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28th Session (2006)

General Debate: Rwanda

Statement by Mr. Pascal Nyamulinda, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Rwanda to the United Nations (25 April 2006)

Mr. Chairman,

The delegation of the Republic of Rwanda to the UN associates itself with the statement made yesterday by the Ambassador Permanent representative of South Africa on behalf of the group of 77 and China.

On behalf of my delegation, I would like to congratulate you and the your bureau for presiding over the work of the 28th session of the Committee on Information and through you to express our appreciation to the Department for Public Information and the Under-Secretary-General Shashi Tharoor for the continuous effort in keeping the UN Community and Permanent Missions informed and for taking steps to face new challenges of this world.

I wish also to commend the work done by the DPI this month of April with regard to the implementation of the resolution A/RES/60/225 on the "assistance to survivors of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, particularly orphans, widows and victims of sexual violence".

However, I would like to take this opportunity to draw the attention of the Committee on some shortcomings and say that there is need to improve communication and consultation with Permanent Missions.

Mr Chairman,

It will be recalled that in its resolution A/RES/60/225 entitled "Assistance to survivors of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, particularly orphans, widows and victims of sexual violence" which was adopted in December 2005, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to establish an outreach programme entitled "The Rwanda Genocide and the United Nations" as well as measures to mobilize civil society for Rwanda genocide victim, remembrance and education, in order to help prevent future acts of genocide. The General Assembly further requested the Secretary-General to report back to it on the establishment of the programme within six months of the date of adoption of the resolution.

The responsibility for establishing the outreach programme has been assigned to the UN Department of Public Information (DPI). It had come to the attention of the Permanent Mission of Rwanda that DPI was organizing events to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the genocide, and had, in accordance with the resolution, appointed a focal point for these activities.

It is unfortunate that DPI has not consulted the country concerned, Rwanda, or the other sponsors of the resolution that created this programme, to discuss the implementation of the resolution and seek advice on the best means by which to achieve the objectives identified by the main sponsors of the resolution. The only meeting that has taken place so far was at the request of the Rwanda Mission.

Furthermore, DPI organized several events to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the genocide, but did not involve or consult Rwanda or any other sponsors of the resolution at any stage in the planning of the events.

Rwanda expresses its concern about this lack of consultation and poor communication between DPI and Permanent Missions. We remind DPI that as the country concerned, Rwanda, and other sponsors of the resolution, should as a matter of course be consulted and kept informed about all the activities and developments relating to the implementation of this resolution. We are available to work in a spirit of partnership with DPI to ensure the resolution's successful implementation.

Given that the resolution calls for victim remembrance and education, the views, expectations and opinions of Rwandan genocide survivors must also be sought. The Permanent Mission of Rwanda has made specific proposals to DPI in this regard, by working through a single focal point "Ibuka", which is the umbrella of Associations of survivors of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

In conclusion, I wish to renew our commitment and availability to work with the DPI so that the the resolution A/RES/60/225 be implemented and conducive to our expectations. The prevention of other acts of genocide not only in Rwanda but also else where will depend on a collective action, consultation and cooperation among Nations. The DPI has an important role to that end but should in the future seek the views of concerned Member States if we want this undertaking to be a success.

Thank you.

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