On 12th April 2021, the United Nations (UN) in Rwanda held an annual ceremony in commemoration of Kwibuka27, the 1994 Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi, and in remembrance of 64 UN employees who were killed during the worst atrocities of the 20th century.
This year’s commemoration ceremony was strictly limited to a small number of family members, UN agencies, and government representatives due to COVID-19 restrictions.
UN staff stood side-by-side with the Rwandan people and, in particular, the families of the staff members who perished. A wreath of flowers was laid at the memorial site, situated in the compound of UNDP country offices in Kigali.
The partners also held a virtual conference that re-committed to “Remember, Unite and Renew,” – the national theme of Kwibuka27. Participants resolved to continue building a strong Rwanda and a world that would never again accept genocide.
Dr. Eugene Bideri, the Principal Legal Advisor of the National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide and the Guest of Honour, stressed that the commemoration period is an opportunity to strengthen resolve in ensuring that genocide never happens again, in Rwanda or elsewhere. “We commemorate for the 27th time the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi. It is a moment of reflection which puts each one of us in front of his responsibilities, to prevent other genocides from occurring,” Dr. Bideri said.
In his presentation during the virtual conference, Dr. Bideri reminded participants that Resolution 2150 adopted by the UN Security Council on 16 April 2014 condemns without reservation any denial of the genocide against Tutsi, and reaffirms strong opposition to impunity for serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.
Building on Rwanda’s experience, Dr. Fodé Ndiaye, the UN Resident Coordinator for Rwanda, called upon leaders around the world to make “Never again” a reality.
“Indeed, progress has been made but we all know that ‘never again’ is not a reality everywhere, for everyone. So, let us take this occasion to reinvigorate our resolve to address the deeply ingrained root causes that undermine social cohesion and create conditions for hatred, discrimination, exclusion, intolerance and injustice that could lead to genocide,” says Dr. Fodé.
Dr. Fodé added that one way to remember the 1994 genocide against Tutsi is to commit to promoting a peaceful and inclusive society for sustainable development: “Let us individually and collectively act to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 16, which aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels.”
Different UN agencies continue to work with the Government of Rwanda and accompany it on its journey of economic and social transformation.