Senior government officials, diplomats, civil society, the business community and friends of Rwanda gathered on Monday in Stockholm to commemorate the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
This followed similar events over the weekend involving hundreds of Rwandans in distant cities across the Nordic countries.
Speaking at the commemoration event in Stockholm, the State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ulrika Modéer, commended Rwanda’s ability to both “preserve the memory of the Genocide” while also making “tremendous efforts in reconciliation and rebuilding”.
Rwanda’s Ambassador to the Nordic countries, Christine Nkulikiyinka, warned of the dangers of the clear and growing “systematic attempt” to deny the Genocide against the Tutsi and cultivate genocide ideology.
“To counteract such attempts at denial, revisionism and genocide ideology and to systematically fight it is not the responsibility of Rwandans alone; it is the responsibility of each and every one of us,” she said while pointing to the risk of genocide occurring elsewhere if lessons from Rwanda are twisted or forgotten.
Also speaking at the commemoration was German-based Genocide survivor, author and psychotherapist, Esther Mujawayo.
Mujawayo called on the international community to ensure that what happened in Rwanda doesn’t happen elsewhere.
Other commemoration events took place in Oslo, Norway; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Tampere, Finland on Saturday, where Rwandan youths sang commemoration songs and recited poems.
A similar event primarily attended by the Rwandan community in Stockholm also took place on Saturday.
Speaking after the commemoration in Stockholm, the president of the Association of the Rwandan Community in Sweden, James Gatsinzi, said Rwandans abroad had an even bigger interest in Kwibuka (rememberance) since the majority of Genocide deniers live outside the country.
“People on the ground in Rwanda have a better understanding of the reality than those abroad. That gives us an important role in the fight against genocide ideology and denial.”
More commemoration events are planned to take place in Gothenburg—Sweden’s second city—and in Jylland and Fynn in Denmark.
Nordic countries have been at the forefront of fighting against genocide impunity in Europe with trials and convictions of Genocide suspects in Norway, Sweden and Finland.