Obama, Ki-moon pay tribute to Rwandans

The United States President Barack Obama yesterday honoured the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and commended Rwandans for their “resilience.”
US President Barack Obama and UN  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Net photo
US President Barack Obama and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Net photo

The United States President Barack Obama yesterday honoured the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and commended Rwandans for their “resilience.”

“Nineteen years ago, Rwanda was torn apart by a great evil. Today, we stand with the people of Rwanda to commemorate the Rwandan Genocide. We honour the victims, and we express our solidarity with the survivors,” Obama said in a statement.

Today, the statement added, as US grieves with the Rwandan people at this moment of remembrance, we are inspired by their spirit as they build a more peaceful and prosperous tomorrow.

“We look with you to the future and renew our commitment to human rights and the rule of law, to the protection of the vulnerable, and to the prevention of atrocities so that such evil is never repeated.”

His message was echoed by the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, who praised Rwanda’s resilience in overcoming the 1994 tragedy.

“We mourn with you not only for the lives lost, but for the families torn apart, and for the survivors of the Genocide who continue to live with their grief to this day,” Kerry said in a separate statement.

In his message, Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, said UN has made tremendous strides against impunity and would not give breathing space to Genocide suspects and fugitives.

“Suspected genocidaires and other would-be criminals around the world now know that they will be held accountable,” Ki-moon said.

“The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda continues to deliver justice, with the cooperation of Rwanda and other states. International criminal justice is a testament to our collective determination to confront the most heinous crimes. The new age of accountability is real.”

He added that the UN is strengthening its capacities for mediation, fact-finding, preventive diplomacy and the peaceful settlement of disputes in times of catastrophe.

He honoured the survivors and innocent lives that perished in the Genocide, as well as commended Rwanda for progressing towards peace and development.

“Out of the ashes of the Genocide, Rwanda has forged a new path, progressing towards a more peaceful and just society. I encourage the people and Government of Rwanda to continue promoting the inclusive spirit and dialogue necessary for healing, reconciliation and reconstruction,” he said.

He also said preventing genocide is a shared responsibility and urged countries to uphold obligations under international law to prevent abuses and protect their populations.

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