Today 15th October 2020, a delegation of 7 students from the School for International Training (SIT) Study Abroad Program, together with their academic staff visited the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) to learn about the post Genocide peacebuilding process in Rwanda.
Dr. Jean-Damascène Gasanabo, the Director General of the Research and Documentation Centre on Genocide at CNLG took them through a presentation entitled: “Post-Genocide Restoration and Peacebuilding” and explained the mission of CNLG in depth as well as Rwanda’s efforts in rebuilding peace and reconciliation while preserving the memory of Genocide against the Tutsi victims among others.
After the presentation, students were happy to gain more insights about rebuilding of Rwandan society after the genocide, the Gacaca process, the status of Genocide denial, etc. Furthermore, they learned more about the importance of education to new generations as part of prevention of future atrocities either in Rwanda or abroad.
They were also able to inquire more about different issues including the collaboration of CNLG with other Non-Government Organisations whose mandates fall under genocide prevention. On this, Dr. Gasanabo informed them that in the aftermath of Genocide against the Tutsi, the Government only could not respond to all requirements as the country was devastated and unable to abide by all suggestions. Because of this, the intervention of NGOs, faith-based organizations, civil society, and the youth, was crucial, as they worked together toward achieving a common goal.
Additionally, the delegation discussed how Rwanda has recovered in the wake of the genocide including post-genocide mechanisms of justice, reconciliation and remembrance. Dr. Gasanabo reminded them that most of Genocide survivors have forgiven the perpetrators but cannot forget what happened as it might lead to another genocide. He emphasised the tactics of educating the new generation about what happened (The Genocide against the Tutsi) and how Rwanda as a country is giving the same opportunities to Rwandans without considering whether they are survivors or not.
The delegation of students inquired about the potential impact of physical displayed body parts, clothes, … in some of the memorial sites to the survivors, Dr. Gasanabo explained the entire process from exhumation of genocide victims across the country, how survivors from the nearest area are called to check if they can recognise their relatives by clothes, shoes, necklaces,… and how some of the bodies get displayed in coffins after proper cleaning for the purpose of education to the young and future generations. Hence, survivors are engaged in the process and consider it as part of healing process especially once they can recognise their relatives.
Concerning possible gaps between the efforts of the Government of Rwanda and the international community about extraditions of genocide perpetrators, the concerned institutions (judicial organs) carry out their responsibilities and the Government through the Ministry of Foreign affairs plays the political role and follow up with countries sheltering perpetrators.
The visit was concluded with a word of appreciation from SIT academic staff for the opportunity to learn more about the Genocide against the Tutsi and applauded Rwanda’s leadership efforts in rebuilding the country in all corners.