Roméo Dallaire, Lieutenant General (ret)
Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire is recognized as an advocate of peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peace-building in the world’s most war-torn regions.
For the public at large, nationally and internationally, it is following General Dallaire’s nomination as Commander of the United Nations Observer Mission- Uganda and Rwanda (UNOMUR) and the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) on 1 July 1993 that the name Dallaire became synonymous with courage.
He is a humanitarian acclaimed in Canada and world-wide, an author, a soldier, and a special advisor to various government agencies. He pleaded for permission to act to prevent widespread violence and slaughter. But the UN refused to allow Dallaire and his UN troops to act more forcefully against the escalating violence. The genocide occurred swiftly and on a massive scale. In the 100 days between 6 April and 16 July 1994, an estimated 800,000 men, women and children were brutally killed, many hacked to death with machetes. The victims were Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
On his return to Canada, he assumed simultaneous appointments as Deputy Commander of Land Force Command and Commander of the 1st Canadian Division. In 1998, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-General and appointed Assistant Deputy Minister (Human Resources-Military), followed by an appointment as Special Advisor to the Chief of the Defence Staff for Officer Professional Development.
General Dallaire is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Grand Officer of the National Order of Québec and has been awarded the United States Legion of Merit. He is also the first recipient of the Aegis Award on Genocide Prevention and the United Nations Association of Canada’s Pearson Peace Medal. His published account of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Shake Hands with the Devil – The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, has earned international recognition as well as the 2004 Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction and the “Shaughnessy Cohen Prize” for political writing awarded by the Writers’ Trust of Canada.
General Dallaire served on the Prime Minister of Canada’s Special Advisory Team to the Darfur Task. In September 2006, he was named Senior Fellow of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, in which role he very actively participates in fulfilling MIGS’ missions.