Members of the Rwandan Diaspora have been advised to join efforts and put to task the increasing number of genocide deniers and activities aimed at negating the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in their respective countries.
Representatives of the Diaspora in various African countries, USA, Europe and Asia, yesterday visited the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) to get first hand experience on the fight against Genocide and its denial.
Under their umbrella organization Rwanda Diaspora Global Network (RDGN), members shared their experiences with the commission’s heads, calling for increased efforts to counter growing revisionism, especially abroad.
Sylvester Matata, the vice president of RDGN who lives in Ontario, Canada, expressed worries that Genocide denial was on the rise, particularly outside Rwanda, calling on CNLG to join hands with members of the Diaspora to counter it.
“We need to keep the history intact. My worry is that a lot is being done to distort it. I believe the government can start initiatives to have permanent memorial detailing what happened, like it is in the case of the holocaust,”
“We need to get an experience of what is being done to fight Genocide and revisionism so that when we go back to our respective countries, we play a role in these efforts,” Matata said.
The group requested the CNLG to take this campaign beyond the Rwandan border and sensitise Rwandans in the Diaspora.
Major among the concerns raised are the divisions that exist among Rwandans in Diaspora with some groups commemorating the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi while others choose not to, as well as lack of memorials and sensitisation.
The Executive Secretary of CNLG, Jean de Dieu Mucyo, said the commission will carry out mobilisation in various countries to urge Rwandans to come together during the commemoration period.
“We are aware that there is a lot of genocide revisionism, but we want to work with countries to ensure that just like it is in the case of the holocaust, articles that punish the denial of the Rwandans Genocide be included in the law,” Mucyo said
“We have started initiatives to have this done. We also have plans to establish memorials in several countries. We have memorials in some countries , others have promised land. All these are aimed at keeping the memories alive and intact,” he added.
Chantal Karara from Belgium and a commissioner in RDGN, expressed concern that the wordings on the genocide memorial in Belgium are the old ones, which sometimes are used as a basis to negate the genocide.
Mucyo noted that several memorials in different countries, including Uganda still have wrong wordings but the Commission is working with the Minister of Foreign Affairs to have them changed as soon.
Eric Deo Kabera, also a commissioner in RDGN and lives in Malawi, noted that Southern African countries have high numbers of refugees, including some who took part in the genocide, engaging in genocide denial and revisionism.
He noted however that if the commission started mobilisation campaigns in these countries, adding that many who lack information and are being misled by Genocide deniers could be rescued.
Mucyo promised that CNLG will start the sensitisation campaigns, especially encouraging members of the Rwandan Diaspora to take part in this year’s commemoration events.