UN chief: 20 years after Rwanda, Syria shameful

Feb 27, 2014, 11:36 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that 20 years after the Rwanda genocide the international community’s collective failure to prevent atrocities in Syria is “a shameful indictment.

The U.N. chief also pointed to “grave and blatant” human rights violations in the Central African Republic.

Ban spoke at the New York launch of “Kwibuka 20”, a series of events to mark the 20th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide.

The event comes as the United Nations grapples with how to respond to the religious killings in Central Africa. Last week, Ban called for the rapid deployment of at least 3,000 additional troops and police to bolster the 6,000 African Union peacekeepers, 1,600 French troops already in the conflict-wracked nation, and another 500 promised by the European Union.

Ban plans to recommend deploying a U.N. peacekeeping mission to the Central African Republic, but that will take months and he was warned the country can’t wait that long.

Rwanda’s genocide began hours after a plane carrying President Juvenal Habyarimana was mysteriously shot down as it approached the capital, Kigali, on April 6, 1994. The 100-day slaughter, in which more than 500,000 minority Tutsis and moderate members of the Hutu majority were killed by Hutu extremists, ended after Tutsi-led rebels ousted the extremist Hutu government that orchestrated the killings.

The United Nations had a small peacekeeping force in Rwanda at the time but the Security Council refused to beef it up to respond to the mass killings, and individual countries did not respond either.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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UN chief: 20 years after Rwanda, Syria shameful