French youth leaders and their other European colleagues have called upon the French government to take responsibility for France’s role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The youth made the call through their organisation, the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement (EGAM).
EGAM is an umbrella of youth wings of political organisations and students’ unions.
In a document titled “Rwanda: Breaking silence” the youth called on the French government to hold leaders accountable for their actions during and in the build up to the Genocide, which have been well documented by various scholars and investigative journalists.
Their call comes shortly after former French Prime Minister Alain Juppe used his Twitter account in an attempt to absolve France role in the Genocide.
Juppe’s tweet, in French, read, “Faire procès à la France de porter une part de responsabilité dans le génocide aux Rwanda est une honte et une falsification historique”, loosely translated as ‘Implicating France in the Rwandan Genocide is a disgrace and a historical distortion”.
The lack of serious action by Paris today, the youth point out, implies that current top French leaders are endorsing responsibilities which are, however, not their own, but those of some of their predecessors during the 1990s.
“They perpetuate a silence that multiplies the suffering of survivors, which undermines the democratic functioning of institutions, which transmits ideologies that led to the massacre and prevents justice from working. That is why we must break this silence,” the French youth said.
They also called on the current French president to in have frank conversations based on truth about the role of his country in the Genocide.
“This discourse of truth must be accompanied by strong symbolic actions, such as declassification of all records, without exception, concerning the engagements of France in Rwanda between 1990 and 1995, including all those on the operation “Turquoise,” regarded as a key support tool for the genocidal regime of the time in Rwanda.
The French youth also urge their Ministry of Foreign Affairs to stop obstructing the actions of civil society groups committed to speaking the truth about the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, in 1994.
“This will help to put an end to the exploitation of the state apparatus in favor of impunity.”
Their call is signed by 20 French deputies, 11 European deputies, and numerous mayors and representative of political, youth and anti racist European associations.
They add that ever since the movement launched the initiative dubbed Génocide contre les Tutsis : la vérité, maintenant!” (Genocide against the Tutsi: The Truth, now!) the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs promptly cut off their funding.
Since 2014, the youth have traveled to Rwanda in April, to join Rwandans in commemorating the anniversary of the 1994 Genocide.