THE GLOBAL RESPONSE
The global response to the genocide in Rwanda was relatively non-existant. Due to the ongoing conflict between the Hutu lead government and the Tutsi lead Rwandan Patriotic Front, the United Nations had a peace keeping force on the ground in Rwnada. As rumors of the impending genocide fell on the ears of UN leaders in Rwnada, a request to deploy more troops and resources, as well as to take decisive action against the possible perpetrators was made. Unfortunately, the leadership of the United Nations felt that this did not fall within the original mandate of peace keeping. As the situaiton worsened and the genocide began, the UN continued its policy of inaction, eventually pulling much of the UN forces out and leaving only 270 UN troops to defend the country.
Despite the lack of support from the UN Security Council, the remaining UN troops on the ground in Rwnada did their best to save lives. Many UN officials used their power and connections to save thousands of lives. One Senegalese peacekeeper, Mbaye Diagne, drove 1,000 people through check points to safety. Others stood outside of churches where hundreds of Tutsi refugees hid; by simply guarding a door, the Interhamwe and other Hutu extremists simply did not try to trespass. Other individuals, those not involved with the UN, played their part to save lives in Rwanada as well. Carl Wilkens, then director of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency International, and the only American to stay in Rwanda during the genocide, worked to save hundreds of orphans from various orphanages in an around Kigali. Philippe Gaillard, head of the Red Cross relief efforts in Rwanda during the genocide, made public to the international community stories of the attrocities that were occurring throughout Rwanda. This act of bravery resulted in the ability of the Red Cross to move freely throughout Rwanda during the genocide. The acts of courage displayed by the UN officials in Rwanda, as well as those engaged in by other individuals, show us the importance of taking action and not being a bystander and a witness to genocide.