On 12 July, Rwandan people living in Zimbabwe, Government Officials, diplomats and various United Nations agencies gathered at the Celebration Centre, Harare to remember lives lost and to honour and show solidarity with survivors of the Rwanda genocide.
The 1994 genocide saw over 800 000 Rwandan people brutally murdered in ethnic violence. The event has been commemorated ever since.
“Genocide means not just mass killing, but mass obliteration to the verge of extinction. The killing of innocent people is always wrong. As members of the United Nation family, each one of us owes it to ourselves to promote the ideals of universal rights and a life with dignity for all,” Rezza Hossaini Acting United Nations Resident Coordinator in Zimbabwe said at this event.
“We should never ever be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim,” he added.
Rwandan Community Representative, Mr. Jean Baptiste Havugimana, explained that the 2014 commemorations were being run under the theme “Kwibuka 20” which has a threefold motto: “Remember, United and Renew.”
The 2014 commemorative period was officially launched in the capital of Rwanda, Kigali on 7 January and ended on 4 July 2014. The theme celebrates the remarkable story of resilience and hope for the Rwandan people, who are building a new prosperous and cohesive society. ‘Kwibuka 20’ calls on the global community to stand together against genocide.
“We will always remember the more than 800 000 innocent people so brutally murdered as we pay tribute to the bravery and resilience of the survivors,” said the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon in his statement to mark the Day. “And we pay tribute to their determination to renew their country and pave way to a secure and prosperous future. I will encourage the people and government of Rwanda to continue promoting the inclusive spirit needed for healing and reconciliation, and to deepen respect for human rights,” he said.
Activities during this commemoration included speeches from young Rwandans living in Zimbabwe and a candle-lighting ceremony.