Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Commemoration 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi

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Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius speaks at Kwibuka30 Commemoration in Amsterdam

Today, Rwanda marks 30 years since the Genocide against the Tutsi. “Kwibuka”, which means to remember, is an annual period of solemn reflection when we come together to honour the victims, unite in our collective grief and renew our commitment to continue to build a better future for all Rwandans.

It started this morning at the Genocide Memorial site located in the Beatrix Park in Amsterdam. The memorial site is a place for survivors and the larger Rwandan community in the Netherlands to remember their loved ones and to pay tribute to more than one million victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. H.E. Ambassador Olivier J.P. Nduhungirehe, together with representatives of the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security, IBUKA-Netherlands, the Rwanda Community in the Netherlands, the Amsterdam South District, the Diplomatic Corps, the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the Common Fund for Commodities, laid wreaths, which was followed by a one-minute silence observed in remembrance of the fallen.

Rwanda marks 30 years since the Genocide against the Tutsi, Beatrix Park in Amsterdam.

All guests joined Ambassador Nduhungirehe in the Walk to Remember through the Beatrix Park. The Walk was followed by the official commemoration ceremony at the RAI Exhibition Center.

The commemoration was attended by more than 250 guests, including guest of honour H.E. Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius, Ministry of Justice & Security of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the diplomatic community, Rwandan nationals living in the Netherlands, friends of Rwanda and many others.

Ms. Christine Safari, President of IBUKA, H.E. Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius, Ministrer of Justice & Security of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, H.E. Mr. Olivier J.P. Nduhungirehe, Ambassador of Rwanda and his spouse.

The official commemoration ceremony started with lighting of the candles, representing the ever-shining lights of the victims and this was followed by a speech given by Mrs Christine Safari, President of IBUKA (survivors’ association in the Netherlands), a testimony by Virginie Ingabire and a speech by Hester van Buren, Deputy Mayor of the City of Amsterdam.

The official program continued with the speech by guest of honour Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius and she said that Rwanda and its people have shown immense resilience in the past 30 years. “It is crucial to commemorate and keep the memory alive, not only for new generations in Rwanda, but for the entire international community”. The minister also stated that it is of importance to work together in the fight against impunity.

Commemoration 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in the Netherlands.

The minister’s address was followed by the speech from Ambassador Olivier J.P. Nduhungirehe, who stated that this commemoration is not a Rwandan day only, it’s the “International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda”, as adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in a resolution of December 2003, reaffirmed in April 2020.

The theme of the commemoration remains the same: “Remember – Unite – Renew”. We remember our loved ones slain during the genocide, we unite as a healed and reconciled people, and we renew as a society that thrives for socio-economic transformation, good governance and self-reliance.

Kwibuka 30, Amsterdam 2024.

“As we mark the 30th anniversary of the genocide, it is important to recall that since 1994, the Kingdom of the Netherlands played a critical role in putting Rwanda’s judiciary back on its feet. That judicial cooperation with Rwanda was particularly successful on three main fronts. First, the reparation, the building and equipment of our judicial infrastructure; second, the training of the much-needed judicial personnel; and third, the investigation, extradition or prosecution of genocide fugitives who fled to the Netherlands. Rwanda will forever be grateful to the Netherlands for this successful cooperation, and we pledge to continue working with the Dutch Government to hold accountable the remaining fugitives, in order to definitely turn that page of our history”, the ambassador told the audience in Amsterdam today.

In the picture the ambassadors of Morocco, H.E. Mohamed Basri, the ambassador of France, H.E. Mr. François Alabrune and H.E. Mr  Greg French, Ambassador of Australia.

“This 30th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi provides an opportunity for the world to reflect on the lessons of the genocide and the battle to preserve the integrity of the historical accounts of this crime. Indeed, there has been a concerted effort to minimize or deny the genocide, using various tactics, ranging from refusing to name the group that was targeted during the genocide, questioning the numbers of victims, blaming them for causing the genocide, and even suggesting that a double genocide took place in Rwanda”, Ambassador Nduhungirehe continued.

H.E. Mr. Olivier J.P. Nduhungirehe, Ambassador of Rwanda.

“These tactics are not new, as they have been deployed by perpetrators and deniers of other established genocides. But if we are not careful, this distortion of historical facts could be deployed across the world, turning true history into contested debate. Rwanda’s history has shaped Rwandan shared identity – this is why the historical clarity about the Genocide against the Tutsi is of national and international importance. In this regard, the Genocide memorial that was inaugurated last year at Beatrix Park in Amsterdam, as well as all our genocide memorials in Rwanda and abroad, including the four (4) that were designated last year as UNESCO world heritage sites, are vital to anchoring the truth, which is essential to reconciliation and renewal”, the ambassador said.

H.E. Ambassador Olivier J.P. Nduhungirehe concluded to take the opportunity to thank the guest of honour Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius, IBUKA-Netherlands and the Rwandan Diaspora association in the Netherlands for organizing this annual event in cooperation with the Embassy.

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