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First published in January 2017
An edited extract from Web of Deceit: Britain’s Real Role in the World
In the hundreds of media articles on the 1994 Rwanda genocide, there is barely a mention of Britain being a permanent member of the UN security council and in any way responsible for what happened. I recounted Britain’s role in my previous book, The Great Deception, so I will not repeat everything here. Since then, however, another book, by Linda Melvern, an investigative journalist, confirms the quite terrible British, and US, role.
After the killings began in early April 1994, the UN security council, instead of beefing up it’s peace mission in the country and giving it a stronger mandate to intervene, decided to reduce the troop presence from 2,500 to 270. This decision sent a green light to those who had planned the genocide that the UN would not intervene. A small UN military force arrived merely to rescue expats, and then left. Belgium’s senior army officer in the UN peace mission believed that if this force had not been pulled out, the killing could have been stopped. Canadian general Romeo Dallaire, who commanded the UN force in Rwanda, later said that this evacuation showed “inexcusable apathy by the sovereign states that made up the UN, that is completely beyond comprehension and moral acceptability”.
It was Britain’s ambassador to the UN, Sir David Hannay, who proposed that the UN pull out its force; the US agreed. According to Melvern, it was left to the Nigerian ambassador, Ibrhaim Gambari, to point out that tens of thousands of civilians were dying at the time. Gambari also pleaded with the security council to reinforce the UN presence. But the US objected and Britain agreed, suggesting only to leave behind a token force, which became the 270 personnel.
On the security council at the time sat – by chance – Rwanda, as one of the ten non-permanent members. So British and US indifference and their policy of reducing the UN force, as expressed in the security council,