The National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) should fast-track plans to carry out a study about the current extent of trauma among survivors 24 years after the Genocide against the Tutsi, members of the Upper House of Parliament said yesterday.
The senators made the call after a presentation of the Senatorial Standing Committee on Political Affairs and Good Governance which analysed CNLG’s report for the past financial year 2016/17 and plan of action for the current financial year 2017/18.
The Senate vice president in charge of Legislation and Government Oversight, Fatou Harerimana, said that the assessment on the issue of trauma among Genocide survivors should be given urgent attention.
“This research is urgent because we see the increase in cases of trauma every year,” she said.
Senator Jean Nepomuscene Sindikubwabo, the chairperson of the Senatorial Standing Committee on Political Affairs and Good Governance, told senators that the study will be carried out by the School of Public Health of the University of Rwanda and that the senatorial committee reminded CNLG that it has to closely monitor the exercise.
“We agreed with CNLG that the research should be fast-tracked because it is long overdue,” he said of the proposed research on trauma among Genocide survivors and their children.
Given the requests received by other institutions in the country to conduct the research, Sindikubwabo said that CNLG will partner with the Ministry of Health as well as the Ministry of Local Government and Social Affairs in order to achieve a greater impact.
“As explained by CNLG, there should be no concerns that this study will not be successfully completed and useful once it’s done in partnership with other institutions,” he said.
In October last year, CNLG announced that it was set to conduct a study to deeply examine the current extent of trauma among Genocide survivors as part of the body’s action plans for the current financial year.
The plan was announced as CNLG officials presented to the Lower Chamber of Parliament the commission’s report for the past financial year 2016/17 and plan of action for the current financial year 2017/18.
Dr Emmanuel Havugimana, chairperson of CNLG board, has said that the research is needed because some of the Genocide survivors are still struggling with both physical and psychological scars from the Genocide and the extent of the problem should be assessed.
He told legislators in October that the research would inform response to cases of people who are often traumatised by what they went through in the Genocide and identify their major challenges.
The official said that the study would be completed by the end of 2018 and should indicate the nature of Genocide survivors’ current problems and how to solve them by especially how to help them to overcome trauma.
Legislators, both in the Chamber of Deputies and in Senate, have severally urged CNLG to keep its focus on fighting trauma among Genocide survivors and preserving Genocide memorial sites, finding proper homes and legal aid for survivors as well as their social support.