Twenty years ago, on 11 January 1994, the Hon. Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Roméo Dallaire, then Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda, sent his infamous ‘genocide fax’ to UN Headquarters warning that Hutu extremists were stockpiling arms and preparing lists of Rwandan Tutsis to be exterminated. Between 7 April and 19 July 1994, after Dallaire’s warnings of impending atrocities went unheeded, over 800,000 Rwandans were killed during the genocide. The horrific events that transpired during those 100 days later served as the impetus for all UN Member States to commit in 2005 to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
The commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide is an important opportunity for the international community to honor the victims. In this spirit, the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect calls upon all UN Member States to take concrete steps during this period to demonstrate their commitment to the prevention of mass atrocity crimes and R2P.
States can do this by:
The Rwandan Genocide was a preventable tragedy. Conscientious reflection and determined action by all UN Member States during the 20th commemoration of the Rwandan Genocide will make it clear that the world will no longer tolerate genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
Dr. Simon Adams