Canada’s Defense Minister to find out why veterans on mission during genocide against Tutsi are not recognised
Canada Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says he will find out why his department’s websites pay tribute to every other Canadian mission except the 1994 deployment to Rwanda, where the horrors of genocide against the Tutsi left many troops with permanent psychological damage.
Sajjan’s promise to examine the gaps in the historical record about one of the most difficult deployments ever undertaken by Canada came Monday as politicians acknowledged the 25th anniversary of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, The global and mail broke the story
“Recognising the service of people who have served, that is all our responsibility, so I am going to take a look at the wording of the website now that I have been made aware of it.” The Defence Minister said
Six hundred Canadian soldiers including signals experts, engineers, medical staff and members of the now-disbanded Canadian Airborne Regiment were sent to Rwanda in 1004 under UN Mission (UNAMIR II).
Today, more than half of Canada’s Rwanda veterans are receiving disability benefits related to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) more than double the rate for deployments to Afghanistan, Bosnia or Somalia.
But, the Department of Defence website, which lists all of the missions undertaken by Canada, does not mention theirs. The Veterans Affairs site says Canadians stayed on after the genocide against the Tutsi to help with humanitarian efforts but it makes no reference to UNAMIR II and what was endured and accomplished.