Africa We Want

AFRICA UNION: The Chairperson’s remarks at the 29th commemoration of the Genocide against the .

According to AU, this year’s commemoration held under the theme “Remember-Unite-Renew” at the Nelson Mandela Hall which has started with “A Walk to Remember”, followed by the Official commemoration ceremony at African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia today.

  • Honourable Minister of State of the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia,
  • Madam Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission,
  • Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of the UN Office to the African Union,
  • Madam Special Adviser of the UN on the Prevention of Genocide,
  • Madam the Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the African Union, Commissioners,
  • Distinguished Representatives of the Diplomatic Corps and of the Civil Society, Brothers representing the various religious denominations,
  • Brothers and Sisters of the Rwandese Community in Addis Ababa,
  • Dear Fellow Citizens in Africa and the Diaspora,

First of all, I would like to welcome you all to the Headquarters of the African Union and thank you for sharing this moment of solidarity and communion with Rwanda. In so doing, we also do justice to this country that has experienced the biggest genocide that Africa has known and the cruellest one in contemporary history.

Happy coincidence - we commemorate today the tragedy of the Genocide against the Tutsis at a particular moment when mankind celebrates at the same time the Jewish Easter, Christian Easter, it is Good Friday today and Orthodox Easter next Friday. All during the Holy month of Ramadan. It is, therefore, a moment of communion for all men on earth to remember what happened and banish division and evil.

Rwanda underwent “a barbarous act that has outraged the conscience of mankind” as indicated in the Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights whose 75th Anniversary we are celebrating this year.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, launched on 7 April 1994, resulted in up to one million dead in 3 months; Death in atrocious and indescribable conditions and neither women nor children, not even newborns, were spared. Words will never be strong enough to describe this appalling tragedy whose 29th Anniversary we are marking today.

Each year, the African Union, in cooperation with the Government of Rwanda, makes it a duty to recall this unspeakable event. It aims at this triple objective, to:

- Remember to never forget, but also never to start again;

- Unite to commemorate the victims together and especially to refuse revisionism and hate speech.

- and to reiterate Africa’s solidarity with a country and a people permanently marked by a terrible tragedy.

Such is the significance that we accord this ceremony and your presence is a wonderful comfort for the people of Rwanda, who have been demonstrated courage, resilience and tolerance in the last 29 years.

These qualities served as a leaven for the reconstruction of the country and the psychological and moral rehabilitation of its people.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The human cruelty resulting from inter-community conflicts, terrorism and numerous particularly violent armed groups, accentuated by climatic disorders and the scarcity of resources, makes many regions of Africa unlivable, plunging thousands of people into unspeakable precariousness and distress.

In fact, here and there on our Continent, armed militias are being formed on the basis of ethnic community, weapons of war are circulating and, more seriously, hate speech and the stigmatization of communities are being abundantly relayed and amplified by powerful social networks. War crimes and crimes against humanity are being perpetrated. There is a risk that the irreparable can again be committed!

The commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda is an opportunity to draw the attention of African states to the magnitude of the threat as well as to our imperative obligation to oppose the self-destruction to which all these criminal practices lead. In doing so, that we all act in favor of peace, to silence the guns and subsequently place our countries, our Continent on the path of stability, security and progress.

Our States, under the coordination of the African Union, are tirelessly working to build the Africa we want, an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa. This action urges us to display additional commitment and courage to overcome our challenges, whether endogenous or exogenous.

From this point of view, Rwanda, under the leadership of President Paul Kagame, supported by a united people, a people welded together by the values of perseverance in effort and sacrifice, offers us the beautiful example of a country that has been able to transform its fragility into a powerful force for change.

The wounds of the genocide committed almost 30 years ago, which we still remember, continue to be healed thanks to tolerance, forgiveness and, above all, justice based on the country’s ancestral traditions, all of which have enabled Rwanda to reconcile, renew and regenerate itself.

Rwanda has achieved the unthinkable feat of getting back on its feet after having lived through a terrible disaster and almost being wiped out. In this respect, this commemoration is not only a manifestation of our solidarity with Rwanda but also an expression of our admiration for the authorities of this country who have achieved a salutary rebirth. May this rebirth, now crowned with many successes, be for us a source for pride and faith in the future of our continent.

I thank you.

Author: MANZI
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