Genocide In Rwanda: Extreme Denial Of Human Rights

1643 words - 7 pages

Former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali once said, "We were not realizing that with just a machete, you can do a genocide." To be candid, nobody anticipated the Rwandan Genocide that occurred in 1994. The genocide in Rwanda was an infamous blood-red blur in modern history where almost a million innocent people were murdered in cold blood. Members of the Tutsi tribe were systematically hacked or beaten to death by members of the Interahamwe, a militia made up of Hutu tribe members. In just 100 days, from April 6, 1994 to mid-July, 20% of Rwanda's population was killed; about 10,000 people a day. Bodies literally were strewn over city streets. Genocide obviously violates almost all articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; however, the article I find most important is Article 3 - the right to life, liberty, and personal security. In just 100 days, one million people were denied the most basic privilege granted to every human – the right to live, simply because they were born to the wrong tribe.
It is impossible to even imagine the scale of hate, destruction, and massacre that occurred in Rwanda during those 100 days. Linda Melvern, on the International Development Research Centere website, describes in an article the Gikondo Massacre, one of the bloodiest mass-killings during the genocide. On the third day of the turmoil, about 500 Tutsi, many of them children, gathered at a church in the middle of Kigali, having stepped over the bodies of their neighbors to get there. They pleaded the clergy for protection. The priest did his best, but presidential guard soldiers arrived and accused the church of harboring evil. He then left, telling soldiers not to waste bullets; the Interahamwe, he said, would arrive with machetes soon. Soon enough, around 100 members of the militia descended on the church. The Tutsi tried to hide the children under the pews, even as their bodies were being hacked to pieces. Some were beaten to death. After two hours, the militia left; by that time, almost no one was left alive. Around twelve people, including some children, managed to hide and avoided the massacre; the priest hid them the chapel. When the Interahamwe found out that they hadn’t killed the entire parish, they doused the building with gasoline and lit it on fire. This time, no one survived. After the massacre, UN officials arrived at the church. They witnessed a pile of human remains, horribly mutilated and bloody, littering the floor. The priest spoke to them, and they learned the whole gruesome story. Shockingly, the UN did nothing. Even after seeing the bloodshed firsthand, they declined to act and did not lift a finger to try and stop the genocide. Neither did anyone else in the international community. Perhaps this is just as shocking as the genocide itself: people looked on while others were being murdered in broad daylight, when so much could have been done. Samantha Power, as cited in Genocide: Modern Crimes Against Humanity,...

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