Rwandans and friends of Rwanda from the Nordic countries were joined by members of the UN and diplomatic corps in a ceremony to mark the international day of Reflection on the Genocide against the Tutsi.
The event, which was jointly organised by the Embassy of Rwanda in the Nordic countries and the United Nations Office in Denmark was held at the vast UN City complex on a peninsular outside the city of Copenhagen.
The ceremony brought together Rwandans from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland as well as Diplomats based in Copenhagen, UN officials, Government representatives, Civil Society members and friends of Rwanda.
The UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS), Ms. Grete Faremo who presided over the ceremony is a former Minister of Justice in Norway, a country that has sentenced and extradited more perpetrators of the Genocide against the Tutsi than any other country in Europe.
She said during the ceremony that “The UN and the International Community failed Rwanda, the UN response was too little, too late”. The genocide should not have happened. But it did”, she added.
The UNOPS, Regional Director for Africa, Garry Conille, who served as Prime Minister of Haiti in 2011-2012, moderated the ceremony and noted the importance of commemorating victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi, saying that in addition to its significance to survivors, commemoration “is also how we ensure that the world maintains constant vigilance.”
The Rwandan Ambassador to the Nordic countries, Venetia Sebudandi gave an account of the brutality and scope of the carnage during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. She also reflected on Rwanda’s road to recovery through home grown solutions.
“Today Rwanda is a stable and secure country and is building its economy based on a Vision that guarantees to Rwandans a prosperous future," she said.
She highlighted the important role Rwanda is playing in UN global and regional peace missions across the globe.
Ambassador Sebudandi noted that one of the biggest perils to the promise of ‘Never Again’ was the growing threat of Genocide impunity, denial and revisionism and said that while some countries have tried Genocide suspects and handed them long sentence and even extradited some to Rwanda, citing examples from Nordic countries, others have done little or nothing and have let their territories become safe havens for Genocide fugitives.
She decried the rampant denial and revisionism of the Genocide against the Tutsi - a phenomenon; she said, is increasingly surfacing and going on openly mainly in Europe and North America, in academic works and conferences and in the Medias.