The Rwandan Genocide was the mass slaughtering of members of the Tutsi tribe by members of the Hutu tribe in the African country. The Hutus felt that, because they made up a majority of the population, that the minority Tutsi group was no longer deserving of their essential Human Rights. In my experience, this event is not one that is emphasized in many history classes or textbooks, yet it provides an extremely important lesson. As seen in Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire, the events of these 100 days were extremely disturbing to many witnesses, who were unfortunately unable to help the Tutsis.
When we think about genocides, many of us immediately think of the Holocaust. While this may have been the only major genocide that the US got involved in, there have been many more that warranted an intervention by other countries. In this cartoon, the first image is meant to depict a Jewish person in an internment camp during the Second World War. The United Nations, and many of its major powers including the US, declared that something like the holocaust would never happen again. Yet genocides and other injustices are happening and the UN has not been acting on them. Thus, the image on the right depicts many of the groups of people throughout the world that have been murdered because of race, sex or religion—and without the interventions of other major world powers. Near the front, one of the tombstones reads “Tutsis, Rwanda”, signifying the events of the Rwandan genocide, an “again” despite all the post-holocaust “never agains”. The man hiding in the graveyard is soon to become another tomb, as thousands of Dafuri people have been killed in Sudan over the past decade. The violence in Sudan has yet to be stopped by any of the countries that had declared to never let something like this happen again.
Events such as the Rwandan Genocide are in violation of many of the rights declared as universal in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Most importantly and obviously, these acts are in violation of article 3, which states: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” Additionally, the declaration states that all humans are equals, and therefore should be seen as a person by the law and not tortured or subjected to illogical punishments. One could argue that nearly every human right outlined in the declaration was violated by the mass slaughterings of the groups depicted in the cartoon. Everyone should have been protecting these human rights—if they had been universally recognized these events never would have happened. However, some populations have refused to sign or recognize this declaration, in which case it should be the responsibility of those who have to help the people whose rights are being violated. This is not as easy as it may seem. Things like money and lack of resources get in the way, as well as fear that getting involved in other countries conflicts can create larger conflict. These issues are happening in real time in places like Darfur and Syria, and not enough is being done to stop them. We have a responsibility as fellow humans to use the full extent of our resources to help those that need protection. After all, we would hope someone would provide the same aide if such injustices were to break out in the United States.
“Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” UN News Center. UN, n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.