The Rwanda Police peacekeepers serving under the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (Minustah) joined their comrades, on Monday, to pay homage to over a million lives lost in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi as the country kicked off 100 days of mourning.
The Rwandan peacekeepers were joined by counterparts from other countries serving in the Caribbean nation, Haitian National Police, national leaders and clerics to mark the 20th Genocide anniversary.
The commemoration started with a Walk to Remember. A moment of silence was also observed in respect for those who perished in the Genocide.
Chief Superintendent Peter Hodari, the Rwanda Formed Police Unit (FPU) contingent commander, thanked all those who turned up to join Rwandans to remember the victims of the pogrom.
“We gather here today to pay homage to the victims of the Genocide and to also pledge solidarity with and comfort the survivors,” Chief Supt. Hodari said.
He said Rwandans had moved on, despite the horror, discarded the past bad politics and are now united for a common goal.
Hodari outlined infrastructure, education, health, investment, unity and reconciliation, energy, agriculture, good governance as areas where the country has made tremendous progress in the past 20 years.
Chief Supt. Hodari also handed over a portrait of late Capt. Digne Mbaye, a Senegalese soldier who was killed during the Genocide, to the Senegal Formed Police Unit contingent commander, Lt. Col. Magatte Mbaye, for his selfless courage and efforts to save the Tutsi.
Capt. Mbaye, who was serving under the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (Unamir) in 1994, was killed by the Interahamwe while trying to save some Tutsi.
Ba Fatoumata, the Chief Regional Officer, who represented Minustah, thanked Rwanda for her contribution to peacekeeping operations across the world.
“Everyone has a responsibility to speak out in the face of genocide, anti-Semitism, bigotry, hatred, racism, intolerance or discrimination,” Fatoumata stated.
Currently, there are 140 Rwanda Police officers in Haiti, who include 14 females.
The commemoration ended with a documentary film on Genocide. The 20th Genocide commemoration is being held under the theme, “Remember, Unit, Renew.”