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Participants to the International Course on Protection of Civilians learn from the Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda

On 14 November 2016, participants to ongoing International Course on the Kigali Principles on Protection of Civilians (PoC) visited Kigali Genocide Memorial. After paying respect to the victims of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, the students toured different sections of the Memorial to take lessons on how the Genocide was planned and executed.

At the end of the visit, Maj J Banda, participant from Zambia,  observed that “It is quite emotional to see how a human being can butcher another human being in this manner, like what happened in the Genocide against Tutsi”.

Linking this situation to the Course on PoC, Maj Banda pointed out that from the visit they learnt clearly that PoC must be the core mission of any Peace Keeping Operation. “If Civilians are not protected this can end up with the biggest victims like what we have seen in this Genocide memorial”, he said.

Mrs Lauren Spink, from USA said she was very saddened by what they had witnessed adding that "visiting the Genocide memorial was a moment to reflect on worse things that can happen". She noted that to prevent such situations to repeat both individual military, police, civilians, NGO’s at the forefront in Peace Keeping Missions have to understand what is at risk if they don’t act in a situation of conflicts. Mrs Lauren Spink further said that UN member countries need to think how the UN can really keep POC in its mindset and not sarrounding it with politics.

The one week International Course on the Kigali Principles on Protection of Civilians is being conducted at Rwanda Peace Academy, in Musanze. It will be concluded on 16 November 2016.