Citations to 2010 medal recipients

Ambassador Haile Menkerios – Recipient of “URUTI” Rwanda’s National Liberation Medal and “UMURINZI” Rwanda’s Campaign Against Genocide Medal From your involvement in the liberation movement of your own country, Eritrea, and your role as Permanent Representative to the United Nations, you were imbued with a keen sense of justice and national pride.
L-R : Ambassador Haile Menkerios ; Ambassador Colin Keating ; Ambassador Karel Kovanda.
L-R : Ambassador Haile Menkerios ; Ambassador Colin Keating ; Ambassador Karel Kovanda.

Ambassador Haile Menkerios – Recipient of “URUTI” Rwanda’s National Liberation Medal and “UMURINZI” Rwanda’s Campaign Against Genocide Medal

From your involvement in the liberation movement of your own country, Eritrea, and your role as Permanent Representative to the United Nations, you were imbued with a keen sense of justice and national pride.

You learned about the liberation struggle of the Rwandese Patriotic Front in 1992 while representative of Eritrea in Ethiopia, and later in Uganda.  You were deeply moved by this cause and did not hesitate to use your considerable contacts, especially in the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea to rally moral and material support for the RPF struggle. 

During and after the 1994 genocide, you became even more engaged and contributed immensely to the forging of the excellent relations that post-genocide Rwanda enjoyed with Ethiopia and Eritrea, and the invaluable support that Rwanda received from these two countries in our efforts to establish stability and to rebuild.

You continue to use your experience and knowledge of issues affecting the African continent in a distinguished diplomatic career that has included serving as UN representative in the Democratic Republic of Congo and currently as special representative for Sudan.

For your dedicated support during our difficult moments, your resolute friendship, your relentless efforts to fight genocide ideology, and your enduring spirit of African solidarity, we Rwandans will always be grateful to you.
And so today, in a special tribute, as President of the Republic of Rwanda, by virtue of the authority vested in me, I do hereby award you, Ambassador Haile Menkerios, “URUTI”, Rwanda’s National Liberation Medal and “UMURINZI”, Rwanda’s Campaign Against Genocide Medal.


Ambassador Colin Keating: “UMURINZI” Rwanda’s Campaign Against Genocide Medal

In you, the New Zealand nation has found an exemplary envoy. With an unparalleled sense of duty, you served your country as Legal Adviser of the Foreign Ministry and as Deputy Secretary of the Ministry.

The Genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda coincided with the peak of your diplomatic career. As your country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations between 1993 and 1996, you served on the Security Council in 1993 and 1994; presiding over this Council during the genocide in 1994.

During this moment of crisis, you availed yourself and members of your mission to representatives of the Rwandese Patriotic Front and listened to their version of the situation, in the interest of gathering information from diverse sources of objective accounts of what was really unfolding in Rwanda.   

You lent your voice to other lone and courageous voices that were indignant about the deafening silence of the then Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the United Nations. You were vocal in your disapproval of the French-led Operation Turquoise.

Your continued involvement with the United Nations, where you work as the head of the Security Council Report, is as a compelling illustration of your enduring sense of service to the international community.

Your true love for this country and its people has driven you to talk about Rwanda’s experience in many international forums. In return, we Rwandans count you amongst our true friends and will always be grateful for your vigilance and unwavering pursuit of justice.

And so today, in special recognition of your invaluable contribution, I, Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, by virtue of the authority vested in me, do hereby award you, Ambassador Colin Keating, “UMURINZI”, Rwanda’s Campaign Against Genocide Medal.

Ambassador Karel Kovanda – recipient of UMURINZI” Rwanda’s Campaign against Genocide Medal

As the Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations and President of the Security Council, you worked tirelessly to bring the attention of the world to the genocide that was taking place in Rwanda

You confronted the Security Council with the horrors of what was happening in Rwanda and pointed out that it was genocide being perpetrated against the Tutsi and not civil war as was being portrayed by the UN Secretary General.

Drawing on your own experience of your father’s family that perished in the Holocaust, you told the Security Council that the suggestion that the Rwandese Patriotic Front should negotiate a cease-fire with the government that was carrying out the genocide was like asking Hitler to reach a cease-fire with the Jews.

You expressed frustration at having to sit in Security Council meetings to discuss Rwanda, where no action was ever contemplated to help the Tutsis who were being exterminated. You were distressed at having to learn the truth of what was happening in Rwanda from human rights organizations in New York, and not the UN Secretariat, which had chosen to deny that what was happening in Rwanda was genocide.

Convinced by your tireless efforts, your country led other UN members to exert pressure on the Secretary General, which resulted in the Security Council adopting a statement using the genocide convention to describe what was happening in Rwanda as genocide.

Your keen vigilance, commitment and drive to stop the genocide in the face of powerful resistance will always be remembered by the people of Rwanda.

And so today, in a special tribute to you, I, Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, by the virtue of the authority vested in me, do hereby award you Ambassador Karel Kovanda “UMURINZI”, Rwanda’s Campaign Against Genocide Medal.

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