It is hard to believe that a mere 23 years ago, 800,000 people were stripped of their life during the mass genocide in Rwanda. It is harder to accept that after our world’s history of war and genocide, no one stepped in to help. This image depicts a side-by-side of the United Nations actions then versus now.
In this image, you can see the discourse in the background of the cottage labeled ‘Rwanda.’ The cottage is clearly in flames and smoking, and people are fleeing from it in fear, pleading for help. Within hearing distance, the United Nations soldier is lounging in the shade of a tree, with clear resources to assist, and a beverage nearby to sip on upon his awakening from his nap. The cartoon then shows the United Nations yelling at a Rwandan soldier for help and assistance, and the aforementioned cottage on fire has transformed into a sustained, well-kept house. This cartoon details the inactivity of the United Nations when Rwanda was in despair, and the call on Rwanda for assistance after all had calmed down.
The preamble of the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ as written by the United Nations contains critical details that support the dis-synchrony between the articles from the document that were broken, and the actions of the United Nations. The first sentence of the preamble states the all of humankind deserves “freedom, justice, and peace in the world” (un.org). It discusses “freedom from fear,” “dignity and worth of the human person,” and “universal respect” before stating the rights that every human, regardless of race, nationality, religion, orientation, gender, etc., has(un.org).
This image directly shows the violation of 3, 5, and 7. Article 3 states, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person” (un.org). The 1994 portrayal shows that those of Rwanda do not have this right to life, freedom, or security, as they are being traumatized and killed. The same reasoning applies to the breaking of principle of Article 5, “[n]o one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment” (un.org). Lastly, Article 7 states that “All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration…” (un.org). Because there was a lack of protection supplied by the United Nations, this protection was not available to the hundreds of thousands of victims of the genocide.
Capable nations around the world should have stepped in to assist in stopping this genocide, yet no one made this move. The UN did not take charge to send help, regardless of the rights that they detailed in their universal declaration. People around the world are suffering from killings and attacks, the most media highlighted having been the Syrian attacks. One would like to hope that the way our world views these violations has shifted for the better, but I have to conclude that unfortunately, the principles and intentions of the world’s reactions seems to have stayed the same.
“International Reaction.” Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2017. <http://humanrights-rwandangenocide.weebly.com/international-reaction.html>.