Fifteen years down the road, Rwanda has thrived and emerged from the ruins left by the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi to the amazement of many. The socio-economic progress made after 1994 has left many wondering what the secret is.
Time and again the current leadership has explained how the devastating effects of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, could only be overcome by propagating unity and reconciliation in a society that was solely destroyed by the hate ideology as spread by the past regime.
Amidst all these efforts to reconstruct, Rwanda has not given a blind eye to its obligations and possible roles on the international scale.
The ‘Poor Tiny Central African State’ as described by Western press has gone ahead to do what it’s ‘big brothers’ have failed to do.
Rwanda’s decision to send to troops on a peacekeeping mission to Darfur, labelled ‘the most violent and life threatening’ area to live, is a sign of Rwanda’s commitment to play its role on the international level and support the United Nations Security Council to carry out its obligation.
As the rest of the World only ‘cries’ and ‘laments’ about the situation in Darfur, Rwanda walked the talk and dispatched thousands of its troops in the war-torn Eastern Sudan region to curb a situation likely to erupt into another Genocide.
Ironically this is what the international community failed to do for Rwanda 15 years ago. Even when the signs were clear that the Rwandan situation was deteriorating into Genocide, the World gave a deaf ear as alarm bells went off.
The UN Force on the ground led by General Romeo Dallaire, small as it was, watched as the Interahamwe Militia descended on fellow humans, killing a million or so.
All this happened while back in New York the debate was raging on in the air conditioned conference rooms of the UN, whether the true definition of what was happening in Rwanda was indeed Genocide or just mass massacres.
It’s a chapter Rwanda has come to put behind its back but it has definitely not forgotten it. All these years the Rwanda and the UN have been trying to come to terms and where possible, Rwanda would wish to get an assurance from the UN that what happened should never happen again. By its small size and capacity, Rwanda has challenged the world that anything is possible.
When the rest of the world was pointing a finger on Rwanda, accusing it of fuelling the conflict in DRC, the UN which literally owes a formal apology to Rwanda came up with a ‘Damning Report’ accusing Rwanda of ‘supporting and funding’ rebels in Eastern DRC fighting Joseph Kabila’s government.
Whoever authored the report supposed to pit the two Nations against each other must had a bitter pill to swallow, after the two Nations agreed to join forces and tackle the FDLR menace, which is actually the source of all conflicts in Eastern DRC. At this point, one would think the UN would again come up and apologise for the report.
Two Nations within their means cooperated and sent troops to the jungles to deal with a rebel force that has firmly established itself within the region for the last 15 years. Critics looked at the development as Rwanda’s deliberate intention to ‘enter’ DRC.
The operation lived up to its expectations and Rwandan troops were seen off by their Congolese colleagues in a colourful ceremony. Critics who had predicted a long stay for Rwandan troops in DRC were again brought to shame and made to swallow their own words.
Now the two countries are restoring diplomatic relations and critics are not impressed again. One would say that the recent visit by a 15-nation delegation from the UN Security Council promises a ray of hope.
Rwanda does not ask much of the UN and the International Community but just a few things which would easily be done without straining a muscle. These would include but not limited to arresting the financiers and chief mobilisers of the FDLR who are still roaming Europe and the Americas freely.
Resolution 1804 unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council last year in March 2008 that calls for the FDLR, mainly made up of the ex-FAR /Interahamwe and other Rwandese armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to immediately lay down their arms and leave the conflict area.
What would follow if they failed to do so was the UN and the International Community joining hands to apprehend the 19 most wanted individuals of the rebel outfit, especially the top four who include Ignace Murwanashyaka, Callixte Mbarushimana, Sylvester Mudacumura and Christopher Hakizabera but nothing has materialised so far.
It is well-known that the presence of these illegal armed groups of Rwandese origin has since 1994, been a destabilizing effect on the security situation in East Congo and pause a major threat to Rwanda security as well.
Just when the two neighbours came together to confront the problem locally, the international community failed to do its part which only requires them to arrest these warlords and haters of unity.
Now one may ask, doesn’t Rwanda deserve any help from the international community to date? Doesn’t Rwanda deserve to handle some of these cases the ICTR will have not finished by the time its mandate ends with 2009? Or who really deserves to try these individuals in that case of Rwanda cannot do so?
All these are gaping question the UN has to answer and its Rwanda asking. Only and only if the UN makes the right decision at the right time, that Rwandans will have second thought to look up to the body and attach some credibility to it.