STOCKHOLM– Hundreds of Rwandans, government officials, parliamentarians, members of the business community, civil society and friends of Rwanda on Tuesday observed the 24th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi at an international event held in the Swedish capital Stockholm.
Speaking on behalf of the Swedish government at the commemoration in Stockholm, the State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Urlika Modéer lauded Rwanda’s post-Genocide reconstruction as well as the various peace building efforts that the country has undertaken.
Citing a 90s study that had found widespread ignorance among young Swedes on the holocaust—with a substantial number believing the holocaust had never happened—Modéer underlined the need for remembrance and documentation.
Rwanda’s envoy to the Nordic Countries, Ambassador Christine Nkulikiyinka, stressed the importance of preserving proof of the Genocide against the Tutsi.
“If we don’t keep the evidence, we will at a certain point also not remember any more. That could be fatal, eventually paving the way for another genocide.”, she said.
As we remember, we should also insist on factual records. A failure to observe that plays into the hands of Genocide deniers and desecrates the memory of the victims.
“Each of the victims had a face, a name, a family, dreams that they were not allowed to realise. Over one million individual personalities, one million stories, and histories. If we were to observe a minute of silence for each victim, we would be silent for almost two years” she said
Former national football and Rayon Sports goalkeeper, Eric Murangwa Eugene—who was recently awarded an MBE by the Queen of England—testified about his survival during the Genocide and his current work in peace building.
On Saturday April 7, Genocide commemoration events were also held by Rwandan communities in various cities across Nordic Countries: in Stockholm, Helsinki (Finland), Oslo (Norway) as well as Copenhagen and Viborg (Denmark).
The commemorations in Stockholm also featured an exhibition on the Genocide and its aftermath which was well-received and appreciated by the invitees.