The United Nations Information Center (UNIC) in Nairobi, in collaboration with the Rwanda High Commission, organized the observance of the 19th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda with students from various universities, secondary and primary schools in Kenya under the slogan “Healing, Reconciliation and Reconstruction”.
Prior to the observance, the students participated in essay writing and art work on their "imagination of a country with no conflict", to underline the responsibility of everyone, including students, on their role in preventing conflict.
In her message, the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi UNON), Ms Sahle-Work Zewde urged the students make use of their knowledge and skills acquired to positively impact the communities where they come from.
In his message presented by Ms Zewde, the UN Secretary-General noted that preventing Genocide is a shared responsibility. “States must uphold their obligations under International law to prevent abuses and protect their populations. Collectively we must go beyond words and effectively safeguard people at risk”, he underlined.
The High Commissioner of the Republic of Rwanda, Ms Yamina Karitanyi, called on the students to play a role in educating their peers and get involved in conversations on social media to share views and thoughts about genocide.
After the observance at UNON, Ambassadors, High Commissioners and heads of International Organizations attended a church service as part of activities to commemorate the anniversary.
In his speech, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the East Africa Community, Mr. Chiboli Shakaba urged Kenyans to stand in solidarity with the people of Rwanda as the country propels itself forward. He emphasized on the need of learning from the experiences of Rwanda and noted, “As citizens of Kenya, we must reflect and learn from what Rwanda sadly experienced. Kenyans must value each other; we must be considerate and tolerant of each other. Recognizing always that our diversity is not a limiting factor, rather, it is our strength and in embracing and channeling it positively as a country, we shall be able to achieve all that we set out to”.
About 400 people attended the activities to commemorate the anniversary in honor of the victims of the genocide.