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U.S. Department of State
96/03/08: Situation in Rwanda (Amb. Inderfurth)
FOR RELEASE ON DELIVERY USUN PRESS RELEASE
CHECK TEXT AGAINST DELIVERY MARCH 8, 1996
Statement by Ambassador Karl F. Inderfurth, United
States Representative for Special Political Affairs,
on the Situation in Rwanda, in the Security Council,
in Explanation of Vote, March 8, 1996
Today the United Nations peacekeeping operation in
Rwanda draws to a close. Tomorrow the United Nations
begins a new era of relations with the Government of
Rwanda -- a relationship founded on mutual respect for
human rights and a mutual commitment to peace.
When UNAMIR was first created, it was to oversee a
peace agreement, the Arusha Accords. But the former
Rwandan government did not honor the Arusha Accords.
Instead, Rwanda spiraled downward into the worst
genocide in Africa.
Rwanda has not fully recovered from that genocide.
Indeed it will take years for that to happen,
especially for Rwanda's children. An article in
today's New York Times, by Barbara Crossette, is
instructive in this regard. It is entitled "U.N.
Assesses Psychic Scars Left on Rwandan Children by
Killings." The article reports on a survey conducted
by the United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, of
3,000 Rwandan children who witnessed violence up
close, more than a quarter of whom saw parents or
other family members killed, many of them beaten or
hacked to death with machetes. As the Times reports,
no aspect of the war left children untouched and
experts say that to heal the deep psychological
wounds, Rwanda's children will need some sense of
community and a taste of normal life. It is my
government's hope that, as we enter the post-UNAMIR
period, the international community and the United
Nations will be able to help contribute to the sense
of community and normalcy that is so desperately
needed by Rwanda's children.
Mr. President, despite formidable obstacles, the
Government of Rwanda has made great progress in
bringing peace and security to that country. UNAMIR
has made a significant contribution to that progress.
The international community must continue to help with
the hard tasks ahead. This resolution lays a solid
foundation for continuing cooperation between the
United Nations and Rwanda in a new form.
After UNAMIR departs, the United Nations will maintain
a political office in Rwanda headed by the Special
Representative of the Secretary-General. The Special
Representative will have the authority to coordinate
UN agencies that will be involved in reconstruction
and development activities, and will play an active
role to promote national reconciliation. We hope the
Special Representative will vigorously exercise his
authority to head the UN programme in Rwanda.
Mr. President, there cannot be long-lasting peace and
stability for Rwanda -- indeed the entire region --
unless the 1.7 million Rwandan refugees return to
Rwanda. The Special Representative should encourage
repatriation as one of his highest priorities, as he
coordinates the work of all UN agencies in Rwanda,
including the Office of the UN High Commissioner for
Refugees and the UN Development Programme.
Human rights monitors have played an important role in
maintaining international confidence in the protection
of human rights in Rwanda. It is a significant sign
of the Government of Rwanda's commitment to human
rights that it not only accepts human rights monitors
in Rwanda but it welcomes them, and has asked that
they stay. This decision is concrete evidence
supporting the Government's public statements that it
wants all Rwandans to return home.
Mr. President, Rwanda's needs are many. One of them
is for justice. We must ensure that sufficient
resources are available to the International Tribunal
for Rwanda, so it can accomplish its difficult task
with as much speed as justice permits. The Tribunal
will need additional funds to provide UN security
guards for its personnel. We welcome the agreement of
the Government of Rwanda to allow UNAMIR forces to
continue to provide this security during the period of
withdrawal. The thousands of prisoners in Rwandan
jails must also receive speedy trials.
We also note the important work of the Commission of
Inquiry to investigate reports of the sale or supply
of arms to former Rwandan government forces. The
Commission has been doing excellent work and is also
fulfilling an important deterrent function. But the
Commission has not had the benefit of full cooperation
from all Rwandan's neighbors. We call on all States
to offer the Commission their fullest support.
Mr. President, as the UNAMIR mandate expires and the
drawdown of personnel enters its final phase, we note
that differences remain between the Secretariat and
the Government of Rwanda concerning the disposition of
equipment and financing. We urge them both to resolve
these differences as soon as possible on a mutually
satisfactory basis, so that they will not interfere
with the work of the Secretary-General's Special
Representative and his political office, as the new
relationship of the UN and the Government of Rwanda
begins. This new relationship should get off on the
right foot for all concerned.
Today's resolution marks an important positive step in
the journey of the Rwandan people out of the abyss of
genocide. The international community is replacing
soldiers with teachers and trainers to help with the
new challenges. The new UN political office is a
symbol of both how far the Rwandan people have come
and our commitment to help them the rest of the way.
We look forward to a future when all the Rwandan
people live together in peace.
Finally, on behalf of the United States government, I
would like to pay tribute to all those UN personnel
who have served in UNAMIR, under difficult and at
times dangerous conditions, and especially the
leadership provided by the Secretary-General's Special
Representative, Mr. Shahryar Khan, and the gallantry
of the Force Commanders, two brave soldiers of Canada,
General Romeo Dallaire, and General Guy Tousignant.
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