RC a.i. Speech for the 18th UN Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide

11 Apr 2012

"Preventing genocide is a collective obligation. Let us continue to work together to ensure a future forever free of genocide. This would be the most fitting way to remember those lost in Rwanda 18 years ago, and to honor the resilience of the survivors."  

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon


“As we remember with profound sorrow the horrors of the genocide inflicted on the people of Rwanda 18 years ago, we should also acknowledge with great admiration the remarkable progress Rwanda has made in transcending this traumatic experience and reconstructing the nation politically, socially and economically.
Rwanda has proved that even after tragic crises there are opportunities.  Rwanda has developed a model for the constructive management of diversity that aims at forging common ground amongst its people and fosters a unifying national identity to transcend differences”.

Francis M. Deng, USG and SG’s Special Envoy For the Prevention of Genocide


Dear Colleagues,

We are gathered here today in the UNDP compound to remember our dear colleagues who lost their lives during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis.

Eighteen years ago, around one Million Rwandans were killed over the course of a hundred days: among them 63 UN staff, some with their family members.

They were friends and colleagues, performing some of the tasks we carry on today. This is indeed a sad period for all of us.

This ceremony, organised every year, should help us to remember and honoured our brothers and sisters.

As stated in the Secretary General’s quote previously read, the UN is committed to fight and prevent Genocide all around the world and support Rwanda to overcome the pain and trauma created in 1994.

This year, the UN’s commitment is further illustrated by the presence in the country of the UN Special Envoy on the Prevention of Genocide, Mr Francis Deng. He attended the International Conference on the Genocide from 5-6 April as well as the day of the National Commemoration on 7th April. Yesterday, Mr Deng visited us at the UN House and I was able to receive him with a number of Heads of Agencies. His message to us was inspiring: we can transcend our differences if we manage the diversity inherent in the human race constructively and intelligently.  

I call upon all colleagues to be inspired by the theme of this year’s National Commemoration, «Learning from our History to build a bright future» which should guide us in our action and support to this Country.  Rwanda has shown, and continues to show every day that a brighter future is indeed possible.

As UN staff in Rwanda we must renew our commitment to support the country as it continues to learn from the past and seeks to forge a better environment where human rights are valued and all citizens live in harmony and peace.

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to end this message by once again, restating the support of the UN in Rwanda to build peace and progress in the Land of a Thousand Hills.