Rwandan NGO calls for a UN Parliamentary Assembly as "a means to prevent genocide"

Secretariat, 4. November 2014

Events in Kigali / 20th commemoration of the Rwandan genocide of 1994

On the occasion of the 20th commemoration of the genocide in Rwanda, a newly established Rwandan civil society organization, Citizen Development Network, CDN, has called for the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly as "a means to prevent genocide."

The organization's president, Christophe Hategekimana, stated at an event in Kigali that "Though steps have been

CDN's president Christophe Hategekimana
Image: CDN

made to learn from the lessons of the Rwandan Genocide, to combat impunity and to change the international mindset from a question of sovereignty to responsibility, a decisive way to ensure that the UN keeps its promise of Never Again is for the voices of the world’s people to be heard through the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. Citizens should not only have the right to be democratically represented in all their nations, but also globally, at the UN."

CDN was publicly launched on 26 October at an event held at the National University of Rwanda that was followed by a visit to the Genocide Memorial Site of Gisozi in Kigali and to households of genocide orphans. In addition, in support of the second Global Week of Action for a World Parliament that was celebrated internationally from 17 to 26 October, CDN's activists gathered in front of the National Parliament in Kigali and displayed letters calling for a "World Parliament Now!"

"As a voice representing the people at the UN instead of the government executives, members of a UN Parliamentary Assembly could serve an important role as watchdogs for early-warning signals," Mr. Hategekimana explained. "In the event that genocide does occur a UN Parliamentary Assembly could help to galvanize world public opinion and help to pressure the international community to honor its responsibility to protect. Had a World Parliament existed in 1994 it could have been the driving force to mobilize support for intervention in Rwanda."

Key former UN officials who witnessed the failure of the UN during the Rwandan Genocide such as former Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali and former UNAMIR commander Roméo Dallaire, have also supported the international appeal for a UN Parliamentary Assembly.

Top image: CDN activists gathering in front of the National Parliament, CDN