International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda was marked in Ankara with a commemorative event on 9 April.
“This year marks the 25th anniversary of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, one of the darkest chapters in recent human history” said United Nations Resident Coordinator Irena Sollorano at her speech during the event.
“As we renew our resolve to prevent such atrocities from ever happening again, we are seeing dangerous trends of rising xenophobia, racism and intolerance in many parts of the world” added Sollorano and reminded that UN experts warn that proliferation of hate speech and incitement to violence is particularly troubling around the world. They are outlined as enemies of the values of humanity and threaten human rights, social stability and peace. In addition, any phobia against any religion or culture is also the nemesis of our common humanity.
“As pointed out by Secretary General Antonio Guterres, wherever they occur, hate speech and incitement to violence should be identified, confronted and stopped to prevent them leading, as they have in the past, to hate crimes and genocide” she said.
Sollorano reminded that recently, the United Nations General Assembly reiterated in a resolution that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and have the potential to contribute constructively to the development and prosperity of their societies. The resolution also emphasized that any doctrine of racial superiority is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous and must be rejected.
UN Resident Coordinator concluded her remarks by quoting Secretary General Guterres: “The capacity for evil resides in all our societies, but so, too, do the qualities of understanding, kindness, justice and reconciliation. Let us work together to build a harmonious future for all. This is the best way to honour those who lost their lives so tragically in Rwanda 25 years ago”
Rwandan Ambassador Williams Nkurunziza started his speech saying “25 Years ago this week, our country descended into hell as the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi gripped our land and within 100 days consumed over a million lives and left our country in tatters.”
“It is during times of grief that you truly know who your real friends are” emphasized the ambassador and continued: “We are, therefore, profoundly grateful to you all for your presence and solidarity with us on this somber day as we commemorate the darkest chapter in our history. In doing this, you are on the side of the victims; on the side of hope for Rwanda and by your presence you affirm our common humanity.”
Candles of remembrance for the victims of the genocide were lit and a photo exhibition was opened as part of the commemorative event.