Rwanda- FFRP Coordinator proposes the Establishment of a Special Memorial to preserve the History of dehumanization of Women during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi
By Ange de la Victoire DUSABEMUNGU
On Thursday, 1st April 2021, during a Research for Policy Seminar around the theme “Dehumanization of Tutsi women: the prelude to their extermination (1990-1994) and its extension into the denial of the Genocide against the Tutsi “, a member of the Rwanda Parliament suggested that there should be a special memorial commemorating the atrocities perpetrated against the Tutsi women during the Preparation and Implementation of the Genocide against the Tutsi.
Hon Nyiraneza Speciose, Coordinator of Rwanda Women Parliamentarians Forum – Parliament of Rwanda said “Raping tutsi women was utilised as a Genocide weapon on women.”
She added that during the genocide against the Tutsi, raping women resulted in traumatized, grief-stricken women and that has led to childbirths which are now still cared by those women despite the circumstances they were born from.
“And again, there are children born as a result of rape who still live with its effects,” she said.
Hon Nyiraneza noted that there have been various cases including the abortion of pregnant women, whether they were pregnant Tutsi women who had Tutsi husbands or Hutu women whose husbands were Tutsi men, or other cases of causing damage to the human body as a result of torture or abuse.
She explains that there are women whose children and husbands were killed in their face. “Today we have a lot of widows in Mpinga Nzima village and others who don’t live there because the place is for those who are very old,” she said.
Hon Nyiraneza spoke of more than 300 women killed in Bambiro in Nyanza District, Southern Province of Rwanda where they were tortured and thrown into a pit, and those who killed them said that these women will curse us, and they immediately kill one man and threw him over the women bodies saying “Let us kill this Akabo (Subman” The man was also stripped of his humanity), and throw him over them so that the curse doesn’t reach us”, said killers
She said that today at Bambiro place there is a graveyard but no memorial.
“I had suggested, perhaps, that AEGIS Trust which has a mandate to conduct in-depth research on this dehumanization carried out during the implementation of the Genocide Plan,
“and we thought and wondered for a while, that when we commemorate the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, we do it in general, I say this because we are going to enter commemoration period,
“Every year the National Women Council in collaboration with Other National Institutions has set up a Women’s Remembrance Day,
“I don’t know who is in a good position to help, or if it is AEGIS that will help in advocacy, … there is a need for a special memorial like for instance like in Bambiro, Bugesera and there have been some very sad cases, Nyarubuye, there are sites all over the country where many women have been killed, …. I feel there should be a Special Memorial to preserve that history of dehumanization, especially for women that were killed during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.”
Returning back to the seminar, it was organized in the context of the month of women but also as Rwanda prepares to commemorate for the 27th time the Genocide against the Tutsi.
This year, 27 years after the genocide, we perceive a renaissance of genocide denial taking many forms and observed in diverse settings (academia, traditional and new media channels etc.).
Research and dissemination of the truth are more important than ever. The seminar explored the particular characteristics directed to women as the genocide ideology was being developed before, executed during and revived after the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994.
Since 2014, Aegis Trust actively contributed to increasing exchange of knowledge between researchers and research end-users. In a seminar setting, researchers have the opportunity to present their findings to large audiences with the aim to have research findings up-taken by policymakers and practitioners.
The concluded seminar heard the presentation made by Ms Liberata Gahongayire and Dr Patrick Rwagatare as discussant.