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.