Members of the Rwandan community in Uganda and friends of Rwanda in the neighbouring country are currently mobilising funds to construct a museum for the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Uganda hosts three memorial sites with remains of about 10,935 Genocide victims, who were thrown into Akagera and Nyabarongo rivers – both tributaries of Lake Victoria – with their bodies later turning up in Uganda.
The initiative, according to those behind it, is part of a continuous effort to preserve the memory of the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and fighting attempts to deny or diminish the Genocide.
The move could not have come at a better time, coming at a time Rwanda is preparing for the 22nd commemoration of the Genocide. The effort also resonates with this year’s remembrance theme, “Kiwbuka22: Fighting Genocide Ideology”.
Genocide is an international crime and all human beings have a moral and legal obligation to take meaningful action not only to prevent it but also to stop any actions that might culminate into or that are seen to glorify genocide and other crimes against humanity.
Now, genocide denial is the last phase of any genocide. It is an attempt by perpetrators to inflict more misery on survivors, and erase the memory of the victims and deny them dignity even in death.
That should not be accepted by any decent human being. That’s why the efforts by the members of the Rwandan Diaspora in Uganda and well-wishers to keep the memory of the Genocide victims alive and to give them the dignity they deserve is a noble cause that should be emulated by all.
The role of the Rwandan Diaspora community in the fight against Genocide denial, and upholding and telling the truth surrounding the country’s darkest chapter in its difficult history cannot be overemphasized.
In a related development, last week, members of Rwanda’s Anti-Genocide Parliamentary Forum launched a new effort to contribute to the campaign against Genocide denial and genocide ideology, which will see them carry out research about this deadly ideology; organise public events to counter Genocide deniers and those espousing genocide ideology; and build alliances with likeminded individuals and organizations in this effort.
The MPs will need the support of such Diaspora networks as that in Uganda to better achieve their goal, especially since their Rwf400 million five-year plan essentially targets foreign audiences.
The private sector too should back such efforts to help promote a safe and secure business environment.
Fighting genocide denial and ideology is a duty for all.