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UN Chief honors Rwanda victims with strong message

Preventing future atrocities best way to honour Rwandan genocide victims – Ban

In Remembrance.

7 April 2010 – Securing justice for the victims of genocide and preventing future atrocities are the best ways to honour the hundreds of thousands of people slaughtered in Rwanda 16 years ago, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed today as the United Nations observes a global day of remembrance for the tragedy.More than 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and Hutus were murdered in the tiny African nation, mostly by machete, during a period of less than 100 days beginning in April 1994.

In a message to commemorate the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda, observed annually on 7 April, Mr. Ban said the UN is fully committed to securing justice and to preventing future atrocities.

Together, let us pledge our determination to prevent genocide as the best way to remember those who lost their lives so tragically in Rwanda

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), he noted, delivered the first-ever verdicts in relation to genocide by an international court. “These and similar actions from the halls of justice have sent a clear message to the genocidaires and would-be genocidaires. Simply put, their heinous crimes will not go unpunished.”

The Secretary-General urged Member States to cooperate with the tribunal, which is based in the Tanzanian city of Arusha, to arrest and hand over the remaining 11 fugitives as the court continues to deliver justice and ensure accountability.

Together, let us pledge our determination to prevent genocide as the best way to remember those who lost their lives so tragically in Rwanda,” said Mr. Ban.

This year’s commemoration features a candle-lighting ceremony at UN Headquarters in New York with music performed by young Rwandan and international musicians.

The film As We Forgive, a documentary about the power and pain of reconciliation in Rwanda, will also be screened.

The UN Office in Geneva is marking the Day with a ceremony featuring statements by, among others, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and a survivor of the Rwandan genocide. Ceremonies, film screenings and panel discussions are also taking place around the world, from Accra and Antananarivo to Bogotá and Brazzaville.

Also in connection with this year’s commemoration, a student videoconference entitled Rebuilding After Genocide: Justice, Reconciliation and Reintegration will be held tomorrow. It will connect students in New York, Illinois and Mexico City with representatives from the ICTR, the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission and the National Service of Gacaca Courts in Rwanda and a Rwandan genocide survivor.

[UN News Centre –]


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