20th Commemoration of the Genocide in Rwanda (2014)
Activities organized by UN Information Centres around the world
On 7 April, UNIC Antananarivo organized an event at Lycée Privée Rasalama to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda. Media members, students and professors participated in debates and workshops. Students held a discussion on the lessons learned from the genocide while reading excerpts of the book “Tugire Ubumwe”. On 25th April, the Remembrance Ceremony was held followed by a debate on the failed UN intervention, colonial discriminative policies, the reconciliation process and the development in Rwanda.
UNIC Brazzaville presented a mobile exhibition from 7 to 11 April 2014 in five public and private high schools in Brazzaville.
Around 1,500 students read the panels and were briefed on the necessity of preventing racism and intolerance.
Together with the University of Information Technology and Sciences (UITS), UNIC Dhaka observed the 20th anniversary of Rwanda genocide by holding a seminar, candle lighting, poetry recitation, drama performances and a poster exhibition at UITS premises.
Speakers included the Pro-Vice Chancellor of UITS, as well as poets Muhammad Samad, Shihab Sarkar, Aslam Sani and Kazi Rozi who all recited human rights poems.
On 8 April and for the first time, UNIC Jakarta held a day of remembrance of the victims of the Rwanda genocide.
Speakers included Artanti Wardhani, lecturer at the Department of International Relations at the University of Indonesia; Myrta Kaulard, Country Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) in Indonesia, who served in the Great Lakes region in 1994; and Haris Azhar, the National Executive Coordinator of the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence, also known as KontraS.
From 7 to 9 April, the United Nations in Zambia embarked on an educational outreach tour in Kitwe at the Copperbelt University (CBU), the Dag Hammarskjöld Institution for Peace Studies (DHIPS) and the Ndola National Technical High School for Girls.
More than 4,500 students, young adults, faculty members and other non-academic staff who were interested in learning about the Rwanda genocide participated.
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
On 12 April, UNIC Ouagadougou organized an official ceremony which included a march with candles titled “Hope for Rwanda”, testimonies of survivors, and the showing of a video produced by the government of Burkina Faso.
Also, an exhibition of photos, posters, films, booklets and international texts related to genocide was opened to more than 8,000 visitors.
On 4 April, in collaboration with UNERMA (Union of Rwandan students and interns in Morocco), UNIC Rabat held a presentation on the history of Rwanda, the history of genocide and the concept of "responsibility to protect ".
On 11 April jointly with Rabat-Agdal University (Faculté des Sciences Juridiques, Economique et Sociales Rabat-Agdal) and UNERMA, UNIC Rabat held another event under the theme "Rwandan genocide, 20 years later : What are the lessons and the prospects?" Guests speakers were Miloud Loukili and Mohamed Brahimi, both professors at Rabat-Agdal University; Khalid Chegraoui, historian, anthropologist, professor at the Institute of African Studies; and Yamine Yamani, Professor at the National Institute of Statistics.
Rome and Genova, Italy
UNRIC/Italy desk commemorated the 20th anniversary in collaboration with the Italy based NGO “BeneRwanda” and jointly with Rome Municipality, the Rwandese consulate in Italy, the Rwanda diaspora and the Budapest Center for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities. Speakers included Yolande Mugakasana, genocide survivor and civil rights activist, and Staffan De Mistura, former UN high-ranking and current Italian Government official. A similar event took place in Genova (northern Italy), organized by the local municipality in collaboration with the local civil society. The event included the screening of the documentary “The night of Rwanda” in the presence of the director, a genocide survivor himself.
In cooperation with the Iranian International Studies Association (IISA), UNIC Teheran on 9 April organized a seminar at Resaneh (Media) Cultural Centre.
Speakers included UN Resident Coordinator Gary Lewis; IISA member and Gilan University political science professor Dr. Reza Simbar; and the IISA Chairperson Dr. Arsalan Qorbani.
The United Nations Information Centre in Nairobi commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide in collaboration with the Rwanda High Commission. UN staff, Rwanda community, friends of Rwanda, Permanent representatives, University students and the Kenya government representatives participated in various events. Speeches to mark the day were delivered before a solemn audience by Ms. Yamina Karitanyi, High Commissioner of the Republic of Rwanda to Kenya, and Ambassador Ruth Solitei, Chef de Cabinet, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kenya while Ms. Nardos Bekele-Thomas UNDP Resident Co-ordinator, delivered the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message.
On 7 April, UNIC Windhoek took the opportunity to visit 7th grade students at the Holy Cross Convent in Windhoek, to educate them about the atrocities committed during the events of 1994. The educational initiative included a video screening of survivor testimonies from the Survivors Fund (SURF) website. During the 10 minute video screening, the 50 students ages 11 - 13, watched attentively and sympathised when the survivors gave their testimonies on genocidal acts that they experienced.
Students participated at the Model UN in the National Library. Discussions focused on rules and procedures of the Security Council on the prevention of genocide, punishment of those responsible within the framework of the international law, support of survivors; and the students spoke about the concepts of humanitarian intervention and responsibility to protect.
The United Nations Information Centre in Yerevan, commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide in collaboration with the United Nations Depository Library and three new partners-Universities: the European Educational Academy, the Public Administration Academy of Armenia and the Armenian State University of Economics. 60 selected students and professors participated in 5 training sessions – 1 in the UN House, 1 in National Library and 1 in each of the Universities. The thematic session (Genocide issue at the UN, Convention of Genocide and R2P) was led by the Head of Human Rights Division at the Department of International Organizations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.