Rwanda Parliament expresses reservations over Belgian parliamentary probe

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The Rwandan Parliament has expressed “reservations” about the outcome of a Belgian special parliamentary commission set up to examine Belgian’s colonial past in its former African colonies, due to the inclusion of a ‘known denier’ of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

The Kingdom of Belgium has established a special parliamentary commission to examine Belgium’s colonial past in Congo, Rwanda and Burundi, including its consequences. 

However, in a statement on Monday, Parliament questioned the appointment of Laura Uwase, on the 10 member team of experts to assist the commission.

Uwase is reportedly a member of the Jambo Asbl, a Europe-based association bent on denying the genocide.

The National Commission for the Fight against Genocide says Jambo Asbl was founded by Rwandan youth who do not recognize the role of their parents and grandparents in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

“The Parliament of Rwanda is concerned by the inclusion in the Group of Experts that will assist the Special Commission, of a known genocide denier whose known ‘expertise’ is the distortion of the recent history of Rwanda, and who belongs to an organization whose mission is the denial and revision of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi,” the lawmakers said in the statement.

“The Parliament of Rwanda wishes to inform the Belgian House of representatives that, in the view of the circumstances above it already has reservations about the outcome of the work of the Special Commission.”

Despite the reservations, the statement said Rwandan lawmakers welcomed the initiative of the Belgian Parliament, saying it underscored the importance of historical clarity and collective memory as prerequisites of forging and a healthy future and mutual benefit and respect.

Last year, the United Nations told Belgium to apologize for its colonial past.

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