Activities to mark the 25th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi kicked off in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, with a Symposium that attracted over 200 participants, mainly diplomats.
The Symposium that took place on Monday, was held around the theme; “Preserving Memory, Upholding Humanity” with different speakers from Rwanda and beyond.
Among the speakers, according to a statement from the Rwandan mission in Addis, included the Acting CEO of Rwanda Governance Board, Dr Usta Kaitesi and Tom Ndahiro, a genocide scholar.
Besides Rwandans, diplomats accredited to the African Union and Friends of Rwanda, the event was also attended by faculty members of academic institutions based in Addis Ababa.
“The commemoration period is always an opportune moment to pay homage to the victims and call for greater awareness and cooperation with the international community in its responsibility to prevent Genocide on the continent and beyond by fighting denial and impunity,” said Hope Tumukunde Gasatura, Rwanda's permanent representative to the African Union in her keynote speech.
The event featured two panel discussions, with the first panel emphasising the preservation of Genocide memory with focus on cooperation and the responsibility in fighting impunity and genocide denial.
“Panelists stressed that international cooperation is very critical in fighting impunity and denial, and that AU Member states ought to strengthen their national human rights institutions and fight against hate speech,” reads part of the statement.
The second panel focused more on the role of the youth in transforming their society.
“Using the example of Rwanda’s reconstruction, participants converged on the inclusion of youth as a key prerequisite in the process of rebuilding destroyed communities,” it says.
Meanwhile, in show of African solidarity, participants observed a minute of silence to honor the victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi, as well as the victims of Idai cyclone and the Fulani villagers killed recently in Mali.
In Rwanda, commemoration activities will officially begin on April 7 while related events have been ongoing since the beginning of this month, to honour the over one million people killed in the Genocide.
In Ethiopia, more commemoration activities are lined up.
On April 7, the AU will observe a day of Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda. Other activities include an open session of the AU’s Peace and Security Council, a Walk to Remember and a Kwibuka 25 exhibition, according to the statement.