Minister cautions Ghanaians against hate speech

Ghanaians have been urged to shun hate speech and incendiary language in order to safeguard the peace prevailing in the country.

According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayarkor Botchwey, the peace of the country could be compromised if the use of incendiary language which was gaining currency was not nibbed in the bud.

“Like the Jewish and other instances of genocide, the Rwandan genocide of the Tutsis did not happen in isolation, it was fuelled by hate, hate speech, hate crime and incitement to violence by a few individuals in position of power until it became entrenched and acceptable in society in general,” she said.

Ms Botchwey made the call at the 28th anniversary commemoration of the 1994 Rwanda genocide against the Tutsis in Accra last Friday.

Dubbed: Kwibuka in Kinyarwanda, the anniversary is held annually to honour the memory of the over one million people who lost their lives through the unfortunate incident.

It was organised by the Rwandan High Commission in Ghana in collaboration with Rwandan Communities in Ghana, Benin, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

In attendance were officials from the Rwanda High Commission in Accra, members of the diplomatic coup, ministers of state, and officers from the security agencies of Ghana.

Ms Botchwey said the hatred, fury and barbarity of genocidal acts which took place in Rwanda on April 7, 1994, was beyond comprehension.

She said that “But we know that they were nurtured, stoked and directed by known individuals and groups. That means when we say never again, we have a responsibility beyond commemorations to be vigilant and to insist on tolerance and lawful behaviour by all actors everywhere.”

The minister stated that “We must also remember that this solemn occasion, the failure of the international community to act to stop the killing and largely ignored the unfortunate development shirking the responsibility to protect; unfortunately the world failed to learn and failed to remember that the world had said never again to genocide that has been perpetrated during the second world war which is the genocide of the Jews.”

On her part, the Rwandan High Commissioner to Ghana, Dr Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, said for the last 28 years, over a period of 100 days, starting April 7 to July 4 each year, Rwandans across the world mourned the over 1 million innocent victims of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

She said it was important for humanity to reflect on the path that led her country to genocide and the lessons that had been learnt as the memory of loved ones was celebrated.

Dr Kacyira said ‘never again to genocide should be reflected in whatever people ‘say and do’, stressing that “We shall always be grateful for the willingness to forgive and the choice to reconcile made by the survivors of the genocide against the Tutsi, and to the visionary leadership that is inclusive and people-centered, led by President Paul Kagame, that has helped us to rebuild and to embrace unity, hope, peace and prosperity. “

“From this dark history, the values of unity that gives dignity to all humanity have continued to characterise us as a people in all our engagements. We will always strive for peace and dignity for all whether on our continent and even beyond” she said.

BY CLIFF EKUFUL

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