Rwandans and friends of Rwanda across the world held events for the 25th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The events sought to, among other things, pay tribute to survivors and victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, combat genocide ideology, call for justice and reflect on the resilience of the nation.
As part of the commemoration activities, participants held vigils, walks and commemoration ceremonies at embassies.
Among the cities that had held the events include Washington DC, Nairobi, Kampala, Kinsasha, Addis Ababa, Stockholm, Dar-es-Salaam, Brussels, Abuja and Beijing among others.
During the events, survivors recounted their experiences before and during the 1994 Genocide, including the liberation by the Rwanda Patriotic Army. This serves to set the narrative straight in regard to the real events of the Genocide.
Speaking in Brussels, Belgium, Rwanda’s ambassador to the European Union, Amb Amandin Rugira, said that over the years since the Genocide, Rwanda has made remarkable progress in unity and reconciliation.
He called for constant efforts to protect gains made and prevent any erosion of progress.
He also called for increased support to combat trends of genocide ideology and denial especially among a section of European nations where it was increasingly becoming common.
In China, foreign diplomats to the Asian nation said that there were multiple lessons to be drawn from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Dean of African Ambassadors in China, Martin Mpana, the Ambassador of the Republic of Cameroon, said that it ought to serve as a lesson to the entire world, especially in regards to the role of the international community.
“The roots of the Genocide are in the colonial history as people were divided into antagonistic ethnic groups. The commemoration period is not for Rwandans alone. Indeed, it is for all humanity. The international community failed to play their role to stop the catastrophe and the lessons from the Genocide in Rwanda will continue to be helpful in detecting and preventing similar tragedies in the world,” he said.
Charles Kayonga, the Ambassador of Rwanda to China, said that to ensure that young people are enlightened on the Genocide, they were engaging students abroad in tailor made sessions.
Commemoration events also served to mobilise Rwandans and friends of Rwanda to detect and combat the various forms of genocide denial and ideology with most of it being abroad.
Rwanda’s ambassador to Sweden and Nordic Countries, Christine Nkulikiyinka, said that denial is manifested in multiple forms, with most of them cynical approaches.
During the events, friendly countries committed to supporting Rwanda’s quest in delivering justice, fighting genocide ideology as well as ensuring that similar atrocities do not occur elsewhere in the world.
In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, during the commemoration event, the country’s Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, expressed solidarity with Rwanda, pledging to continue playing a role towards combating genocide ideology.
On their part, the Diaspora community promised to make efforts towards unity, integration and nation-building.
The Chairperson of the Rwanda Diaspora Global Network (RDGN), Eng. Daniel Murenzi, said that the Rwandan diaspora were being taught by the pre-1994 regimes to fuel genocide ideology abroad and try to divide the communities.
“The government used supremacy of ideology of hate. The ideology of hate was taught for a long time with an intention of isolating Tutsi from the rest of Rwanda Community,” he said.
However, after 1994, he said, the Rwandan community abroad embarked on a journey of nation building and promotion of peace and reconciliation with support from the government.
“The Diaspora of today has a major role of uniting Rwandans aboard and promoting nation- building,” he said, adding that their achievements are visible in Rwanda.
Rwandans in the diaspora also committed to building on the progress made over the years in development in various aspects.
Additional reporting by James Karuhanga and Fredrick Byumvuhore.