ACHPR/Res. 485 (EXT.OS/XXXIII) 2021: Resolution on the commemoration of the Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda and the prevention of genocide and genocides denial and revisionism

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The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (the Commission), meeting at its 33rd Extraordinary Session, held virtually from 12 to 19 July 2021: 

Recalling its mandate to promote and protect human and peoples' rights in Africa under Article 45 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (the African Charter); 

Considering ACHPR Res/235 (LIII) 2013 on transitional justice in Africa which underscores the need for including human and peoples’ rights in combating impunity; 

Recognizing Article 4 (h) of the Constitutive Act of the African Union (AU) which considers genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity as grave circumstances warranting intervention by the AU and Article 4(o) on respect for the sanctity of human life and rejection of impunity; 

Noting its Study on Transitional Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights in Africa adopted within the framework of its Resolution 235 and the AU Transitional Justice Policy; 

Underscoring the importance of human and peoples’ rights and the mandate of the African Commission in fighting against the conditions that lead to genocides and mass atrocities in Africa; 

Concerned about incidents of propagation of hate and incitement of violence on the basis of ethnic, religious or similar identity markers, xenophobia, religious radicalism and extremism, violent nationalism, and creating grave risk of conflicts under such conditions leading to mass atrocities including genocide; 

Alarmed by trends of denial and revisionism of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, the trauma that such denial and revisionism trigger on survivors of the genocide and the danger that this poses to the effort to prevent the recurrence of the genocide; 

Taking to account the AU Assembly Decision Assembly/ AU / Dec.695 of July 2018 designating 7th April of each year as the African Union Day of Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda and UN General Assembly Decision 72/550 of 26 January 2018 designating 7th April as the International day of reflection on the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda; 

Noting that the annual commemoration of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda serves as an occasion for not only paying respect for the lives brutally lost and expressing solidarity with survivors but also remembering the lessons from that tragedy in order to ensure that it never happens again; 

The Commission:

1.   Decides to convene annually on 7 April an event for the commemoration of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda as an occasion for creating awareness about prevention of genocide and other mass atrocities; and 

2.   Mandates the Focal Point of the Commission on Transitional Justice and on Human Rights in Conflict Situations to: 

a.   promote the adoption by States Parties of legislative, institutional and educational measures at national levels and regional mechanism on the prevention of conditions that lead to genocide and other forms of mass atrocities;  

b.   initiate efforts at addressing existing and emerging trends of the denial and revisionism of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda as critical elements in the promotion of the rights of survivors and the prevention of the recurrence of the genocide; and 

c.   Call for and support investigation of reports of mass atrocities and the provision of accountability and remedial measures, including through instituting transitional justice processes as envisaged in the AU Transitional Justice Policy and the African Commission’s Study on Transitional Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights

Done virtually on 19 July 2021