URUGWIRO VILLAGE - Canada’s Governor General, Michaelle Jean, yesterday apologized on behalf of her government for the indifference and inaction of the international community in the lead up to, and during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Jean made the formal apology during her meeting with President Paul Kagame at Urugwiro Village in Kacyiru.
While delivering her message, the top official noted that Canada and other countries failed to respond adequately to the atrocities that were taking place in Rwanda, despite warnings from individuals like Gen. Romeo Dallaire.
“Canada as part of the community acknowledges its fair share of responsibility. I think we could have made a difference. I think we could have prevented the magnitude of the horror that brought Genocide here,” Jean said.
“So it is with a sense of utmost humility that I express the respects of Canada to all Rwandans who perished, suffered and continue to suffer the immeasurable loss of the Genocide.”
Jean’s remarks come at a time the country is commemorating 16 years after the tragic events.
The Canadian Governor General added that April 7, was also declared by her country’s parliament as a day for remembering the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, reminding that it is also a time to reflect upon the lessons of the Genocide.
In relation to the country’s recovery process, Jean noted that Rwanda has made remarkable progress as regards championing female representation in politics.
“Rwanda is a world leader in terms of women’s participation in the decision making process with 56 percent in the national assembly, in fact our discussions here included giving women the power to respect their dignity and making a commitment to emphasize this elsewhere.”
President Kagame said that during the meeting, general issues affecting the region as regards peace, stability and development of the people in the region were discussed.
Kagame also responded to questions raised by international press on issues regarding the suspension of the Umuseso and Umuvigizi newspapers where he emphasized that the country’s media fraternity should not be judged based on these two publications.
“You are talking about two yet we have close to 20 independent, privately owned fm radios, close to 70 newspapers with others belonging to different countries. Why are these two defining us?” the President asked.
Responding to a question by a Canadian journalist, who wondered why the remarkable development he has seen in the country is at odds with what western media have been reporting, Kagame pointed out that a lot of what is portrayed about Rwanda in the media does not reflect the reality.
“If you read what is said out there, you would think this country does not exist like it didn’t exist 16 years ago,” he said. “But when you reach here, you should be able to judge. There is a lot happening in rebuilding the nation. It could not be possible for Rwanda to make that happen if what Rwanda is being accused of from outside was to be true”.
President Kagame, added that there would be no development, peace, security and rule of law if the things Rwanda is accused of, were accurate.
The Governor General also addressed a long standing issue regarding the complicated procedure of accessing Canadian visas citing that this will be addressed soon since mobility is a major factor of cooperation amongst countries.
The two leaders also affirmed continuity of the strong partnership especially in areas of development, improving health and developing human dignity – a fundamental resource.