Rwandans living in Japan were on April 7 joined by senior Japanese officials and other officials to mark the 23 commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi.
The event that was jointly organized by the Rwandan embassy in Japan and the United Nations University, was also an opportunity to observe the International Day of Reflection of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
According to a statement from the embassy, the event was officiated by Shunsuke Takei, the Japanese Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, who commended Rwanda on the reconciliation path it chose in the aftermath of the Genocide.
He said Japan continues to walk side by side and support Rwanda’s determination that it will never let genocide happen again.
“Today, Rwanda has seen a great recovery which is dubbed “the miracle of Africa” and Japanese companies are paying attention to such remarkable economic development as well as the growth potential of Rwanda” he said.
The official said that like Japan, the key to Rwanda’s economic growth is human resources and noted that Japan contributes to Rwanda’s efforts to develop industrial human resources by strengthening industrial and academic partnerships.
Addressing the mourners, Ambassador Venetia Sebudandi elaborated on the importance of remembering - to honour of the victims and pay tribute to survivors.
She said that the commemoration of the said that the genocide against the Tutsi also seek to engage the global community in the conversations on genocide and genocide prevention to raise awareness on the causes and consequences of genocide.
She recalled that the responsibility to prevent genocide should be a common duty to all humanity adding that all efforts for genocide prevention must acknowledge and combat the propagation of genocide ideology, genocide denial and revisionism.
The envoy said that the lessons of 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi have driven Rwanda’s commitment to international peace and is currently the fifth largest contributor to UN peacekeeping missions globally.
She recalled the choices Rwanda made after the 1994, citing justice, national unity and reconciliation and national healing notably through Gacaca restorative justice which aimed to deliver justice but also foster dialogue, truth and reconciliation.
The United Nations University representative, Sabine Becker Thierry paid tribute to the people of Rwanda for the strength and dignity they have shown in working towards national reconciliation and in moving beyond the traumatic events of 1994.
She said it was important to acknowledge the failure of the international community, including the United Nations in Rwanda in 1994.
She commended Rwanda for bringing innovative approaches to UN peacekeeping through the use of Umuganda which adds community work into the daily tasks of Rwandan peacekeepers and police officers deployed in increasing numbers in United Nations peace operations.
Fabien Majoro, a Rwandan PhD student at the National Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), in Tokyo made a presentation entitled: “Policies and Politics of inclusiveness in Post Genocide Rwanda: the Backbone for Quick Recovery and Reconstruction".
He showed how Post- genocide Rwanda managed to change from a failed state to its current status thanks to its policy of inclusiveness which helped ease the tensions among different social and political groups.
This, he said, facilitated the inclusion of different social and political categories in decision making organs from central level to local level hence increasing the ownership of the programs for smooth and easy implementation.
Participants included members of the Diplomatic Corps, Senior Officials from the Government of Japan and JICA, including JICA Vice President Hiroshi Kato, MPs, Friends of Rwanda, members of the Japanese civil society and business sector and a large number of Rwandans living in Japan most of whom students.