Kagame slams colonial powers for seeds of genocide

Kigali- Rwanda (PANA) -- Rwandan President Paul Kagame returned home Sunday afternoon from the World Conference against Racism in Durban, in South Africa, where he called on African leaders to empower their people and African institutions as an insurance against discrimination and intolerance.
In a statement from the president's office after his arrival Sunday, Kagame said: "We should devise means of empowering Africans and African institutions as an insurance and lasting deterrence against racism, crude ethnicism and all forms of exclusion".
He said that leaders, who use racism and intolerance to monopolise power by alienating sections of society, should be held accountable for their actions.
"Racism is all too often the tool of those who seek to monopolise power.
Bringing those leaders to account for their actions must constitute a key aspect of the global fight against racism and intolerance", Kagame said.
Focussing on intolerance and discrimination in Rwanda, he said that the racial doctrine, which underpinned the genocide, is directly traceable to the ideas which informed the colonial administration of Rwanda, a former Belgian colony.
"This was no arbitrary example of divide and rule politics, but part of the effort to maintain the façade that European colonialism in Africa was morally tenable," he said.
He added that despite the legacy of colonialism, Rwandans still bore the main responsibility for the genocide.
"Colonialism does not excuse or diminish the responsibility of the leadership that oversaw the genocide.
It was their determination to guard their privileges and narrow interests that was the crucial factor in sharpening divisions and manipulating a vulnerable community," he explained.
"Some of the perpetrators of the genocide are still at large and continue to spread the ideology in the Great Lakes region," Kagame said.
He said that it was unfortunate that the myths and dangerously negative propaganda, which led to the 1994 genocide, are still being exploited by extremists.
"The racial argument has been particularly useful for the remnants of the ex-Rwandan Armed Forces and the Interahamwe militia who use the Kivu region of the DRC as a base from which to wage war on Rwanda," Kagame said.
The president said that the establishment of UN tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda are good signs that the perpetrators of discrimination, crimes against humanity and genocide can no longer escape justice.
"The fact that the UN International Tribunals are delivering convictions for acts of genocide simultaneously for crimes committed in Rwanda and in the Balkans is a sobering reminder of how small our world is," he added.
"The recent conviction in Belgium of four Rwandan genocide criminals demonstrates what can be achieved when nations commit themselves to fulfilling their international obligations," Kagame said.

02 september 2001 11:33:00

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