H.E. Mr. Amandin Rugira, Ambassador of Rwanda,
H.E. Dr. Patrick Gomes, ACP Secretary-General,
Excellences Ambassadors of ACP States to Brussels,
Representatives of ACP Regional and Continental Organisations,
Distinguished invited guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am humbled by the honour of making a Statement on behalf of the ACP Group pursuant to the decision of the 79th Session of the ACP Council of Ministers in 2004 for the Group to annually commemorate 7 April in honor and memory of all those who lost their lives in the 1994 genocide against Tutsi, and indeed to ensure that we remain vigilant not to allow that to happen again.
The intentional and systematic slaughter of human beings by fellow human beings with the aim of annihilation of a population group as happened in Rwanda is beyond imagination. The intensity and cruelty with which the genocide was executed set it apart from other similar experiences. It was carried out using traditional or primitive weapons, machetes, and therefore at close range. It was carried out within a short period of 100 days leaving 800, 000 people dead according to UN estimates. This was indeed a dehumanizing process that did not only dehumanize the victims but also the perpetrators. The victims were robbed of their human dignity and the perpetrators assumed a sub-human existence without conscience. The Government and the people of Rwanda were therefore left with a humanization mission.
The genocide in Rwanda is a serious indictment on the United Nations and humanity at large as the world body failed to intervene notwithstanding the existence of instruments such as the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. What is the value of good values if they cannot safe human life? It is therefore important to strengthen genocide prevention mechanisms, emphasizing the role that various governments, parliaments, international organizations and civil society can play in the prevention of genocide and their contribution to the efficiency of human rights protection, the strength of the culture of tolerance and non-discrimination.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
The seeds of genocides are to be found in a host of phenomena including, the lack of respect for the sanctity of life, racial, ethnic, cultural and religious intolerance; the absence of a culture of tolerance to deal with differences of opinions and the ability to resolve differences peacefully.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen
It is gratifying to note that this annual commemoration is not only about the tragic events that took place in 1994 but also the spirit of resilience and reconciliation. It is the triumph of the human spirit against all odds that put the people of Rwanda on the path to progress in less than 25 years after the genocide. The survivors some of who are here among us have demonstrated unfathomable courage and capacity for forgiveness and reconciliation. They deserve our honor and support and pledge never to allow genocide to take place again in any part of the world.
In conclusion, special tribute should go the Government of Rwanda that has fashion a unified and rapidly progressing nation from the ashes of genocide that stands tall in the community of nations.
I thank you!