Scholars from more than 40 countries at the United Nations-Mandated University for Peace (UPEACE) in Costa Rica gathered on April 7th to honor victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda.
Hundreds of students and UPEACE Staff gathered representing Europe, Africa, North America, South America and Asia and they all stood in solidarity for a moment of silence as the ‘Kwibuka flame’ was burning halfway in Rwanda and in other countries across the globe.
“Today, carry this flame with you in your heart” Sister Mumbua Simon from Kenya who helped officiate the event told the gathering at the University’s El Rodeo campus as each one lit a candle to mark the beginning of the 20th Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
Dr. Francisco Rojas Aravena, Rector of the University reminded the peopled gathere for the event and the world at large that: “The Rwandan Genocide was devastating event for Rwandans and the whole human kind”
Dr. Rojas quoted one of speeches of the UN Secretary General “The Rwandan genocide (against the Tutsi) represents the most emblematic failure of UN and member state action”. The UPEACE is exactly to educate and train people from around the World to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again” The Rector reaffirmed
Some vital achievements for Rwandans during these remembrances are the forgiveness, reconciliation, Unity and Renewal as one UPEACE student Mucyo Mulinzi from Rwanda testified.
“Twenty years ago Rwanda went through the worst tragedy of modern human history, while the world did nothing; over one million Tutsis were massacred in the barbaric ways in one hundred days,” he said
According to Mulinzi, for the victims, those one hundred days were an eternity. For the people killed, it is our duty to remember and pay homage to them, to give tribute to the memory of those who perished and offer comfort to survivors; to unite… to overcome the history of discrimination, divisionism, curture of impunity and hatred which laid the foundation to Genocide and to renew.
“Rwandans intend to revive the Rwandans values of resilience. Self-worth, respect and dignity to ensure that Genocide never happens again” said Mucyo Mulinzi, a member of international peace and conflict studies programme and a genocide witness. He was the coordinator of the University’s 20th anniversary commemoration.
The international community was also implored to ensure that the lives of those lost are remembered through various activities and actions in today’s society.
According to one student from Canada Karen Meyer, the international community plays a crucial role in Rwanda’s legacy of ‘Never again’ Karen calls the World to note that each conflict, each country, and each individual has various variables to consider when it comes to prevention tactics.
“There can be no one set solutions, she says: If we can combine all the tools that are used to help stop these atrocious crimes than we can potentially deter future outbreaks”
Other students from different countries including Mariateresa of Venezuela and Jini Agrawal from Nepal stressed on the necessity to why the international community need to support Rwandans process towards forgiveness and reconciliation, they applauded the country for its vital achievement in uniting Rwandans and a step to moving forward.
The official week to commemorate the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi ended on Sunday 13/04/2014 but the mourning period goes on for one hundred days in which the mayhem took place across the country.
The international community is urged to put efforts in maintaining peace and assuring Rwandans and the rest of the World that genocide won’t ever happen anywhere.