‘Never forget’: World remembers 30 years since genocide in Rwanda

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Written By Maya Cantina
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World leaders joined the tiny African nation of Rwanda in commemorating the mass slaughter of the Tutsi minority by Hutu extremists in 1994.

Rwanda on Sunday marked 30 years since the 1994 genocide that killed more than 800,000 men, women and children, mainly Tutsis but also moderate Hutus.

Here are some of the notable quotes as the tiny African nation commemorated the mass slaughter orchestrated by Hutu extremists targeting the Tutsi minority over 100 bloody days in 1994.

Read: Rwandan genocide lessons mustn’t be ignored

Rwanda remembers

  • Rwandan President Paul Kagame – “Rwanda was completely humbled by the magnitude of our loss. And the lessons we learned are engraved in blood.”

“It was the international community which failed all of us, whether from contempt or cowardice.”

  • US President Joe Biden – “We will never forget the horrors of those 100 days, the pain and loss suffered by the people of Rwanda, or the shared humanity that connects us all, which hate can never overcome.”
  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres – “This year, we remind ourselves of genocide’s rancid root: hate.
  • To those who would seek to divide us, we must deliver a clear, unequivocal and urgent message: never again.”
  • African Union Commission head Moussa Faki Mahamat – “No one, not even the African Union, can absolve itself of its inaction in the face of the chronicle of a genocide foretold. Let us have the courage to recognise this, and to take responsibility for it.”
  • French President Emmanuel Macron – “We have all abandoned hundreds of thousands of victims to this infernal closed door.

“When the phase of total extermination against the Tutsis began, the international community had the means to know and act.

“France, which could have stopped the genocide with its Western and African allies, did not have the will.”

  • European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen – “Today we mark 30 years since the genocide against the Tutsi. We honour the victims. And we praise Rwanda’s journey from darkness to hope, and from pain to progress. It’s an example for the world.”
  • UN human rights chief Volker Turk – “The Rwanda genocide against the Tutsi was a clear reminder: Genocide doesn’t erupt from thin air — it follows years of normalised fear-mongering, hate and dehumanisation. Governments must do everything in their power to combat hate, discrimination and other root causes before it’s too late.”
  • President of genocide survivors group Ibuka, Philibert Gakwenzire – “Genocide is caused by bad politics based on creating divisions based on ethnic, religious and other differences, and we see such things happening across the world. “When xenophobia and hate speech is tolerated by governments, it can reach a level where they have genocide can happen again. Macron said the truth, there was no political will to stop the genocide by the international community. They had the means but had no interest in stopping it.”

Read: UN tribunal denies Rwanda genocide mastermind early release

Rwandan genocide a ‘stain on our collective conscience’

  • Human Rights Watch executive director Tirana Hassan – “The genocide in Rwanda remains a stain on our collective conscience and, 30 years later, lessons can still be drawn from the actions -– or lack thereof -– of world leaders in the face of ongoing atrocities.”
  • UN special adviser on the prevention of genocide Alice Wairimu Nderitu – “One should never lose sight that for people who experienced genocide, the warning signs were there.”
  • East African Community – “As we commemorate a 30th time, it is important to reaffirm the fundamental truth that we are all created equal, and we have certain undeniable rights that include the right to life and no one has the right to take it away as it was done 30 years ago.”

By Agence France-Presse

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