To read the call in French, click here.
Silence. Despite several advances (the future opening of a second trial – after twenty two years! – against two genocide perpetrators in France, the inauguration of memorial sites, one of which is in Paris,…), the silence which continues to prevail at the highest levels of the French State concerning the responsibilities of certain French officials in the genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda, which resulted in more than one million victims between April and July of 1994.
On April 7th of 2015, the Presidency of the French Republic announced the declassification of the archives of the French Elysée, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense and the National Assembly regarding France’s involvement in Rwanda between 1990 and 1995.
One year later, not one archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense nor of the National Assembly have been declassified. Only a few documents, sparse, carefully selected and lacking any information on the responsibilities related to the genocide, have been declassified by the Elysée.
Several weeks ago, 43 French MPs, from all political backgrounds, from the National Assembly and the Senate, including the leaders of significant parties, former French ministers, the president of the Committee on European Affairs of the National Assembly and the vice-president of the Committee of Foreign Affairs of the Senate – who are supported by 43 Members of European parliaments from 17 countries – addressed the Minister of Foreign Affairs requesting the creation of an official ministerial delegation to participate in the commemorations of the genocide against the Tutsis on April 7th, 2016 in Kigali, and called for a meeting with him personally.
Mr. Ayrault has refused to meet with these Member of Parliament. The French Executive Office has refused their proposition, and has even refused to discuss with the Rwandan authorities on this matter.
Since the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement – EGAM launched the initiative “Genocide against the Tutsis: the truth right now!” in which members of youth organizations, youth political parties and unions from France, Europe and Rwanda are engaged, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has purely and simply eliminated the funding annually allocated to EGAM for its actions in France and elsewhere in Europe (the Secretary of State for European Affairs however, has continued to give his support).
Therefore, how does one not come to the conclusion that the State apparatus is instrumentalized and a blow is being dealt to the collective fight against racism, anti-Semitism, racial discrimination and genocide denial, across the continent, at the very moment where this fight is more necessary than ever, in an effort to maintain the silence on the genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda?
Why so much violence? Why so much silence? Enough.
In acting in such a way, the most important French officials active today shoulder the terrible responsibilities that should not be theirs, but should rather belong to some of their predecessors of the 1990s. They perpetuate this silence that multiplies the suffering of the survivors, undermines the democratic functioning of institutions, and prevents justice from prevailing.
For this reason, the silence must be broken.
Concretely, this means:
This speech of truth should be accompanied with strong symbolic action, such as the creation of a ministerial delegation for the commemorations in Rwanda as requested by the French members of parliament.
This will enable justice to be carried out, with regard, in particular, to the cases of the former high-ranking French officials responsible, some of whom still hold influential positions within the French political sphere. This will also enable journalists and historians to gather a deeper understanding of the events that took place.
This will contribute to bringing an end to the instrumentalization of the State apparatus to protect the impunity of a few.
These are the simple acts, evident within a democracy, which are, however – in the light of the silence that has predominated for more than twenty years at the highest levels of the State – imperatively needed.
The honor of France is at stake.
Benjamin Abtan, President of the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement – EGAM (Europe), Bernard Kouchner, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Founder of Doctors without Borders and Doctors of the World (France), Bernard-Henri Lévy, Writer, Philosopher (France), Marie Darrieussecq, Writer (France), Dominique Sopo, President of SOS Racisme (France), Marcel Kabanda, President of Ibuka-France (France), Richard Prasquier, Vice-President of the Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah (France), Guillaume Ancel, Former Lieutenant-Colonel, engaged in Operation Turquoise (France), C215, Street Artist (France), Noël Mamère, Ecologiste, Mayor of Bègles, Ara Toranian, Co-President of the Coordination Council for the French Armenian Organisations (CCAF), Editor-in-Chief of “Nouvelles d’Arménie (France), Danielle Auroi, Ecologiste, President of the European Affairs Committee of the French National Assembly, Member of the Committee of national Defence and Armed Forces (France), Jean-Christophe Lagarde, President of UDI, Mayor of Drancy, Cécile Duflot, Ecologiste, Former Minister of Territorial Equality and Housing, Co-President of the EELV Group at the National Assembly (France), Pierre Laurent, PCF, National Secretary of the French Communist Party, Damien Abad, Les Républicains, Hervé Féron, Parti socialiste, Patrick de Saint-Exupéry, Journalist, Writer (France), François Morel, Comedian (France), Aurélie Filippetti, Parti socialiste, Former Culture and Communication Minister (France), Nathalie Goulet, UDI, Vice-President of the Committee for Foreign Affairs, Defence and Armed Forces (France),
Dario Fo, Nobel Price of Literature, Compagnia Teatrale Fo Rame (Italy), Benjamin Lucas, President of the Movement of Young Socialists (France), Aurélien Sebton, President of the Young UDI (France), Cécile Germain and Victor Vauquois, Federal Secretary of the Young Ecologists (France), Géraldine Guilpain, President of the Young Radical Left (France), Nordine Idir, General Secretary of the Movement of Young Communists (France), Sacha Reingewirtz, President of the National Union of Jews Students (UEJF) (France), William Martinet, President of the National Union of Students of France (UNEF) (France), Zoïa Guschlbauer, President of the Fédération indépendante et démocratique lycéenne (France), Samya Mokhtar, President of the National Union of Secondary Students (UNL) (France), Kim Campbell, Former Prime Minister of Canada, President of the World Movement for Democracy (Canada), Nadia Gortzounian, President of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (Europe), Barbara Romagnan, Parti socialiste, Jean de Dieu Mirindi, President of the Association of Survivor Students of the Genocide – AERG (Rwanda), Advija Ibrahimovic, Spokesperson of « Women of Srebrenica », Charles Habonimana, President of Group of Former Students Survivors of the Genocide (GAERG) (Rwanda), Laura Slimani, President of the Young European Socialists (Europe), Yannick Piquet, President of the Brussels Federation of Young Socialists (Belgium), Louis Michel, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Member of the European Parliament (Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) (Belgium), Miguel Ángel Moratinos, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Spanish Cooperation (Spain), Fanélie Carrey-Conte, Parti socialiste, Member of the Committee for National Defence and Armed Forces (France), Zineb El Rhazoui, Journalist (France), Adam Michnik, Former Leader of Solidarnosc, Founder and chief-editor of Gazeta Wyborcza (Poland), Patrice Leclerc, Mayor of Gennevilliers (France), Pasteur Gratien Mitsindo, Righteous from Rwanda, Meyer Habib, UDI, Peter Meiwald, Deputy at the Budestag (Germany), Frank Engel, Member of the European Parliament, Group of the European Popular Party (Luxembourg), Boris Zala, Member of the European Parliament, Socialists and Democrats Group (Slovakia), Julie Ward, Member of the European Parliament (Socialists & Democrats) (United Kingdom), Hélène Bidard, Deputy Mayor for the 11th district of Paris (Communist group, Front de Gauche), in charge of gender equality, fighting against discrimination and human rights (France), Fadéla Amara, Former Secretary of State for Urban Policy (France), Gaspard Kalisa, Righteous from Rwanda (Rwanda), Sonia Rolland, Director, actress (France), Rafaëlle Maison, Professor of Public Law at University Paris Sud (France), Alain Grabarz, Director of Hachomer Hatzaïr (France), Michel Boujenah, Comedian (France), Danis Tanovic, Filmmaker (Bosnia & Herzegovina), Yves Ternon, Historian (France), Geneviève Gaillard, Parti socialiste, Annette Becker, Professor at Paris-Ouest Nanterre (France), Elie Chouraqui, Film Director (France), Leo Cogos and Simon Wasserman, Leaders of Saut Jeune (France), Stéphane Crusnière, Parti socialiste (Belgium), Andrew Mitchell, Former Secretary of State for International Development, Conservative Party (United Kingdom), Laurette Onkelinx, Head of the Parti Socialiste Group at the Chamber, Vice-President of the Parti socialiste, President of the Brussels’ Parti socialiste (Belgium), Jovan Divjak, Former General, Deputy Commander of the Territorial Defence forces of Bosnia and Herzegoniva, Defender of beseiged Sarajevo, Executive Director of Education Builds Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Isabelle Attard, Ecologiste, Member of the Committee on Cultural Affairs and Education (France), Gaël Faye, Writer, composer, interpreter, rapper (France), Alain Gauthier, President of the Collective of Civil Parties for Rwanda (France), Marie-Odile Godard, Professor at the University of Picardie Jules Verne, SHSSC and Writer (France), Merja Kyllönen, Member of the European Parliament (Confederal Group of the European United Left / Nordic Green Left) (Finland), Michèle Rivasi, Member of the European Parliament (Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance) (France), Bart Staes, Member of the European Parliament (Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance) (Belgium), Scholastique Mukasonga, Writer (Rwanda), Pap Ndiaye, Professor, Director of the History Department of Sciences Po (France), Joël Giraud, Radical de gauche, Gasana Ndoba, Human Rights Consultant (Rwanda), Séta Papazian, President of Collective VAN (Armenian Vigilance against Genocide Denial) (France), Mohamed Sifaoui, Journalist, director (France), Christophe Premat, Parti socialiste, Christine Priotto, Mayor of Dieulefit (France), Ayse Gunaysu, Member of the Board of the Istanbul branch of the Association for Human Rights (IHD) (Turkey), Sylvie Coma, Journalist (France), Catherine Coquio, Professor of Comparative Literature at Paris Diderot University, President of the International Association of Research on Crimes against Humanity and Genocides (France), Jean-Pierre Blazy, Parti socialiste, Alain Yser Intwaza, Survivor of the genocide against the Tutsis and former Vice-President of GAERG (Rwanda), Laurence Abeille, Ecologiste, Mohamed Abdi, Former councillor of Fadela Amara, Co-founder and former secretary of Ni putes ni soumises (France), Catherine de Wenden, Research Director at CNRS (CERI-Sciences Po), expert of international migration (France), François Graner, Research Director for the CNRS at University Paris Diderot (France), Paula Sawicka, CEO of Open Republic (Poland), Thierry Sebaganwa, Memory Activist (Rwanda), Philippe Nougès, Divers gauche, Alma Masic, Director of Youth Initiative for Human Rights (Bosnia & Herzegovina), Ina Van Looy, Director of the Centre of Education to Citizenship – Jewish Community and Lay Centre David Susskind (Belgium), Roberto Romero, Vice President of Ile-de-France region for International Affairs (France), Levent Sensever, Spokesperson at DurDe! (Turkey), Michael McEachrane, Writer, Member of Fight Racism Now (Sweden), Caroline Mecary, Lawyer (France), Jette Moller, President of SOS mod Racism (Denmark), Aminata Niakate, Lawyer (France), Krassimir Kanev, President of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria), Daniel Le Scornet, Former president of the Fédération des mutuelles de France and former member of the European Economic and Social Committee (France), Jacky Mamou, Former President of Doctors of the World, President of Urgence Darfour (France), Teuta Hoxha, Director of the Youth Initative for Human Rights (YIHR) (Kosovo), Hristo Ivanovski, President of the Alliance for Human Rights (Macedonia), Maruša Babnik, Director of Ekvilib Institute (Slovenia), Louis de Gonzague Munyazogeye, President of the Swiss Rwandan Diaspora (Switzerland), Mario Mazic, Executive Director at Youth Initiative for Human Rights (Croatia), Anita Mitic, Director of Youth Initiative for Human Rights (Serbia), Ahmed Moawia, President of the Greek Forum of Migrants (Greece), Birgitta Ohlsson, Former Minister for EU Affairs, Member of the Liberals (Sweden), Boris Raonic, President of Civic Alliance (Montenegro), François Crétollier, Member of Association Survie, Damien Roets, Professor at the Law and Economic Sciences School at University of Limoges (France), Alban Perrin, Lecturer at Sciences Po Bordeaux (France), Morana Starčević, Executive Director of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights (Croatia), Damian Wutke, Secretary of the Board of Open Republic (Poland), Rémi Féraud, Mayor of Paris 10th circumscription (France), Richard Odier, President of the Simon Wisenthal Centre (France)
The anti-FPÖ civil society protest in Vienna supported by EGAM is massively attended #aufstehn @BenjaminAbtan
The call launched by the president of EGAM @BenjaminAbtan and international figures who fight against right-wing extremism was published in @gazeta_wyborcza (Poland) and prominent European newspapers.
"#Austria : this government must be ostracized from Europe" - the Op Ed of the president of EGAM @BenjaminAbtan in @NMvesti (Republic of Macedonia).