7 April: Kwibuka20 commemoration in The Hague in the Netherlands
2014 marks the 20th 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.
The Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda in The Hague organized on Monday 7 April a Walk to Remember from the Dutch Parliament to the Atrium City Hall in The Hague. Politicians and former Ministers (Jan Pronk, Minister of Development Cooperation in 1994) joined Ambassador Karabaranga, Rwandan diaspora and Dutch friends of Rwanda.
The Walk was followed by the commemoration in the Atrium (City Hall) in The Hague. Click here to watch a short video with a compilation of the commemoration.
Minister Ploumen (International Trade & Development Cooperation) was the keynote speaker and held an impressive speech.Click here to watch this entire speech on our Youtube channel.
Some remarkable quotes:
'Not one country heeded the call from the Security Council. As a result, the whole world shares responsibility for the tragedy. My own country is no exception.'
'Last year I visited the Genocide Memorial Centre in Kigali. It was an important day in my life. It is important to stop and think about what happened in 1994. It’s important for us to meet here today and remember those who were so savagely killed. It’s important to pause and reflect on what man is capable of.'
'Today, twenty years on, a new generation of Rwandans has grown up in peace and security. For them, a new chapter is being written with the most recent campaign called Ndi Umunyarwanda, or ‘I am Rwandan’. It is a fresh attempt to encourage people to talk about what happened and help them understand the complex social impact of the genocide.'
'I feel that the biggest challenge is this: Rwandans will have to rediscover confidence in themselves and in one another. The confidence that they can stand on their own two feet, not only as a society but also as individuals. Free from fear, at peace with their neighbors and with respect for the common human values we all share.'
'The Netherlands wants to show its friendship by assisting in that process. We want to contribute to those positive developments. For instance by helping to rebuild the judicial system, as we have been doing over the past years. And by helping Rwanda to take the next steps towards a free society. I want to paraphrase ambassador Karabaranga, who was quoted this morning in a Dutch newspaper. He said: ‘In the end Rwanda wants to move away from dependency and create equal partnerships with friendly countries.’
'As a true friend the Netherlands wants to travel alongside Rwanda on its journey to a brighter future, getting to know one another better and learning from each other along the way. We want to accompany the Rwandans on their quest for greater trust and confidence. It is a challenge. But Rwanda has met bigger ones in the recent past. '
Some highlights from the speech of Ambassador Jean Pierre Karabaranga (Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda in the Netherlands). Click here to watch this entire speech on our Youtube channel.
‚In the morning of 7 April, in Kigali in Rwanda, also the world joined Rwandans to show them solidarity. 1o heads of state and governments, the SG of UN, heads of delegations from friend countries were present. The Netherlands were represented by Honourable Frans TIMMERMANS, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and again this shows that Rwandans are no longer alone as it was in 1994. For this I take the opportunity to address my sincere thanks to the Government of the Netherlands.'
'We need to look back into our past in order to know where we have and need to go. We remember our past without being held by it. We are called to act for the benefit of future generations in a united and prosperous Rwanda. President Paul Kagame once said: ”we cannot change the past, but today we have the responsibility and the capacity to shape a better future “.'
'Today, Rwandans are very positive and optimistic about their future. President Paul Kagame has to be credited for providing the country with visionary leadership. This has been of critical importance in giving Rwandans confidence, ensuring stability and inculcating a culture of hard work, self-sacrifice and discipline that has moved the country from the darkest periods of our history to a more optimistic future. Every country emerging out of conflict needs this kind of committed and visionary leadership. Rwanda has been very lucky to have a leader of that calibre.'
'I take this opportunity to thank our partners who have stood with us, believed in us since the last 20 years and continue to support the various development initiatives we have undertook to rebuild our country. The Dutch Government is on the driver seat among our partners. Our relationship can only get stronger and more fruitful for our common good.'
Exhibition 'Rwanda 20 Years' in City Hall The Hague
The exhibition 'Rwanda 20 Years' with a selection of photos by Pieter Hugo can be seen from 1 to 11 April 2014 in the Atrium of The Hague City Hall.
It was 20 years ago on Monday, 7 April 2014 when violent genocide broke out in Rwanda. Within 100 days more than 1 million Rwandans were killed systematically and in the cruellest way.
Since then a number of survivors say they have forgiven the murderers of their family members. This gave the Hague-based organisation Creative Court the idea to set up a probing photography project with forgiving survivors and the perpetrators: Rwanda 20 Years.
The Embassy of Rwanda in the Netherlands, the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) and the African Studies Centre are organizing a Kwibuka20 (20th Commemoration) conference at ISS in The Hague.
A range of distinguished speakers have been invited to reflect on the themes of the commemoration: Remember-Unite-Renew.
The event will be an occasion to remember lives lost, to show solidarity with survivors and to reflect on lessons learned, in Rwanda and internationally.
It is part of a series of global events organized from January 2014 onwards to mark Kwibuka20.
The conference is open to the public without any fee. Please confirm your attendance by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Celebration International Women's Day in the Netherlands
Program for women’s day celebration on 15/03/2014:
16.00- 16.30: Arrival of guests
16.35- 16.45: speech by Ishema chairperson
16.45- 17.00: Rwandan traditional dance
17.00- 17.30: Presentation on integration of Rwandan women in the Netherlands
17.30- 18.00: Debates in groups
18.00- 18.30: Performance by Kuzola group
18.30- 18.45: Mode show
18.45- 19.00: Speech by Embassy representative
19.00- 20.30: Dinner
20.30- 0.00: Musical entertainment plus dances
0.00 – 0.30: Closing
Venue: Kabul Cuisine, Tussenweg 39-4, 2132 CS Hoofdorp
Rwanda honored its heroes for the 20th time
Rwanda marked Heroes Day for the 20th time at the National Heroes Mausoleum in Kigali. Across the country, Rwandans met in their villages to reflect on the contributions of national heroes as well discussions around this year’s theme, Ndi Umunyarwanda: Essence of Heroism.
President Paul Kagame laid a wreath in memoriam of all heroes, followed by the representative of the Diplomatic Corps, Uganda Ambassador to Rwanda, Richard Kabonero.
Speaking on the importance of this day, Kamali Karegesa, Executive Secretary of Chancellery for Heroes, National Orders and Decoration said remembering our national heroes inspired Rwandans to espouse similar values.
"It is important to honour our heroes, those who put the lives of others above their own. They showed us that one must put being Rwandan above everything else, and be ready to even lay down your life for the ideal," said Mr. Karegesa.
Rwanda’s heroes include Major General Fred Gisa Rwigema and the ‘Unknown Soldier’. They represent all the soldiers who gave their lives during the liberation struggle of 1990-1994. Both rest in the Imanzi category.
Those in the second category, Imena, include King Mutara III Rudahigwa, Michel Rwagasana, Agathe Uwiringiyimana, Felicite Niyitegeka and the Nyange students. On the night of 18 March, 1997, three years after the genocide had been stopped, the remnants of the perpetrators of the genocide, then known by their local name Abacengenzi, attacked the Nyange school, killing innocent students indiscriminately after they refused to separate into Hutu and Tutsi. Had they separated, the Tutsi students would have been killed.
The students stood together and boldly told the attackers that they were all Rwandans and none of them deserved to die. The attackers threw grenades and shot the students with six dying. "As we remember these theories, we must reflect on their example, especially young people, and think on how we can contribute to building the Rwandan spirit," Karegesa said.