The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, has urged leaders to emulate President Paul Kagame, whose leadership steered Rwanda from a tragic genocide to socio-economic development and democracy.
Ban was addressing journalists yesterday after holding talks with Kagame at the Presidency, ahead of today’s 20th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“I highly commend the leadership of President Kagame for delivering Rwanda from such a tragic genocide and making it a shining example of socio-economic development,” he said.
“These are examples that should be emulated by other countries as we aspire to protect and preserve human rights of all people. However, drawing lessons is not enough, translating them into action is what matters. This is what I am committed to as UN Secretary General,” he added.
President Kagame told journalists that Ban Ki-moon’s presence in Rwanda during the 20th Genocide commemoration is an indication of how UN supported the country after the 1994 Genocide.
“It is of great significance to have the UN Secretary General here. It underscores the partnerships that we can forge globally in dealing with tragedies like the Genocide we witnessed here in Rwanda,” Kagame said.
“Ban Ki-moon has been here a couple of times before but this has its own special significance. He is here to join Rwandans who suffered from the pogrom and render his and the UN’s support,” he added.
Ban highlighted that despite lessons from Rwanda, genocides and war crimes continue to be committed. He urged the international community to strengthen the stance against atrocities.
“We have learnt the tragic lessons from the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda and we have all agreed that ‘never again,’” he said.
“I visited Central Africa Republic and the situation there is worrying. We have to save the lives of women, children and everyone regardless of their beliefs, age and sex. I hope that the Security Council will take action as soon as possible on my recommendations to establish peacekeeping operations in Central Africa,” he said.
The UN chief also commended Rwanda for its contribution to peace keeping efforts in South Sudan by contributing the largest contingent of peacekeepers to the UN Mission there.