H.E. Ambassador Valentine Rugwabiza, Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Member of Cabinet of the Government of Rwanda, at the 23rd Commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi

Your Excellency Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Your Excellency Vice President of the United Nations General Assembly,
Excellencies, Permanent Representatives to the UN,
Dear Survivors, compatriots, and friends of Rwanda,

On behalf of the people and the Government of Rwanda, I want to thank you all for joining us at this 23rd Commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi. Your presence means a lot to Rwanda. It is a mark of your respect for the dignity of the victims and the resilience of the survivors. I take this opportunity to thank the Department of Public Information for their cooperation in organising this annual commemoration.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

The purpose of the annual commemoration at the United Nations is to continue to raise awareness of the international community about our collective responsibility to prevent Genocide from happening anywhere in the world. We do so by honouring the memory of the victims; by renewing our resolve to fight the Genocide ideology and by sharing with the world what we have done in Rwanda to make “Never Again” a reality.

The annual commemoration also provides us with an opportunity to reflect on lessons learnt since the failure of the international community to prevent and stop the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. The theme for this year’s commemoration; “Remember the Genocide against the Tutsi – Fight Genocide Ideology – Build on Our Progress,” reminds us that the Genocide against the Tutsi was the result of a well-organised plan and ideology to exterminate all Tutsi. It also reminds us that the ideology didn’t stop with the end of the Genocide. Indeed, the denial, alteration, and distortion of the facts of Genocide are all well-known and documented mechanisms used by Genocide ideologues.

One of the mechanisms used by Genocide deniers is the use of deliberately confusing language. Whenever we refer to the Genocide against the Tutsi, historical clarity and the use of correct words are of critical importance. What we commemorate today is neither the Rwanda Genocide nor the 1994 Genocide. It is the Genocide against the Tutsi. Any other reference is inaccurate, misleading and wrong. Let us remember that the former International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda established by this very body concluded in its judgment on 2nd September 1998 that; “Genocide was, indeed, committed in Rwanda against the Tutsi as a group.”

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We all know that the Genocide against the Tutsi was not inevitable yet it happened. The question to reflect on today is “Why?” Why those who had the responsibility and capability to prevent or stop it didn’t act? Why those in positions of influence and authority at the time, made the wrong decisions? Many elaborate explanations have been suggested to explain the failure of the international community to act and stop the Genocide against the Tutsi. The truth is much simpler; those who were invested by the Charter of the United Nations with the duty and responsibility to prevent and stop the Genocide against the Tutsi did not consider that the lives of those targeted mattered sufficiently to warrant their protection. If faced with a similar situation today, will they act differently? We can only hope so, and it is this hope that lessons have been learnt from our tragic History that informs our annual commemoration at the United Nations.

We pay special tribute to the Ghanaian contingent of peacekeepers in Rwanda in 1994 and to the late Captain Mbaye Diagne from Senegal. These fellow Africans refused the orders of the then UN leadership in New York to evacuate with the rest of the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda and thus to abandon the victims to their fate. To them, the lives of those targeted mattered. These gallant sons and daughters of Africa demonstrated courage, empathy and a sense of responsibility that many others lacked.

In Rwanda, we have learned hard lessons from our tragic history. We have learned that Genocide ideology strives where its manifestations and expressions are tolerated. We have learned that hatred knows no borders. It is a poison that spreads where human rights violations are widespread with no accountability.

We also learnt that the most effective defense against Genocide ideology is our cohesion as a people and it is this lesson that informed our choices for unity, reconciliation and a governance system centered on the wellbeing and dignity of all Rwandans.

Rwanda today offers a story of hope; how a country and its people can stand strong in the face of adversity and together build a new and united nation. Through investing in our people and building institutions, we have delivered peace, security, opportunity and, more importantly, dignity for all Rwandans.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me conclude by thanking all of you again for your presence at the 23rd Commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi. I thank in particular the survivors. Your strength and resilience remains a source of inspiration.

We also remain forever indebted to the Rwanda Defense Forces – men and women who, under the command of His Excellency President Paul Kagame, single-handedly stopped the Genocide against the Tutsis in July 1994. Without them, there wouldn’t be survivors like Sonia to tell their story.

I thank you.

(A moment of reflection at the 23rd Commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi at the United Nations.)


The Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians

We, as member states endorsing the Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians, and in line with our commitment to the effective implementation of Protection of Civilians mandates in peace operations, hereby pledge:

1. To train all of our troops on the protection of civilians prior to their deployment to missions.

2. To ensure that our sector and contingent-commanders, as well as our nominees for mission leadership positions, have a high level of training and preparedness on peacekeeping operations and, in particular, the protection of civilians.

3. To be prepared to use force to protect civilians, as necessary and consistent with the mandate. Such action encompasses making a show of force as a deterrent; interpositioning our forces between armed actors and civilians; and taking direct military action against armed actors with clear hostile intent to harm civilians.

4. Not to stipulate caveats or other restrictions that prevent us from fulfilling our responsibility to protect civilians in accordance with the mandate.

5. To identify and communicate to the UN any resource and capability gaps that inhibit our ability to protect civilians.

6. To strive, within our capabilities, to contribute the enabling capabilities (e.g. helicopters) to peacekeeping operations that facilitate improved civilian protection.

7. To avoid undue delay in protecting civilians, by investing our contingent commander with the authority to use force to protect civilians in urgent situations without the need for further consultations with capital.

8. Not to hesitate to take action to protect civilians, in accordance with the rules of engagement, in the absence of an effective host government response or demonstrated willingness to carry out its responsibilities to protect civilians.

9. To demand clarity from the UN and mission leadership on our rules of engagement, including under which circumstances the use of force is appropriate.

10. To seek to identify, as early as possible, potential threats to civilians and proactively take steps to mitigate such threats and otherwise reduce the vulnerability of the civilian population.

11. To seek to enhance the arrangements for rapid deployment, including by supporting a full review of the UN’s standby arrangements, exploring a system in which earmarked units from troop and police contributing countries could be placed in readiness in order to ensure rapid troop deployment, and encouraging the utilization of partnerships with regional organisations such as the African Union and its RECs.

12. To be vigilant in monitoring and reporting any human rights abuses or signs of impending violence in the areas in which our personnel serve.

13. To take disciplinary action against our own personnel if and when they fail to act to protect civilians when circumstances warrant such action.

14. To undertake our own review, in parallel to any after-action review, in the event that our personnel are unable to protect civilians, and identify and share key lessons for avoiding such failures in the future.

15. To hold our own personnel to the highest standard of conduct, and to vigorously investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute any incidents of abuse.

16. To better implement protection of civilians mandates and deliver on our responsibilities, we request better, regular and more extensive consultations on the mandating of peacekeeping missions. When mandates of peacekeeping missions are under review and may change, it should also be mandatory for the Security Council to consult all troop and police contributing countries deployed to the mission. We commit to bring our own ideas and solutions to these consultations that can strengthen the implementation of protection of civilians mandates.

17. To urge the Security Council to ensure that mandates are matched with the requisite resources, and to commit to support a process that addresses the current critical resource gaps in several missions. We support a more phased mandating process that can ensure a better alignment of resources and mandates.

18. Noting that any well-planned mandate implementation may be undermined by inefficient mobility, logistics or support; To call for effective support of all military plans, including contingency plans; and to commit to work with the Secretariat to review the current support arrangements, including possible transfer of authority over more of the logistical capability to the military component, where appropriate.

The UN to commemorate the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda on April 11, 2016 at the UN Headquarters

                  86ad967208Honoring the dead

The Permanent Mission of Rwanda to the UN and the UN Department of Public Information commemorate the Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda on Monday, 11 April, 2016 from 3:30-4:30pm at the UN General Assembly Hall, in New York. 

Kwibuka which means to “remember” in Kinyarwanda is a call on all of us to remember the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda; honour those who died as well as comfort and support survivors. The theme for this year’s commemoration is Fighting Genocide Ideology

Event Programme

Minute of Silence

Remarks by H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General;

Remarks by H.E Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly

Testimony by Ms. Frida Umuhoza, survivor and author of “Frida: Chosen to Die, Destined to Live”

Testimony by Ms. Nelly Mukazayire, Deputy Director of Cabinet in the Office of the President of Rwanda

Remarks by Mr. Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

Closing remarks by H.E. Mr. Eugène-Richard Gasana, Minister of State in Charge of Cooperation and Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the United Nations

Music by Pauletta Washington, (wife of Denzel Washington) and the Mamazband

Please make sure to register here and arrive at the UN Visitors Entrance (1st Ave at 46th Street) between 2:30 to 3:00 p.m. on 11 April
to receive your ticket and go through UN Security screening. Thank you. 





The UN Security Council kicks off its Programme for July, with a special breakfast featuring Grace Hightower Coffee & Coffees of Rwanda

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


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The UN Security Council began its programme for the month of July, under the Presidency of Rwanda. Per tradition, the Security Council President, Minister in Charge of Cooperation and Ambassador of Rwanda to the UN, Eugene Richard Gasana invited all Security Council members to a breakfast, where the Rwandan coffee was featured. Particularly, the coffee of choice was the Grace Hightower and Coffee of Rwanda a premium coffee company launched in 2013 by Grace Hightower De Niro, with a mission of improving the lives of Rwanda.

Providing a tasting of the great coffee of Rwanda to the UN Security Council members, she took the time to explain her motive behind launching the company, stating that she was inspired by the people of Rwanda, and especially their resilience, considering the tragedy that engulfed the country, just 20 years ago, where the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi, took the lives of more than 1.000.000 people.

Her believe is that through direct sourcing, fair trade, and ethical practices and environmental stewardship. She stated that her motivation and inspiration comes from the Rwandan people’s courageous spirit to succeed and this was a celebration of the coffee farmers of Rwanda, quoting President of Rwanda, H.E Paul Kagame that Rwanda needs “trade not aid”. That is the model that she has been using with her coffee. Through direction trade sourcing, which is guided by transparency, fair trade practices, sustainability and environmental stewardship.