Remarks by H.E. Mr. Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly

7 April 2022



Ladies and Gentlemen,

Twenty-eight years ago, Rwanda witnessed the horrors of the 1994 genocide. Triggered by hate speech and propaganda, friends and neighbors turned into enemies. More than one million women, children and men perished, needlessly.

We come together today, to pay our respects to the lives and memories of those who were lost.

We also honor the survivors, who like Ms. Providence Umugwaneza, mustered the strength and courage to defy odds.

Their bravery and resilience stand as a beacon of hope for the people of Rwanda, and many more across the world.

Today, Rwanda has rebuilt from the ashes of horrific tragedy and destruction, evidenced by its economic, social and political developments.

It laid the foundation for these achievements by having embarked on a better path; one of forgiveness and reconciliation, leaving behind past-resentments and acknowledging the common humanity of all.

I commend the resilience and leadership of the people of Rwanda for finding the grace within themselves to heal, to reconcile, and to embrace.

As we light candles and commemorate this dark chapter of history, let us ensure our commitments to stand against racism, hate speech, xenophobia, and all forms of discrimination, continue to burn brighter than the darkness of hate and violence.

In solidarity with the people of Rwanda, in memory of the victims, and in respect of the survivors, let us recommit to upholding the principles of human rights, peace and security, and let us continue to reach for the ideal of ‘never again’.

On this day, my heart is with all Rwandans. Like them, let us remember.