|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
At Genocide Memorial, Secretary-General, Commending Rwandans for Compassion,
Forgiveness, Declares ‘You Are Writing a Different Future’
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the Gisozi Genocide Memorial, in Kigali on 23 May:
This is my third visit, and the second time as Secretary-General. Each time, I have been moved to tears.
Last month, I attended a solemn commemoration of the Rwandan genocide in New York. We paid tribute to the hundreds of thousands of people murdered simply because of their identity. And we acknowledged the courage and — in many cases — sacrifice of those who tried to shelter the victims and resist the killing.
This memorial stands on sacred ground where a quarter of a million people lie buried. The scale of the massacre almost defies comprehension. That is why this memorial is so important. The world must never be allowed to forget the savage potential that lingers in the human heart. We have seen that far too often in our time. We must always be on guard.
Today, I worry deeply about events in Syria. I have asked repeatedly for the international community to unite to prevent the tragedy we see deepening each day.
We failed in Rwanda. But, you are writing a different future. World Bank President Dr. Jim Kim and I are here to support you. We want to see peace and development throughout the Great Lakes region. I commend the people of Rwanda for your brave recovery.
In less than two decades, you have reconciled and rebuilt. You stand as an example of humanity’s capacity for human compassion and forgiveness. This memorial serves both as a warning and as a symbol of hope.
Today, I am moved and I am inspired. Let us all be inspired. Let us work together to build a world where all can live in security and dignity, proud of who they are, wherever they are.
* *** *For information media • not an official record