States of Denial sunlight is the best disinfectant

UN Security Council adopts new terminology to denote the genocide that was perpetrated in Rwanda in 1994


On the 30th of January 2014 the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2136 renewing the arms embargo and related measures imposed on the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Resolution is however not only significant because of the renewal of sanctions. In the Resolution the Security Council adopts a new terminology to refer to the genocide that was perpetrated in Rwanda in 1994. In earlier Resolutions, the Security Council referred to the genocide as the ‘Rwandan Genocide’, but in Resolution 2136 the Security Council refers to these events as the ‘1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, during which Hutu and others who opposed the genocide were also killed.’ This is a significant development because it could help to counter the growing denial of the genocide that was perpetrated against Tutsi people. The phrase ‘Rwandan genocide’ is a problematic and confusing description of the events that took place because it does not clearly denote the victim group. The terminology namely implies that ‘Rwandans killed Rwandans.’ Hutu killed Tutsi and Tutsi killed Hutu; a ‘Rwandan genocide’. The vagueness of the phrase makes it prone to genocide denial and the phrase frequently features in denialist discourses that attempt to articulate that two genocides took place; one against the Tutsi and one against the Hutu. This is also more commonly referred to as the double genocide theory. For the press release and the resolution see:

This blog was published earlier 2014 on the website of the Denialism and Human Rights conference that was organized at the Faculty of Law of Maastricht University.

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Roland Moerland

Roland Moerland is Assistant Professor at Maastricht University.

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By Roland Moerland
States of Denial sunlight is the best disinfectant

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