The African Union hopes to develop a center for study of genocide. (Courtesy photo)
The African Union hopes to develop a center for study of genocide. (Courtesy photo)

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The African Union (AU) has expressed willingness to establish an African center for the study of genocide to fast-track early response in preventing hate crimes and genocide, the New Times, Rwanda’s largest daily newspaper, reported Sunday.

This was part of resolutions adopted by the AU’s wing of Peace and Security Council (PSC) at its 1147th meeting on the Prevention of the Ideology of Hate, Genocide and Hate Crimes in Africa, held earlier this month.

The council paid tribute to all victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and expressed solidarity with all victims of the ideologies of hate and hate crimes on the continent.

“PSC underlines the importance of early warning and early response in preventing hate crimes and genocide and in this regard, underscores the need for the establishment of an African Centre for the Study of Genocide,” it said in a statement.

It added the need to strengthen the institutional capacities of national, regional and continental early warning systems and mechanisms to ensure that they also include, in their scope, punishment mechanisms of ideology of hate, hate crimes and genocide.

Over the years, Rwanda continues to build resourceful archives pertaining to the preservation of history with an aim to inform and educate the world on preventing and fighting genocide under a Genocide Research Centre.

They emphasized the need for member states to enhance early warning mechanisms and pay more attention to early warning signs of looming inter-tribal or inter-ethnic conflicts and to timeously prevent their escalation.

This can be traced to various calls of leaders, experts in human rights, civil societies, among others, to act on condemning and stopping the ongoing hate speech and violence against Kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese in the Eastern DR Congo.

“In this regard, once again encourages all member states to condemn any form of denialism of the Genocide including not allowing deniers any space and or platform for denial activities in their territories,” it noted.

The AU Commission was tasked to develop a shared working definition of what constitutes ‘hate speech’ and ‘hate crimes’, in order to enable member states to enact necessary legislation to combat these scourges.

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