The President of Central African Republic (CAR), Faustin Archange Touadera, on Saturday joined the Rwandan peacekeepers and members of the Rwandan community in his country in activities to mark the 24th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
In his commemoration message delivered by the Prime Minister Patrice Sarandji, President Touadera, who lit the Flame of Remembrance and laid wreath in honour of over a million innocent lives killed in a period of one hundred days, said that “this is an example of the failure of the international community.”
“Every time we meet here to remember, our memories are refreshed by the failures of the international community in Rwanda in 1994. We also look back and imagine what could have happened if peacekeepers in our country [CAR] decided to abandon us… we would also be in the same situation as Rwanda,” Sarandji said.
He thanked the Rwandan peacekeepers for their role in restoring peace and security in CAR.
He further called for teamwork of all peacekeepers under the UN Mission, MINUSCA, and said that his country will always remember those that perished and be part of efforts to ensure that such never happens again.
The commemoration was also attended by the President of the National Assembly and the cabinet of CAR, MINUSCA Force Commander and Police Commissioner, peacekeepers from other countries as well as the Rwandan community in CAR.
The Deputy Representative of the UN-Secretary General to MINUSCA, Kenneth Gluck, said that despite the tragic history, Rwanda managed to rise against all odds, guided by her spirit of unity.
In South Sudan, hundreds of friends of Rwanda and peacekeepers from other countries joined the Rwandan Police and military peacekeepers and Rwandans Diaspora there in a commemoration event held in the capital Juba.
The Minister for Information, Sports and Culture for South Sudan, Salah Rajab Bunduki, thanked the Rwandan leadership for rebuilding the country after the Genocide.
Bunduki noted that “we learn from Rwanda’s unity and reconciliation.”
Jules Uwimana, the Chairperson of the Rwandan Community in South Sudan, spoke about the bad politics that cultivate seeds of hatred, which made the Genocide inevitable.
“The determination to prevent the Genocide from happening again in any part of the world should be commonly shared and become a reality. Since genocide is a crime against humanity, its prevention goes with the apprehension of Genocide perpetrators and fighting denial in all states on the planet. Any support or provision of hideout to Genocide ideologists compromises the worlds’ determination to fight it,” Uwimana said.
He added: “The Rwandan success story of unity and reconciliation between the victims and perpetrators; and the quasi impossible cohabitation that has become an old story should serve as a lesson for everybody that no single act of divisionism can succeed without the support of leadership.”
The commemoration in South Sudan was also attended by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, David Shearer; UNMISS Force Commander Lt Gen. Frank Mushyo Kamanzi, heads and representatives of the diplomatic missions, and residents of South Sudan, among others.
Similar commemoration activities were also held in Malakal, Upper Nile in South Sudan; and in Darfur, Sudan [UNAMID] and other parts of the two countries where other Rwandan peacekeepers are deployed.
In the Caribbean country, the Rwanda Formed Police Unit (FPU) serving under the United Nation Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) was joined at its base camp in Jeremie by UN staff headed by the Deputy SRSG, who saluted the commitment of Rwandan leadership in uniting its citizenry, which is “a cornerstone in the country’s development”.
Rwandan community members, government officials and residents of Jeremie joined the peacekeepers to remember.
In all missions, a minute of silence was observed to pay tribute to Genocide victims; a flame of remembrance was lit and while participants also engaged in a ‘Walk to Remember’.