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The Role of the United Nations in Stopping Genocide

Binyenzi Schadrac, Rwandan Survivor

One thing that has disappointed me that I never understood, at least for the Rwandan situation that I know more than other genocides that have taken place, or in many places. One thing that really disappointed me is that, at the moment the Rwandan genocide was taking place, there was an international presence there: 2,500 men, UN peacekeeping men that were there. And people started killing each other and nothing was done to use that international force to intervene in any way.

I cannot understand. Some people will tell you that it was not their mission to do that, but I cannot understand what mission a person can have other than protecting people to be killed: innocent children, old people without any weapons, being massacred, literally, in mass killing. That disappointed me. I cannot understand. I can say that the international community has failed very much in the job of protecting the innocent, weak people.

Based on what happened in Rwanda and in some other countries like Kosovo, Bosnia, East Timor, I think that the United Nations is learning, is learning, is in the process of learning. At least if I can talk about my native country, Rwanda, I don't see a lot that has been done. Maybe, without getting into a question that may be beyond my understanding, politically speaking, I don't see any reason an international body would not protect even one person who is hunted down to be killed just because of how he was born, his size or his -- the shape of his mouth or his nose or the color of his eyes. I think that the international community doesn't know what to do. Maybe these tragedies have taught them good lessons for the future. That's what I can hope.

Binyenzi Schadrac
The Role of the United Nations in Stopping Genocide