In 1994, more than 800,000 people were systematically murdered throughout Rwanda. The vast majority were Tutsi, but moderate Hutu, Twa and others were also targeted. On this Day, we remember all who perished in the genocide and renew our resolve to prevent such atrocities from ever being repeated, anywhere in the world.
We should all be inspired by the survivors’ courage in showing that reconciliation is possible even after such a tragedy. With the Great Lakes region still facing serious threats to peace and security, healing and reconstruction remain essential.
Honouring the victims of the genocide in Rwanda also means working for justice and accountability. I commend United Nations Member States in the region and beyond for their continued efforts to arrest and hand over remaining fugitives and end impunity. The best way to ensure that genocide and other egregious violations of human rights and international law can never occur again is to acknowledge shared responsibility and commit to shared action to protect those at risk.
Genocide is not a single event. It is a process that takes time and preparation. History has repeatedly demonstrated that no part of the world is immune. One of the key warning signs is the spread of hate speech in public discourse and the media that targets particular communities.
The theme of this year’s observance is “Fighting Genocide Ideology”. It is essential that Governments, the judiciary and civil society stand firm against hate speech and those who incite division and violence. We must promote inclusion, dialogue and the rule of law to establish peaceful and just societies.
The history of Rwanda teaches us an essential lesson. While the capacity for the deepest evil resides in all societies, so too do the qualities of understanding, generosity and reconciliation. Let us nurture these hallmarks of our common humanity to help build a life of dignity and security for all.