On Friday, staff members of One UN Rwanda held an event to commemorate their 64 colleagues killed in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi as well as the other victims of the 100-day killing spree.
The event, held at the UNDP compound in Kiyovu, Kigali, was also attended by families of the deceased former staff, government officials, and members of the diplomatic corps accredited to Rwanda.
The UN Resident Coordinator, Fodé Ndiaye, reiterated her organisation’s commitment to support families of UN staff that were killed during the Genocide, saying they recently launched a fund ‘within the UN family’ in Rwanda to support the survivors.
“Our loved ones will always be in our hearts. And what it takes for the UN to be supportive to those family members and survivors of the Genocide, we will keep doing it,” he said.
The UN envoy spoke of the failure of the international community in preventing the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and thanked the bravery of a few of UN peacekeepers deployed to Rwanda at the time, such as Senegalese Captain Mbaye Diagne, who rescued hundreds of Tutsi and paid that with his life.
“Remembering is a responsibility by all of us and by remembering we want to stand with the survivors of Genocide against the Tutsi and to tell them that they are not alone because we understand the suffering they have gone through,” he added.
Ndiaye also called on the international community to act on the situation in Myanmar, Syria and parts of Africa that are experiencing violence.
Diane Uwacu, a daughter of a UN staffer who was killed during the Genocide, narrated how her father was taken from them by the Interahamwe militia in Gacuriro and killed from Nyarutarama.
She said his body was recovered ten years after the Genocide after one of the attackers confessed.
Egide Nkuranga, the vice president of Ibuka, the umbrella for Genocide survivors, also cited the UN failure to save the lives of the more than a million people that were killed during the Genocide against the Tutsi.
“The Genocide had been prepared for a long time prior to 1994, it all too clear that Tutsi were about to be killed. The UN Secretary General at the time (Egyptian Boutros Boutros-Ghali) was being manipulated by France which was at the same time funding the genocidal regime,” he said
Nkuranga noted that “genocide cannot happen without the help of government and a powerful country.”
He also called on UN to learn from the mistakes they committed in Rwanda to avoid similar atrocities anywhere else in the future.
He thanked the UN for adopting a resolution that sought to end ambiguity as to who were the targets of the Genocide, resulting in the explicit reference to the observance of the tragedy as the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.