The National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC) will host an international conference in Kigali that will bring together experts from all over the world to discuss the impact and challenges faced by reconciliation strategies.
The three day conference slated for 12 June was organized in partnership with the Guerrand-Hermes Foundation for Peace and the Mizero Foundation.
Addressing a press conference this week, Jean Baptiste Habyalimana, the Executive Secretary of NURC, said the conference is aimed at discussing the strong historical identities that made the genocide possible and how trauma can be completely healed.
“Efforts to heal emotional wounds caused by the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi have really been strong and have had a very positive impact in the process of reconciliation. But every time, new cases come up, even amongst young people who were born after 1994,” Habyalimana said.
“The major barrier to constructive human relations in Rwanda is that the recovery from genocide is a long and difficult process and that the psychological damages are very deep. For this reason, we want to fully understand, identify and help Rwandans heal these wounds which continue to hurt, especially during the commemoration periods.”
Habyalimana added that experts will assess psychological therapies which have helped build compassion, acceptance and forgiveness and develop initiative to make them broader to achieve greater impact.
“Although victims of the genocide and perpetrators peacefully live in the same communities, some victims are still very traumatized whenever they remember the terrible acts of torture they faced, which has affected their social and economic livelihoods. Therefore, ideas will be brainstormed on how these people can be reached, counselled and offered assistance for complete healing;.”
Richard Kananga, the Director of Peace Building and Conflict Management at NURC, said that despite efforts by the government and grassroots organizations, there was continuous need for deeper healing.
“With regards to profound psychological effects of the genocide, as well as its underlying causes and we can never say that our job is done, but rather, always develop and update strategies to combat genocide ideologies and also protect survivors against traumatic memories,” Kananga said.
Keynote speakers at the conference will include Bishop John Rucyahana, the president of NURC, Aloisea Inyumba, Minister of Gender and Family Promotion as well as local and international scholars.
The event is expected to be opened by the Prime Minister, Pierre Habumuremyi.