Rwandans in Canada honour 1994 victims

OTTAWA - The Rwandan community in Canada Tuesday joined the rest in marking the 15th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in an event that was held in the Capital Ottawa.
Rwandans in Canada demonstrate to condemn genocide at the event. (Photo/ C. Habba)
Rwandans in Canada demonstrate to condemn genocide at the event. (Photo/ C. Habba)

OTTAWA - The Rwandan community in Canada Tuesday joined the rest in marking the 15th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in an event that was held in the Capital Ottawa.

Amidst heavy snow falling, more than 200 Rwandans gathered at the Parliament Hill to remember the over one million victims who perished in the 100-day mayhem.

A number of Canadian government officials graced the event as an acknowledgment of the 2004 parliamentary decision to declare April 7th the official genocide commemoration date.

Maurice Belanger a representative of the liberal party in Vanier District was one of the officials and he talked about the need for Canada to cooperate and support countries in Africa particularly Rwanda.

Also speaking at the event was Rwandan’s Ambassador to Canada Edda Mukabagwiza, who talked about the progress registered in Rwanda and the need for the Canadian government to assist Rwanda in its attempts to rebuild its economy.

She also took time to commend all those who took part in the ‘One Dollar Campaign’ an initiative mainly by Rwandans in the Diaspora to mobilise funds to assist victims of the genocide especially the youths.

The envoy encouraged everyone to take part.

Mukabagwiza emphasized the need to fight revisionism of the Genocide that has become rampant especially in Europe and North America mostly propagated by some elements mainly accused of participating in the Genocide.

In support of this, Richard Nsanzabaganwa, the president of Humura, an association organizing the events to commemorate the genocide talked about need to fight revisionism by some writers in the Western world.

“Denying the reality of the genocide is perpetrating the crime and thus inflicting additional suffering on the victims,” he said.

Nsanzabaganwa insisted on reminding everyone on the role played by the international community in encouraging the genocide which was the failure to stop it.

He particularly pointed out the fact that Canada was one of those countries that did nothing to help Rwanda despite the calls from Romeo Dallaire to intervene.

Nsanzabaganwa also despised the recent decision by the government of Canada to remove Rwanda from the list of countries it gives aid to.

“This is Canada’s opportunity to help Rwanda and make up for prior mistakes but they have chosen to abandon Rwanda which is very disappointing,” he said.

A conference was organised at the close of the event and it took place in the House of Commons with an aim of provoking international comments on the Genocide against the Tutsis 15 years later.

The conference attracted Members of Parliament Paul Dewar and Irwin Cotler as well as Dr Frank Chalk (professor at Concordia University and co-author of The History and Sociology of Genocide) and other scholars.

Mukabagwiza also contributed to the panel. 

A series of events have been organized around Canada by the Humura Association to commemorate the genocide and these will run until May 9.

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