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The Rwanda Genocide of 1994: Human Rights Issue - Essay Example

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The Rwanda genocide (1994) 1.0. Introduction In modern history, crimes of genocides are remembered because they reflect man’s capability to be inhumane and, of course, they involve a significant number of casualties among people. On the other hand, the mere fact that crimes of genocide are being legislated against testifies to man’s efforts to prevent crimes of genocide and man’s ultimate aim to be more humane…
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The Rwanda Genocide of 1994: Human Rights Issue
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Download file to see previous pages The genocide arose from a rivalry between the Tutsi and Hutu ethnic groups in Rwanda (some argue that they are not ethnic groups). Estimates placed the number of people killed in Rwanda at a minimum of 800,000 between April and June 1994 (Hansen 2005, p.1). The genocide placed the world in shock with the rate or speed in which people are being killed daily, perhaps at least 8,000 people a day in 100 days (Tearfund 2011). The genocide produced 85,000 child-headed households and resulted to a 70-30 ratio female-to-male ratio in Rwanda (Tearfund 2011). Yet, this can be the minimum number because some of the estimates on the number of people who died in the genocide were as high as one million although there is an estimate of only 500,000. 2.0. Human genocide: definition Shaller and Zimmerer (2005, p. 447) narrated that the word genocide was coined by Raphael Lemkin, an international rights activist, Polish Jewish specialist in international law, and founder of the United Nation’s Genocide Convention. As documented out by Husain (2009, p. 1), Lemkin clarified that “Genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the group themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups.” Lemkin coined or used the term “genocide” because he believes that killings such as those perpetrated by German Nazis against the Jews needed a specific term to describe the specific horror, scale, monstrosity, and barbarity of killings done on a mass scale (Stone 2005). Although Lemkin used the experience of Jews, his use of the term “genocide” was not limited to the Jewish experience (Stone 2005). He did not use the term “holocaust” and articulated his views on genocide in his book, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, published in 1944 (Lemkin 2005, p. 539). Soon, Lemkin’s views on genocide became the foundation of the definition adopted by the “United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” which was approved later by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1948” (Shaller and Zimmerer 2005, p. 449). Under Article 3 of the United Nations 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the following are prohibited and punishment is meted to violators: genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, inciting to genocide whether directly or indirectly, attempt to commit genocide, and complicity in genocide. Sadly, despite Lemkin’s very important contribution, “Lemkin has never won adequate recognition” and died in 1959 “impoverished and isolated” (Shaller and Zimmer 2005, p. 449). 3.0. UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights In addition to the prohibition against genocide under the “United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” that was approved by the United Nations ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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