Seventeen years ago, in 1994, in the space of three months, an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in Rwanda, in what came to be known as the Rwanda genocide. In 1995, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution requesting the Secretary-General to establish a programme of outreach entitled “The Rwanda Genocide and the United Nations” and “to take measures to mobilize civil society for Rwanda genocide victim remembrance and education, in order to help to prevent future acts of genocide.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a message issued on the occasion of this year’s commemoration, emphasizes the United Nations commitment to prevent the recurrence of similar tragedies. Preventing genocide, he notes, is a collective and individual responsibility. “Rwanda’s survivors have made us confront the ugly reality of a preventable tragedy. The only way to truly honour the memory of those who perished in Rwanda 17 years ago is to ensure such events can never occur again,” he emphasizes.
In observance of the seventeenth anniversary of the Rwanda genocide, a commemoration will take place in the Economic and Social Council Chamber at United Nations Headquarters, on Thursday, 7 April, from 5 to 6 p.m. Under the theme: “Rebuilding Rwanda: Reconciliation and Education”, the ceremony will honour the victims of the genocide, as well as the survivors, and emphasize ways in which education can help reconciliation.
The event will include a message from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as well as remarks by Ambassador Eugène-Richard Gasana, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Rwanda to the United Nations; Ambassador Néstor Osorio, Permanent Representative of Colombia to the United Nations and President of the Security Council; and Ambassador Aboubacar Ibrahim Abani, Permanent Representative of Niger to the United Nations and Chairperson of the African Group. Immaculée Ilibagiza, a survivor of the Rwanda genocide, will share her testimony. The event will also include musical performances by Somi, a Rwandan-American jazz musician based in New York City. Kiyotaka Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, will moderate the event.
Also, in connection with the anniversary of the Rwanda genocide, the Department of Public Information will organize a student conference on 8 April, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. in Conference Room 2. Francis Deng, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, and Clementina Wamariya, a survivor of the Rwanda genocide and student of Yale University, will be present to take part in a conversation with students from various New York City schools.
Both events, organized by the Department of Public Information, in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Rwanda to the United Nations, are open to delegations, representatives of non-governmental organizations and the media, as well as staff members and guests. As seats are limited, everyone has been requested to register in advance by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please see the Programme’s website, www.un.org/preventgenocide/rwanda, for additional information, and www.un.org/media/accreditation for media accreditation.
Coinciding with the seventeenth commemoration of the Rwanda genocide, the Department of Public Information will launch a new graphic publication “Tugire Ubumwe — Let’s Unite!”, produced in collaboration with Rwandan artist and genocide survivor Rupert Bazambanza, to promote respect for diversity and reconciliation amongst youth. The publication can also be downloaded from the website at www.un.org/preventgenocide/rwanda.