Category Archives: International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda

Prevent Genocide, Act Towards One Another In A Spirit Of Brotherhood – UN

Against the backdrop of deep concern of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres about the rise of racism, hate speech and xenophobia around the world, the National Information Officer of the UN Information Centre (UNIC) Nigeria, Dr Oluseyi Soremekun, has called on everyone to act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood as entrenched in Article One of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to prevent act of genocide anywhere in the world. “To act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood means demonstration of unbridled love towards the other person. It connotes a mutual understanding of ‘do no harm” to one another.”

He said this while speaking at the 2018 International Day Of Reflection On The 1994 Genocide Against The Tutsi In Rwanda, held on Wednesday 11 April at Covenant University Ota, Ogun State.

Organised by UNIC in collaboration with the High Commission of Rwanda in Nigeria and Covenant University, the observance was attended by Ambassador Stanislas Kamanzi, Rwanda High Commissioner to Nigeria; Barrister Segun Jegede, a former Prosecutor at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal For Rwanda (UNICTR) who was the Guest Speaker and some members of the Rwandan community in Nigeria.

Presenting the message of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres, the National Information Officer noted that “Rwanda has learned from its tragedy; so must the international community.  States have a fundamental responsibility to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.  It is imperative that we unite to prevent such atrocities from occurring.”

The Secretary General added that “To save people at risk, we must go beyond words.  We must nurture the courage to care and the resolve to act. Only by meeting these challenges can we honour the victims and survivors of genocide and ensure that what happened in Rwanda is never repeated, anywhere, ever again.”

Speaking, Ambassador Kamanzi called on youth to foster positive paradigm and contribute to rectifying the mistakes of the past by being courageous, creative and making good use of communications made easy by modern technologies, to network with age mates across the World, to spread the right message against hatred, divisionism, and any other forms of intolerance.

“As you grow up older and in wisdom, make sure that you oppose any negative influences. Endeavour to comprehend more deeply about the ideology of genocide and fight it unreservedly.”  He added.

In his keynote address, Barrister Jegede, noted that the genocide in Rwanda was better imagined than experienced, but the United Nations was resolute in bringing to account the perpetrators of the genocide. Hence, the establishment of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (UNICTR).

Welcoming the participants earlier, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor A.A.A. Atayero, represented by the Head of Department, Political Science and International Relations, Covenant University, Dr. O. O. Fayomi,  expressed his delight about the opportunity presented to the students to learn more about the sad case of genocide in Rwanda that resonated across the world. He thanked the High Commission of Rwanda in Nigeria and the UN Information Centre for collaborating with the University to commemorate the Day.

 

Preventing genocide, a shared responsibility – UN Secretary General    

As the world marked the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda at the weekend, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has noted that preventing genocide and other monstrous crimes is a shared responsibility of all and a core duty of the United Nations. “The only way to truly honour the memory of those who were killed in Rwanda is to ensure that such events never occur again.” He said in a video message watched by 300 students and parents who had gathered in Abuja to mark the Day.

“The world must always be alert to the warning signs of genocide, and act quickly and early against the threat.” Mr Guterres continued, “History is filled with tragic chapters of hatred, inaction and indifference – a cycle that has led to violence, incarceration and death camps.”

The Secretary General therefore urged everyone to learn the lessons of Rwanda and work together to build a future of dignity, tolerance and human rights for all.

Welcoming the audience to the educational briefing event organised by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos in collaboration with the Rwanda High Commission and Start-Rite School, Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja, the National Information Officer of UNIC, Mr Oluseyi Soremekun, explained that “We are observing the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda to educate on the lessons of the genocide in Rwanda in order to help prevent similar acts happening anywhere in the future.”

He enjoined the students and other participants to see all tribes and religions as equal and complimentary of one another with none inferior to the other. ‘Tribes and tongues may differ’ Mr Soremekun continued, ‘but you must stand together in peace and unity.”

The Second Counsellor, Rwanda High Commission, Mr Protogene Nsengumuremyi, in his keynote address drew attention to the UN Security Council Resolution 2150 which condemns without reservation, any denial of the genocide and calls upon States that have not yet ratified or acceded to the Convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide to consider doing so as a matter of high priority.

The programme featured film screening, reading of survivors’ testimonies and a drama sketch performed by students of Start-Rite School, Abuja. The programme was attended by students from seven schools including the host school, Start-Rite.

April 7 every year is the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda.

Students say ‘No’ to hate speech as UNIC Lagos remembers the genocide in Rwanda

A student makes commitment against hate speech and genocide

A student makes commitment against hate speech and genocide

It was a great moment of pledges and commitments by over 200 students from six public High Schools in Lagos at the commemoration of the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda organised by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos.

With their right hands placed on the left hand side of their chests, the students chorused in unison: ‘I hereby say ‘No’ to hate speech’; ‘I pledge to respect other people’s religions and tribes’; ‘I hereby make commitment to promote peace at all time’; ‘I pledge to love my neighbours for who they are’; among others.

rwanda - A minute of silence for victims

A minute of silence for victims. L-R: Senior Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor on Education Matter, Mrs Seriki Ayeni; Rwandan Ambassador to Nigeria, H.E. Amb. Stanislas Kamanzi and Director of UNIC Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja

These commitments were made following the message of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; Keynote address by the Rwandan Ambassador to Nigeria, H.E. Amb. Stanislas Kamanzi and the message of the Special Guest of Honour, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr Idiat Oluranti Adebule.

Delivering the message of Mr Ban Ki-moon, the Director of UNIC Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja noted that “the theme of this year’s observance is ‘Fighting Genocide Ideology’. It is essential that Governments, the judiciary and civil society stand firm against hate speech and those who incite division and violence.  We must promote inclusion, dialogue and the rule of law to establish peaceful and just societies.”

rwanda - A female student reads a survivor's testimony 1

A student reads the testimony of a genocide survivor

Ambassador Kamanzi, in his address urged the students to learn from the lessons of the genocide in Rwanda by being tolerant of one another while shunning every form of discrimination and hatred.

Representing the Deputy Governor, the Senior Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor on Education Matter, Mrs Seriki Ayeni, reaffirmed the commitment of Lagos State government to ensuring that students in the State are well educated and informed about global issues and learning from them.

rwanda - students make commitmentrwanda - A student reads a survivor's testimony 1Video testimonies were screened while Testimonies of Survivors were read by Mr Samuel Eliadun, a student of Government Senior College, Ikoyi and Miss Idowu Aniogbe of Akande Dahunsi Memorial Secondary School, Ikoyi Lagos.

Students watch the video testimonies of some survivors

Students watch the video testimonies of some survivors

Earlier, a female survivor of the genocide in Rwanda recounted her sad experience as a 9-year old girl at the time and answered a few questions from the audience.

The event was also well attended by members of the Rwandan community in Lagos.