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News > Rwanda

Rwanda: Minister for Unity at National Dialogue Council

  • Rwandan Minister of National Unity and Civic Engagement Jean-Damascene Bizimana. Jan. 25, 2024.

    Rwandan Minister of National Unity and Civic Engagement Jean-Damascene Bizimana. Jan. 25, 2024. | Photo: X/@umucyo_fm

Published 25 January 2024 (10 hours 47 minutes ago)
Opinion

In the Gacaca system, communities at the local level elected judges to hear the trials of genocide suspects.
 

On Wednesday, Rwandan Minister of National Unity and Civic Engagement Jean-Damascene Bizimana urged the country's youth to actively preserve Rwanda's unity and reconciliation, emphasizing the need to counteract divisionism.

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Speaking during the 19th National Dialogue Council, "Umushyikirano," in the capital Kigali, Bizimana said that safeguarding Rwanda's achievements required an understanding of its journey and a commitment to unity.

"Fighting against divisionism does not necessitate historical expertise from the youth but an understanding of Rwanda's journey and a commitment to preserving its achievements," he said.

He stressed that after the 1994 genocide, the government has been focusing on rebuilding the nation through principles of unity, justice and stability, highlighting the success of initiatives like the Gacaca courts, which processed 1.9 million cases in a decade at a significantly lower cost than international alternatives.

The tweet reads, "In Rwanda, Kigali, President Paul Kagame on Tuesday delivered a long speech at the annual national dialogue, a speech that sounded like a warning. In one of the coldest diplomatic climates in the Great Lakes region, the head of state reaffirmed his commitment to his country's security."

In the Gacaca system, communities at the local level elected judges to hear the trials of genocide suspects. The courts gave lower sentences if the person was repentant and sought reconciliation with the community.

The impact of Gacaca on unity and reconciliation was evident, with a 2010 study revealing that 83 percent of those admitting guilt in the genocide apologized and distanced themselves from its ideology. Additionally, 85 percent of survivors demonstrated courage by forgiving and coexisting with perpetrators.

Bizimana presented statistics showing a substantial increase in unity and reconciliation rates, reaching 94.7 percent in 2020.

He underscored the vital role of youth in preserving Rwanda's progress, urging them to counter any threats to unity. The minister outlined strategies, including enhanced security, dispute resolution programs, and citizen involvement in development.

Acknowledging challenges, he encouraged the youth to be proactive in building on progress and resisting division.

"Umushyikirano" is an annual event chaired by the Rwandan president, providing a platform for nationwide engagement on Rwanda's affairs. The two-day dialogue includes members of the cabinet, parliament the diplomatic community, and others.

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