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Rwandans in Switzerland, Austria celebrate Liberation Day

Diplomats, members of international organisations based in Geneva and friends of Rwanda on Monday, July 6, joined the Rwandan Community in Switzerland and Austria in celebrating the 26th anniversary of Rwanda’s Liberation.

The celebration was held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.


It was preceded by a virtual discussion held earlier on Sunday with the Rwandan community, mainly the youth, from across Europe and Dr. Vincent Biruta, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Rosemary Mbabazi, Minister of Youth and Culture as well as James Kabarebe, Senior Presidential Adviser on security matters.


It was the first time that such a joint event celebrating Rwanda Liberation Day was organised by all Rwandan Embassies in Europe.


During the discussion, the senior government officials shared with youth their personal experiences, history of the Liberation struggle and Rwanda's achievements in the last 26 years.

They reminded youth in diaspora to prepare themselves enough to become the future leaders the country needs and to uphold Rwandan values.

In Switzerland, the celebration continued on Monday through an exciting virtual event organised by the Embassy of Rwanda to Switzerland and the Permanent Mission to the United Nations Office in Geneva.

The celebration in Geneva was opened by singing the national anthem followed by a short video showcasing tourist attractions in Rwanda.

In her statement, Amb. Marie-Chantal Rwakazina, Rwanda's envoy to Switzerland and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva, paid tribute to the brave Rwandan men and women, led by President Paul Kagame, who stopped the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

She also expressed the government of Rwanda’s "sincere gratitude" to friends of Rwanda for their invaluable support during the Rwanda liberation struggle.

Rwakazina underlined that the war to liberate the country was launched to find a lasting solution to the culmination of three decades of bankruptcy in governance interspersed with the promotion of sectarianism and genocidal ideologies encouraged by the ethnic polarization inherited from colonization.

The latter, she said, resulted in a political orientation unable to find a solution to the problem of the refugees who had to leave their native country to save their lives, following the violence which preceded and followed the independence of Rwanda in 1962.

“For the past 26 years, the country has embarked on the difficult path of rebuilding a nation worthy of the Rwandan people," Rwakazina said. 

"We take advantage of this celebration to recognize and appreciate once again the tenacity and commitment shown by the Rwandans by working hand in hand.”

Rwakazina shared a number of registered achievements in the last 26 years, underscoring that there is still much more to be done to sustain them, taking into account the unprecedented challenges caused by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. 

Yves Cyaka, President of Rwandan Diaspora in Switzerland expressed satisfaction in the manner in which two celebrations were organized and especially the level of participation by Rwandan youth which he believes to be a significant step in the mobilization of the young generation to contribute in the development of their motherland.

The second part of the celebration was devoted to testimonies from members of the Rwandan Community of Austria and Switzerland on what Liberation of Rwanda means to them.

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