21st Commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi in the Netherlands
Kwibuka21 commemoration - 7 April - Unesco-IHE University in Delft
The Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda in the Netherlands started the 21st commemoration program on the 7th of April with the Kwibuka21 event held at the Unesco-IHE University in Delft, organized in cooperation with the Rwandan students at this university and was attended by Rwandan and Dutch students, Rwandans living in the Netherlands and friends of Rwanda.
Professor Stefan Uhlembrool and Guy Beajot reminded that one could not deny genocide against Tutsi. Beajot urged the international community to hold responsible anybody with genocide denial tendencies.
Kwibuka21 commemoration - 11 April - The Hague
On the 11th of April, Ambassador Jean Pierre Karabaranga hosted the official Kwibuka21 commemoration at the Carlton Ambassador Hotel in The Hague. The event was attended by more than 250 guests, including officials of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Diplomatic Community, Friends of Rwanda, Rwandan nationals living in the Netherlands and many others. All guests joined the Walk to Remember that was held prior to the official commemoration.
The official Kwibuka21 event in The Hague in the Netherlands started with a prayer for the victims and survivors by Pastor Edward and followed by a ceremony to light the candles, representing the ever shining lights of the victims.
Ms. Aline Kubwimana, who survived the carnage, delivered a very moving testimony to the audience, which was followed by speeches from J.P. Karabaranga (Ambassador of the Republic of Rwanda to the Netherlands), Mr. Christiaan Rebergen (Director General International Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands) and Christian Mundele (Ibuka Netherlands representative).
H.E. Ambassador Karabaranga said in this speech that for Rwanda, the Genocide in 1994 was the last stage of the genocide that started in 1959 by the killings of more than 15,000 Tutsis. This continued in 1961, 1963, 1964, 1969, 1973 and 1990-1992. During this trial period, the organizers of killings were awarded post of responsibility in the government.
“We commemorate, we remember that from the first day of the genocide, young Rwandans led by President Paul KAGAME and the RPF, sacrificed themselves to save Rwandans and stop the genocide”, stated the Ambassador. “On this day of remembrance we thank them for their sacrifices and bravely during that horrible period. They are our heroes and the next generation has to take example to them”.
He continued his speech and emphasized that the main topic this year is on the importance of fighting genocide denial and revision as we recognize the bravery of those who rescued the survivors during the genocide. The fight against the denial has been increased because across the world, the number of the genocide against the Tutsis deniers is growing.
The Ambassador took the opportunity to thank the Dutch Government for standing with Rwanda since the aftermath of the genocide up today, for believing in Rwanda for the last 21 years and for supporting the various development initiatives Rwanda undertook to rebuild our country. The Netherlands are friends of Rwanda and Ambassador Karabanga thanked the Kingdom of the Netherlands for being with Rwanda.
Kwibuka21 commemoration - 18 April - University of Twente
The Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda in the Netherlands continued the 21st commemoration program on the 18th of April with the Kwibuka21 event held at the University of Twente, organized in cooperation with the Rwandan Students Association at this university and was attended by Rwandan and Dutch students, Rwandans living in the Netherlands and friends of Rwanda.
Ambassador Jean Pierre Karabaranga welcomed more than 100 guests at the official Kwibuka21 commemoration at the ITC International Hotel in Enschede and all guests joined the Walk to Remember that was held prior to the official commemoration.
The Kwibuka21 commemoration started with a minute of silence for the victims and was followed by a ceremony to light the candles, representing the ever shining lights of the victims. Aphrodis Nzabandora delivered a moving testimony to the audience, which was followed by speeches from Christian Mundele (Ibuka Netherlands representative), Prof. Dr. Ir. Tom Veldkamp (University of Twente) and was concluded by H.E. Jean Pierre Karabaranga (Ambassador of the Republic of Rwanda to the Netherlands).
Kwibuka21 commemoration - 29 April - University of Tilburg
The 21st commemoration continued on the 29th of April with a symposium held at the University of Twente, organized by the Veritas-Forum, which is a platform of several (Christian) student associations and staff members of Tilburg University. More than 300 students with various backgrounds attended the Veritas-Forum that offered a platform for conversations on topics relevant to our modern day society and that touch people’s hearts
The theme of this symposium was ‘Injustice: how do we deal with the injustice committed against us?’ and the panel consisted of:
H.E. Ambassador Jean Pierre Karabaranga (of the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda in The Hague)
Mama Lambert (survivor of the Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsi)
Ms. Anne-Marie de Brouwer (Associate professor of international criminal law at Tilburg University)
Mr. Allan Moore, (Lecturer in criminology and criminal justice within the School of Media, Culture and Society at the University of the West of Scotland)
Ms. Rianne Letschert (Professor victimology and international law at the International Victimology Institute Tilburg)
Mr. Riel Vermunt (Associate professor social and organizational psychology at the University of Leiden)
The main focus of the forum was to discuss several questions, like how is it possible to forgive people who take away everything from you? How can people deal with injustice? And is forgiveness helpful? How do we deal with injustice? Is unfairness inevitable?
Mama Lambert, a survivor of the Rwanda genocide against the Tutsi, shared her moving testimony on how she dealt with the fact that almost her entire family was murdered. She lost her husband, five out of eight children and other family members. Since the genocide, she walks through life as ‘Mama Lambert’, the mother of Lambert. Carrying the one-year old Lambert on her back, she survived the genocide. She has been capable of forgiving the murderers. Mama Lambert is a trauma counselor with Solace Ministries in Rwanda, an organization that supports thousands of genocide survivors.
The Dutch organization Mukomeze ("Empower her") works with Solace Ministries in Rwanda and one of the founders is Anne-Marie de Brouwer, an Associate Professor of international criminal law at Tilburg University. Her main areas of research and interest include international crimes, international criminal law and procedure, and victimology.
She is co-author of the book The Men Who Killed Me that features testimonials from seventeen survivors. Through their narratives and portraits, sixteen women and one man bear witness to the crimes committed against hundreds of thousands of others. In their strength and courage, they challenge the stigma of surviving sexual violence and living with HIV/AIDS (an astonishing 70 per cent of survivors are HIV positive). Proceeds of the book go to survivors of sexual violence via the Mukomeze Foundation, a Dutch organization supporting survivors of sexual violence of the genocide in Rwanda.
The Mukomeze Foundation contributes to the “empowerment” of female survivors of sexual violence, by supporting them physically, psychologically, materially, socially, economically and spiritually; helping them to become self-supporting and giving them hope for a dignified future.
Kwibuka21 commemoration - 15 May - University of Wageningen
The 21st commemoration continued on the 15th of May with a commemoration held at the University of Wageningen, organized by the Embassy of Rwanda in the Netherlands and the Rwandan students community.
15:00 Welcoming guests
15:10 Prayer (Pastor Amazing Grace church)
15:20 Lighting candles + time of silence
15:30 Speech of the Rwandan students Representative -Wageningen
15:40 Speech of the representative of WUR
15:50 Testimony by a genocide survivor
16:00 Speech of the Representative of Wageningen Municipality
16:10 Speech of the representative of VHL University
16:20 Speech of the Rwandan Ambassador to The Netherlands
16:30 Comments, remarks and discussion
More information and updates about Kwibuka21 events in the Netherlands, follow @EmbassyRwandaNL and #Kwibuka.
2015 marks the 21st commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi, an important occasion to remember the lives that were lost, show solidarity with survivors and unite to ensure it never happens again, in Rwanda or anywhere. Over one hundred of history’s darkest days, more than one million Rwandans perished in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. It is also a chance to share our story of reconciliation and nation building with the world.
Kwibuka, which means “remember” in Kinyarwanda, is a global framework for activities, events, communities and people participating in the commemoration. It includes Rwanda’s national commemoration on 7 April 2015. The mourning period will conclude on 4 July 2015 with Liberation Day.
This year, Kwibuka 21 will aim at standing against Denial and Trivialization of the Genocide against the Tutsi with a focus on telling the truth, comforting and reassuring the survivors.
Deniers of the Genocide against the Tutsi are individuals as well as organizations that disseminate false information in order to hide their role in it. They deliberately hide the truth about the Genocide against the Tutsi, discredit the achievements of the Government that stopped the genocide and collaborate with terrorist groups like FDLR.
Commemorative activities will be organized by Rwandans in Rwanda as well as by Rwandan Foreign Missions together with Rwandan Communities abroad.
Kwibuka21 Events in Rwanda
This year’s commemoration ceremonies will take place on 7 April 2015 at sector level. This is going to be a reminder that commemorating has to be owned by all Rwandans from the lowest administrative level. Commemorating at sectors level will allow getting closer and comforting the survivors by the local communities in which they live. It will be an opportunity to discuss survivors’ daily challenges as well as potential solutions thereof.
The night vigil will as well be organized at sector level. During the commemorative week there will be conferences and workshops and these will be organized at sector level as well. The commemorative week will be between 7 and 13 April 2015.
The Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda invites you to be part of a global community, to share the story of the genocide and create a powerful voice for the world to hear. As a new generation emerges we will ensure the lives of those lost are remembered through our actions today. Kwibuka21 calls on the global community to stand together against genocide.
The theme, Memory-Unity-Renew, will underpin all activities.
To honor the memory of those who lost their lives
To inform Rwandans and the international community about the genocide to ensure historical clarity. In particular, the aim is to educate the international community about the causes, reality and consequences of the genocide
To highlight nation building in Rwanda, the resilience of Rwandans and how the country is working for shared human values.
To deepen understanding and support for Rwanda’s efforts for reconciliation
To encourage participation from across the nation and globally, so that the story is told and people are united behind global call of action of “never again”.
To highlight reconstruction efforts and the progress the country has made after the genocide.
To inform the world about Rwanda’s ambitions and vision for the future
The following web and social media sites contain resources that you might find useful when reporting on Kwibuka21.
The official website of Kwibuka contains information about the 21st commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi, a timeline of events from 1900 to today as well as survivors’, perpetrators’ and rescuers’ testimonies, historical archives of photos and videos and more.
On this site you will find videos relating to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi enriched with synchronised transcripts, searchable index terms and maps. Videos include testimonies of survivors and perpetrators, Gacaca Justice System court proceedings and remembrance ceremonies.
This site contains information about the centre in Kigali which was created by a joint partnership of the Kigali City Council and the UK-based Aegis Trust. The centre contains a permanent exhibition of the Genocide against the Tutsi and an exhibition of other genocides around the world.
The National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG) website contains latest news, photos, videos and resources related to the effort to prevent genocide in Rwanda. Here you can access publications and information about memorials sites across the country.
The Kwibuka Flickr contains high resolution images of past commemoration events as well as images from 2015 programs and activities. Images from today’s event will be available for use by your media outlet by the end of the day.
The Kwibuka YouTube channel has the short film ‘Remember, Unite, Renew’ available to watch and embed into your news site as well as other videos. Interviews, speeches and other audio visual coverage of the event will be available here.
The Kwibuka Sound Cloud has the song ‘Urumuri Rutazima’ available to listen to and embed into your news site. Audio of today’s event as well as interviews, speeches and other coverage of the event will be available here.