As the world officially remembers the genocidal murder of 800,000 Rwandans in 1994, United Nations leaders warn that ethnic cleansing and mass atrocities continue to blight humanity and call for sharper action to prevent such violations in the future.
Twenty-four years ago, on 7 April, ethnic Hutus in Rwanda began the frenzied slaughter of Tutsis, moderate Hutus and others in what is widely regarded as one of the darkest episodes in recent history.
In memory of the Rwandan victims – and as a sombre reminder of the international community’s failure to intervene – the UN observes 7 April every year as an “international day of reflection.”
“Today we remember all those who were murdered and reflect on the suffering of the survivors, who have shown that reconciliation is possible, even after a tragedy of such monumental proportions,” said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a message for the grim anniversary.
“Rwanda has learned from its tragedy; so must the international community,” Mr. Guterres said, expressing concern about “the rise of racism, hate speech and xenophobia around the world.”
The UN will hold a commemorative ceremony on the Rwandan genocide at its New York Headquarters on 13 April on the theme “Remember, Unite, Renew.”