Humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina, President and Founder of the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation (HRRF), wrote to the United Nations Security Council in the hope that they will take special note of Rwanda’s actions in support of the M23 rebels. He wrote, “I am asking you to consider whether this is appropriate behavior for an incoming Security Council member. I hope that you will re-consider the selection of Rwanda to this critical post.”
While it is a great blessing that Rwanda is able to take up such an important role on the most important international governing body, it is troublesome that they will be able to have a say in matters that involve decisions concerning their very own actions in the region.
My name is Paul Rusesabagina, and you might be familiar with my story from the film Hotel Rwanda (2004) or my autobiography, An Ordinary Man. Both tell the story of my experiences during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. More than 800,000 people were brutally slaughtered during this terrifying time, and I did everything I could to help save the lives of 1,268 people who took refuge at the Milles Collines Hotel. During those dark days of 1994 Genocide, I tried every means I could to get the international community to pay attention to what was happening and to ask for their help.
I am now asking for help from the international community once again, but now it is for the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The United Nations and the Security Council itself have recently called for all outside support to the Congolese rebels to be stopped.
Despite undeniable evidence that his government is assisting these rebels, Rwandan President Paul Kagame continues to deny involvement and responsibility.
Rwanda and President Kagame have recently been the focus of long overdue media attention regarding their support of the M23 rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This, of course, is only the most recent of many rebel groups supported by Rwanda since the conflict began. According to a leaked UN report and a report by a United Nations Group of Experts, Rwanda has been fueling the conflict in DRC and sending soldiers and supplies to the rebels. While Rwandan officials repeatedly deny these allegations, there is overwhelming evidence against their claims of innocence. Rwanda has a long history of provoking conflict in the DRC in order to assist in their exploitation of the country’s rich mineral resources and the profits it reaps.
I ask you to keep this in mind when dealing with members of Kagame’s cabinet if Rwanda takes it’s place in the Security Council. Please remember that the government of Rwanda’s methods of progress and political influence, which allows them to sit on the Security Council, have created gross violence, violations of human rights and loss of life throughout the Great Lakes region of Africa.
During the dark days in 1994, I tried by every means possible to get the international community to pay attention to what was happening and to ask for their help. I am now asking the same of you. I ask that you do not let Kagame’s dictatorial regime, with their newfound influence in the United Nations, hold power over important decisions regarding the safety and future of millions in my homeland, in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, and in the world.”
President and Founder
Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation