Home Diplomatic News “Together We Prosper” Rwanda Liberation and Independence Day Celebration 2023 

“Together We Prosper” Rwanda Liberation and Independence Day Celebration 2023 

H.E. Olivier J.P. Nduhungirehe, Ambassador of Rwanda to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The Hague, the 29th anniversary of Rwanda’s liberation, was celebrated on the 4th of July 2023 under the theme “Together we prosper”. The Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda hosted the Kwibohora29 celebration with an elegant reception at the Marriott Hotel The Hague.

H.E. Ambassador Olivier J.P. Nduhungirehe, his spouse and the Embassy team welcomed more than 150 guests including members of the diplomatic community, hight-ranking representatives of the Dutch government, representatives of international organizations, leaders of the Rwandan community and friends of Rwanda. 

The breakdown of the program.
Dutch National Anthem, Rwandan National Anthem, immediately followed by a
Kwibohora29 video.

Ms. Martine Van Hoogstraten, Deputy Director for Sub-Saharan Africa’s desk of the Ministry of Foreign The Hague, delivered her remarks at the Liberation Day festivities, she made the following statement:

I am honoured to stand here in commemoration of the 29th Liberation Day and the celebration of the 61st Independence Day of the Republic of Rwanda. While we celebrate this memorable moment, let us also reflect on the many obstacles Rwanda had to overcome. The decades that followed on independence were characterized by turbulence and trials. Ethnic tensions and political conflicts often intertwined, leading to acts of violence against innocent civilians.

Ms. Martine Van Hoogstraten, Deputy Director for Sub-Saharan Africa’s desk of the Ministry of Foreign The Hague.

Tragically, these events reached a devastating climax with the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994. The genocide destroyed the lives of countless Rwandans, including those of moderate Hutu and others who opposed the atrocities. To honour the victims, our Director General, Mr. Marcel de Vink, participated in a Kwibuka ceremony held in Amsterdam on the 19th of April this year. During the event, he assisted in the unveiling of a commemorative statue in the Beatrixpark.

Exemplifying our longstanding collaboration in the field of justice, a high level delegation from the Rwandan justice sector recently visited the Netherlands. During this visit, the delegation members met with esteemed institutions such as our Supreme Court and the International Criminal Court (ICC). These fruitful exchanges of perspectives benefitted both sides involved.”

Hoogstraten further stated, in line with the new Africa strategy of the Netherlands “I would like to emphasise the importance of reciprocity. The relationship between our countries is now characterised by enhanced bilateral trade rather than development aid. This new focus marks a significant milestone in our bilateral relations. It is fitting to highlight this today, during this celebration of independence and emancipation.

By working as equal partners, we can jointly find solutions for global threats to peace and security, such as Russia’s war against Ukraine. The vicinity of both our countries to armed conflict shows that peace is never self-evident. In light of the escalating tensions in Eastern DRC, I encourage Rwanda to maintain open lines of communication with its neighbouring countries and actively pursue the de-escalation of tensions in the Great Lakes Region. “

The Keynote address was delivered by H.E. Olivier J.P. Nduhungirehe, Ambassador of the Republic of Rwanda.

The Ambassador commenced his keynote address as follows. Some extracts.

“ My wife Virginie, the whole staff of the Embassy of Rwanda and I wish to thank you all for finding time on your busy schedule to be with us today. I will only take a few minutes of your time to tell you why you were invited and what we are celebrating. This evening, we are not celebrating a national day only. We are celebrating values and principles – actually three sets of values: (1) togetherness and prosperity, (2) friendship and cooperation, and (3) multilateralism and international law.

Rwanda Independence and Liberation Day, 4 July 2023.

We are celebrating togetherness and prosperity on the occasion of the National Day of Rwanda, which is a two-in-one event. Today 4th July 2023 is first and foremost the 29th anniversary of Rwanda’s Liberation Day, which marks the day on which the forces of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF-Inkotanyi) overthrew the ethnic regime that was committing the genocide against the Tutsi for the previous hundred days.

The official theme of this Liberation Day is “Together We Prosper”. Those two words “together” and “prosper” are equally important. Indeed, unity, reconciliation and togetherness were critical in July 1994 to rebuild today’s Rwanda, because it’s the destruction of the social fabric of our country over several decades, through a divisive ideology that was entertained by the colonial administration and two successive regimes, which led to the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. As for prosperity, it was the blueprint of the government of Rwanda since the end of the genocide, which led to a significant socio-economic transformation that we all witnessed over the past 29 years.

Today’s national day is a two-in-one event as I said earlier, because we also mark the 61st anniversary of the Independence of Rwanda, which was recovered on July 1st, 1962, after more than six decades of colonisation.

Some of the ambassadors attending Rwanda Independence and Liberation Day 4 July 2023.

This evening, we are also celebrating friendship and cooperation. Friendship of Rwanda with the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but also with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, to which I am also accredited as non-resident Ambassador. Those three Baltic States have become solid economies since their independence and reliable partners of Rwanda, to which they serve as development models, especially in e-governance, FinTech, manufacturing industry and technology. 

The Netherlands is also a shareholder of our “prosperity”, to which they contributed by their significant and growing trade and investments with Rwanda, as well as cooperation in critical sectors such as agriculture and water resources management. As the two countries have now transitioned from aid to trade, we hope that our friendship and cooperation will continue to flourish. 

Finally, we are today celebrating multilateralism and international law. This celebration is sometimes necessary in this troubled world; and there was no better city on this planet where we can do that other than The Hague, the international city of peace and justice. Rwanda, as a small country on the map but great in ideas, firmly believes in multilateralism, which is a kind of “international togetherness”. We all know our divergent geostrategic interests and the tensions and conflicts in our respective regions, but we believe that institutions such as the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are playing a critical role in bridging the gaps between nations and building a better world free of chemical weapons. As we cannot all of us be “like-minded”, I hope that we will at least remain “open-minded” and continue supporting this organization and its work.

Rwanda also appreciates the contribution of The Hague-based international courts to peace, justice and international law. Beyond the internationally-renowned jurisdictions, I would take this opportunity to congratulate and highlight the work done by three institutions in the promotion of international law. Those are (1) The Hague Academy of International Law, which celebrated its centenary this year; (2) the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), which will celebrate its 125th anniversary next year; and (3) The Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH), which Rwanda has just decided to join.

H.E. Olivier J.P. Nduhungirehe, Ambassador of Rwanda together with Ms. Martine Van Hoogstraten, Deputy Director for Sub-Saharan Africa of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Let me conclude my remarks by making an obvious toast, together with Mrs Van Hoogstraten, whom I invite to join me: “To our togetherness and prosperity, to our friendship and cooperation; and to multilateralism and international law”.

Traditional Rwandan dance performers animated the reception.

Rwanda Liberation Day.

Exit mobile version