Uganda’s State Minister for regional cooperation, Philemon Mateke, has called on the United Nations to draw lessons from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi to prevent crimes against humanity from being committed.
Mateke made the remarks while addressing hundreds of mourners during commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi by the Rwandan community and friends of Rwanda in Uganda over the weekend in Entebbe.
“As we reflect on the past 24 years, it is my hope that the international community will be reminded that complacency is too costly,” the Minister said.
“We should strive to make sure that the UN and international community make timely and robust actions to protect civilians and prevent mass atrocities. In this context, political commitment and sustained international support is vital.”
The ceremony was marked by songs from students, illustrating how the Genocide against the Tutsi was executed.
Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Uganda, Frank Mugambage, was joined at the occasion by several heads of diplomatic corps accredited to Uganda.
Mugambage lashed out at those that keep trivialising the Genocide against the Tutsi, some through publications.
“You find some people arguing as to whether it should be called the Genocide against the Tutsi. Genocide always targets a group of people. Genocide goes through phases. It can never be spontaneous,” he told the audience.
Frank Rusanganwa, vice chairperson of the Banyarwanda community in Uganda, underscored the need to keep remembering the Genocide victims.
He commended the Rwanda Patriotic Army (now Rwanda Defence Forces) for having stopped the Genocide at a time when the international community turned a deaf ear.
Meanwhile, the Rwandan community in Uganda will later this month lay a wreath at Kasensero Genocide Memorial in Rakai District.
Among other planned activities, there will be fundraising for the construction of the Ggolo memorial site in Mpigi District in June this year.
The Rwandan community and friends of Rwanda here have already raised close to 40 Ugandan million shillings (roughly Rwf10 million) towards the construction of the memorial site.
There are three memorial sites in Uganda, including Ggolo in Mpigi District, home to over 4,000 Genocide victims, while the others are Kasensero and Lambu in Rakai and Masaka districts, respectively.
In 1994, some victims were dumped into different rivers only to turn up on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda.