Listening to the touching stories of the genocide survivors and looking at the smiles on their faces, one admires their courage and resoluteness to overcome the legacy of the genocide, the UN Resident Coordinator Lamin M. Manneh said.
He made the remarks at a recent event by the One UN Rwanda family to commemorate the memory of fallen staff that lost their lives during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The event, which took place at the UNDP compound in Kigali’s Central Business District, was attended by approximately 300 guests, including senior government officials, representatives of National Security Organs, family members of fallen UN staff, current UN agencies’ staff, representatives of the Private Sector, CSOs and the media.
Speaking at the event, Manneh was moved to tears while addressing Genocide survivors in general, and surviving family members of UN staff slain during the senseless killing.
“Whenever I listen to the touching stories of the genocide survivors and look at the smiles on the faces, I admire their courage and resoluteness to overcome the legacy of the genocide, to overcome despair and contribute to the development of the country. You are our heroes,” he said.
He paid tribute to the fallen staff, saying that their memory will live on forever, and the UN family will always stand beside the families of the dearly departed.
“They left us when their organisation, their families, their country and friends still needed them. Their untimely passing away in such a tragic way was and is still a big shock to all of us. We will always remember them, their courage, their love and care, and their commitment and dedication to the work of the United Nations.”
Dr. Jean Damascene Gasanabo, Director General of Research and Documentation Center on Genocide, standing in for the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), on his part praised the One UN Rwanda family for “indispensable assistance” rendered to the Government as the country strives for sustainable development.
“Since those horrific 100 days, Rwanda has made incredible progress thanks also to the indispensable assistance of the UN, especially the UN Development Programme. This progress is dependent on constant improvement in fields as diverse as education, healthcare, economic development, and the promotion of gender equality,” Dr. Gasanabo said.
“With this support, Rwanda h largely achieved the Millennium Development Goals and its own Vision 2020 goals, and is ready to work towards the milestones laid out by their successors, the Sustainable Development Goals and Vision 2050 goals, respectively.”
The families of the fallen staff were thereafter hosted to refreshments and given a private screening of a video produced by the UN Rwanda in order to document the lives and times of the fallen staff members, as the start of a wider project to meticulously document the history of what happened and why, in order to ensure that Genocide never again happens in Rwanda.