The Rwandan Diaspora in Denmark held a memorial ceremony on 11th April, 2010 to remember victims of the 1994 Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi.
The event took place in the city of Copenhagen and was attended by the Rwandans, Danish, Burundians, Tanzanians, Ugandans and Kenyans.
In his opening speech, the President of the Rwandan Diaspora in Denmark, Mr. Ibrahim Hakizimfura, thanked Rwandese and friends of Rwanda for giving value the spirit of remembering the victims who perished in 1994.
He condemned the International community for abandoning Rwandese, during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi that left over a million Rwandans dead. He added that the international community would have acted during that period, but instead turned away.
He continued to say that despite the problems Rwanda has gone through, during the last sixteen years, its people have managed to rebuild the country both in socio-economic development and building strong institutions that meet today’s challenges.
During this event, commemoration songs and poems featuring Genocide were performed by the youth.
Documentary films were shown among them are the; 'Secret of thousand hills' and 'The Human Cost-Three women who survived Rwanda's 1994 Genocide share experiences'.
Other people who attended was the 1st runner-up Miss Africa Denmark 2009, Betty Kandindima. She was born in Zambia but now lives in Copenhagen. She is a student at the Copenhagen Business School.
On behalf of the organization, Betty gave a presentation on the Miss African Denmark, its aims and objectives. She said that Miss Africa Denmark is an organization that supports developmental projects in Africa.
Kandindima explained that the Medical students Mental Health Association (MMHA) a Rwandan association, developed a project based on their experiences with in the field of Mental Health cases.
MMHA being responsible for implementation of the project was funded by Miss Africa Denmark as an empowerment based project due to trauma cases and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) that were high due to the war and genocide that occurred in Rwanda.
Also present was Jacob Crawfurd, who is one of the organizers of Miss Africa Denmark. Jacob was awarded with the title "African ambassador of the year in Denmark 2008" by the initiative: Celebrate Africa - African Achievement Awards.
Dusingizemungu Jean Pierre, a Commissioner at the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) came to Denmark to join Rwandese for the commemoration.
He thanked Rwandese and friends of Rwanda for their support and courage in joining the rest of Rwandese worldwide to remember for their loved ones who perished in the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi.
The Commissioner said that the country is still dealing with the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among Rwandans. That despite such case, the country tries to help those affected.
He added that the people suffering from trauma are mostly victims of sexual harassment and other forms of mental illness.
Dusingizemungu requested Rwandese to keep up the spirit of unity, promote culture and love for their country.
Also present during this event was Rwanda’s Ambassador to Nordic countries, Mrs. Jacqueline Mukangira, who was the guest of honor.
She thanked the Rwandan Diaspora in Denmark and friends of Rwanda who turned up for the commemoration.
The Ambassador said that the Genocide in Rwanda is described as the most effective of the 20th century.
Besides destroying economic and social structures, most of the population experienced violence, death and abuse.
She gave an update on Rwanda’s current situation and what the country has achieved in the last 16 years.
”We first set about rebuilding the social fibre that held Rwanda together before the introduction of genocide ideology.
“We embarked on a national unity and reconciliation drive, and a home-made restorative justice system that has attracted international interest as a solution in post conflict situations.” she said.
The Ambassador also highlighted some of the challenges:
”For each family coming out of poverty, another one is just starting the journey. For each Genocide trial completed in Rwanda, there is a Genocide perpetrator roaming relatively free in a certain corner of the World”.
In spite of these challenges, she said, “Rwandans have demonstrated that catastrophic tragedy is not a guarantee for perpetual human failure”.