Outreach Programme on the
Rwanda Genocide and the United Nations

Portrait of Former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Today, we observe the sixteenth commemoration of the genocide in Rwanda. We cherish the memory of more than 800,000 innocent people who lost their lives. Our thoughts are also with the survivors, whose haunting testimony woke us to the reality of a tragedy that was all too preventable.

07 April 2010

Events — Geneva

Memorial Ceremony
Palais des Nations, Geneva.

In Switzerland, the Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva, Sergei A. Ordzhonikidze, delivered opening remarks, followed statements from H.E. Ms. Venetia Sebudandi, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the UN Office at Geneva, Ms. Navenethem Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and others, including the testimony of a survivor.

Around the world

Commemorative and educational activities were organized by UN information centres around the world, including in (among others):

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Colombia
  • Congo
  • India
  • Italy
  • Kenya
  • Madagascar
  • Mexico
  • Morocco
  • Russian Federation
  • Switzerland
  • Tanzania
  • Zambia
Photos (Flickr) Event Details

Event Details — New York

Ceremony

For the 16th commemoration of the Rwanda genocide, the United Nations Department of Public Information organised in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of Rwanda to the UN several events on Wednesday, 7 April 2010 and Thursday, 8 April 2010 at UN Headquarters in New York.

Candle-Lighting

A candle-lighting ceremony featured music performed by young Rwandan and international musicians from the Mozart Academy and guest violinist Sirena Huang, to accompany remarks by Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Rwanda to the UN, H.E. Eugène-Richard Gasana, the Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the UN, H.E. Susan E. Rice, the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Francis Deng, the Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect Edward Luck, and Rwanda genocide survivor Jacqueline Murekatete.

Film Screening

"As We Forgive"
— A film by Laura Waters Hinson

The ceremony was followed by a film screening of "As We Forgive", a documentary about the power and pain of reconciliation in Rwanda, and a post-screening discussion with the film's director, Laura Waters Hinson and genocide survivor Yvette Rugasaguhunga.

Student Video Conference

"Rebuilding After Genocide: Justice, Reconciliation and Reintegration"

A student videoconference on "Rebuilding After Genocide: Justice, Reconciliation and Reintegration" connected students in New York, Illinois and Mexico City with representatives from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission and the National Service of Gacaca Courts in Rwanda and a Rwandan genocide survivor.

Event Details — Global

Argentina

The UN Information Centre Buenos Aires, Argentina produced a series of postcards providing information on topics such as justice and reconciliation and the situation of orphans.

Australia

In Australia, the UN Information Centre Canberra presented "As We Forgive" in cooperation with the Australian National University’s International Relations Society in Canberra. The screening was followed by a presentation from Professor Hilary Charlesworth AM, Director of the Centre for International Governance and Justice, who also lead a discussion about the film.

Austria

The UN Information Service Vienna, in Austria also screened "As We Forgive" to members of the diplomatic community, NGOs, staff members and as part of their lunchtime lecture and film series. One staff member who is a survivor attended the screening, which was followed by a debate.

Burkina Faso

In Burkina Faso, the UN Information Centre in Ouagadougou, in conjunction with the Ministry of Education of Burkina Faso, gave a lecture about the Rwanda genocide in twenty secondary schools. One hundred students were asked to write a message about the genocide to the Rwandans which were published in a brochure PDF.

Burundi

In Burundi, the UN Information Centre Bujumbura> co-organized a ceremony in Bujumbura with the Rwandan Embassy and the UN Integrated Office in Burundi. The programme included remarks from officials as well as a prayer from a Catholic priest, a minute of silence in memory of the victims, the reading of a hundred names of victims of the genocide, a candle lighting to symbolize the hope of a better future for the Rwandan people and remarks from a genocide survivor.

Colombia

In Colombia, the UN Information Centre Bogota, organized a series of film screenings and the showing of the "Lessons from Rwanda" exhibition in cooperation with several Colombian Universities.

Congo

The UN Information Centre in Brazzaville, Congo organised a film screening of the movie "As We Forgive", in partnership with a Congolese youth organisation, Association Couleurs Congolaises. Around 100 young Congolese and Rwandans attended and participated in a post-film discussion.

Italy

The UN Regional Information Centre in Brussels (UNRIC), led by its Desk Officer for Italy, joined forces with the non-profit organization "Bene Rwanda" to hold a commemorative event in Rome, Italy. Key speakers included Mr. Pierantonio Costa, the Italian honorary consul to Rwanda in 1994, who helped save the lives of some 2,000 Tutsi and Ms. Yolande Mukagasana, a renowned writer who lost her husband and three children in the genocide and devoted her life to raising awareness about the Rwanda genocide. Mr. Costa and Ms. Mukagasana are two of the three candidates to the Nobel Peace Prize 2010.

India

The UN Information Centre New Delhi, in India showed in cooperation with the India International Centre the "Lessons from Rwanda" exhibit, which included the screening of "As We Forgive". This event will be repeated in different cities all over the country during 2010.

Kenya

In Kenya, the UN Information Centre Nairobi and the High Commission of Rwanda organized a commemorative event incorporating prayers, poems and songs. A minute of silence and candle-lighting preceded addresses by Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Anna Tibaijuka and the High Commissioner of Rwanda. A poster exhibit and excerpts of the film "As We Forgive" were also included.

Madagascar

The UN Information Centre Antananarivo in Madagascar organized the showing of the "Lessons from Rwanda" exhibition and screened "As We Forgive" in four high schools.

Mexico

The commemoration at the UN Information Centre Mexico City, in coordination with Africala Film Festival, included the presentation of the short film "Waramuteho!" Directed by the young Cameroonian filmmaker Auguste-Bernard Kouemo who attended the screening, the film tells the story of two Rwandan friends - Hutu and Tutsi - living in France at the time of the genocide. Attendees also had the chance to see the "Lessons from Rwanda" exhibit.

UNIC Mexico City also took part in a student videoconference linking Mexican students from the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana and others in New York and Illinois with experts in Rwanda.

Morocco

The UN Information Centre Rabat in Morocco organized in collaboration with the Rwanda Students Association and the University of Rabat a seminar with the theme: International criminal justice: lessons from the Rwanda genocide. A documentary on the genocide and the "Lessons from Rwanda" exhibit were also shown.

Russian Federation

The UN Information Centre in Moscow, Russia screened the documentary "As We Forgive" for an audience of 100 students.

Tanzania

The UN Information Centre Dar es Salaam in Tanzania organized a commemorative event with the theme 'Walk to Remember' in collaboration with the High Commission of Rwanda, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and University of Dar es Salaam. The ceremony included candle lighting, a minute of silence, remarks by officials, a video show and an exhibition on the work of the ICTR. Additionally, a public lecture was held at the University.

Zambia

In Zambia, the UN Information Centre Lusaka organized a three-day outreach tour to universities and colleges where the "Lessons from Rwanda" exhibit and the documentary "As We Forgive" were shown.