The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Bujumbura involved the Office of High Commission for Human Rights and the Rwanda Embassy in Burundi in an educational outreach activity to commemorate the 21st Anniversary of the Rwanda Genocide, on 9 April 2015, in the UNIC compound.
Around 200 students between 19 and 21 years of age from two secondary schools in Bujumbura participated in a briefing which took place in the UNIC Library. Patrice Vahard, Country Representative of the Office of the UN High Commission for Human Rights took the floor the first and talked about the UN Convention against genocide and the international law regarding Genocide. The Minister Councilor of the Rwanda Embassy in Burundi, Desire Nyaruhirira, explained to the students on the history of the Genocide in Rwanda, starting with the colonial policy which used ethnic division teachings to strengthen their power in Rwanda.
UNIC has also invited a survivor of the Genocide, a young university student, to come and talk about his testimony as a Genocide survivor. The students were touched by the story as Burundi shares a similar history with the same ethnic problems as Rwanda.
The discussions, questions and answers moment was very intense. The students learned about the signs of an emerging ideology of Genocide with the Rwanda experience, and how to avoid bad groups of people, even friends who talk about divisions and discrimination. They also expressed the lessons learned from the Rwanda genocide regarding – among others – the danger of ethnic divisions, racial discrimination and political teachings of ethnic divisions.
UNIC Bujumbura displayed a photo exhibition entitled, “The Lessons Learned from the Rwanda Genocide” and banderoles with the logo of the UN Communication Programme on the Rwanda Genocide as well as the UN70.
UNIC also screened the film “Duhozanye: A community of Resilience, Hope and Dignity", with the same group, to strengthen learning and knowledge of what happened in Rwanda and how the country is making efforts to recover from the trauma and rebuild a peaceful and developed country.
Further, on 7 April 2015, UNIC supported the organization of the official ceremony to commemorate the Genocide.