The President of the Republic of Rwanda, H.E. Paul Kagame has called for the strengthening of multilateral institutions that act in the interest of all humanity.
Speaking at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, California on the topic ‘Beyond absolute terror: Post-genocide reconstruction in Rwanda,’ President Kagame said such institutions could achieve results that nations acting alone could not. “The case for creating strong and effective multilateral institutions stems from the fact that international public good cannot be produced entirely by the lone nation states,” he said.
President Kagame added, “where common threats like terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and genocide exist, shouldn’t it be true that a common opportunity exists for us to act together in the interest of all humanity?” He said that if the interests of humanity are sovereign, then the international community must decide the extent to which they deploy their capabilities to guarantee this sovereignty.
In the case of Rwanda, President Kagame described the Genocide as “absolute terror, committed against humanity by humanity,” which was a result of a 100-year betrayal of the people by the state, a failure in the colonial and post-colonial governments’ mandate to protect and defend its citizens.
He said that because of this betrayal, one million lives were lost, the country was in utter anarchy and ruin, over 3 million people had sought refuge in neighbouring countries, and many more were internally displaced, countless numbers were orphaned or widowed, thousands were maimed, and a cloud of insecurity loomed over the country as the former soldiers and the militia re-organised themselves intent on continuing their genocidal campaign.
Kagame added that law and order had completely broken down, law enforcement agencies and judicial institutions had collapsed as had social and economic infrastructure.
Kagame said that the government of national unity quickly realised that its mission was to restore hope in the people and enable them to be able to shape their destiny once again. “Despite these immense challenges, we have restored peace and brought stability to Rwanda through sheer hard work and determination….we have repatriated and resettled over three and a half million refugees, we have integrated into our armed forces over twenty thousand officers and men of the former army…we have restored public trust in the legal system…we have instituted reforms to guarantee independence of the judiciary…law enforcement agencies and judicial institutions are now by and large evolving to become more and more credible and effective…and the long established culture of impunity, which encouraged past human rights abuses has at last been broken,” he said.
Transparency and accountability have also been placed at the cornerstone of the government’s agenda, and a policy of decentralisation is being implemented and geared towards putting the people at the centre of decision making in the development process, Kagame said. On the economy, Kagame said inflation had been reduced from 65% after genocide to below 5% today. There had been over 6% GDP growth in the last three years, which is expected to rise to 9% this year.
President Kagame concluded his remarks by saying that a disorderly world in which terror, human death, and fear prevail is a dangerous world to live in. “Our view is that a world where the majority live on less that 1 dollar per day, and another small number is very rich, is very unsafe. Such a world is dangerously prone to manipulation by those whose interest in violence, terror and genocide outweighs humanity’s interests,” he said adding that the case of Rwanda shows mankind’s will to prevail over evil as demonstrated before human history.
The event was attended by hundreds of people including diplomats, academicians, and NGO leaders.