Congressman Donald Milford Payne: “UMURINZI” Rwanda’s Campaign Against Genocide Medal
In a career spanning 48 years in politics, you have been a champion of the voiceless and the less privileged in the United States of America and across the African continent. You have been at the forefront of efforts to restore democracy and human rights throughout the world.
You were one of the very few who in 1994 recognised the beginnings of the Genocide of Tutsis and raised your voice to a government and a world that refused to listen.
Because of your articulate condemnation of genocide in Rwanda, the world is more alert to the causes of genocide and countries recognise the importance of not providing safe haven to perpetrators and deniers of genocide.
You introduced legislation in the Congress for the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the genocide of Tutsis. Your work as head of a Presidential mission to Rwanda in the aftermath of the genocide, to assist in finding workable solutions to the political and humanitarian crises our country faced in 1994 was invaluable.
Because of your understanding of African issues and your commitment to the development of the continent, both President Bill Clinton and President George W Bush sought your wise counsel and involvement in their initiatives for Africa and in particular for Rwanda.
Your tireless effort in championing humanitarian causes has endeared you to Rwandans. We value your steadfast friendship, advocacy for our causes, and your support for development of our country and our continent.
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, Congressman Donald Milford Payne “UMURINZI”, Rwanda’s Campaign Against Genocide Medal.
Professor Ibrahim Gambari: “UMURINZI” Rwanda’s Campaign Against Genocide Medal
You have placed your immense qualities to the service of humanity in general and the African people in particular.
During your tenure as Permanent Representative of your country to the United Nations, your destiny and that of Rwanda met. Nigeria was one of the 10 non-permanent members of the U.N. Security Council in 1994 during the genocide of Tutsis.
You were among the few members of the Council to have sensed, as early as February 1994 that Rwanda was about to descend into genocide.
Through your statements to the Non-aligned Group and discussions held in closed sessions, you were instrumental in creating awareness of this threat amongst your colleagues on the Security Council.
You vehemently criticized the appalling silence of Rwanda’s Permanent Representative to the U.N., calling his presence a betrayal to the Rwandan people and an embarrassment to the African members of the Security Council.
In your persistent call to the Security Council to act in order to avert the tragedy in Rwanda and by facilitating access for Rwanda Patriotic Front representatives to some members of the Council, you gave a voice to the voiceless people of Rwanda.
You were unwavering in opposing a resolution moved by France in the Security Council to send French troops to Rwanda when the same Council had ordered the withdrawal of the UN peace keeping force (UNAMIR).
You continue to work tirelessly to bring peace to many regions of the world, ensuring that what happened in Rwanda never happens again anywhere in the world. We in Rwanda will always be indebted to you for the true African brotherhood you demonstrated on our behalf.
And so today, in a special tribute I, Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, by virtue of the authority vested in me, do hereby award you, Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari “UMURINZI”, Rwanda’s Campaign Against Genocide Medal.
Antonietta Locatelli: Posthumous recipient of “UMURINZI” Rwanda’s Campaign Against Genocide Medal
Antonietta Locatelli: Protector of the Persecuted, Passionate Humanitarian, Courageous Spirit:
You came to Rwanda as a volunteer and set up the CERAI training centre that imparted skills to underprivileged young girls in Bugesera.
In a region known for its hostile natural environment and to where many Tutsis were deliberately relocated, your organisation supported several small scale projects to help lift the living standards of the local population.
During the 1992 genocide preparatory acts in Bugesera, the Tutsi population sought refuge at your centre. You shared the meagre resources at your disposal and provided the displaced and frightened families with food and medical care.
Your close interaction with the local community gave you an insight into the deadly intentions and frequent atrocities of local and national propagators of genocide, which you continuously shared with your friends and community in Italy.
You were warned by government authorities on several occasions not to provide shelter to the Tutsi population. But you bravely ignored the warnings and continued your campaign to create awareness of what was really going on, by providing telephone dispatches to foreign media including the Vatican Radio,
For these selfless actions, you paid with your life and were assassinated by Gendarmes under the orders of the government. You were buried in Bugesera, in the heart of the community against which you had refused to discriminate.
A woman of courage, you will always be remembered for your bravery, generosity and your refusal to take the easy way out, in a place and time of great difficulty.
And so today, in a special tribute I, Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, by the virtue of the authority vested in me, do hereby award posthumously Antonietta Locatelli “UMURINZI”, Rwanda’s Campaign against Genocide Medal.