NYARUGENGE - Rwanda through its National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), last Friday, won an international peace award from the United Religions Initiative (URI).
The award was in recognition of NURC’s outstanding work in promoting peace, unity, harmony, healing, and reconciliation and for opening a new chapter of peaceful coexistence in Rwanda since 1994.
URI aims at promoting enduring daily interfaith cooperation around the world to end religiously motivated violence and to create a culture of peace and justice.
Prime Minister Bernard Makuza received the award on behalf of Rwandans, Friday at Kigali Serena Hotel, from URI Africa Regional Director, Ambassador Mussie Hailu, at a function to mark the end of the Unity and Reconciliation Week.
Handing over the award, Hailu said that work is most powerful when it is done by a team and that it is very important to engage more religions and faith-based organisations in promoting reconciliation.
“To create peace, harmony, unity, reconciliation and a better future for all Rwandans, is not something which we can leave only to government and NURC. It must also be a concern of different religious and faith leaders. Different religions have a major role to play in the process of healing the wounded and building trust,” he said.
Hailu pointed out that Rwanda’s reconciliation and reconstruction efforts since 1994 had been a tale of courage of the leadership of the government and the people of Rwanda.
“I take this opportunity to thank the United Nations for declaring 2009 as an international year of reconciliation and call upon the UN to organise the reconciliation summit in partnership with government and the NURC here in Rwanda,” said Hailu, who is also representative of URI at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
“In the past 14 years, the government and people of Rwanda have an impressive record of achievement in promoting a culture of peace, healing, reconciliation and creating a new basis for the rule of law and putting to a halt the culture of impunity that climaxed in the 1994 Tutsi Genocide,” he added.
Makuza hailed Ambassador Hailu and URI Africa office for the honour bestowed upon the people of Rwanda and he acknowledged the work of the organisation.
He also expressed commitment by government to work closely in promoting unity and reconciliation in the country.
“This is an achievement for all Rwandans and we should be proud of it. Rwanda is a role model to the world in the process of reconciliation,” he proudly said.
Jean Baptiste Habyarimana, President of the Commission also thanked URI for the award and acknowledged Hailu for working closely with the commission for many years in promoting Unity and Reconciliation in Rwanda.
“I also thank each individual who has taken it upon himself to promote unity and reconciliation,” he said.