The United Nations community on Friday marked the 12th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide with calls for strict surveillance so that such an act is never repeated.
The ceremonies to remember the macabre event where an estimated one million people lost their lives in 100 days of gruesome ethnic murder were held in New York, Nairobi and several venues across the globe to bring to the fore the need to prevent such an occurrence.
In Nairobi, the Deputy Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Ms. Inga Bjork-Klevby led UN staff, diplomatic representatives and religious leaders in commemorating the event. She said the killings which were perpetrated on innocent victims had left all mankind with blood stains.
“This commemoration has been declared so that we can recollect and recommit to the fight against genocide throughout the world,” she said. However, she warned that all the advice against hatred appeared to be falling on deaf ears because events around the world showed that the tendency towards genocide and ethnic cleansing had not diminished.
Echoing UN Secretary General Kofi Anan’s sentiments, Ms. Bjork-Klevby said the international community let down the Rwandese in their hour of need, adding that the challenge now was to find out what went wrong and how to forestall similar acts in the future.
In his speech, Rwandan ambassador to Kenya, Mr. William Kayonga revisited the deaths saying that some people paid their murderers so that they could be shot instead of being hacked to death.
“Men killed their wives and children because they believed they belonged to the wrong tribe, women were gang raped after which they were pierced with sharp instruments in their private parts, mothers were stuck with their babies at the back…the list of crimes against humanity committed during the Rwandan genocide is endless,” he said.