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Action-packed Documentary Hotel Rwanda

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In the documentary film, “Hotel Rwanda,” almost all parts of “Common article 3” were violated in the conflict between the Hutu majority and the Tutsis. The first provision of the article states that no one directly involved in the conflict should be treated inhumanely based on race, colour, religion, or any similar criteria. This provision and the second provision under 1(a) was violated a number of times since the main goal of the Hutu majority was to completely wipe out the Tutsi population. The reasoning for this severe operation was because the Hutus believed that the Tutsis stole their land, whipped the Hutus, and murdered them. The Hutus’ goal was to “squash the infestation,” and so they murdered over 1 million Tutsis. Not only that, but they would torture the Tutsis and shame them by spitting on them and referring to them as “cockroaches,” violating the provision under 1(c) of the article in which it states that there shall be no, “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.” No Tutsi was safe, not even the women and children. Additionally, the article was further violated in section 1(d), in which the passing of sentences and executions must be pronounced by a constituted court. Throughout the film, it is shown that the Hutu majority beat and killed many Tutsis without the previous judgment of a regularly constituted court that respects the principles of judicial procedures. Lastly, over the course of the film, many Tutsis were injured and ill, such as a fever, without any medical supplies. They were unable to retrieve any supplies in fear of being killed by the Hutu majority, and were forced to take refuge, violating provision (2), stating that “the wounded and sick should be collected and cared for.” The only provision that was not violated under “Common article 3” was the provision 1(b) that declares that no hostages shall be taken by the opposition. The only reason this provision was not violated was because the Hutu majority were not concerned with prisoners and killed every Tutsi they could.

The UN faced many issues in their attempt to keep the peace between the Hutu majority and the Tutsis. Unfortunately, there was not much they could do, and I believe the main reason is because they were unable to fully protect the Tutsis. Colonel Oliver in an interview claimed that they were there as peace keepers, not peace makers, implying that it wasn’t their job to necessarily end the conflict, but to protect human rights and keep the peace. The problem was, and still is, that the UN cannot completely protect the lives and rights of human beings without being able to fight back for the people in danger. In the film, the UN drove convoys filled with Tutsis in an attempt to bring them to safety, but as they were driving down a road where the Hutus were waiting for them, their ride did not go as planned. Hutus jumped on the convoys and began to injure and kill the Tutsis on board while the UN were unable to protect them because they weren’t allowed to open fire. They were forced to return back to the hotel. It’s very possible that they would have been able to make it through had they been allowed to shoot back to protect the Tutsis refugees. Furthermore, the UN peace keepers could have done a better job at guarding the gates of the hotel if they had been more peace keepers. The hotel had over 800 Tutsis refugees staying there, yet there were only 4 peace keepers to guard and protect them from the Hutu majority. This was because there were only 300 UN peace keepers in the entire country. The issue of the safety of the Tutsi refugees could have been easily solved if there were more UN peace keepers in the country to help. The UN peace keepers essentially could have defended the Tutsi refugees more effectively had they taken more action in the overall conflict. Their failure to take action led to the deaths of thousands of civilians.

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The UN plans to implement changes in hopes of bettering peace keeping missions. One change they wish to fulfill is how they communicate locally and globally. They believe that communication is essential in achieving strategic plans effectively. In the past, ineffective communication has negatively impacted the peace keeping for a number of reasons including limited understanding of a culture or diverse views of the population. This has resulted in failures of expectations along with being unable to to sustain local support. Global communication is just as important as local communication because global communication builds public support internationally. If the media shows the conflict happening abroad, there is a better chance that the people of the world will intervene. In the documentary film, “Hotel Rwanda,” a journalist named Jack says to Paul Rusesabagina that it is not likely that people will intervene in the conflict because no one will care enough, “I think if people see this footage they ‘ll say, ‘Oh my God that ‘s horrible,’ and then go on eating their dinners.” Without global communication, people will not intervene or help out with the conflict, which is why the DPKO and DFS are aiming to develop public information activities to guarantee the awareness of information that has to do with peace keeping operations. Training and equipment is another factor in peace keeping that must be improved. Under-prepared personnel deploys to the field all the time, and as a result it often shows in challenging and remote environments. The Member States are trying to strengthen UN peace keeping’s training strategies by having experienced personnel to help. Equipment can be just as important in the field as well, it is essential to be fully equipped for building future capacity. Examples of equipment that could better the UN peace keeping strategies would be night vision equipment and naval vessels. Setting mission objectives and strategy is another change the UN plans to implement because straightforward instruction is essential in an effective mission strategy. Often peace keepers struggle to identify the tasks they are responsible for in complex missions, therefore, the Security council is working on providing more precise direction for the UN peace keeping operations. These instructions must be assessed based on the situation and the troops should also be included in the discussion of these assessments once they have been deployed. Lastly, the Secretariat’s goal is to improve the quality of consultations and its alignment to mission planning. It is the Secretariat’s job to translate objectives into mission tasks based on priority. The Security Council sets out to increase discussion with troops and police contributors.


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