Roger Winter – Recipient of “URUTI” Rwanda’s National Liberation Medal and “UMURINZI” Rwanda’s Campaign Against Genocide Medal
From your days as an ardent campaigner in the American Civil Rights movement, where you went against the grain of what was expected of a white man at the time, to your current role as pro bono advisor to the leader of Southern Sudan and advocate for the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in the United States, you have consistently been driven by your commitment to just causes.
As the Head of the US Committee for Refugees, you were moved by the plight of Rwandan refugees many of whom committed suicide after being expelled from Uganda by then President Milton Obote and found themselves at Rwandan borders closed by President Juvenal Habyarimana.
You dedicated yourself to informing the American public and the rest of the world about the root cause of this crisis.
Throughout the RPF armed struggle, and during the genocide, you communicated frequently to the press; organized briefings for American civil society, Washington think-tanks, policy makers and intelligence; and appeared before the United States Congress on many occasions to share your expert knowledge of the situation in Rwanda.
You also generously provided facilities for members of the RPF in the United States to meet and disseminate much needed information.
In the 100 days of genocide, at the risk of your own life, you visited the RPF liberated zone several times, was the first foreigner to arrive at sites of mass massacres such as Nyarubuye, and continued to act as ardent and vocal eyewitness to what was happening.
You mobilized journalists from major American media to visit Rwanda and report on the crisis, and rallied humanitarian organizations to assist survivors.
After the genocide you remained engaged with Rwanda, marshalling support for reconstruction and creating a network of friends for Rwanda.
Your contribution to the struggle against injustice, your consummate efforts in raising awareness of genocide in Rwanda and your tireless endeavor to draw support in its aftermath is simply incalculable and will always be appreciated by Rwandans.
And so today, in a special tribute to you, I, Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, by the virtue of the authority vested in me, do hereby award Roger Winter “URUTI”, Rwanda’s National Liberation Medal and “UMURINZI”, Rwanda’s Campaign Against Genocide Medal.
Captain Mbaye Diagne: “UMURINZI” Rwanda’s Campaign Against Genocide Medal
From the Koranic School of your childhood in Coki where you learned to stand up for yourself, to the Ecole nationale des officiers in Dakar where you were trained as an Army officer, everyone around you recognized your leadership and true fighting spirit.
Following a distinguished tour of service in the Casamance region, you were deployed to Rwanda as part of the Senegalese Military Observer contingent with the Organization of African Unity and continued on as a Military observer with United Nations Mission in Rwanda.
When the Genocide of Tutsis began in 1994, you carried out daring missions in Kigali to rescue individuals targeted for extermination by the genocidal forces. You did this on your own initiative, with no force under your command, no resources and at a great risk of your own life.
Your actions were immediately noticed and before long, you were overwhelmed by requests from relatives to rescue trapped family members. You also received similar pleas from United Nations and NGO officials abroad, to save their Tutsi staff pursued by the Interahamwe.
After the then Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana was murdered, you took it upon yourself to ensure the safety of her orphaned children.
Your actions stunned the UNAMIR commander, General Romeo Dallaire, when he realized the risky operations you were undertaking in a dangerous environment and with restrictions imposed by UNAMIR.
You paid the ultimate price for your extraordinary humanitarian cause when you were killed by the genocidal forces during one of your rescue missions.
For your bravery and sacrifice during the 1994 genocide and for showing the world the true meaning of African Ubuntu, the people of Rwanda will forever be indebted to you.
And so today, in a special tribute to you, I, Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, by the virtue of the authority vested in me, do hereby award, You Captain Mbaye Diagne “UMURINZI”, Rwanda’s Campaign Against Genocide Medal.