A sombre mood was cast over the Rwandan Embassy in Beijing, China as the Rwandan community and friends of Rwanda joined in to commemorate the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi that claimed over one million lives.
Monday’s commemoration activities coincided with the Chinese Qingming festival or tomb sweeping festival, during which Chinese remember and honour their ancestors.
Speaking at the event, Francois Ngarambe, Rwanda’s ambassador to China, noted that remembering the victims of the 1994 Genocide is an act of ‘love and empathy, and an act of restoration of the victim’s dignity.
Ngarambe reiterated the failure by the international community to live to its ‘commitment to prevent and fight genocide and other crimes against humanity.’
“Most of them (Genocide victims) believed naively that the presence of foreign embassies and a UN peacekeeping mission were sufficient guarantees that no genocide would take place,” Ngarambe said.
“Yet as the Genocide raged on, all the UN Security Council did was to withdrawal UN troops in Rwanda and debate for eight hours on April 29, on whether or not to apply the word ‘genocide’,” he added.
Ngarambe said however that with a visionary leadership, Rwanda has built a peaceful and stable state with functioning institutions.
This, he said, has created a condusive environment for the country to embark on socio-economic reforms in order to achieve economic growth and development.
Ngarambe acknowledged the support from different organisations and friends of Rwanda who have helped the country rise from ashes.
Du Xiaocong, the Deputy Director General in the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expressed his country’s solidarity with Rwanda in honouring the memory of the Genocide victims.
Du Xiaocong lauded the current Rwandan leadership which he said has made it possible for Rwanda to enjoy social stability and significant national transformation.
Nobert Haguma, who was aged 12 during the Genocide, in a chilling testimony, narrated how he saw the Genocide unfold and how his family was hunted down.
He explained why survivors chose to forgive the perpetrators of the Genocide.
“We want to honour those who died through sharing and compassion. The reason why we have embraced forgivenness is because the Genocide was not only about those who killed but also those who saved. I wouldn’t be here if it was not for the Hutu who saved me. What I see in Rwanda is not Hutu or Tutsi, I see Rwandans,” he said.
Many diplomats accredited to China attended the commemoration.