President Paul Kagame has thanked different leaders from across the world who shared messages of comfort with Rwandans as the country started a one week commemoration of 26 years after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Several Heads of State and heads of institutions from across the world shared messages of encouragement on April 7 as the country kicked off the commemoration week amid a nationwide lockdown to avert the spread of COVID-19.
“Thank you for your kind wishes & always standing in solidarity with Rwanda as we remember victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi,” President Kagame tweeted on Thursday, tagging among others, the Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) Moussa Mahamat Faki.
President Kagame also thanked the Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopian President Sahle Work-Zewde, the President of the European Commission Charles Michel, the Secretary General of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie Louise Mushikiwabo and Senator Jim Inhofe of the U.S.
The Head of State also thanked the Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister Ann Linde, Canadian General Romeo Dallaire, who was the Head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) at the time of the Genocide, and Dr Natalia Kanem, the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Despite busy schedules fighting the new Coronavirus outbreak, several leaders from around the globe took time off to record messages, standing with Rwandans who are commemorating under unusual circumstances.
In his address on the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, the UN Secretary General said that the world should never let such a similar atrocity happen to humanity.
“Today, we recall the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda — when more than one million people were systematically murdered in just 100 days. The victims were overwhelmingly Tutsi, but also included Hutu and others who opposed the genocide,”
“On this Day, we honour those who were killed. And we gain inspiration from the capacity of those who survived for reconciliation and restoration. We must never again let such an atrocity occur,” Guterres said.
The UN head called on the world to say no to hate speech and xenophobia, and reject the forces of polarization, nationalism and protectionism.
Several leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron also took time to share their messages.
In a letter addressed to survivors of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, delivered to IBUKA France Chapter, the French President said that his country will commemorate 26 years after the genocide without a public event due to the difficulties brought about by COVID-19.
Last year, Macron declared that April 7 in France will be a remembrance day for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
“This date is from now on part of the Republican calendar, which means the Genocide against the Tutsi will be commemorated each year on the whole territory.
“This year’s organisation will be special, given the lockdown measures taken to contain the coronavirus pandemic are preventing all public gatherings. Consequently, the public commemoration ceremony at the Memory Garden in Choisy’s Parc won’t be happening this year, unfortunately.”
“This exceptional circumstance won’t prevent us from sharing with you this moment of grief and remembrance, as well as paying tribute in memory of the victims,”
In Rwanda too, no public commemoration events are happening due to the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown.