The Center for Holocaust, Human Rights and Genocide Education (Chhange) welcomed a panel of experienced Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents and Rwandan genocide survivor Eugenie Mukeshimana on Feb. 4 to discuss how students and community members can take an active role in identifying human rights violations in the U.S.
The program began with each of the six panelists introducing themselves and their role in the FBI. The five agents – each of whom have years of experience with the FBI in many different capacities – gave insight to the severity of human rights violations currently occurring in our country.
International Human Rights has only recently been recognized by Congress in the last six years. Statues include genocide, torture, war crimes and other serious human rights violations.
Mukeshimana then shared her transformation from a survivor to a human rights activist and her first encounter working with an FBI agent. She recounted heart-wrenching experiences about members of her close-knit community that would later take part in the genocide.
“The same people that were supposed to be there for you growing up are now chasing you with machetes,” said Mukeshimana.
She went on to explain what life was like after the genocide, when finding justice was not a priority for a survivor. Other obligations, like finding food and shelter, took priority, Mukeshimana said, and each day she would witness a new perpetrator being arrested for their crimes or another victim being remembered during a funeral.
About eight years after the genocide, Mukeshimana said she decided to move to the United States to find solace.
Even after moving to America, however, Mukeshimana would still stumble upon news articles about her home country. One case in particular spurred Mukeshimana to begin fighting against human rights injustice. This was a case of a woman in Boston, MA, who was accused of committing acts of genocide in Rwanda but was able to alter public opinion to portray herself a victim.
Mukeshimana was able to get in contact with the FBI agent in charge of the case and give her own personal account.
“This was my chance to be part of justice,” said Mukeshimana.
After using her own story to assist in an FBI investigation, Mukeshimana now encourages all Americans to come forward and report information regarding any human rights violation. Any information regarding a perpetrator of a human rights violation or a victim residing in the United States can be brought to forwarded to the FBI by clicking here.
Chhange is a non-profit volunteer organization that works to educate about historical issues of the Holocaust and genocide, and to eliminate racism, antisemitism and all forms of prejudice through creative programs and activities. To learn more about the Chhange center and stay up to date with upcoming events, visit their website.
Check out more photos from the panel discussion here.
– Article by Mikaela Mazzeo, college relations intern