Commemoration of 1994 Genocide should offer world lessons, says Rwanda envoy to US

The commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi should be a period for the world to draw lessons to avoid the price of inaction when atrocities unfold across the world.

The commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi should be a period for the world to draw lessons to avoid the price of inaction when atrocities unfold across the world.

The Rwandan Ambassador to the US, Mathilde Mukantabana, made the remarks on Monday during the launch of Kwibuka20 in Washington DC. 

“It was a genocide that took place in full view of the whole world. It took Rwandans themselves to rise and stop the atrocities that if left to continue would have seen Rwanda declared a failed state. We later found the courage and strength to rebuild a nation and put in place reforms for reconciliation and progress,” she said.

Mukantabana explained that it is the same reason why Rwanda has been at the forefront of  peacekeeping missions in various troubled countries in recent years.

“It is because Rwanda is passionate about humanity. We call upon the future generation to push for national prosperity but also remember that we live in an inter-connected world and, therefore, need to reach out to other places across the world that are experiencing atrocities,” she said.

 Mukantabana added that the commemoration period was a time to mourn with victims and support survivors to face the future with renewed hope and confidence. 

 Clotilde Mbaraga Gasarabwe, the UN Assistant Secretary General for Safety and Security, urged the rest of the world to pursue peace and help war-torn countries.

“We can learn from Rwanda’s Ubuntu (humanity) to stop current and future mass killing and genocide. The problem is that we tend to forget the history and repeat  mistakes. The media also has a role to strike the reality on the ground,” Gasarabwe said. 

Amina Ali, the envoy of African Union Mission to the US, said re-occurrence of genocide and acts against humanity should be universally denounced. She urged nations to emulate Rwanda and integrate atrocity prevention into their national strategies. 

 Dr Adama Dieng, the UN special Advisor on genocide prevention, said the entire world ought to honour the victims of the 1994 Genocide by ensuring that there are not further atrocities across the world. 

He paid tribute to Capt. Mbaye Diagne, a Senegalese peace keeper who is credited to have saved lives during the Genocide and died in the line of duty. 

However, Senator Russ Feingold, the US Special envoy for the, Great Lakes region of Africa noted that the world should view Rwanda and its inhabitants beyond the Genocide. 

“Rwandan people are survivors but they are also entrepreneurs, doctors, teachers. They will always be survivors but let them be Rwandans first. Rwanda will always be the country where genocide happened in 1994 but let that not be the first or last sentence,” he said.

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