SUBMITTED TO: Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee
FROM: Republic of Rwanda
SUBJECT: Combating Racism and Xenophobia
Rwanda is a nation that was bred out of racism. As a former colony, and subject to the manipulation of colonizers on our government, Rwanda has a rich history of discrimination and genocide. Former imperialist powers influenced our government, and caused the Hutus and Tutsis to become divided, setting up our country for failiure, and ultimately setting a chain reaction for the Rwandan Genocide. Western imperialist powers have left a scar upon our world in terms of influencing legislation and social hierarchies that has kept racism and xenophobia a consistent issue, with Rwanda being a peak example.
How do we begin to undo the damage that has been done by imperialism in terms of its influence? Is there a way for former-imperialist nations to take responsibility without running into the issue of the entire problem being put in their hands, ultimately leading to the dependence on these Western nations once again? It has been asked whether or not migrants and minorities have their human rights, as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adequately protected in societies where xenophobic and racist ideologies hold sway: Rwanda believes that it cannot. If a group of people are seen as an “Other” in its nation’s society, it is the job of the United Nations to lift them back into their humanity in the eyes of oppressors, not ignore and turn a blind eye. While national sovereignty is a value of all countries in the UN, nothing will change if there are systems in place that hinder progress. Are there measures that can be taken that make sure a nation’s sovereignty is a priority, while still making sure that laws in place are not discriminatory and completely and genuinely follow the The Universal Declaration of Human Rights? A good resolution will address this problem in a respectful way so to not disturb the sovereignty of other nations.
Nevertheless, there is no simple solution to racism and xenophobia. While the UN can do all it wants in terms of pushing new, accommodating legislature to promote equality, there is still the social aspect of discrimination that is difficult to control. What can we do to defeat not only de jure racism, but de facto racism as well? A good resolution will explore the possible solutions to this.
Rwanda has been able to gradually recover from the genocide using tactics such as de-ethnicization, “On the federal level, Rwanda adopted a policy of de-ethnicization wherein they ‘erased’ ethnicity, stating that there were no longer Hutu and Tutsis, only unified Rwandans” (Addressing Post-Genocide Reconstruction In Rwanda – The Borgen Project). This allowed the people of Rwanda to allowed the end of using Hutu and Tutsi identifications, and promoted equality no matter the ethnicity. While this would be extreme to apply on a global level, perhaps there are some aspects of de-ethnicization that could provide a basis in our resolution.
The atrocities that took place during the Rwandan Genocide will not be forgotten, but used as a reminder for what the world can become and the potential it has in terms of racism and xenophobia. If Rwanda has been able to rise from the depths it was once in, then there is hope that racism and xenophobia can be combated until there is a world of equality and tolerance.
- Zoe Rosario