News from Berlin

Commemoration Year for Rwanda

March 13th, 2014

News from Berlin. 2014 is a very important year for Rwanda, as the nation commemorates the 20th anniversary of the 1994 genocide. This national tragedy led to the deaths of an estimated 800,000 Tutsis or moderate Hutus in less than a hundred days, leaving the country and population devastated.  

Today, Rwanda has come a long way from the ethnic tensions that tore it apart. The work that has been achieved in the past 20 years, through the implementation of reconciliation policies and the activation of commemorance processes, is rather impressive, despite the fact that some issues remain. It is still an on-going process, which needs to be permanently developed, even though unity seems to be achieved within the political sphere. Rwanda is also one of the economically striving countries in Africa, with an average GDP growth of about 8% per year, thereby standing out as a model of stability for weathering crisis situations.

On the international scene, Rwanda has put its experience to good use in order to promote peace abroad, noticeably by sending Rwandan soldiers on UN peace missions, within the framework of the so-called R2P, Responsibility to protect. As stated by the Ambassador of Rwanda to Germany, the country is using its experience and knowledge of the balance that must be made between the respect of another state’s sovereignty and the cited R2P as a contributing factor to peace building in other nations.

The Kwibuka20, a series of global commemorative events, was launched on January 7th in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, and is meant to last until April 7th, the actual date of the beginning of the genocide. It is taking place all around the world, and aims at remembering those who lost their lives in the tragedy, supporting the survivors of the conflict, as well as ensuring that such a tragedy never takes place again, in Rwanda or elsewhere. The key words of the remembrance year are Remember - Unite - Renew. The Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda in Germany has already started to remember this tragedy in February, through the organization of a special event in the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy. The commemorations will continue to take place all around Germany. The next event is to be held in Wuppertal, near Düsseldorf. In Berlin, the remembrance process will continue on April 4th, with a memorial service in Marienkirche, and will end with a closing ceremony on the 26th of June, organized in partnership with different organizations such as Genocide Alert, the United Nations Association of Germany (Deutsche Gesellschaft für die Vereinen Nationen, DGVN), and the government of the Rheinland-Plafz region.

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