Media statement: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) Commemorates the 30th Anniversary of the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda

Media statement: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) Commemorates the 30th Anniversary of the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda

Today,  April 7, 2024, the Centre of the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) commemorates the 30th anniversary of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. We are reminded of one of the darkest chapters in human history – a day that stands as a poignant reminder, urging us to reflect on the profound lessons learned and recommit ourselves to the pursuit of peace and reconciliation globally.

The 1994 genocide in Rwanda, which unfolded for about 100 days, resulted in the deaths of about 800,000 to 1 million people, primarily from the Tutsi minority in the country – leaving as part of its destructive legacies, over 75,000 orphaned children among its tragic consequences.

The magnitude and viciousness of the genocide's violence stand as a stark reminder of its unparalleled brutality, which swept across Rwanda with an alarming speed. Three decades later, the genocide continues to serve as a powerful reminder of the world's failure to intervene, underscoring the urgent need to address the root causes of divisive and oppressive forces and inequalities that plague African societies. The Rwandan Genocide was a manifestation of a failure in humanity's moral obligations, and an illustration of the catastrophic consequences of an enduring colonial legacy. The arbitrary borders and socio-political hierarchies established and imposed during the colonial era played a significant role in causing the tensions that ultimately erupted into genocide in 1994. This historical backdrop highlights the critical need to engage with the legacies of colonialism as we navigate paths toward fostering peace, healing, reconciliation, building resilient and inclusive societies and sustainable development across Africa.

Remarkably, Rwanda has demonstrated exceptional resilience in the aftermath of the dark episode, embarking on an extraordinary journey of healing, reconciliation, and reconstruction.  This serves as a model for post-conflict societies and a testament to the resilience and determination of the people of Rwanda. As we reflect upon this sombre milestone, CSVR urges everyone to embrace our shared humanity and the common responsibility to preserve peace, human life and human dignity diligently.

In line with resolution A/RES/58/234, the United Nations has designated April 7th as the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.  The day serves as a poignant reminder of our collective failure to prevent the genocide as well as a call to action to prevent future atrocities.

As we commemorate the 30th anniversary of this tragic episode, CSVR remembers those who lost their lives and also stands in solidarity with all survivors of the genocide and all those still healing and enduring the repercussions of the genocide's aftermath. The lessons from this tragic episode are clear – humanity must stand united against the perpetration of atrocities and commit to upholding justice, human rights, and equality for all individuals, without exception. The memory of the Rwandan Genocide compels us to acknowledge that the preservation of the sanctity of human life is a collective duty – an obligation that we must all fervently embrace.

Let us continue to commit to a world where such atrocities are never again tolerated, where peace prevails and where the dignity of every human being is preserved.

CSVR is a multi-disciplinary institute that seeks to understand and prevent violence, heal its effects and build sustainable peace at the community, national and regional levels.

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