Outreach Programme on the
Rwanda Genocide and the United Nations

Portrait of Former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Genocide is not a single event. It is a process that takes time and preparation. History has repeatedly demonstrated that no part of the world is immune.
Frida Umuhoza, survivor and author of 'Frida: Chosen to Die, Destined to Live', addresses the annual commemoration.

© UN Photo/Loey Felipe

11 April 2016

Events — New York

Memorial Ceremony
General Assembly Hall
United Nations Headquarters, New York.

Event Details

11 April 2016

Events — UNOG

Memorial Ceremony
Palais des Nations, Geneva.

07 April 2016

Events — UNMISS

Memorial Ceremony
Juba, South Sudan.

Around the world

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

  • Bangladesh
  • the Republic of the Congo
  • Ghana
  • India
  • Iran
  • Italy
  • Kenya
  • Madagascar
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • Senegal
  • South Africa
  • Switzerland
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tanzania
  • Zambia
Photos (Flickr) Event Details

Event Details — New York

Memorial Ceremony

11 April 2016
General Assembly Hall
United Nations Headquarters, New York

Photos

Programme

  • Candle Lighting
  • Remarks by H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon (UN Secretary-General), H.E. Mr. Mogens Lykketoft (President of the UN General Assembly — watch video of the statement), H.E. Mr. Eugène-Richard Gasana (Minister of State in Charge of Cooperation and Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the UN), Ms. Nelly Mukazayire (Deputy Director of the Cabinet in the Office of the President of Rwanda), Ms. Frida Umuhoza (survivor and author of "Frida: Chosen to Die, Destined to Live"), Mr. Malcolm Hoenlein (Executive Vice Chairman, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations)
  • Music by Pauletta Washington and the Mamazband
  • Moderated by Ms. Cristina Gallach (UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information)

Organized by the United Nations Department of Public Information, in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Rwanda to the UN.

Annual Commemoration - NYC

(01:20:15)

Film Screening

"A Snake Gives Birth to a Snake"
— A film by Michael Lessac and the Global Arts Corps

17 November 2016
Conference Room 4
United Nations Headquarters, New York

A Snake Gives Birth to a Snake follows a group of diverse South African actors as they tour the war-torn regions of Northern Ireland, Rwanda, and the former Yugoslavia. During their travels, the protagonists meet local communities and try to share with them their own country’s experience with post-conflict reconciliation. As they ignite this dialogue full of raw memories of atrocity and pain, the actors find they must once again confront their homeland’s violent past, and question their own capacity for healing and forgiveness. It also features never-before-heard original music by jazz legend Hugh Masekela.

Post-screening discussion with:

  • Nick Boraine (South African actor known for Homeland, District 9 and Paradise Stop; and Associate Artistic Director of Global Arts Corps)
  • Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela (Professor and Research Chair in Historical Trauma and Transformation, Stellenbosch University, South Africa)
  • Michael Lessac (director and producer of A Snake Gives Birth to a Snake; and Artistic Director of Global Arts Corps)
  • Consolee Nishimwe (survivor of the genocide in Rwanda, and author of Tested to the Limit: A Genocide Survivor's Story of Pain, Resilience and Hope)
  • Renata Segura (Associate Director of the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum, Social Science Research Council)

Moderated by Maher Nasser, Director of the Outreach Division, UN Department of Public Information.

A Snake Gives Birth to a Snake — Film Screening & Panel Discussion

(01:02:15)

Premiere

"The Uncondemned"
— A film by Michele Mitchell and Nick Louvel

19 October 2016
Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Chamber
United Nations Headquarters, New York

Programme PDF Photos (Flickr)

THE UNCONDEMNED -- a Michele Mitchell/Nick Louvel film (2016) -- is a documentary about a group of young lawyers and activists who defied the odds to do what had never been done: prosecute rape as an act of genocide before an international court, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. This is the story of their relentless fight for that landmark conviction, revealing for the first time the three Rwandan women who bravely came forward to testify despite the danger. THE UNCONDEMNED captures the remarkable story of determination, resilience and courage that forever changed the course of international judicial history and gave birth to hope and justice for all victims of genocide and sexual violence in conflict.

The screening was followed by a panel discussion with the co-director of the film, the leading trial lawyer in the Akayesu case, two Rwandan genocide survivors featured in the film, the founder of the Free Yezidi Foundation, and a Yezidi survivor of ISIL (Da'esh) atrocities in Iraq.

Organized by the Permanent Mission of Rwanda to the UN and the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, in collaboration with the UN Department of Public Information.

The Uncondemned — Film Screening & Panel Discussion

(01:08:39)

Film Screening

"Intore" ("The Chosen")
— Produced by Rwanda Cinema Center and Park Hill Entertainment, in association with the Kwetu Film Institute and the Rwanda Media Project.

28 June 2016
Conference Room 4
United Nations Headquarters, New York

Photos (Flickr)

"Intore" offers a powerful and rare look at how Rwanda overcame its tragic past by regaining its identity through music, dance, and the resilience of a new generation. The film features musical and dance performances, interwoven with interviews with genocide survivors and perpetrators, Rwandan leaders, legends, and Hollywood elite.

Programme
  • Poetry by Jessica Gatoni (Rwandan student)
  • Opening remarks by Jeanne d'Arc Byaje (Deputy Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the UN)
  • Introductory remarks by Claudine Jolie Murenzi (Rwanda Cinema Center)
  • Film screening
  • Q&A with the "Intore" co-producers Eric Kabera and Shirley Neal
  • Poetry / dance performance by Angel Uwamahoro and Inès Giramata (Rwandan students)

"Intore" ("The Chosen") — Film Screening & Panel Discussion

(00:52:22)

Event Details — Global

Accra
Ghana

UN information centre in Accra held a student forum in commemoration of the Day, with about 100 students from the University of Ghana.

The programme included a background briefing on the genocide in Rwanda, as well as readings of survivor testimonies.

Some of the students shared their experiences and understanding of hatred, bigotry, racism, violence and discrimination in a very lively discussion. Candles were lit in honour of the victims of the genocide in Rwanda.

Brazzaville
Republic of the Congo

The UN information centre in Brazzaville worked with the Rwandan Embassy to organize a solemn ceremony marking the Day.

The UN Secretary-General’s message was delivered by the UN Resident Coordinator, and statements were made by the Rwandan Ambassador and the Minister of Culture.

In addition to lighting candles for hope, a brief documentary was screened. Around 150 people attended the ceremony, including Government representatives, members of the diplomatic corps, of the UN Country Team, the Rwandan community, the media, and religious groups.

Dakar
Senegal

The commemoration of the Rwanda genocide in Dakar included an official ceremony on 7 April at the "Place du Souvenir," with a reading of the Secretary-General’s message in front of representatives of the Government of Senegal and the diplomatic corps.

An exhibition, organized by the UN information centre in collaboration with the Rwandan Embassy, was also shown at the same venue, open to the public.

Dhaka
Bangladesh

The UN information centre in Dhaka collaborated with Daffodil International University (DIU) to commemorate the Day at the DIU auditorium on 7 April.

The observance began with a candle lighting to express solidarity with the victims of the Rwanda genocide, and included a seminar, poetry reading and a short theatrical play.

The speakers urged everyone to raise their voice against genocide anywhere in the world.

Lagos
Nigeria

It was a great moment of pledges and commitments by over 200 students from six public high schools in Lagos at the commemoration of the Day organized by the United Nations information centre in Lagos.

With their right hands placed on the left hand side of their chests, the students chorused in unison: "I hereby say ‘No’ to hate speech"; "I pledge to respect other people’s religions and tribes"; "I hereby make a commitment to promote peace at all time"; "I pledge to love my neighbours for who they are"; among others. These commitments followed a reading of the message of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The event was well attended, including by members of the Rwandan community in Lagos.

Lusaka
Zambia

On the occasion of the International Day, the UN information centre in Zambia embarked on a two-day outreach tour to educational institutions in the two provincial towns of Ndola (Ndola National Technical School) and Kabwe (Kabwe Secondary School) from 6 – 7 April, under the theme of "Fighting the Ideology of Genocide." During the tour, video testimonies by survivors were screened to highlight the experiences the survivors went through as a way of generating discussion.

Other activities included an exhibition, a bulk text messaging campaign (30, 000 text messages), video screenings, outreach to 1,000 students, and a media interview with the Post newspaper (300,000 readers).

Nairobi
Kenya

More than 1,000 people attended the event in observance of the Day at the UN complex on 7 April, including 400 students from local universities and about 400 members of the Rwandan community in Nairobi, as well as diplomats and Government officials.

The Secretary-General’s message was read by the UN Resident Coordinator. Candles were lit in honour of the victims of the genocide.

New Delhi
India

The UN information centre organized a moving ceremony to mark the Day at the UN conference hall in New Delhi. A minute of silence was observed in memory of the victims of the Rwanda genocide. H.E. Mr. Ernest Rwamucyo, the High Commissioner of Rwanda, spoke about his hope for shaping a new Rwanda, with a focus on providing equitable health and educational facilities. He insisted that everyone should take ownership of the country's development, with the youth taking the lead.

The ceremony concluded with a peace song by Rwandan students of Sharda University, Noida.

Rome
Italy

Upon invitation by the Rwandan community association of Italy, the UN regional information centre (UNRIC) took part in the 22nd commemoration in Italy focused on the theme of "Fighting genocide ideology."

Speaking before an audience of diaspora members, public authorities, NGOs, academics, judicial experts, and students, the UNRIC representative read the Secretary-General’s message and responded to criticism expressed by some speakers of the UN’s role in 1994 by stressing the lessons learned and steps taken to improve the UN’s response to gross violations of human rights.

Tehran
Iran

In partnership with the Iranian International Studies Association and the Faculty of Law and Political Science of the Islamic Azad University in Karaj, the UN information centre organized a Model UN Security Council session on the Rwanda genocide at the Institute for Political and International Studies in Tehran on 15 May, The UN Resident Coordinator, Gary Lewis, read the Secretary-General's message, followed by his own remarks and a discussion on the Rwanda genocide.

Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago

The UN information centre for the Caribbean Area (UNIC Port of Spain) organised an exhibit and disseminated printed material in Tobago. The Centre’s partner, Tobago Library Services, hosted the exhibit at its main library in Scarborough, supporting the aim to communicate messages on the Rwanda genocide to new audiences. Material displayed included posters, information sheets, the graphic novel “TUGIRE UBUMWE”, written and video testimonies of survivors, as well as the digital Rwanda interactive timeline.

Windhoek
Namibia

On the occasion of the Day, a team from the UN information centre in Windhoek paid a special visit to the Hochland High School, to meet with a group of senior history students. The UNIC presentation consisted of videos and slides highlighting the events leading up to the genocide in Rwanda. At the end of the presentation, the team asked the students to join in lighting candles and observing a moment of silence in honour of the victims and survrvivors of the genocide.