As the 25th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi approaches, the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC) and Ibuka, the umbrella organisation of Genocide survivors associations, have pledged to join hands to assess and report all cases that undermine unity and reconciliation.
“We looked at how the previous commemorations went, the challenges that may affect unity and reconciliation and we committed to improve how to report cases of genocide ideology, denial, harassment, murder, among others,” said Fidèle Ndayisaba, the Executive Secretary of National Unity and Reconciliation Commission.
Cases of genocide ideology are normally higher during the 100 days of Genocide commemoration than during the rest of the year.
“We partnered with Ibuka to assess the previous commemoration periods and continue to strengthen unity and reconciliation, explaining the impact of genocide ideology on reconciliation as well as reporting cases for legal action,” he said.
The commitment was pledged following a report on Genocide ideology cases during the 24th commemoration in 2018 which was tabled during the meeting.
The report analysed eight principles of unity and reconciliation which include promoting Rwandan identity, combating genocide and its ideology, creating a nation governed by rule of law and respect of human rights, combating any form of divisionism and discrimination, commemorating the 1994 Genocide with the aim to make Never Again a reality, among others.
It shows that genocide ideology cases had decreased from 193 in 2017 to 141 in 2018.
“Particularly, there are activities that continue to foster unity and reconciliation such as some witnesses revealing perpetrators of the Genocide, showing the location of mass graves where Genocide victims were thrown so that they get decent burial, supporting genocide survivors, both morally and physically, among others,” he said.
Twenty-five years after the Genocide, thousands of survivors are still looking for closure, as they desperately search for the remains of their loved ones so that they can be accorded a decent burial.
Just last year, remains of over 30,000 victims were exhumed from 41 mass graves in Rusororo and Masaka sectors in Kigali and are awaiting burial at Nyanza Genocide Memorial.
Ndayisaba called on partners to decentralise counselling services.
The report shows that, during the 24th commemoration 720 people faced trauma in Eastern Province, 460 in Western Province, 224 in Northern Province, 472 in Southern Province and 752 in Kigali City.
Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu, the president of Ibuka, said there was need for special programmes to help people in the Diaspora attend commemoration events in big numbers, and for Genocide ideology crimes to be judged in public on the sites where they were committed.