Outreach Programme on the 1994 Genocide Against
the Tutsi in Rwanda and the United Nations

Portrait of Former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
This year's theme is "learning from history to shape a bright future". Rwanda has learned from the appalling tragedy of 1994. So has the world. 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.
A performer reads letters during the memorial ceremony.

© UN Photo/Mark Garten

11 April 2012

Events — New York

Memorial Ceremony
United Nations Headquarters, New York.

Theme: "learning from history to shape a bright future."

12 April 2012

Special Event — New York

Film Screening
United Nations Headquarters, New York.

"Sweet Dreams" is a documentary depicting 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. The screening was followed by a discussion with the award-winning film producers and the lead characters.

10 April 2012

Events — Geneva

Memorial Ceremony
Palais des Nations, Geneva.

The ceremony included a minute of silence, remarks, and an exhibit on the 1994 genocide in Rwanda displayed at the UN's headquarters in Geneva in commemoration of the annual day of reflection on the genocide.

Around the world

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

  • Bujumbura, Burundi
  • Bogota, Colombia
  • Brazzaville, Congo
  • New Delhi, India
  • Nairobi, Kenya
  • Windhoek, Namibia
  • Pretoria, South Africa
  • Kigali, Rwanda
  • Kiev, Ukraine
  • Lusaka, Zambia
  • Bangladesh
  • Belgium
  • Iran
  • Madagascar
  • Mexico
  • Panama
  • South Africa
  • Switzerland
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
Photos (Flickr) Event Details

Event Details — Global


On 11 April, the United Nations in Rwanda paid tribute to colleagues and former employees of UN agencies who lost their lives during the 1994 genocide. According to estimates, the Rwanda genocide claimed the lives of 63 UN staff.

Members of the victims’ families as well as individual UN staff members and the Acting UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Opia Kumah, laid a wreath at the Memorial Plaque at the United Nations Development Programme compound in Kigali, built in remembrance of those who lost their lives during the genocide.


Over 600 people attended a commemorative ceremony in Bujumbura, Burundi, on 7 April, organized by the UN Information Centre and the Embassy of Rwanda.

The ceremony included official remarks, a preview of the documentary film “Sweet Dreams” as well as prayers, songs of hope and reconciliation, a minute of silence and candle lighting in memory of the genocide victims.

New Delhi

Diplomats, business leaders, media persons and artists came together on 7 April at the Rwandan High Commission in New Delhi for the 18th commemoration of the genocide in Rwanda and to pledge ‘Never Again.” Nearly every African mission was represented during the sombre ceremony.

National Information Officer Rajiv Chandran joined H.E. Williams Nkurunziza, the High Commissioner of Rwanda, and Dr. B. M. Vinod Kumar from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs in a candle lighting ceremony.

The event included a video by Rwandan musicians, a peace song and a panel exhibition highlighting key themes being promoted by the Outreach Programme on the Rwanda Genocide and the United Nations.


About 100 students took part in a screening of the documentary film “As we forgive” organized by the UN Information Centre at the International University of Brazzaville on 3 April. The Minister of Youth and Civic Education, Mr. Anatole Collinet Makosso, made remarks, and the History Department Chief from the National University moderated the discussion. UN postcards as well as copies of the comic book "TUGIRE UBU MWE - Let's Unite!" were distributed to the participants.


More than 400 guests attended the commemorative ceremony in Nairobi on 12 April, organized by the UN Information Centre and the Rwanda High Commission. Alongside remarks by high-level officials, white carnations were laid at a table in honour of the victims of the genocide and 18 candles were lit to symbolize the number of years since the tragedy. Participants wrote messages of hope to the people of Rwanda on a white cloth which was placed next to the flowers and the candles.

A photo exhibition at the UN complex and the screening of a documentary film “Sweet Dreams”, together with a variety of other videos, complemented the memorial ceremony.


The United Nations Information Centre in Zambia embarked on a two-day educational outreach tour in two provincial towns (Kitwe and Kabwe) on 11 and 12 April to mark the anniversary of the Rwanda genocide, reaching students from Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

On the tour, the documentary “Sweet Dreams” was screened, followed by a discussion. Other activities included a question-and-answer session, testimonies by two genocide survivors, an exhibition, and the Secretary General’s video statement on the Rwanda genocide.


UNIC Bogotà hosted a forum with academic experts and students, including a flash presentation and a UN in Action TV documentary about sexual violence during the genocide. T-shirts with the logo for the Outreach Programme on the Rwanda Genocide and the United Nations were distributed.


The UN Information Centre in Windhoek commemorated the Rwanda genocide at the Windhoek International School on 13 April. Eight-graders watched the documentary film “Sweet Dreams”, wrote poetry about refugees, orphans and displaced families, and visited an exhibition set up in the school.


The UN Information Office in Ukraine opened a photo exhibition, “Visions of Rwanda,” at the UN House in Kiev and, together with the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), arranged a lecture by a survivor of the genocide in Cambodia, Mr. Vanno Noupech, at a secondary school. Events also featured a screening of “Sweet Dreams” and presentation of the comic book "Tugire Ubumwe – Let’s Unite!"

South Africa

More than 200 representatives of civil society, including many from the local Rwandan community, attended a ceremony at the Cape Town Holocaust and Genocide Centre in Pretoria on 15 April, organized by the UN Information Centre. Ms. Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, the UNIC Pretoria Director, delivered the message of the Secretary-General as well as an address on the global role of the United Nations in this important day. Copies of the comic book "TUGIRE UBU MWE — Let's Unite!" were disseminated as were hard copies of the Secretary-General's message.