AU COMMEMORATES 18TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE RWANDA GENOCIDE
"Learning from our history to build a bright future"
Addis Ababa, 07 April 2012 – The African Union Commission (AUC) today, Saturday 7 April 2012, commemorated the 18th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide at its AUC headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in collaboration with the authorities of the Republic of Rwanda. The ceremony was attended by member states, AU organs, national human rights institutions, intergovernmental organizations and civil society organizations.
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Jean Ping, in his opening remarks said “the commemoration today is an occasion for Africans to reiterate their commitment to ensure that no more genocide occurs on the African continent, now or in the future.”
Chairperson Ping noted that the commemoration is yet another opportunity for Africans to remember the killings of over one million people in Rwanda in 1994 within a period of one hundred days, in one of the fastest and systematic genocides known to history.
A minute of silence in memory of the victims of the 1994 massive killings in Rwanda was observed while some religious leaders, representing the Muslims and the Protestant communities delivered prayers in remembrance of the genocide victims and their families.
Marking the event were lighting candles, musical play by school pupils, songs and prayers. A short documentary film was shown giving a description of the genocide and its effects on the country.
The event was organized by the Department of Political Affairs of the AUC, in collaboration with the authorities of the Rwanda Government under the theme "Learning from our history to build a bright future".
Mr. Joseph Nsengimana, the Ambassador of the Republic of Rwanda in Ethiopia expressed his gratitude and appreciation on behalf of his government and the people of the Republic of Rwanda for the AU's initiative of holding the annual commemoration of the Rwanda Genocide of 1994. He said "By remembering the genocide, we are able to firmly say NEVER AGAIN- Never to allow this to happen again in Rwanda and in any other part of the world".
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Hailemariam Dessalegn stressed in his remarks that Africans need to remember the lessons of the dark chapter in the history of the continent, and reaffirm the common resolve to prevent such heinous crimes from ever happening again. He said "As we reflect on the genocide that took place in Rwanda 18 years ago, we join the people of Rwanda in remembering the 1994 genocide ".
The event took place in the presence of Professor Andreas Eshete Chairperson of the Interim Board of the AU Human Rights Memorial, some Commissioners and staff of the AUC, representatives of civil society organizations, international organizations, diplomatic corps and the Rwandan community based in Addis Ababa.
It is worth recalling that the commemoration of the Rwanda Genocide is an annual event of the African Union, celebrated following the decision to commemorate 7 April as a day of remembrance of the victims of the genocide and reaffirmation of Africa's resolve to prevent and fight genocide on the Continent. It is also in accordance with the objectives and principles of the African Union on the promotion of good governance, human rights, rule of law and ending impunity as enshrined in its
The purpose of the commemoration as firmly indicated on the declaration adopted by the African Union Permanent Representatives Committee during its special session on the commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the Genocide in Rwanda, is to continuously awaken greater awareness of the African peoples and the international community about the value of life and humanity, and helps Africans renew their collective commitment to protect and uphold the fundamental human rights.