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GENOCIDE AGAINST TUTSI: ‘Stories of Survival and Remembrance UN New York

‘Stories of Survival and Remembrance — A Call to Action for Genocide Prevention’ Exhibition Opens at United Nations Headquarters

On Tuesday, 11 April 2023, the United Nations Department of Global Communications and the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect will open the exhibition “Stories of Survival and Remembrance – A Call to Action for Genocide Prevention” at United Nations Headquarters, New York at 6 p.m. EDT. The exhibition will be on display until 15 June 2023.

Alice Wairimu Nderitu, Under-Secretary-General and United Nations Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, will give welcoming remarks. Speakers include the Permanent Representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Kingdom of Cambodia, and the Republic of Rwanda to the United Nations, and the First Secretary, Political Department, Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations.

Immaculée Mukantaganira, featured in the exhibition, will share her reflections as a survivor of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. Maher Nasser, Director of the Outreach Division, Department of Global Communications, will host the event.

The exhibition features the reflections of survivors of four atrocity crimes — the Holocaust, the genocide and related atrocities in Cambodia, the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, and the 1995 genocide in Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina. An object that survived the atrocity crimes is displayed together with the survivor’s or their descendants’ explanation of what the object meant to them.

History, memory and survival are poignantly intertwined through the display of the treasured objects, Jim Lommasson’s photographs of objects that belong to survivors of the Holocaust and the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, and photographs from the War Childhood Museum Bosnia and Herzegovina, Remembering Srebrenica, and the Documentation Center Cambodia.

The exhibition reminds the viewer that no country is immune from the risks of genocide and related atrocity crimes. It reminds viewers of the importance of working proactively to address factors, including xenophobia, antisemitism, racism, and other forms of identity-based discrimination, hate speech and prejudice that facilitate atrocity crimes. It is a reminder of the immense consequences of atrocity crimes on the victims and survivors. The exhibition includes a child’s teddy bear, a woman’s scarf, ballet shoes — objects that survivors carried with them, and which sustained survivors when the world felt without hope.

For some survivors, the object holds value because it is a physical connection to their loved ones who did not survive — a little girl’s cardigan, a grandfather’s watch, well-worn photographs of happier times. The artifacts are powerful reminders of the humanity of the victims.

The exhibition opens a few days before the observance of the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda in the General Assembly Hall on 14 April. The opening also takes place in the seventy-fifth anniversary year of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, two milestone documents whose implementation remain ever relevant for the prevention of atrocity crimes.

The exhibition is based on “Stories of Survival: Object, Image, Memory”, a project of the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center and photographer Jim Lommasson.

For more information, please contact Tracey Petersen at (petersen3@un.org), Manager of the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, and Dalila Sadinlija (dalila.sadinlija@un.org) at the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect.

Author: MANZI
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