The event was held on Wednesday, 7th April 2021, at El-salam Hotel in Khartoum, attended by Members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to Sudan, Heads of Regional and International Organizations, Business Community, Civil Society, Rwandan Community in Sudan and representatives of Media Houses in Sudan.
The event was also attended by a delegation of the Government of the Republic of the Sudan led by H.E Ambassador Khalid Farah, Director General of the African Affairs Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; who was also the Guest of Honor.
The Commemoration event was attended physically and virtually due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic. There was strict observance of health measures against COVID-19 for all invitees that were in physical attendance.
Beside the remarks of the day, the commemoration event included lighting of the Candle of Hope as a symbol of hope and resilience and the One Minute of Silence in honor of the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
In his remarks the Head of Rwanda Diplomatic Mission in the Sudan, Mr. Abel Buhungu, welcomed and thanked the Guest of Honor, Ambassador Khaled Farah, the Director General for the Department of Africa at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He also extended a warm welcome to the audience for positively responding to the invitation.
“Today, marks twenty seven (27) years since the 1994 genocide against Tutsi whose seeds of disunity and exclusion were planted by the colonialists back in 1930s and got nurtured and flourished by the two post-independence Republics until 1994,” said Mr. Buhungu.
He outlined details of early planning during the colonial rule, and post-independence regimes. As example, he informed the audience of a demeaning social research involving measuring of lengths and width of peoples’ noses by the colonialists back in 1932 and that findings were used as basis for issuance of discriminatory ethnic-based National IDs to all Rwandans back in 1933.
Mr. Buhungu went further to mention how discrimination and ethnicity politics got entrenched with participation and facilitation of the Catholic Clergy in 1957 in aid to the policy of the colonialists.
The Catholic Clergy facilitated the drafting of the Hutu Manifesto in 1957 followed by the infamous ten Hutu Commandments.
These infamous policy documents and the discriminatory ethnic-based IDs were first tangible seeds that fruited into cyclic killings and mass production of Tutsi refugees (into neighboring DRC, Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania) including in 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1973, 1982, 1990 and 1992.
The climax of this exclusion and hate was the 1994 genocide against Tutsi which aimed at their total annihilation. A genocide that lasted from 7th April until 4th July 1994 and decimated over a million innocent lives. The fastest mass murder in human history.
Buhungu recalled the final report (S/1994/1405) of the Commission of Experts established pursuant to UNSC Resolution 935 (1994), that among others attested to the fact that: “there exists overwhelming evidence to prove that acts of genocide against the Tutsi group were perpetrated”. He also mentioned the conclusions of the appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) issued on 16th June 2006 a Judicial notice (ICTR – 98-44-AR73(C).
He also recalled the failure of international Community to prevent the Genocide despite early warning including by General Romeo Dallaire, the Canadian Commander of the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda (MINUAR). Unfortunately, a part of this UN force that was deployed in Rwanda withdrew back to their home countries when genocide begun on 7th April 1994.
Buhungu thanked the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) for the heroism in moving quickly and against many odds ably stopping the 1994 genocide against Tutsi.
"The RPF led Government has since the end of the genocide commendably worked hard in uniting and reconciling Rwandans as well as impressively rebuilt the economy albeit from an extremely low base of 1994. This is despite a very hostile environment that had been occasioned by the genocide where, as example survivors had to co-exist with some of their yester-year tormentors," argued.
He called for a joint campaign to bring to justice the perpetrators of this heinous crime who are still roaming the globe. He commended countries especially in the West that have lately increased arrests of these genocide fugitives. These genocide fugitives are either tried in the jurisdictions of their countries of residence or they are extradited to Rwanda for trial.
The most recent case in point is the infamous genocide financier, Felicien Kabuga who was arrested in France and is now undergoing trial in The Hague. He expressed need for a coordinated global action to deny genocide fugitives and their support networks easy platform for carrying on with revisionism and denial as the last phase of any Genocide. It is by these actions that the International community can avoid another epic failure on their part or avoid ever having another genocide anywhere.
He ended by highlighting the impressive progress made in Rwanda over the last 27 years in the areas of good governance, unity, justice, reconciliation and economic development. He appreciated the state of Bilateral Relations between Rwanda and The Sudan as the host Country that are buttressed by a number already signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) or Agreements.
In his remarks, Ambassador Khaled Farah expressed solidarity of the Government of Sudan with the people of Rwanda during this period of commemoration. He uttered his belief that the commemoration aims at promoting strong collective memory which is very essential for bringing about sustainable nation building and Genocide prevention in the future.
He then quoted the speech of President Paul Kagame during Kwibuka26 as saying “ The lessons of our history have united us. They teach us the value of good leadership that cares for the well-being of all Rwandans. We learned the importance of working together to build the better future of all Rwandans”.
Ambassador Khaled applauded the achievements that Rwanda has gained in the post genocide period and affirmed that Sudan would benefit from these realized success stories of Rwanda.
He concluded by reaffirming the commitment and cooperation of the Government of the Sudan with Rwanda on its journey of transformation.
Photos: Rwanda’s embassy in Sudan