New Zealand has become the first country to hand over archives of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi, which the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Richard Sezibera says will serve as a means against genocide denial and minimisation.
“It is one of the weapons we have against those who still harbor genocide ideology,” he said.
Sezibera said that apart from showing facts about the Genocide that claimed lives of a million people while the UN Security Council lacked will to act to halt it down, the documents indicate how the Oceanic country perceived the Genocide.
He was speaking to journalists on April 19 after a courtesy call from a delegation of New Zealand Parliamentarians led by Trevor Mallard, Speaker of New Zealand Parliament.
Speaker Mallard said that they held discussions on genocide and genocide denial, and economic links between the two countries.
New Zealand was a member of the Security Council during the Genocide, something that Mallard says they feel bad after failing to press for the Council’s intervention to curb the Genocide.
“We were unable to convince the Security Council to increase the number of peacekeepers here [in Rwanda], but the council instead voted to withdraw. It’s something of major, major concern to New Zealand,” he said.
Sezibera said that New Zealand is one of few countries that were in the UN Security Council during the Genocide, and called the massacre that was being committed in Rwanda the Genocide against Tutsi.
He added that the country supported the stopping of the Genocide.
In November 2010, Amb. Colin Keating, who served as New Zealand Ambassador to the UN from 1993–1996, was awarded ‘Umurinzi’, Rwanda’s campaign against Genocide Medal, by President Paul Kagame.
Keating served as New Zealand Ambassador to the UN from 1993–1996, and was Security Council president during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, and relentlessly sought the intervention of the international community to end the carnage.
“Those who claim that the Genocide did not take place are wrong, they continue lying to the world and to themselves. Because, we in Rwanda, know that the Genocide was committed, and New Zealand has brought to us these records stating that it took place.
“In addition, the files explain how they [New Zealand] observed the Genocide especially when it was in the Security Council. There are documents complementing those we already had that explain properly how the Genocide took place, and help us fight those who deny or minimize it,” he said
But, going forward, Mallard observed “we have been very impressed with the economic development here, we have been impressed with the quality of scholars who have come to New Zealand on New Zealand government studentships [PhD scholarships], and we hope that we can have more people who come across here.”
He indicated that there are many ways economic partnerships between Rwanda and New Zealand which can be achieved on joint basis, citing food security, and food quality, as well as electric motorbike technology in which he said Rwanda is going to be the world leader.