Hosted by Aegis, Central African Republic leaders learn from peacebuilding in Rwanda

 

Initiated by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, a high level delegation from the Central African Republic (CAR) was hosted in Rwanda by the Aegis Trust and the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission from 11-17 January 2016 to learn from peacebuilding and reconstruction efforts after the Genocide against the Tutsi. The 21-person delegation was led by Dr Clement Anicet Guiyama-Massogo, Minister in the Office of the President and Spokesperson of the CAR Government. The group included cabinet ministers, religious leaders and prominent members of civil society.

Over the course of the week, the CAR delegation learned from the Aegis Trust’s peace-building work in Rwanda, and discovered more about the country’s management of the post-genocide period. Participants also had an opportunity to observe first-hand the justice and reconciliation initiatives put in place by Rwandans to foster national unity.

“We saw concrete fruits of unity and reconciliation. I had never seen a victim and a killer sitting and living together peacefully,” said José-Marie Messongo, Head of Mission in the Ministry of Reconciliation, after visiting the Unity and Reconciliation Village in Rweru, Bugesera in southern Rwanda.

The CAR delegation met with the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide, the Rwanda Governance Board, survivors’ organisations including Ibuka, AVEGA and AERG, and various ministries. They visited genocide memorials across the country, including the Kigali Genocide Memorial, and the Mutobo Demobilisation Centre.

“Rwanda is a model and a school from which our country can draw lessons on post crisis management,” commented Minister Guiyama-Massogo. “What we learned during this visit will serve as tools for us to rebuild peace back home…. This delegation is composed of all members of society working for social cohesion and unity. They found strength in the stories from Rwanda. As it has been done here in Rwanda, we can also do it in the Central African Republic.”

“It’s been a privilege to host our Central African colleagues,” commented Freddy Mutanguha, Aegis Trust Regional Director. “They are deeply committed to the restoration of peace in their own country, and we look forward to continuing and extending our support for that vital cause in Bangui and beyond.”

Supported by the Swiss-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD), the six-day tour was the result of an initiative started by Aegis Trust. It followed a series of engagements with the Central African Republic in 2014 and 2015, bolstering efforts to prevent impending violence and facilitate reconciliation. Recommendations from the Bangui Forum, a national dialogue on reconciliation in CAR that took place in May 2015, proposed this visit.

During the forum, participants debated security, social cohesion, economic development, forgiveness and the fight against impunity to begin the country’s reconstruction. Aegis led a delegation from Rwanda to the forum, enabling survivors to share their personal experiences of forgiveness and community building (find out more).

With a presence now established in CAR, the Aegis Trust plays an ongoing part in the national peace dialogue there.

View photos of the CAR delegation visit to Rwanda here.