Young people across the country must work hard to build on the prevailing peace and stability in the country to ensure that future generations live happier and in a more stable environment.
The message was delivered, yesterday, to about 300 youths from across the country who gathered at Parliament Buildings in Kigali to celebrate the International Day of Peace.
Officials who addressed the youth included retired Anglican Bishop John Rucyahana, who is the president of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC); MP François Byabarumwanzi, who heads the parliamentary Standing Committee on Unity, Human Rights and Fight Against Genocide; as well as Johnson Mugaga, acting executive secretary of NURC.
Participants spoke of Rwanda’s recovery from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and recent gains in peace and security.
However, experts say continuous efforts are needed to further foster peace and reconciliation in the country, especially among the youth who need build a united future without violence.
“Young people in Rwanda are the ones who will make sure that the country continues to be peaceful and that everyone continues to live in dignity,” Bishop Rucyahana said.
Officials at NURC said celebrating the Day of Peace provides an important opportunity for individuals, organisations, and nations to create practical acts of peace.
“It is a day for all people to come together in a spirit of hope and possibilities with a unifying spirit of peace and unity,” said Mugaga.
During discussions at Parliament Buildings, the youths were given the opportunity to share their experiences in peace building.
Monicah Kayesu, a student of the University of Rwanda, told fellow youth that everyone needed to create peace within their hearts and live in peace with their neighbours.
What people say about peace in Rwanda
Fr. Vincent Gasana, National Secretary of the Catholic Church’s justice and peace commission in Rwanda.
‘Generally, there is peace in the country because people are safe. But there is more to physical security: our young people need to have jobs if we are to feel safe. We need to do everything we can to create jobs in the country.
Jordan Ganzo, student.
‘We still need to heal scars that Rwandans have from their past history of Genocide and ethnic discrimination. It’s good that there are healing and reconciliation programmes such as the ‘Ndi Umunyarwanda’ campaign. We need to maintain such programmes to create more peace for our communities.’
Ismail Bayingana, Law student at Kigali Independent University.
‘The youth need to get involved in peace promotion activities because we need to correct the bad history of our country, which was marked by ethnic-based discrimination.’
Olive Josiane Muhimpundu, youth leader in Musanze District.
‘Today, people need to look at palpable things that are good for their wellbeing. It’s good that most young people today are focused on development instead of ethnic conflicts that destroyed our country in the past.’
Albert Nzamukwereka, co-founder and vice-president of Never Again Rwanda.
‘We need to make investments in the youth to ensure that the future sees greater peace.’
MP François Byabarumwanzi, head of the parliamentary standing Committee on Unity, Human Rights and fight against Genocide.
‘I am happy to see that young people in the country are involved in peace building activities. This gives us hope that the country will continue to be peaceful in the future. When young people talk about peace, it really gives you confidence that bad ideas of ethnic-based divisionism that marked many Rwandans in the past will be rejected.’
Monicah Kayesu, BBA student at the University of Rwanda.
‘When you don’t have peace, you always feel lonely and you feel that you don’t fit in the society. The challenge right now is to change ideas towards peace.
Peace is not something you get overnight but we have to make steps to talk to our neighbours to make peace with them.’