United Nations Remembers 1994 Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda with Emphasis on Youth, Countering Hate Speech, Launches Commemorative Events at Headquarters, 12 April

NEW YORK, 25 March — The United Nations will mark the thirtieth anniversary of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda with events under the theme of “Remember.  Unite.  Renew.”  The events remember the victims and honour the survivors and those who tried to stop the genocide, while also focusing on young people who have grown up in the shadow of 1994, and warning against the dangers of hate speech and disinformation.

More than 1 million people — overwhelmingly Tutsi, but also Hutu, and others who opposed the genocide — were systematically killed in Rwanda starting on 7 April 1994.

“We will never forget the victims of this genocide,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in his annual message for the Day.  “Nor will we ever forget the bravery and resilience of those who survived, whose courage and willingness to forgive remain a burst of light and hope amidst this dark chapter in human history.”

Secretary-General Guterres will open the official commemoration at the UN Headquarters in New York, which will be held on 12 April in the General Assembly Hall.

He will be joined by Dennis Francis, President of the seventy-eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly; Melissa Fleming, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications; Fatima Kyari Mohammed, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations; and Ernest Rwamucyo, Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the United Nations, among others.

The commemoration will have an emphasis on youth who are growing up in Rwanda.  Survivor Claver Irakoze, who is also an author and founder of the Umurage Parenting Centre, is expected to speak about transmitting memories of 1994 from parents to children.  His survivor testimony will be followed by a poem written and read by a group of Rwandan youth.

This year’s commemorative events also include a strong focus on countering hate speech.  The Department of Global Communications has a new exhibit at the UN Headquarters about the power of post-genocide reconciliation, the potentially deadly impact of hate speech and what visitors can do to say #NoToHate.  At the heart of the exhibit is the story of Laurence Niyonangira, who fled the killings in her community, led by former neighbours following targeted hate speech.  The exhibit includes an interactive panel where visitors can voice their support for tolerance and pledge to speak out against hate speech.

In his message, Secretary-General Guterres calls hate “genocide’s rancid root”.  He said a line can be drawn between “the senseless slaughter” of the 1 million victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and “the decades of hate speech that preceded it, enflamed by ethnic tensions and the long shadow of colonialism”.

“Let’s pledge to stand as one against all forms of hatred and discrimination,” he urges.

More information about the activities planned in UN New York, UN Geneva and around the world, are available at https://www.un.org/en/preventgenocide/rwanda/commemorations-2024.shtml.

Please contact Paulina Greer for additional information at email:  kubiakp@un.org.

For information media. Not an official record.