News / Africa

Rusesabagina Welcomes Congo Report, Warns of Another Genocide in Rwanda

Rwandan peace activist Paul Rusesabagina (2008 file photo)
Rwandan peace activist Paul Rusesabagina (2008 file photo)
Michael Onyiego

Rwandan peace activist Paul Rusesabagina has welcomed the release of a controversial report detailing crimes against humanity committed by Rwanda in Congo.  

On October 1, the United Nations released a highly anticipated and highly controversial report that suggested the Rwandan army may have committed genocide in eastern Congo, following the Rwanda genocide in 1994.  Initially leaked in late August, the report's findings set off a diplomatic storm.

The report details major crimes including mass rape, the killing of civilians and other crimes against humanity committed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1993 until 2003.  The 550-page document describes majority Tutsi forces, under the command of now Rwanda President Paul Kagame, committing reprisal attacks on Hutu civilians as they pursued Hutu forces into the Congo after ending the genocide in Rwanda.

A Hutu who sheltered more than 1,200 Tutsi during the genocide, Paul Rusesabagina, says the report revealed unspoken truths about the region's history.

"At long last, for the first time, the United Nations have not yet abandoned Rwanda and my fellow Rwandans," said Paul Rusesabagina. "Because, at least now we can see that both sides committed atrocities.  The only way to reconcile a nation is to bring everybody around the table.  And then around the table, give an opportunity to each and everyone to talk, to bring the truth.  Then through the truth, equal justice, equal rights and then reconciliation and a lasting peace."

Rusesabagina, who is the subject of the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda, says the long history of conflict in the Congo is due in large part to conflict minerals.  The Democratic Republic of the Congo is rich in minerals such as coltan, cobalt and gold, all of which are essential in many of today's electronics.  

Groups such as the Washington-based Enough Project say the control of mines that produce such metals has long fueled instability in the region.

A U.N. Group of Experts report in 2008 found evidence that Rwanda had collaborated with armed groups controlling those mines.  Rusesabagina said Rwanda's exports of conflict minerals must be monitored and controlled to prevent further violence.

"We do not produce any single pound of those metals," he said. "So we need now to get the international community as a whole to get involved so that these minerals are extracted - but extracted in a fair way and reasonable way.  Our main objective is not to prevent multinationals from getting minerals.  So why don't they buy these minerals from the right people, from the people of the Congo."

Rusesabagina is a well-known critic of President Paul Kagame, and has accused him of ruling the country against the people's wishes.  

Rusesabagina calls the Kagame government a clique of Tutsi elite.  He says the simmering ethnic tensions that triggered the 1994 genocide have returned to present day Rwanda, and warns the country is heading down the same path.

"In Rwanda it was a justice of the winner," said Rusesabagina. "Rwanda has become a dictatorship.  The winner had silenced everybody.  So Rwanda is more or less like a dormant volcano, which can erupt any time.  If the international community is not involved, definitely another genocide is likely to happen.  We are heading to another disaster."

Rusesabagina says dialogue between Hutu and Tutsis in Rwanda is necessary to avoid such a future.  He says "no one is 100-percent innocent" and advocates an airing of the country's terrible history in order to move forward.  But Rusesabagina is also calling for President Kagame to be brought to account for his role in those brutal events, before that process begins.   

You May Like

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs