Travel Log 7 “Global Responsibility” Part 1 by Chris Wilner, London, England

Genocide

In 1994 from the months of April to July, the ethnic majority Hutu of eastern-central Africa murdered around 800,000 people, mostly the Tutsi minority, in Rwanda. In the early 1990’s Rwanda had a very high agricultural economy and one of the highest population densities in Africa, around 85% of the population was made up of Hutu and the rest of Tutsi. Rwanda came under the League of Nations mandate of Belgium after World War I and the Belgium favored the favored the Tutsi minority over the Hutu, which created tension and the few oppressed the many. As time went on tension grew until a plane was shot down on April 6, 1994, carrying Habyarimana and Burundi’s president Cyprien Ntaryamira. As a result of the fighting in Rwanda, the United Nation voted to withdraw most of a peacekeeping mission in April, but as word of the genocide spread the UN dispatched more than 5,000 troops in mid-may. By the time all of the forced had arrived in full, the genocide had been over for months.

This cartoon perfectly depicts the tragedy that happened in Rwanda, people in other parts of the world knew what was going on in that area of Africa, but they did nothing to assist until it was too late. The cartoon shows a Rwanda native either dead or suffering from what has happened and the people are far off in the distance acknowledging that they see the person on the ground, but they are scared to move any closer, afraid that they might be affected by such turmoil. The name of the cartoon is titled “She’s Waving Goodbye…” all aid that was present in Rwanda was taken away at a point where the people of the nation needed it most. This represents what the Hutu had done to the Tutsi; they had no food or water and were reduced to nothing but skin and bones. The people in the background were the nations that sat there and watched as everything and did nothing until it was too late.

The human rights violation that I believe to be depicted in this cartoon is that of Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; said article states that “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” The person on the ground is being subject to tortures that no one should ever go through, they are being deprived of food and water and the people in the background are knowingly letting this happen because they are afraid to intervene. The United Nations should have been protecting the rights of the people of Rwanda, what got in the way was fear. People were afraid of the war that was erupting. The nations that had inserted themselves in the country of Rwanda were more concerned with keeping their soldiers safe instead of protecting an entire country.

A more recent example of this same human rights violation would be “In 2008, US authorities continued to hold 270 prisoners in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, without charge or trial, subjecting them to “water-boarding,” torture that simulates drowning. Former-President George W. Bush authorized the CIA to continue secret detention and interrogation, despite its violation of international law.” (humanrights.com) There are violations in human rights everywhere every single day; the only difference is that it is not broadcast like it was for the Rwanda genocide. These violations happen in secret now so people don’t know that they are actually being committed, that is the only difference that I see today

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