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15th Commemoration of the Genocide in Rwanda (2009)

In commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide, the United Nations Department of Public Information organized in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of Rwanda to the UN an event on Tuesday, 7 April 2009 in the Trusteeship Council at UN Headquarters in New York.

The ceremony, attended by approximately 400 members of the diplomatic community, UN representatives, students and staff, began with traditional Rwandan music and a candle lighting ceremony. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Rwanda to the UN Joseph Nsengimana, and two of his four children lit three candles that burned throughout the ceremony to remember the victims of the genocide.

Among the most poignant moments of the event was the solemn readings of testimonies of survivors of the genocide by Francis Deng, Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, two high school students and a firsthand account by genocide survivor, Jacqueline Murekatete. Remarks were given by the Secretary-General, Miguel d’Escoto Brockman, the President of the 63rd Session of the General Assembly, Rwandan Permanent Representative Joseph Nsengimana, Ibrahim O. A. Dabbashi , Deputy Permanent Representative of the Socialist People’s Libyan Jamahiriya to the UN, representing the Chairperson of the African Union and Susan E. Rice, Permanent Representative of the United States. The event also launched the two photography exhibits – Visions of Rwanda produced by the UN Department of Public Information and Intended Consequences: Photos and Interviews of Jonathan Torgovnik, sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN – which vividly illustrate the lives of genocide survivors in Rwanda today, the challenges they face and the visions they have for their future. Gabriela Shalev, Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN, and Mr. Jonathan Torgovnik, the photographer and creator behind the Intended Consequences exhibit, spoke about the importance of testimonies and keeping the memory of the victims alive.

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