As the world mourns millions of Rwandans who perished during the genocide against Tutsi in 1994, President Barack Obama, whose country remains haunted by its failure to intervene, said the US is inspired by how the country has progressed.
Obama made the statement on April 7, as Rwandans marked the 21st commemoration of the Genocide against Tutsi which claimed over a million lives.
“We commend their (Rwandans) determination to continue making important progress toward healing old wounds and lifting people out of poverty.”
During the official launch of the this year’s commemoration at the Gisozi Genocide Memorial, in Rwanda’s capital Kigali where 250,000 victims are buried, President Kagame said that Rwandans have moved on and continue to exhibit resilience in rebuilding their country.
“This country has changed. It has changed for good and forever. We are a people who give ourselves dignity,” he said.
Running from a financially empty government just after the atrocities in 1994, domestic revenues have now grown to finance the $2.5billion budget at 62% at an average 8% annual growth. Rwanda has one of world highest primary school enrolment rate with over 95% and about 5000 troops in different countries to help combat conflicts.
Despite the progress, the country faces a multitude of genocide deniers and revisionists around the world who are determined for another genocide.
President Kagame said that genocide denial might never go away, even during the painful commemoration period, but encouraged Rwandans to focus on rebuilding their country.
But President condemned the international community for failing to confront countries that still provide safe haven to genocide perpetrators and deniers despite the failure to stop the genocide.
Earlier today in New York, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, said, “The International Community must do more than speak about atrocity crimes.”
Despite extending its emotional support to Rwandans during the painful period, President Kagame criticized the UN’s failure to disarm thousands of FDLR militia, largely made of genocide perpetrators hiding in the jungles of Eastern DR Congo.
The UNs stabilization mission in DR Congo (MONUSCO) has failed to disarm the rebels, which poses an eminent security threat to Rwanda.
However, Obama said, “The United States will continue to work tirelessly in partnership with Rwanda and with other nations to help prevent such atrocities and advance dignity and peace for all.”
Read Obama’s statement below