Africa-Press – Rwanda. Speaker of Parliament Donatille Mukabalisa has urged youth to stand up and fight hate speech and Genocide ideology in the quest to build sustainable peace and unity.
She was speaking at a youth parliamentary dialogue organised by the Ministry of National Unity and Civic Engagements (MINUBUMWE) working together with Never Again Rwanda (NAR) and partners.
The dialogue was organised in line with the celebration of the International Day of Peace which is observed every year on September 21.
It brought together over 500 participants including youths from different districts, parliamentarians, peacebuilding actors, policymakers, and development partners to discuss strategies and approaches to uphold unity as they tackle hate speech in different forms as a hindrance to Rwandan unity.
Mukabalisa said that in most cases, those who took a line to fight Rwanda by spreading hate speech and Genocide ideology as well as denying the Genocide against the Tutsi, use social media and are supported by people who doesn’t wish the country any good, hence urged the youth to use the same channels to tell the truth, sharing the good vision of the country.
She also reminded the youth that the unity of Rwandans is the strength of the nation.
“The peace and security we strived for became the pillar of development we are celebrating today. However, the journey is still long because we, Rwandans, still have many goals to achieve and we can’t achieve them without working together,” she said.
She added: “We, the parliament, will keep electing laws that prevent and punish hate speech to lay emphasis on our contribution towards building peace and unity and give youth a room to understand sustainable peace.”
Jean-Damascene Bizimana, Minister of National Unity and Civic Engagements urged the youth to not fear those who sow hate and conflict, declaring that one of the mitigations to that is that in Rwanda, the youth are taught to live together, peace and unity, and are supported by the country’s leadership to fulfill their ambitions.
He added: “The tragic history that our country went through must inspire you, the youth, to join efforts and correct the mistakes of the past. The government is ready to support you, be your role model, provide security and work with you to promote peace.”
Eric Mahoro, Deputy Executive Director of Never Again Rwanda commended the leadership of the country for continuing to believe in youth, listening to them and showing them the path that leads to sustainable peace.
Tackling what still needs to be done, he said: “One cannot give what they do not have. You cannot build peace when you still have wounds. There is a need for concerted efforts in our families and schools to heal the wounds and teach young people our truthful and unbiased history.”
In his speech, Ozonnia Ojielo, the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Rwanda said that they are committed to working with the government and other partners in pursuing peace, human rights, social and economic development while ensuring that no one is left behind, adding that they will always count the youth as partners of Choice.
One of the youth who attended the dialogue, Iréné Mizero, is the Chairman of Mizero Care Organisation.
He said that most of the youth still have wounds from the country’s past and what they were taught by their parents, hence called for dialogues that aim to eradicate hate speech and focus on teaching youth to embrace the values of sustainable peace.
Sharon Agasaro, another youth who belongs to Peace & Love Proclaimers believes that sustainable peace can’t be built without the contribution of the youth.
She called for enforcement of stable spaces that gather youth to share their ideas and find solutions to the challenges they are facing.