Youth, Ladies and Gentlemen
Today we commemorate the 26th Anniversary of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda (KWIBUKA26), under the theme: “Remember-Unite-Renew”.
This is the twelfth year since the African Union started the annual commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. However, this year our commemoration activities have been limited due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Although we will not be formally gathering at the African Union Commission for this event as usual, I encourage you to commemorate this day from wherever you are.
This annual commemoration affords us an opportunity to reflect, and continue the fight against genocide, its ideology, denial and impunity with a view to ensure that never again shall Africa experience such a heinous crime against humanity.
In this regard, I would like to pay tribute to the leadership and the people of Rwanda for consistently working towards “Never Again” and for emerging through resilience and unity from the terrible past and putting Rwanda on a development path that continues to inspire many countries on our continent and beyond.
Between April and July 1994, the world stood still in awe as more than a million people were killed in a space of one hundred days in Rwanda. As we remember the fallen mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters in Rwanda, we should not be oblivious of the fact that genocide is always well planned, deliberately executed with impunity, yet genocide is also always followed by denial.
We should, therefore, redouble our efforts in fighting genocide ideology, its denial as well as impunity. If genocide ideology persists, its denial will continue unabated and impunity will reign. This task should not be the responsibility of the leadership and people of Rwanda alone. It is the collective responsibility of the African Union, Regional Economic Communities/regional mechanisms and all Member States, CSOs, the youth organisations, the women’s movement, Media and Academia. We should collectively combat genocide ideology, impunity and denial working hand-in-glove with the international community and all other stakeholders.
Fighting impunity should equally be at the heart of our collective efforts as AU member states as well as the international community by arresting, prosecuting or extraditing indicted fugitives. Last year at its 836th meeting held on 3rd April, the AU Peace and Security Council called upon countries to arrest, prosecute or extradite fugitives accused of genocide. It is imperative that countries move towards implementation of this decision.
This commemoration should remind us of a past never to be repeated. It should challenge us to deal with the present and the future in our efforts towards achieving peace, reconciliation, accountability, justice, social harmony, constructive management of diversity and the respect for and protection of human and peoples’ rights on the African Continent.
Our Commemoration of KWIBUKA26 this year assumes a special significance given the AU Theme for this year (2020) “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development”. I wish to seize this opportunity to call on all Africans to renew our commitment to promote peaceful and inclusive societies that will silence the guns for the attainment of socio-economic development and structural transformation and provide a firm foundation for building the Africa We Want and the Africa we Deserve.
Let us “Remember-Unite-Renew”.
I thank you.
We gather here to mourn today for every drop of innocent blood that shed, every life that was lost and every family that wept. Today, I, and my party, the Rwanda People’s Party, join millions of Rwandans and friends of Rwanda, to commemorate the 21st Anniversary of the 1994 Rwanda genocide perpetrated against the Tutsis.
My Beloved Rwandans, today, is a day to remember the 100 days of harrowing scenes and abominable, violence in which 1,000,050 Tutsis and moderate Hutus lost their lives. It is a day to share the sorrows, pains and experiences of 500,000 heroic women and girls that have lived a life with HIV-AIDS as result of brutal rapes committed during these shameful 100 days. These 45,000 females have courageously fought against the psychological pain, mental anguish, shame and prejudice that plague their lives, even today. The children they bore will grow up as orphans, not knowing their fathers; they too bear the scars of the indescribable rapes that ripped their mother’s lives apart on an industrial scale, during the infamous 100 days of genocide.
Such is the jolting truth! We grieve, today, at this horrendous calculated crime against humanity.
We remember the millions of Rwandans that survived the horrors, afflicted by permanent physical and mental disabilities. We offer our support to all those Rwandans who suffered trauma due to the tragedies of the 100 black days that destroyed our country. Today, we commemorate the 21st anniversary of the genocide of Tutsis. Today we renew our vow to all Rwandans that survived these tragedies.
We love you and that “Never, and never again” will the tragic events of the 100 days that scarred our country and left so many traumatized happen again in our beloved Rwanda. We will miss the victims of the genocide and never forget them, to this extent, our heart goes out to all our families, relatives, friends, neighbours and to Rwandans from every background that were devastated in the 100 days of grim darkness of genocide.
We are utterly at a loss to understand the genocide’s cause. Why would anyone wish to hurt the innocent, especially, pregnant women, toddlers, children, elderly, the sick and all the defenseless people that were not a part of the Rwandan civil war, in such a dreadful and barbarous way?
Fellow Rwandans, reflections on and the memories of the 2400 grim hours of the 1994 genocide of the innocent still haunt our mind. However, these dark thoughts and memories have not destroyed our moral values. Our humanity has not and never will darken our moral judgment and caused us to forget out social and political obligations. The 1994 genocide against Tutsi, it is something that we are compelled to live with on a daily basis and a burden that we must bear, during our working hours and leisure time. Our wounds are still healing but the 1994 tragedies have scared us forever.
My fellow citizens, the example of the Rwandan genocide against Tutsi, should have taught the world the dangers of lies, discrimination and hatred. Yet the world has not learned these lessons from our nation’s great tragedy. Intolerance and hate still goes on-and-about unpunished. You are all familiar with the recent incidence involving Racist soccer fans on the Paris METRO where an innocent person, who was returning home from an honest day’s work. They tormented, abused and physically prevented him from boarding a train. He did not abuse anyone, cause a disturbance or in any way provoke the attack. Fellow Rwandans, the perpetrators of that despicable crime, on the Paris METRO knew that no one would ever question their right to dispel the rights of others because they are of a different race to them. They singled out the victim, abused, tormented and endured mental rape because of the colour of his skin and this is an everyday occurrence in many so-called tolerant Western countries.
Another example of the intolerable attitude towards non-western cultures in Europe and the Western World has been the recent BBC libel on Rwanda and its deliberate distortion of our history and our sufferings. I believe, you also, were shocked at the appalling and indescribable “Rwanda Untold Story” This is a story planted and cultivated by the “A false Prophets” that has so recklessly re-opened so many old wounds. In this program, there was nothing but contempt for the Rwandan people and the BBC spat on the graves of our loved ones.
Like the Racist Train Thugs on the Paris METRO, the culprits believe that they will remain free from punishment for their hateful and deeply offensive words. Indeed, they will never face the rule of law.
However, because of their needless agitation and rewriting of Rwandan history, to suit their taste and those with a sinister agenda, the BBC will always stand accused of malpractice and dishonesty in the eyes of all true Rwandans. The incidents on the Paris METRO and the BBC are examples of the continuing western sense of superiority towards all those who are not from the west. A streak of intolerance runs deep in the Western societies. Some of the old colonial attitudes persist with regard to non-Western people.
The twenty-one years since the 1994 genocide, have been a living hell for many of us. Yet beyond Rwanda, there are men and women that have exploited our tears, our sorrow and the victims of the genocide for their own gain. The genocide deniers and revisionists have exploited our sufferings and have been spreading their lies throughout our region and in most of the European and American capitals for their own selfish reasons. They have attacked the victims and survivors of the Genocide and they are inciting a new genocide.
Fellow Rwandans, I do not need to remind you, of those grantee men and women that permanently, live with the horrors of the genocide after being maimed or disabled. As our moral duty, we remember those who suffered because of the Genocide. We cannot endure the unbearable consequences again. Do not ignore the millions of genocide survivors who lost their beloved ones, whose wounds are just starting to heal. Groups such as the BBC, reopen the harsh chapters of life callously and maliciously.
Fellow Rwandans, the past 21 years have been so difficult and painful for those of us who lost our siblings, mothers, fathers, grandparents, friends and neighbours.
The campaign, to turn the victims into aggressors and twisting our history is taking its toll upon the survivors. However, I would like to tell you that this is not new. It is has been the norm and a tradition for intolerant people to deny the reality of genocides, throughout history.
Even, today, many Europeans deny that there was genocide against the Jews, such as those who vandalized and desecrated the graves of Jews some 60 years after the Holocaust. Hatred of Jews and the denial of the Holocaust are still alive and strong. Therefore, there is sadly nothing new or unique when people deny that there was genocide in Rwanda. We know the truth – our dead loved ones and those who live with the scars of the 100 days are witnesses to the reality of the genocide.
Fellow Rwandans, we all know they killed, tortured and raped our people most cruelly. They suffered many indignities. Nevertheless, today, we remember the dead with great dignity and solemnity.
Fellow Rwandans, let us not make the mistake to believe that the 100 days of shame and brutality that turned Rwanda into a vast graveyard will happen again or not remembered. Let us make this clear, that the 100 days that saw 500,000 Rwandan women raped on an industrial scale, is firmly the past, forever. Let us emphasize that those grime 100 days in which 45,000 Rwandan children were born as result of rape will never return. We must all stay alert, strong and firm so that the tragic decades when people lived in fear and terror, and were ‘labeled’ and graded into “Category one and Category two” are long gone. This ‘’labeling’’ was a feature of the White South African apartheid regime or the era of slavery where Africans were traded as commodities. Let us be clear and definite, that those terrifying times of indignities, anguish, tears, sorrows, segregation and fears are now compounded, crippled and consigned to our history and they will never return to Rwanda. No matter, the dangers or threats, we will always have the strength to prevent a repeat of that Genocide in our homeland.
Fellow Rwanda, let us stand firm to say “Never, and never again” to the politics of hate, ethnicity, fear, terror and genocide ideology that continues to be woven into the fabric of our society.
I truly believe we are at a time that represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity and that once it is taken; we will never look at Rwandan society in the same way again, and will be very different from the society of twenty-one years ago.
Fellow Rwandans, we will not fail you!
We will never turn our back on you. We will always do whatever it takes. The memory of our dead and the terrible carnage inflicted on our country and people, will always give us strength and the courage to protect our country. Fellow Rwandans, let me make a promise to you.
If we fail to preserve the dignity of the Rwandan people and the memory of the victims, if we fail to give justice to the innocent dead, if we prove unable to protect all Rwandans from any threat posed to them, then there is no legitimate reason for our desired place in public life. We will exclude ourselves from participation in the Rwandan political system. The RPP is dedicated to the protection of the human rights and freedom of all Rwandans.
Fellow Rwandans, the RPP will bring to justice those responsible for piling shame on our country and drowning our nation in blood. There is no time limit in our quest for justice. Let no one have any illusions about this. We will not rest until we have brought every murderer, rapists and criminal, especially the ringleaders, involved in the orchestrating, execution and supervising of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi to justice.
My fellow citizens, my party and I, the Rwanda People’s Party, on the 21st Anniversary of the genocide join the citizens and friends of Rwanda to Commemorate the 21 years of the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsis.
May God bless you.
John V Karuranga, President
Rwanda People’s Party
Secretary-General, in Message for Rwanda Genocide Observance, Urges Prevention of ‘Cruelty Taking Place before Our Eyes’
Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda, observed on 7 April:
The International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda offers an opportunity to honour the memory of the more than 800,000 people — overwhelmingly Tutsi, and also moderate Hutu, Twa and others — who were systematically killed across Rwanda in less than three months just over two decades ago. It is also an occasion to recognize the pain and the courage of those who survived.
Our annual sombre observance is all the more meaningful this year as we mark the seventieth anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. We must use this occasion to look back on the past — and to squarely confront the challenges of the present, renewing our collective resolve to prevent such atrocities from happening again.
Many countries now face grave security threats. People are being subjected to the brutality of violent conflicts and the indignities of poverty. Discrimination persists in societies torn apart by war, as well as in democracies that largely enjoy peace. Hatred may manifest as institutionalized racism, ethnic strife, or episodes of intolerance or exclusion. In other instances, discrimination reflects the official, national version of history that denies the identity of some segments of the population.
I deplore the conflicts and atrocity crimes in many parts of the world that continue to divide communities, killing and displacing people, undermining economies and destroying cultural heritage.
Our first duty is always to prevent these situations and to protect vulnerable human beings in distress. My “Human Rights Up Front” initiative seeks to prevent serious human rights violations by acting on early warning signs before they become more serious. My Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and on the Responsibility to Protect work to advance national and international efforts to protect populations from atrocity crimes. We aim to ensure swift and decisive action to save lives and stop abuses.
On this Day, I appeal to the international community to do more than just speak about atrocity crimes and then fail to take timely action to prevent them. I call on all to summon the courage to act before situations deteriorate based on our collective moral responsibility. This is critical for the maintenance of international peace and security.
As I said at last year’s commemoration in Kigali, we must exercise “Umuganda” — coming together in common purpose — to avert what can be prevented and counter the cruelty taking place before our eyes.