Statement delivered by H.E. Mr. Durga Prasad Bhattarai, Permanent Representative of Nepal, on behalf of Peter Thomson, President of the General Assembly, at Annual Commemoration of the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda
7 April 2017
I have the honor to deliver the following statement on behalf of the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Peter Thomson, who unfortunately cannot be here today due to interstate commitments.
H.E. Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations
H.E. Excellency Ms. Valentine Rugwabiza, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Rwanda to the United Nations
Ladies and gentlemen,
In the space of just 100 days, starting in April 1994, more than 800,000 Rwandans were killed, while hundreds of thousands more were widowed, orphaned, subjected to sexual violence, or forcibly displaced.
The genocide in Rwanda saw the population of Tutsi’s decimated, while Hutu and other Rwandans who opposed the genocide were also targeted and killed.
Today, we remember the victims.
We condemn the unspeakable acts of brutality that they endured.
We mourn for the lives and the communities and the potential that was lost.
We take pause to reflect on the harrowing accounts of the survivors. On this, I wish to acknowledge the presence of Ms.Sonia Mugabo, who we will have the honour of hearing from in a few moments.
We reflect on our own failures that allowed this tragedy to occur.
And above all, we resolve to honour the victims by preventing such atrocities from happening again.
Doing so requires both commitment and action.
It requires that we strengthen our prevention capabilities, recognise early-warning signs, and act on gross violations of human rights.
It requires that we commit to protecting civilians and to acting in a timely and decisively way when atrocity crimes are imminent.
It requires that we work each and every day to sustain peace, to address root causes of conflict, and to peacefully resolve conflicts as soon as they breakout.
It requires that we stand up to xenophobia, hate and incitement to violence, and instead to promote peace, tolerance and diversity.
It requires ending impunity, upholding justice, and ensuring accountability.
And it requires that we educate our future generations on the tragedies that have occurred, so that they may never be repeated again.
Despite the tragedy that unfolded in Rwanda, the people of Rwanda have shown to us all their resilience, resolve and commitment to rebuilding in the aftermath of this tragedy.
And the Rwanda that has emerged is, in many ways, an example to us all.
A nation based on equal rights, inclusivity, and a commitment to fighting discrimination and divisive ideology.
A nation that has shown the power of reconciliation to help heal old wounds.
And a nation committed to taking up its role on the international stage to prevent genocide, and to support the peaceful resolution of conflicts across Africa and the world.
Almost seven decades after the adoption of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the international community continues to struggle in our efforts to live up to the commitment of ‘Never Again’.
On this International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda, let us therefore rise above rhetoric and commit to action.
It is the least that the world owes to the victims of the genocide in Rwanda.