Musical theatre and choir, stories, video documentaries, religious services and prayers from different religious denominations based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia were some of the activities that took place during the 20th anniversary of the Rwanda Genocide commemorated today, 11 April 2014 at the headquarters of the African Union.
The ceremony also included statements from Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the AU Commission, Dr. Tewodros Adhano, Foreign Affairs Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Dr. Aisha Abdullahi, Commissioner for Political Affairs of the AU, Mr. Hamadi Meimou, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and Chairperson of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC), Mr. Bulus Paul Lolo, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Chair of the Peace and Security Council of the AU, and Mr Joseph Nsengimana, Ambassador of the Republic of Rwanda.
It was recalled that around 1,000,000 people lost their lives during the 100 day period of the genocide. The 20th anniversary was observed under the theme: KWIBUKA20 "Remember, Unite, and Renew".
“We must renew our determination, and make the choice: that Africa shall be peaceful; that we will integrate; that we shall be prosperous and that we will never again tolerate genocide on African soil”, underscored Chairperson Dlamini Zuma, while emphasizing on the need for Africa to silence the guns by 2020.
Minister Tewodros referred to the genocide as an unprecedented tragedy on the continent “never to repeat itself again”.
Ambassador Lolo on his part said Africa has pledged never again to stand and witness the tragedy that took place some 20 years ago”.
Ambassador Nsengimana expressed appreciation for the contribution of the African and international community in the reconstruction journey of his country. He shared his wish for an Africa free of conflict and genocide, “respectful of the fundamental human rights”.
The AU Staff Association president Mr. Salah Siddig Hammad recalled the horrific acts that took place during the genocide and urged everyone to take action to prevent such atrocities from happening in the future.
Also featuring in the celebrations was the lighting of the commemorative torch in remembrance of the victims of the genocide in the presence of the international community, AU Commissioners and AU staff, representatives of the civil society organizations, diplomatic corps and the Rwandan community in Addis Ababa among other invited guests.