African Union commemorates 17th anniversary of Rwanda genocide

ADDIS ABABA (Xinhua) — The African Union (AU) on Thursday marked the commemoration of the 17th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide in a ceremony held at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Speaking on the occasion, Julia Dolly Joiner, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, said the commemoration should not only remind us of a past never to be repeated, it grants opportunity to further reflecting on how to deepen commitment towards achieving justice, peace, respect of human rights on the continent.

The Commissioner said Africans should be prepared to tackle the root cause of political ineptitude in Africa.

“If we must say ‘Never Again’ then we must make every effort to go beyond the talk and meaningfully embrace the novel concepts and ideologies fashioned by the AU and its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU),” she said.

This year the Rwanda genocide was commemorated under a special theme, “Upholding the truth; preserving our dignity.”

As we reflect on this important theme, there are still pertinent questions that need answers and as we take stock of what happened to over a million innocent and defenseless men, women, and children in 1994, we will strive to preserve our new found unity and dignity which the genociders sought to destroy, said Joseph Nsengimana, Ambassador of Rwanda to Ethiopia.

The Ambassador said cooperation from countries harboring the perpetrators is paramount.

“As the theme states, we await full accounting of the crime that occurred and the prosecution and punishment of those who carried out the genocide,” he said.

The Commemoration of the Rwanda genocide is an annual event of the AU celebrated in accordance with the objectives and principles of the AU on the promotion of good governance, human rights, rule of law and ending impunity as enshrined in its Constitutive Act, says the AU.

It is also celebrated to continuously awaken greater awareness of the African people and the international community about the value of life and humanity, and helps to renew collective commitment to protect and uphold the fundamental human rights.

The Day was marked today at the AU Headquarters with various activities including, lighting of candle remarks by AU and Rwanda Officials, prayers by religious leaders, music and film in connection with the genocide of that time.

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