The AU holds the 27th commemoration of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda

7 Apr 2021

The AU holds the 27th commemoration of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda

On 7 April, the Rwandan Embassy and the AU Commission jointly organized the 27th commemoration of the genocide in Rwanda held under the theme “Kwibuka: Remember, Unite, Renew”.

The AU Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat; the Rwandan Ambassador Hope Tumukunde Gasatura; the AUC Deputy Chairperson Monique Nsanzabaganwa; the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Ambassador Bankole Adeoye; the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Head of UNOAU, Hanna Tetteh; and the State Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Birtukan Ayano and other members of the diplomatic corps were also present. In his remarks, the AUC Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat pledged the solidarity of the AU for the survivors of the genocide, while calling for renewed commitment to ensure that such a tragedy is never repeated on the African continent. He commended the resilience of the Rwandan people to work on reconciliation to rebuild their society following this tragedy. He emphasized that the lessons we should draw from the tragedy in Rwanda is for our societies to counter the ideologies of hate, exclusion and extremism, while working to build resilient and tolerant societies that respect the diversity in ethnicity, culture, and religion across our communities.

In her remarks, SRSG Tetteh, inter alia, underscored the need to ensure that our continued reflection on the atrocities that were committed should also be used as an opportunity to take seriously the efforts to prevent atrocities of this nature from happening again. She noted that since the Rwandan Genocide other mass atrocity events had occurred on the continent albeit not on the scale of the events that took place in Rwanda, and therefore it was imperative to take note of information provided by early warning mechanisms to work towards the prevention of such grave violations of human rights and genocide.  She noted that the genocide in Rwanda was preventable and that hate speech could not be tolerated as it was the first step in the dehumanization of affected groups and sowed the seeds of indifference towards their suffering. Expressing solidarity with the people and the Government of Rwanda, the Ethiopian State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Birtukan Ayano, said that the genocide was preventable, while underscoring the collective responsibility of the international community for the inability to stop this atrocity. She noted that the commemoration served as a reminder of the collective responsibility to protect humanity from such atrocities and to ensure that they are not repeated. She further commended the innovative community-based approaches employed by Rwanda to promote reconciliation. 

Rwanda’s Permanent Representative to the AU, Ambassador Hope Tumukunde Gasatura, emphasized that the genocide against members of the Tutsi minority in Rwanda first began with the ideology of hate, discrimination, exclusion and an ethnic ideology of profiling and hate speech aimed at dehumanization of the Tutsis.  She noted that part of effectively countering the ideology of genocide is to ensure accountability by the perpetrators. In this connection, she called on the international community to honour the arrest warrants issued by Rwanda against the perpetrators, adding that mechanisms of denial of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis in foreign countries should be understood at the highest level of all States, as well as within their judicial systems, and should be punished accordingly.