Over 300 mourners last week on Friday gathered in New York at the UN headquarters to mark the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda as well as commemorating the Genocide.
The event was organised by the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Rwanda to the UN in partnership with the UN Department of Public Information.
Participants included the Rwandan Community in New York as well as Rwandan’s from out of state as well as Permanent Missions to the UN and UN Staff from its various agencies.
The commemoration event featured remarks by UN Secretary General António Guterres, President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajčák, and Permanent Representative of Mali to the UN.
Addressing mourners, Guterres acknowledged the suffering of the survivors of the Genocide against the Tutsi and commended Rwanda as a whole for steps towards reconciliation.
The President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajčák urged the international community to always ensure that people come first. “Not procedures. Not bureaucracy. Not politics. But people.’
In her remarks Ambassador Rugwabiza commended Secretary General Guterres for being the first UN Secretary-General of the since 1994 to name the targeted group and victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi during Kwibuka23.
She further noted the significance of this year’s commemoration, being the first commemoration held after the adoption of the UN decision (A/72/L.31)which established April 7 as the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
Ambassador Rugwabiza drew attention to the worrying trend of reduced sentences and early release of genocide masterminds at the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunal, which she said is done in dubious circumstances.
The mechanism took over the work left by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
“Rwanda’s resolve and commitment to accountability is relentless; our commitment to unity and reconciliation is irreversible,” she told those who deny and disparage the Genocide against the Tutsi.
She also paid tribute to the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) for their courage to stop the Genocide and their active engagement in global peacekeeping and the protection of civilians.