The Rwandan police and military peacekeepers serving under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Abyei (UNSFA) and Haiti (MINUSTAH), on Friday, joined the rest of Rwandans and friends of Rwanda to pay tribute to over one millions innocent lives that perished during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The peacekeepers were joined by government officials, peacekeepers from others countries, faith-based groups and residents in the 23rdcommemoration activities, which were characterized by the walk against Genocide, prayers and speeches that focused mainly on how the Genocide was planned, executed, stopped, and Rwanda’s transformation process.
South Sudan - Malakal
In South Sudan, the police and military peacekeepers were joined in Malakal by the Rwandan community, government officials and UN officials to pay homage to men, women and children brutally killed during the tragic period 23 years ago.
While speaking at the event, the head of UN field office in Malakal, Hazel Dewet, indicated that Rwanda’s recovery is a “good example to the people of South Sudan where people are fighting because of their ethnicity.”
“They should learn how Rwanda overcame this situation and now is among the countries contributing to peacekeeping operations in other countries.”
The Sector Commander Sector-North, Brig. Gen XIE Zhijun, embarked on Rwanda’s history of peacekeeping.
“Rwanda started peacekeeping operations in African Mission in Sudan (AMIS) in 2004. Now its troops are deployed in many different countries… and ranked fifth troop contributing countries in UN peacekeeping operations. This indicates how Rwanda is devoted to fight against genocide all over the world,” said Brig. Gen. XIE.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Eric Mutsinzi, the Rwanda police Contingent Commander, talked about the historical background of the genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda.
“We have the responsibility to teach and pass on the memory to the young generation so that on their turn, they can pass it on to successive generations. We remember to build a new society, new country, a dignified nation free of discrimination, segregation, and hatred, and free of genocide,” ACP Mutsinzi said.
He noted that by remembering, Rwanda is sharing the truth of its tragic history and “never again,” while fighting genocide ideology and anything that could take the country back to the bad past.
“We remember to recall where we came from so that we build a better future for the next generations. We remember, tell and recall the truth about the genocide and commit ourselves to not allow such tragedy to happen again.”
South Sudan – Juba
Similar commemoration activities were also held in the capital Juba and attended by Rwandan community in Juba; UNMISS Police Commissioner, CP Bruce Munyambo; Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General, Mustapha Soumare; SPLA representative Maj. Gen. Matier Deng; and Deputy Inspector General of Police of South Sudan, Lt. Gen. James WINYAOK, among others.
Walk to Remember Juba.
Lt Col. James Burabyo, who represented Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Uganda and South Sudan, as the chief guest, stressed “endless endeavor to fight genocide denial by some revisionists.”
“The international community as a whole is called to fight Genocide ideology and expose perpetrators and their collaborators, who enjoy safe haven in some countries.”
He talked of the “resilience of Rwandan people, their determination and commitment to fight for decent life and to overcome despair and distress” that were otherwise plunged in, and the visionary leadership under President Paul Kagame that “made possible the national reconciliation, social justice and sustainable peace and development.”
Walk to remember in Haiti.
The UN Special Representative, Soumare noted that the ideal of ‘Remember-Unite- Renew’ reflects the failure of the International Community to protected human lives at a critical moment.
He hailed those who sacrificed lives to stop genocide, and hailed Rwanda for rising from the ashes of genocide to become one of the economically rising powers of Africa, which he attributed to the homegrown solutions.
In Abyei, the commemoration was attended by over 1000 military, police and civilian peacekeepers from various contributing countries, and presided over by Maj. Gen. Tesfay Gidey, the acting Head of Mission.