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.