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Current Affairs

France seeks forgiveness from Rwanda over genocide

Date: 31 May 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

President Macron of France has acknowledged the responsibility of his country in the Rwandan genocide that took place in 1994.

 

Background

The statements by the president only acknowledged the role but he stopped within asking public apology.

 

Details

  • The French president was attending a function in the Kigali Genocide Memorial, where 2.5 lakh victims are recorded.

  • The acknowledgement by Macron is seen as a way to mend its ties with its former colonies and increase its sphere of influence in Africa.

  • There are still many people who still view France with suspicion due to the atrocities committed during its colonial era.

  • The president has promised to bring the culprits of the genocide to justice. He said it was not possible to give excuses about its role.

 

Rwandan genocide

  • The Rwandan genocide was a result of long standing feud between minority Tutsi people and majority Hutus.

  • Tutsi has controlled power since the colonial era and were being disliked by the majority. Over 8 lakh people were killed over a course of 80 days, which was about 20 percent of the population.

  • The Hutu used Rwanda radio to broadcast propaganda and indulge in systematic targeting of Tutsi.  The regime encouraged sexual crimes as a means of warfare.

  • The conflict ended after Paul Kagame led Rwanda Patriotic Front assumed power. He has been credited for bringing stability to the country.

 

Role of France

  • The French regime during the time was acting as a staunch ally of Hutu regime that perpetrated the killings.

  • French forces led a UN backed operation Torquise to stop the conflict but were accused of sheltering some of the Hutu accused.

 

Post-genocide

  • Rwanda broke away from France immediately after the genocide. It joined the Commonwealth of Nations and got closer to US, China and middle-east.

  • The refusal to give an outright apology is being seen as an effort by France to pacify conservative back home, whose support is needed for the president for his re-election campaign.