The Embassy of Rwanda in Berlin Germany on July 7 hosted a reception on the occasion of the 20th Rwandan Liberation Day. More than 140 guests followed the invitation to join Rwandans in observing the national festivities.
Among the participants were representatives of the Federal German Government, Members of the Federal Parliament, members of the diplomatic corps, friends of Rwandan and the Rwandan community residing in the jurisdiction of the Embassy.
Ambassador Christine Nkulikiyinka was joined by the German Foreign Office’s State Secretary Mr. Stephan Steinlein.
In her speech the Rwandan envoy to Germany explained the long way Rwanda has come since it was liberated from a genocidal regime. She paid tribute to those who lost their lives during the liberation struggle.
“We are grateful for their sacrifices and express our recognition towards their families who each are bearing the individual consequences of those sacrifices,” Ambassador Nkulikiyinka said.
She underlined that for Rwandans liberation came with the responsibility to shape their country’s future and highlighted how Rwanda had not only advanced in order to provide more public goods to its population but also how the country had found home-grown solutions for the post-genocide challenges.
She thanked those who had supported Rwanda in the past and will do so in the future “We appreciate your solidarity and support to Rwandan solutions to Rwandan challenges.” She also expressed her gratitude to the German government.
State secretary Steinlein echoed Rwanda’s achievements and congratulated the country on the road successfully taken. He expressed he was impressed by the reconciliation processes and achievements in economic development.
He stressed the important role Rwanda is playing internationally and in the region and lauded the country for signing the Addis-Ababa Framework Agreement.
He especially mentioned Rwanda’s pioneering contribution towards peace and stability on the African continent, in particular through its peacekeepers in missions in Mali, South Sudan and recently in the Central African Republic.
He added: “We also pay recognition to your commitment to strengthening democratisation and an open society.
We commend the new Criminal Code, new media laws and the peaceful parliamentary elections in 2013, and we pledge our continued cooperation in this respect.”
He expressed his government’s support for R2P and urged the international community to draw and implement lessons from the 1994 genocide in Rwanda towards current conflicts.
The state secretary expressed his government’s strong and lasting ties with Rwanda and re-affirmed the two countries’ good relations, best reflected in vivid partnerships such as the “Jumelage” connecting people in Rwanda and Rhineland-Palatinate.
He concluded: “Please be assured that Germany continues to be, now and in the future, a reliable partner for Rwanda.”
The evening was framed by lively and rhythmic performances of the professional cultural group “Ihanika” which provided the guests with a flavour of Rwandan culture.
The Ambassador also utilized the reception to launch a book about Rwanda she had edited over the past months.
The book “We are Rwanda” whose first edition is published in German portrays 35 different personalities and their particular relation with Rwanda.
Rwandan citizens and officials deliver a very personal account of their lives post-genocide. German citizens and officials tell about how their very own relationship with Rwanda evolved and shaped their view of the country.
The book aims at telling Rwanda contemporary life from a Rwandan perspective for a German audience.
A part of the related photo exhibition of the portraits of Rwandans was showcased during the event as well. The exhibition will be on display in different cities throughout Germany.