Ahead of the twentieth anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today honoured the launch of “Kwibuka 20,” a series of events commemorating the tragedy, and urged the international community to do more to fully internalize and implement the lessons learned from the killings of 800,000 people in 1994.
“We must speak out forcefully whenever communities are threatened by mass atrocities or their precursors,” Mr. Ban said in New York ahead of the official observance of the Day on 7 April.
The theme for Kwibuka 20 is “Remember, Unite, Renew,” aiming to remember the people murdered in Rwanda, draw inspiration from the ability of the Rwandan people to unite and reconcile, and marvel at their determination to renew their country.
“Twenty years after the tragedy, many challenges remain and the country still needs strong support from the international community to assist victims in areas such as housing, healthcare, welfare or education,” said President of the General Assembly John Ashe, who was also participating in the launch.
The audience included Eugene-Richard Gasana who is the Rwandan Minister in Charge of Cooperation and Permanent Representative to the UN, and Jean-Baptiste Rudatsikira, President of the Rwandan Community in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
As part of this year’s observance of the anniversary, the Kwibuka Flame of Remembrance has been on a nationwide tour since 7 January. The flame, which symbolizes remembrance as well as the resilience and courage of Rwandans over the past 20 years, is carried in a simple lamp and lights other lamps in communities around Rwanda.
It will return to Kigali on 7 April where Rwandan President Paul Kagame will use it to light the National Flame of Mourning and start the national mourning period.