One UN fully committed to the fight against Genocide ideology, honours fallen staff

Apr 15, 2016

Wreaths laid at the One UN commemoration site during the 22nd commemoration of the genocide against the Tutsi

United Nations Resident Coordinator Lamin Manneh has once again underscored that the UN has learnt “painful lessons due to inaction in the face of unfolding evil forces” and stands with the people and government of Rwanda in the fight against Genocide ideology and denial.  

Mr. Manneh made the comment while delivering opening remarks at a Genocide commemorative event held at the UNDP compound in Kigali to honour the lives of 65 UN staff members who lost thier lives during the mayhem of the 1994 Genocide committed against the Tutsi.

The Resident Coordinator, who is the top UN official in the country, was alluding to the failure by the United Nations in 1994 to take action against the then Genocidal government, despite repeated warnings of what was to come.   

He added that despite this, the UN in Rwanda has since proven to be a valuable partner to Rwanda in its efforts to gain rapid and sustainable recovery, reconstruction and inclusive development.

The Resident Coordinator’s comments came as a follow up to a moving and heartfelt tribute he paid to the Rwandan people through a recently published Op-Ed in which he boldly acknowledged that the United Nations failed to recognize the warning signs of impending doom, the consequences of which “will forever remain as a stain on modern human history, and on the United Nations in particular.”

But his message today was centred on hope rather than despair. Mr. Manneh hailed the courage and resolve of the Rwandan people and their government to stay steady on the road to peace and sustainable development.

“I would like to commend the courage of the people of Rwanda and the leadership of His Excellency President Paul Kagame, who have not only stopped the genocide but also who have chosen unity and reconciliation over divisionism, who have chosen forgiveness over hatred and revenge,” he said.

He also pledged the full and unwavering support of the One UN system in Rwanda in the fight against genocide and its ideology, in order to ensure that it never happens again, anywhere on the globe.

“I wish again to reiterate the One UN’s renewed commitment to working with the Government and people of Rwanda in fighting all aspects of genocide, including the genocide ideology.”

The annually-held commemoration ceremony was attended by various dignitaries including the guest of honour, Honourable Zeno Mutimura, Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Security; Chamber of Deputies, standing in for the Speaker of Parliament Donatille Mukabaranga who was unable to attend. 

Also in attendance was Dr. Gasanabo Jean Damascene, Director General in charge of Research and Documentation, at the National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG), who was also representing the Minister of Sports and Culture, Julienne Uwacu.

Surviving family members and relatives of the dearly departed UN staff were also invited, as were Ambassadors and heads of Diplomatic missions in Rwanda. 

Hon. Mutimura, in his remarks, thanked the United Nations for the role it continues to play in support of the Rwandan government’s drive to sustainably develop the country.

He also used the platform to launch a passionate appeal to the international community to repatriate fugitives who committed Genocide to face trial for their misdeeds.

On his part, Dr. Gasanabo Jean Damascene underscored the importance of fighting tooth and nail against Genocide ideology, and also stressed that unity of all Rwandans and the world at large is imperative to ensure that Genocide never occurs again. 

A minute of silence was observed during the event in honour of the fallen UN staff members, and thereafter, there was a procession of all guests laying wreaths at the foot of a commemorative plaque bearing the names of the 65 staff members whose lives were lost during the Genocide.   

While the 22nd annual Genocide commemoration period in Rwanda came to a close on the 13th April, the 100 days of mourning continue until July 4, which marks Liberation Day.




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