OTTAWA - Canada’s former Minister of Justice Liberal MP Irwin Cotler Monday proposed a motion commemorating the 14th anniversary of the Rwanda Genocide which was unanimously adopted by the Canadian Parliament. Introducing his motion, the Opposition critic for human rights said: “During a 3-month period beginning April 7, 1994, 800,000 Rwandans were killed in an organized campaign of Genocide that targeted ethnic Tutsis and political moderates, including Hutus.”
“This Genocide was made possible by the indifference and inaction of the international community,” Cotler explained.
The motion – adopted unanimously – declared that “The House of Commons solemnly commemorates the Rwanda Genocide on the occasion of its fourteenth anniversary; reaffirms its commitment to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide; and designates April 7 as a Day of Reflection on the Prevention of Genocide.”
“The commemoration will allow to learn about, reflect upon, and act upon the lessons of the Rwanda Genocide, which include: First, that the Genocide occurred not because of the machinery of death, but because of the state-sanctioned incitement to genocide; Second, that the Genocide was made possible by the indifference and inaction of the international community; Third, that the international community must act so as to prevent the genocide to begin with; Fourth, the danger of Genocide denial, which constitutes an assault on truth, memory, and justice,” said Cotler.
“No one can say that we did not know; we knew, but we did not act. Just as we know today about Darfur, and are not sufficiently acting,” he added.
Rwanda’s Ambassador to Canada, Edda Mukabagwiza, presided over the Genocide commemoration function in the Canadian capital.
The event was attended by over ten lawmakers. The president of the House of Commons attended the annual ceremony for the very first time.
The Rwandan ambassador made an impassioned speech at Parliament Hill in Ottawa saying that freedom of speech should not be used as an excuse to intoxicate public opinion.
“The denial of Genocide is abusing the freedom of speech and it is dangerous for the society; that’s why we must fight it,” Mukabagwiza said.
A group of Canadian and European revisionists recently met with massive protests when they tried to hold a meeting in Montreal.