United Nations, New York Headquarters, 15 January 2014
Key figures that were involved in the genocide in Rwanda twenty years ago have gathered to seek further prevention and change towards future atrocities. The Ambassador from Rwanda began by inviting, “the world to remember,” the significance of lives that were lost during the genocide. She then discussed the positive change that has taken place in Rwanda since the time of genocide, such as an increased life expectancy among civilians and a total of 1 million making their ways out of poverty. The Deputy General of the United Nations, Mr. Jan Aliasson, pointed out that Syria is in a similar situation that Rwanda was placed in twenty years ago and continued to warn for another possible genocide event in Syria.
The Force Commander of the UN Mission for Rwanda, Romeo Dallaire, gave an inspiring speech reminding everyone that children cannot and should not be used as an instrument for war. He pointed out the irony, that he was back in the same room that he had been in twenty years ago, remarking on the same genocide event, except back then, there was a much smaller audience and less interest in the issue. Ms. Eugenie Mukeshimana, the Founder and Executive Director of the Genocide Survivors Support Network, shared her own childhood experience during the years of genocide. She emphasized the security she felt by having the Belgian soldiers by her side, and went on to state the importance of educating the next generation about the cruelty of crimes so that a child born today can look at the world differently twenty years later. The speakers came to agree that a genocide should not be in anyone’s future, and that we must do everything we can to prevent the upcoming generations from having to experience such crime.
Meeting Title: Special Event on Understanding Early Warning of Mass Atrocities Twenty Years after the Genocide in Rwanda (co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Rwanda, the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, and the Department of Public Information (DPI))
Key Speakers: Representative from Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, Ambassador from Rwanda, Deputy Secretary General of UN (Jan Aliasson), Force Commander of UN Mission for Rwanda (Romeo Dallaire), Founder and Executive Director of the Genocide Survivors Support Network (Eugenie Mukeshimana)
Written by WIT intern: Yoo Jin Erin Kim