UN staff pay tribute to Ntarama Genocide victims

Staff members from all the United Nations agencies working in Rwanda yesterday paid tribute to the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi who were killed at Ntarama in Bugesera district.

Staff members from all the United Nations agencies working in Rwanda yesterday paid tribute to the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi who were killed at Ntarama in Bugesera district.

The memorial site which is the former Ntarama Catholic Church is home to remains of over 5, 000 Tutsis who had sought refuge at the House of God, only to be massacred.

At the site, the One UN staff members were taken through a brief history of Ntarama and Bugesera district before and during the Genocide.

According to a guide, Bugesera had been designated as a place to dump the Tutsi and they used to be ferried from different parts of the country, which explains the big number of Tutsi who resided there in 1994.

Women were raped inside the church before being killed, babies were smashed on the wall in the Sunday school church and grenades were hurled through the windows by the Interahamwe militias on the night of April 15 1994.

Speaking on behalf of the members, the president of the Federation of the United Nations Staff Association (FUNSA), Pacifique Ruti said that what happened was failure of humanity.

“The prayer by all of us is that all children who are growing up now, live in a safer place. Our wish is that this never happens again, not only in Rwanda, but in the whole world,” said Ruti.

He also encouraged his colleagues to always strive for peace as international civil servants and to spread the message of hope.

After visiting the site, they made a stopover at Amizero, an association of child-headed families who live in a nearby orphans’ community, where they extended financial and material assistance.

On behalf of the association, the president, Eric Bazimya said that in the last four years, they have lived in the community, they had been able to gain experience in dealing with their problems.

He highlighted the need for more income generating projects to help them in development alongside the ones they have which are currently not doing well due to lack of financing.

The community is made up of 38 families and has a total of 97 members most of whom still in school.

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