Kwibuka25: Canada recognises April 7 as day of reflection on Genocide against Tutsi

More than 200 Rwandans living in Canada took part in a Walk to Remember that started from Parliament Hill to the Canadian War Museum on April 7, 2019. Courtesy.

Canadian Parliament on Monday unanimously adopted a motion designating April 7 as the International Day of reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

The date marks the day when the Genocide against the Tutsi was set in motion by an extremist regime – the killings would last for 100 days claiming more than a million lives in the process.

The motion was moved by Robert Oliphant, a member of the Canadian House of Commons, who was in Rwanda last month “and saw the tremendous healing and reconciliation that has taken place over the last 25 years since the horrendous genocide against the Tutsi.”

Survivors have welcomed the move.

Egide Mutabazi, 43, said: “This is very good; to see that the world is getting to understand the importance of commemorating the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.”

Grace Usanase, a student, said: “As someone who survived the Genocide while I was still very young I feel that this is a great step forward in efforts to get the world to know the evil that befell Rwanda.”

She added: “Other countries should do the same.”

Last month, Oliphant visited Rwanda, along with other Canadian lawmakers. The delegates visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial where they paid tribute to the more than 250,000 victims interred there and all the other Genocide victims buried at sites across the country.

“Today, I had the honour of receiving unanimous consent in the House of Commons for my motion commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda and to formally designate April 7th as the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda,” Oliphant posted on his Facebook page after his motion was adopted.

“When I asked one Rwandan about the future of Rwanda, acknowledging the painful past and the difficult present, he said, ‘The hope inside us is bigger than you can imagine.’ Indeed, I left with great hope for a wonderful future for this beautiful country.”

Passing the motion means that Canada’s House of Commons will always commemorate the Genocide against the Tutsi.

In 2013, the Canadian city of Toronto dedicated April 7 for marking the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

In December 2003, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution designating April 7 as the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide and encouraged Member States, organizations of the UN system and other relevant international organizations, as well as civil society organisations, to observe the International Day, in memory of the victims of the genocide.

Last January, the UN made an amendment on the title of the annual observance, designating April 7 as the International Day of reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com