Your Excellency Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations;
Ambassador Antonio Tete, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the UN,
Your Excellency Samantha Power, Permanent Representative of the United States to the UN,
Excellencies Permanent Representatives to the UN;
Dear Rwandans and friends of Rwanda;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
First of all, allow me to express my profound gratitude to all of you for attending this 20th Commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, here at the United Nations. I take this opportunity to thank the UN Department of Public Information for its usual assistance to the Mission of Rwanda in the organization of genocide commemorations.
I am also heartened by the participation of the Secretary General, for once again availing himself present to join us, having participated at the launch of Kwibuka 20 in February, as well as his strong presence in Kigali during the national commemoration a week ago. Your leadership, Secretary-General, is restoring confidence in an institution that has failed us in the past.
As you may be aware, this morning, the UN Security Council adopted, unanimously, resolution 2150 on the prevention and fight against genocide, on the occasion of the 20th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, during which Hutu and others who opposed the genocide were also killed. This resolution is an important legal instrument, as it calls upon all UN members states to recommit to prevent and fight against genocide and other mass atrocities, including by upholding their responsibility to protect, based on lessons learned from the Genocide in Rwanda. I once again thank all Security Council members for this landmark achievement and also for many who have co-sponsored the resolution.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Every April, we choose to take the time to remember and honour the memory of the over one million souls slained under the cruel hand of their fellow compatritors. We gather to remember the Tutsi who were killed because of who they were. We remember the Hutus, the Twas and foreign citizens who perished just because they refused to take part in the extermination of the Tutsi or those who were brutally massacred while protecting the Tutsis.
Each year, we continue to choose to revisit this painful past to offer support and comfort to all the survivors. Each year, we also renew our efforts, as Rwandans, to preserve our young generation from future atrocities. For that reason this year, Rwandans remember, Rwandans unite, and Rwandans renew.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Twenty years ago, Rwanda collapsed, destroyed by the hands of its citizens, by the genocide ideology of its leaders and by the indifference or complicity of the international community. Today, Rwanda is reborn from ashes, built by the resolve and efforts of its people, by the vision of its leaders and by the support of the international community.
Twenty years ago, Rwanda succumbed to a 100 rainy days of horror, flooded in the blood of victims and in the tears of survivors. Today, Rwanda emerged and is rather drenched by the sweat of her citizens, rebuilding the country that was destroyed.
Twenty years ago, Rwanda was covered with dead bodies on our streets, in our schools, churches and rivers, and our hearts were filled with hatred for the “other”. Twenty years later, Rwanda is aspiring for a better future and a vision, powered with purity in the minds and hearts of its children.
Twenty years ago, Rwandan women felt victims to rape, the most heinous weapon of war while others were enslaved. Today, Rwandan women stand tall, courageous and resilient, leading the way in political representation and economic empowerment.
Twenty years ago, doctors and nurses were killing patients in our hospitals; teachers were killing students in our schools. Today, universal healthcare and a universal 12-years basic education are a reality in Rwanda.
Twenty years ago, Rwandans were abandoned. First, by its own army killing its own people. Second, abandoned by the international community and, by the UN peacekeepers. Today, Rwanda is responding to those in distress beyond its borders, and is committed to prevent and fight against genocide and other mass atrocities, through its participation in peacekeeping operations and through its continued commitment towards the responsibility to protect.
Twenty years ago, the right to life was denied by Genocide perpetrators. Today, Rwanda is committed to fight all revisionists who have vowed to deny its citizens the right to remember. Rwanda is committed to fight against these forces that continue to obstruct the truth of what happened in 1994 hoping that their sins will slip away in intervening years.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
During the official commemoration in Kigali, on 7th April this year, President Paul Kagame called upon all of us to remember what happened in 1994 and give each other strength but, “As we do so, [he said] we must also remember the future to which we have committed ourselves”.
This future, ladies and gentlemen, is a united and prosperous Rwanda, reconciled with itself and reconciled with the world and equipped with a moral duty to never let humanity experienced the pain we felt in 1994. It is a future with an international community committed to protect populations under threat of extermination, to fight hate, racism, genocide and other mass atrocities.
With that, let us all pledge to make this day not only an act of remembrance, but let it be a remembrance to act! Because after all, the greatest sin is to be unconscious.
I thank you for your kind attention.
Link to the 20th Commemoration of the Genocide Against the Tutsi at the UN:http://webtv.un.org/search/