Travel Log 7: “Wise for the World” Part one. Nicoline Lovisa Tegnell. Barcelona, Spain.

There were so many human rights editorial cartoon depicting the 1994 Rwandan genocide that it became difficult to pick just one to send a powerful enough message regarding

Rwandan genocide political cartoon. Taken from

Rwandan genocide political cartoon. Taken from

what happened in Rwanda. The cartoon I chose shows a man standing in front of a crowd saying “After going through this report prepared by our panel of experts, we’ve decided to suspend all aid to Rwanda…” (found on The panel of experts in the crowd consists of a money, a clown, Pinocchio, and another figure. The Rwandan genocide, as I learned from watching the movie Shake Hands with the Devil, was a period of about 100 days when hundreds of thousands of Rwandans were killed because of conflicts between the Tutsis and Hutus. A Canadian general proposed to send troops to aid the Rwandan struggles, but none ever came and the killing only worsened in Rwanda. What this cartoon is trying to depict is that the Rwandans were going through a crisis and needed help, but people who made dumb decisions –  the reason why the panel of experts is a clown, monkey, and Pinocchio, were allowed to control the situation and let so many people die rather than stepping in and trying to help them. The cartoon is showing how poorly of a decision was made by making this panel of experts such ridiculous figures.

The human rights violation that is being portrayed in this cartoon comes from Article 5. It says, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, However, in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, so many people were tortured and treated so inhumanely. These rights of the Rwandan people should have been protected by all those who signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which are all the members of the United Nations. However, the UN did not choose to protect Rwanda from these horrors because they feel they did not have the funds for it, nor did they have anything to gain from it. People needing their help was not enough incentive for them.

More recent and similar human rights violations are currently occurring in Syria. Although the UN has condemned the violence in Syria, they are struggling to come to a decision on what action to take. Many European countries are helping by taking in refugees, but there is still so much violence occurring in Syria. I think that in some cases, global treatment of these actions has changed, because the more time passes, the more unaccepting people are toward violence. However, in many cases, global treatment of these actions has remained the same, as history seems to be somewhat repeating itself in Syria. Even though the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is supposed to protect people against these horrors, they are still occurring today because words may be written but actions are not being taken and without action words on a piece of paper can mean absolutely nothing.


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