dame de Guadeloup Parish in remembrance of the genocide victims.
Humura Association in Canada was started in June 2001 by Rwandans living in Ottawa with the objective of keeping alive the memory of the Genocide and supporting activities that raise awareness about its evils across the globe.
Canada is home to a number of Genocide survivors and various cities have local associations, such as Page Rwanda in Montreal and Isano in Toronto.
“Humura also seeks to fight impunity and denounce Genocide related injustices as well as bringing to justice any genocadaire hiding in Canada,” Manzi said.
Canadian courts have already sentenced a former businessman, Desire Munyaneza, to life in prison for his role during the genocide.
Leon Mugesera too, is to be deported from Canada on the basis of incitement to Genocide.
However, there are more Genocide suspects believed to be residing in Canada.