London: Rwandan, Bosnian and Holocaust survivors speak out, according to the Aegis Trust.
In September 2005, Survivors Susan Pollack (Holocaust), Beatha Uwazaninka (Rwanda) and Kemal Pervanic (Omarska, Bosnia) travelling to Islamabad, New Delhi and New York to lobby for international commitment to the "responsibility to protect".
One year on, they will address Sunday’s demonstration outside Sudanese Embassy and open an exhibition about Darfur, calling on World leaders to honour their promises. They will be joined by survivors from Darfur, including Ismail Jarbo, who in 2003 saw his father killed during a Government attack.
"After the Holocaust, the World said ‘never again’ but genocide has happened again and again," says Susan Pollack. "A year ago I travelled to New Delhi to help send the message that ‘never again’ would mean nothing until world leaders accepted their responsibility to protect people at risk of mass murder. They did so; now they must honour their word for the people of Darfur."
"Darfur’s Africans are being murdered. How can we leave them without protection?" says Kemal Pervanic. "I ask people everywhere; remember how Bosnia suffered and end the bloodshed in Darfur now. You don’t have to be a politician to take up the responsibility to protect. Just start to make your voice heard. The World’s leaders have to know we care."
"The Janjaweed and the Army are ready to finish the job they started," says Ismail Jarbo. "For the sake of my people, do whatever it takes to ensure UN protection. Protect them today, because tomorrow is too late."
Kigali: vigil at site of massacre which followed UN Pull-out
On Sunday 17 September, hundreds of Rwandan genocide survivors will march from a school where 2,000 Tutsis took refuge in 1994 to the site, several miles away, where they were massacred after UN peacekeepers protecting them pulled out. Their march will call on the World not to abandon Darfur to its fate today in the way that they were abandoned twelve years ago.
As the Belgian troops drove out of the Ecole Technique Officiele (ETO) on 11 April 1994, Hutu militia waiting at the gates walked in. The Belgians at ETO had little firepower and no back-up. They were ordered to leave. And yet it was obvious that their withdrawal would be followed by a bloodbath. The survivors draw chilling parallels with Darfur today.
"When I think of the people in Darfur today, it makes me sick to the stomach because I know what it’s like to watch your protectors walk away and I know the fear of waiting for help that never comes," says survivor and rally organiser Freddy Umutanguha, Coordinator for Aegis Rwanda. "We survivors stand with the victims in Darfur. We are not here to tell the World’s politicians how to do their job. All we say is: if you don’t protect the people of Darfur today, you will have failed to do it, and never again will we believe you when you visit Rwanda’s mass graves, look us in the eye and say ‘never again’."
Donning blue berets as part of the ‘Global Day for Darfur’ call for UN protection in Darfur, the survivors will also wear T-shirts bearing the words, "I Survived Genocide in Rwanda. Stop Genocide in Darfur."
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