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

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.