Brussels, 7 April 2017/ ACP: ACP Secretary General H.E. Dr. Patrick Gomes, along with ACP diplomats, the Rwandan diaspora in Belgium and friends of Rwanda gathered at the ACP House in Brussels on the 7th of April to paid tribute to the victims of genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1994.
After calling for a minute of silence to remember the tragic loss of more than a million lives over the course of 100 days, the Secretary General firmly condemned the genocide in his statement on behalf of the ACP Group.
‘’We commemorate this day to ensure we never forget one of the most heinous crimes against humanity. On behalf of the ACP Group, I would like to reaffirm our compassion, solidarity and support for the government and people of Rwanda. Let’s really not forget the greater lesson from Rwanda that the ability for evil to reside in our societies, is the same ability for generosity and reconciliation to reside in our societies," he declared.
Representing the Chairman of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors, the Ambassador of Kenya H.E Mr. Johnson Weru lauded the resilience, courage and capacity for forgiveness and reconciliation of the Rwandese people, who have emerged from the tragedy as a unified and rapidly progressing nation in a region that had long been characterized by a precarious balance between peace and insecurity.
The Ambassador of Rwanda H.E. Olivier Jean Patrick Nduhungirehe also intervened by drawing attention on the persistent phenomenon of "negationism", and called for the resolute commitment of the international community to protect populations threatened by extermination. He called for solidarity from ACP members in remembering the victims of genocide, while rejecting "the scourge of genocide denial, minimisation and trivialisation" seen today.
The highlight of the ceremony was an emotional and intense testimony by genocide survivor Ms Claire Ruyuki. Despite the loss of all members of her family during the tragedy, she delivered a message of hope and forgiveness. Now a member of the Rwandan community in Belgium, she has remarkably managed to rebuild her life.
The commemoration concluded with testimonies and interventions from the audience expressing compassion and solidarity towards the Rwandan people, as well as other people in the world with similar experiences.
(Photos from top: Ambassador of Rwanda to the EU H.E. Olivier Nduhungirehe; Genocide survivor Ms. Claire Ruyuki; Speaking on behalf of the Chairman of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors, the Ambassador Johnson Weru of Kenya delivers his message, seated next to ACP Secretary General H.E. Dr. Patrick I. Gomes and ACP Assistant Secretary General in charge of Political Affairs and Human Development Amb. Leonard Ognimba (left))
– Press ACP