Roméo Dallaire – UN Force Commander during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi – returned to the Kigali Genocide Memorial on 11th August during his latest visit to the country. Accompanied by his wife Marie-Claude Michaud, Dallaire once again toured the Memorial’s exhibitions and paid respects to the victims of the genocide at mass graves where 250,000 have their final resting-place.
During the genocide Dallaire was refused the reinforcements he requested in a bid to swiftly end the slaughter, and was repeatedly ordered to close down the UN peacekeeping mission. Despite all odds, including the early withdrawal of the Belgian troop contingent, Dallaire remained in Rwanda throughout the genocide with a volunteer force to save and protect as many lives as possible.
After serving in Rwanda, Lt-Gen Dallaire became a Canadian senator and a celebrated advocate for human rights, especially in regards to child soldiers, veterans, and the prevention of mass atrocities. Dallaire also became a patron of the Aegis Trust, which established the Kigali Genocide Memorial in 2004 in collaboration with the Rwandan Government, continuing to run it today on behalf of MINUBUMWE, the Ministry of National Unity & Civic Engagement.
“I relive the past with an optimism of the future of humanity, because this place and the people here keep the memory alive. Well done indeed,” Dallaire wrote in the Memorial’s guestbook.
“His wife who respects you all so deeply,” Marie-Claude Michaud added to Dallaire’s message.
Pictures of the visit can be viewed here: