|Rwanda in its Regional Context: Human Rights, Reconciliation and Rehabilitation (North South Centre)|
TO PRESIDENT PASTEUR BIZIMUNGU HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE MESSAGE DELIVERED ON BEHALF OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE BY MR PAUL KAWANGA SSEMOGERERE
Second Deputy Prime Minister of Uganda and Minister of Foreign Affairs
The Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uganda, the Honourable Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere, was requested to move a vote of thanks on behalf of the participants of the International Conference to His Excellency President Pasteur Bizimungu of Rwanda for his speech. In his statement, he expressed his sincere thanks to the President for his candid and succinct presentation, as well as his clear analysis of the country's problems.
Mr Ssemogerere recalled that, in his presentation, President Bizimungu had informed the Conference that judgements of Rwandan society were, and continued to be, based on erroneous premises. The wrongs committed by individuals had very often been attributed to an entire community.
This perception had led the Rwandan tragedy to be viewed from an inaccurate historical angle, where the wrongs of individuals were attributed and judged according to Hutu/Tutsi ethnic bases. President Bizimungu had dwelt at length on a clear explanation of the basis of political behaviour in Rwandan society and on how this should be perceived if the right solutions to the country's problems were to be found. The President had emphasised that an incorrect perception of the Rwandan problem had been responsible for the Rwandan tragedy.
On the question of solutions, Mr Ssemogerere recollected President Bizimungu's reassurance to the Conference of his government's commitment to the spirit of reconciliation in Rwanda. The basis of the reconciliation had to be on the respect for the human rights of the individual, irrespective of ethnicity or any other prejudices. President Bizimungu had also emphasised that his government would observe and respect human rights and he had seized the opportunity to welcome support from the international community to enable his government to live up to this commitment.
President Bizimungu had thanked the international community for the logistical and technical support received so far, geared to assist him in establishing a system of good governance in his country.
As for the future, the speaker echoed President Bizimungu's warning of the dangers of silence to what was occurring in the refugee camps outside Rwanda and agreed that this constituted a recipe for further turmoil in the region. The President had urged the international community to rise up and speak out against what was happening in these camps.
Finally, Mr Ssemogerere observed that the President's speech had highlighted the essence of the problems in Rwanda. It had, therefore, accorded the participants and the international community with a chance to make a contribution to building a brighter future for Rwanda, Africa and humanity as a whole.