Term Paper: United Nations Could Have Done to Prevent

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¶ … United Nations could have done to prevent the genocide in Rwanda. Assess this view

The Rwanda genocide, unprecedented in magnitude since the Second World War, happened in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. The deliberate killings of the minority ethnic group Tutsis was unleashed with such viciousness that even its perpetrators could not gauge its gigantic dimension. With a span of 100 days about more than 8, 00,000 Rwandans lost their lives. The Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi were killed in two surface-to-air missiles which opened the floodgates for the brutal killings of Tutsis and Hutu moderates in Kigali. Apart from that, 10 Belgian paratroopers, part of the group of the UN force, were defused and murdered by the Rwandan government troops as they looked forward to safeguard the Rwandan Prime Minister who was killed. In the next three months that followed, the genocide spread over the nation as countless Tutsis and the political detractors faced carnage at the hands of Hutu controlled militias, the Interahamwe as also the gendarmerie, the Presidential guard included. (Dorn; Matloff; Matthews, 2000, p. 37)

The international community were shocked while the UN did precious little as the situation went beyond its control. Facts demonstrate that a reinforced intelligence capacity within the UN could have uncovered the unholy nexus for this carnage. Moreover, if the UN were prudent enough to implement preventive diplomacy or afterwards, preventive positioning of armies, it might have been capable of preventing a lot of mindless murders that followed. Gathering of intelligence data especially sensitive areas could have given a distinct and enough inkling regarding the impending genocide prior to several months. Information like illegal influx of arms, insider information on the plots about genocide, the training activities of the Interahamwe, the handiwork and standing of the plotters themselves and a venerable pattern of human rights violation that had ethic overtones. Regrettably, the UN failed to evaluate or synthesize these vital pieces of proof nor did it acted in a proactive manner to look forward for additional information which could have substantiated and deepened the present information. (Dorn; Matloff; Matthews, 2000, p. 41)

The Carlson Report examined the letdown of UN in implementing the 1993 Arusha accords and its abject failure in averting state-organized genocide in Rwanda during 1994. The greatest regret is that it all happened with the complete knowledge of the UN peacekeepers. It took the UN in excess of five years to complete this vital move of self-criticism. Lasting for period of 6 months, the 3-member team inquired into the worst ever UN failure in a peacekeeping operations. Quite several extremely destructive types of interaction between the states and national groups have not yet been subject to organized investigation and for which the international community is yet to develop any regular policy. This was proven with overwhelming clarity in the instance of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. (Scherrer, 2001, p. 375)

Why there was no control

The important lesson we learn from history is that 'decolonization is always a violent phenomenon' as stated by Frantz Fanon. The logic behind it is that decolonization is the sudden replacement of one type of system with another and this replacement in Rwanda and Burundi, are violent and still incomplete. The problem could have been anticipated before hand. The Hamitic Hypothesis as far as Rwanda and Burundi are concerned predictably provides for large scale uprising and violence that is a consequence of decolonization. The problem stems from the process of lingering colonialism and sudden vacuum that is generated at the pull out. The victimization occurs within the freed population with the colonizers having minimal or no role. The racial segregation that happens after liberation could have been foreseen by the colonial masters and they could have taken steps to prevent a large scale violence and segregation. The apparent unity between the groups break the moment the power over them is lifted and the spirit of the clans or the feeling of 'difference' was bound to surface. (Taylor, 1999, p. 55)

We can also point out that the Indian struggle fro freedom was in unity. The Hindu- Muslim Clashes that rocked the region and caused the split could have also been foreseen. The lessons from history are largely forgotten. Could the UN presence and a middle power avoid the blood shed and brought in normalcy? That is a question that is to be answered and if the withdrawal of the colonizer is to be replaced by the authority of the UN, then is not the UN merely taking on the mantle of the colonizer? What will happen when the UN pulls out after things appear calm? The same situation will again arise and we see that there cannot be any specific formula for quelling the differences unless it takes a long time and adjustments within the ethnic groups. Today we can agree that there are many diverse groups as there are humans. There are no single set of civilization attributes that are in common for all mankind. Individualism comes to play where freedom is allowed and this necessitates multiple approaches to the issues of analysis and anthropologists agree that there are more deep factors than that can be conventionally predicted. A culture as it gets to be defined, can be "the sum total of individuals choices. (Taylor, 1999, p. 99)

This diversity always will pit one ethnic set of people against the other and the analysis of history was bound to reveal that this type of strife is bound to surface. There was no actual help for it and the Carlson Report blaming the UN of the "worst ever UN failure in a peacekeeping operations." The question we wish to ask here is if the UN could have checked the genocide considering that the clashes between the groups will continue until the groups themselves stabilize and come to an order with some internal mechanism. Primarily the genocide in Rwanda that was witnessed in the 1994 has a base that extends far into history and the root causes of the genocidal instinct has to be analyzed first and the shortcomings that the UN forces had in the situation also ought to be seen in an impartial light. In the Rwandan genocide, a greater majority of a population was mobilized by the state to become the willing executioners of a minority. (Scherrer, 2001, p. 375)

Genesis of genocide

The history of all places is replete with this phenomenon. In the later twenty first century we have been as a global community paying more attention to the process of inter-rivalry between the ethnic communities and the ways to deal with them. Positive approaches have evolved by common consensus and these are often taken up in international forums. Douglas W. Simon says that the "international community's willingness and ability to deal with genocide are characterized by a depressing tone of frustration, cynicism, and pessimism. The primary reason for these dismal assessments is to be found in the power and persistence of the realist paradigm in international affairs." (Riemer, 2000, p. 41)

The concern of individual nations about power, and their own economic needs coupled with the need protection and the respect for sovereignty, with motives of self-interest has made nations which can help turn a blind eye to the affairs of the lesser endowed nations. This coupled with the common feeling of inadequacy with regard to an international agency or authority and the willingness to bend or disregard the international law wherever it suits the big powers have all made a mockery of the organizations and international law, which has caused the deterioration of the value of human rights and consequently leads to the type of inter-conflicts which is not amenable t6 the control of any agency. (Riemer, 2000, p. 41)

The Rwanda genocide, in Kigali, aimed at wiping out the minority ethnic group Tutsis consisted of a hundred days of death dance. Eight hundred thousand people died. It was well-known that the Tutsi community was targeted by the government. The only reason why the UN or other big powers did not interfere is because the country has nothing to offer to the world community. While the Oil rich Kuwait and Iraq were in the eyes of the world community which chose to make the Kurdish massacres an issue and send troops to bring down Saddam Hussein, who was tried and executed for the massacre of the Kurds, no individual government bothered with this small country even when they were making noises about it was because there was no trade interests in the country. Therefore we cannot ignore the fact of the realist paradigm. (Gellately; Kieman, 2003, p. 325)

In 1994 the facts and issues about mass graves of women, and children from Rwanda made news headlines. "The slaughter was so extensive that the bodies threatened to clog the rivers and pollute the lakes. It soon became clear that the world community was once more confronted with genocide. Indeed, what happened in Rwanda was no… [END OF PREVIEW]

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