News / Africa

    US Seeking Lessons of 1994 Rwanda Genocide

    Seeking Lessons of 1994 Rwanda Genocidei
    X
    Kent Klein
    April 02, 2014 6:58 PM
    Two decades after hundreds of thousands of people were slaughtered in Rwanda's genocide, and Western powers were accused of standing idly by as is happened, experts say there are lessons to be learned on how to prevent such tragedies in the future. VOA's Kent Klein has more.
    VIDEO: Two decades after hundreds of thousands of people were slaughtered in Rwanda's genocide, and Western powers were accused of standing idly by as is happened, experts say there are lessons to be learned on how to prevent such tragedies in the future. VOA's Kent Klein has more.
    Kent Klein
    Two decades have passed since hundreds of thousands of people were killed in the Rwanda genocide, and Western powers were accused of standing by and allowing it to happen. Experts say there are lessons to be learned on how to prevent such tragedies in the future.

    The world was shocked when an estimated 800,000 Rwandans were massacred in about 100 days, starting April 7, 1994.
     
    Mike Nkuzumuwami stands by the rows of human skulls and bones that form a memorial to those who died in the redbrick church that was the scene of a massacre during the 1994 genocide, and which he helps to look after, in the village of Nyarubuye, eastern Rwanda, March 27, 2014.Mike Nkuzumuwami stands by the rows of human skulls and bones that form a memorial to those who died in the redbrick church that was the scene of a massacre during the 1994 genocide, and which he helps to look after, in the village of Nyarubuye, eastern Rwanda, March 27, 2014.
    x
    Mike Nkuzumuwami stands by the rows of human skulls and bones that form a memorial to those who died in the redbrick church that was the scene of a massacre during the 1994 genocide, and which he helps to look after, in the village of Nyarubuye, eastern Rwanda, March 27, 2014.
    Mike Nkuzumuwami stands by the rows of human skulls and bones that form a memorial to those who died in the redbrick church that was the scene of a massacre during the 1994 genocide, and which he helps to look after, in the village of Nyarubuye, eastern Rwanda, March 27, 2014.
    Members of the ethnic Hutu majority killed about 70 percent of the minority Tutsis living in Rwanda, and many moderate Hutus.

    U.S. President Bill Clinton was criticized at home and abroad for doing nothing to stop the slaughter.  Four years later, he visited Rwanda and apologized for his inaction.

    "We did not act quickly enough after the killing began.  All over the world, there were people like me sitting in offices day after day after day, who did not fully appreciate the depth and the speed with which you were being engulfed by this unimaginable terror," he said.

    Despite the vow of "never again," the catastrophe in Rwanda did not bring the end of widespread violence against civilians.

    Genocide in Sudan's Darfur region and sectarian violence in the Central African Republic are among the acts of mass brutality since then that have left millions dead or homeless.

    In the Syrian civil war, at least 150,000 people are believed to have been killed, and President Barack Obama has been accused of inaction.

    Amnesty International's Adotei Akwei said opposition from Russia in the United Nations Security Council is blocking White House efforts to stop the violence in Syria.

    "The international community has to end the crisis in Syria somehow, and the administration has been consistent in trying to do that, but it's not been able to actually achieve the results that we all want to see," Akwei said.

    Veteran U.S. diplomat Johnnie Carson, now a senior adviser at the U.S. Institute for Peace, said the Rwanda genocide taught the world it has to move quickly.

    "Act swiftly, and to muster the resources of the international community to condemn and engage as quickly as possible when we see an atrocity about to occur," stated Carson

    Ambassador Carson said the lessons of Rwanda and other massacres led Obama to establish an Atrocities Prevention Board, "...which is an inter-agency group that gets together once a month, under the direction of the National Security Council, to review situations around the world that may be likely to turn into atrocities or mass violence."

    Akwei said the board is a "major step forward," but efforts to prevent atrocities must start sooner.

    "It would be better and probably more economical to try to challenge intolerance and hate propaganda earlier on, before all of the actors are in place when things are actually beginning to threaten people," he said.

    Akwei said the best way to prevent genocide is to show that the world is watching and will not tolerate it.

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Ann Garrison from: Oakland, California, USA
    April 03, 2014 1:29 AM
    Rwandan and Western newspapers commonly report that as many as a million Rwandans, mostly Tutsis, were killed in the genocide; but the 1991 Rwandan census reported that fewer than 650,000 Tutsis lived in Rwanda at that time, and the Ibuka Tutsi survivors’ group claims that 300,000 Rwandan Tutsis survived. The Rwandan government has never disputed either figure, and if both are correct, then the majority of a million, or the 800,000 dead cited here must have been members of Rwanda’s majority Hutu population.
    http://sfbayview.com/2014/rwandas-ambassador-to-bring-legally-enforced-history-to-sonoma-state-university/

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora