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18th Commemoration of the Rwanda Genocide (2012)

candles lightening

H.E. Mr. Eugène-Richard Gasana, Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the UN, Mr. Jean-Francis Régis Zinsou of Benin, representing the African Union, H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, General Assembly President, Ms. Asha-Rose Migiro, Deputy Secretary-General, and H.E. Mrs. Susan Rice, Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the UN, lit candles in memory of the victims of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, in a ceremony held to mark the 18th annual International Day of Reflection on the genocide. © UN Photo/Mark Garten

The annual commemoration of the Rwanda genocide was observed at UN Headquarters and UN Information Centres around the world during the week of 9 April 2012, under the theme: "Learning from history to shape a bright future."

"Rwanda has learned from the appalling tragedy of 1994. So has the world," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a video message to commemorate the 18th anniversary of the genocide. "Rwanda is making progress towards building a more peaceful and just society. The international community is striving to ensure that similar tragedies never happen again."

At least 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were killed in 1994 during three months of bloodletting that followed the death of the then-president Juvenal Habyarimana.

Commemoration at United Nations Headquarters in New York

The activities organized in New York by the Department of Public Information’s Outreach Programme on the Rwanda Genocide and the United Nations, in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Rwanda, included a memorial ceremony PDF [2MB] and a film screening PDF [1.5MB].

The memorial ceremony held on 11 April featured candle lighting and remarks by the President of the General Assembly, the Deputy Secretary-General, the Ambassadors of the United States, Benin (representing the African Union) and Rwanda, readings of letters from orphans, widows and imprisoned genocidaires to the dead, and a musical performance by Rwandan singer Moise Mutangana.

The following day, the screening of the documentary "Sweet Dreams External Link," which depicts the journey of a group of Rwandan women who created the country’s first all-female drumming troupe and first-ever local ice cream shop, was followed by a discussion with the award-winning film producers and the lead characters.

More information about the events in New York

Commemorations around the world

Commemorations organized by UN Information Centres around the world included events in Bujumbura (Burundi), Bogota (Colombia), Brazzaville (Congo), New Delhi (India), Nairobi (Kenya), Windhoek (Namibia), Pretoria (South Africa), Kigali (Rwanda), Kiev (Ukraine) and Lusaka (Zambia), as well as activities in Bangladesh, Belgium, Iran, Madagascar, Mexico, Panama, South Africa, Switzerland, Tanzania and Uganda.

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