Rwanda has chosen to focus on things that unite its people, the country’s envoy to India told a gathering in the capital, New Delhi, while paying homage to the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Ernest Rwamucyo, Rwanda’s High Commissioner to India, said Rwanda is determined to uproot the history of bad governance, discrimination, the culture of impunity, hatred and bigotry which laid the foundation for the Genocide and tore Rwandan society apart.
“We have chosen to focus on things that unite Rwandans, which far outweigh any differences, real or perceived. The history of the country focused on fomenting differences, even where they didn’t exist,” Rwamucyo said.
“Rwandans share one language, one culture, same values and norms with a long history of peaceful and harmonious co-existence. These are powerful assets that we want to nature and reclaim our true Rwandan identity.”
Rwandans living in New Delhi, members of the diplomatic corps, Indian government officials, members of the business community, civil society, think tanks and friends of Rwanda attended the memorial event on Tuesday, marking the 23rd commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi.
While remembering the past, the envoy said, Rwanda is firmly focused on the future.
Over the last 23 years, the country’s leadership worked to rebuild a new country anchored on peace, stability, national unity and reconciliation, democracy, good governance and economic prosperity.
Rwanda is being transformed from almost a failed state in the immediate aftermath of the genocide; to a modern efficient state, Rwamucyo said.
“The country is experiencing social, economic and political transformation and has been regularly cited as a model for successful post-genocide nation-building.”
The envoy also reminded the world that it is “our individual and collective responsibility” to speak out against genocide.
“We all have a responsibility to speak out in the face of genocide, anti-Semitism, bigotry, hatred, racism, intolerance or discrimination. These crimes know no boundaries,” Rwamucyo said.
Prayers at the memorial were led by Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro, Apostolic Nuncio to India.
A statement from the Rwandan High Commission in India says Amb. Alem Tsehaye Woldemariam, the Ambassador of Eritrea in India, who is also the Dean of the African Heads of Mission commended Rwandans for their resilience and called upon the international community to fight, together, against Genocide ideology.
Hans Dennberg Castellanos, Ambassador of the Dominican Republic and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps said: “I remember 1994 and the Genocide against the Tutsi; I was finishing my studies and was seeing the images on the news of what was happening to a country far away we did not know.”
The Government of India was represented by Dr. Neena Malhotra, Joint Secretary East and Southern Africa, Ministry of External Affairs.
Dr Malhotra commended the tremendous progress Rwanda has achieved in the past two decades.
She said: “Rwanda has been able to achieve a lot using home grown solutions, in the justice with Gacaca, in economic and social development with Girinka, and in protecting the environment with Umuganda.”
In India, events marking the 23rd Commemoration of the Genocide are being held in different cities across the country where a large number of Rwandans are located.