Rwanda remembers families completely wiped out in the Genocide

Rubavu, 27 May 2017 – Last night, over 800 genocide survivors from Students and Former Students Genocide Survivors Associations of AERG and GAERG convened at Rubavu Stadium in Rubavu District to commemorate families that were completed wiped out in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Joined by Rubavu district residents, the event kicked off with a Walk to Remember towards Commune Rouge Genocide Memorial where wreaths of remembrance were laid to the burial place of over 4600 Tutsi killed in the Genocide.

A completely wiped out family is a family whose members were entirely killed, with no survivor to continue the family line. To-date, 7,797 completely perished families composed of 34,823 members have been identified in 17 districts. The target is to cover all 30 districts of Rwanda.

“Remembering the families completely wiped out is paying tribute to those killed in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi as none of their relatives survived to remember them. We remember their names, we recall their good deeds, we remember their dreams and aspirations. This serves to call to mind their lives to ensure that their memory never fades away,” GAERG President Olivier Mazimpaka said.

Since 2009, the families completely wiped out are remembered annually under the theme, “You Will Never Be Forgotten While I Am Still Alive.”

Rubavu is part of the former Gisenyi Prefecture and served as place where authorities trialled the genocide. In 1991, 1992 and 1993, the Bagogwe people (a group of Tutsi living in current Musanze, Nyabihu and Rubavu Districts) were systematically murdered. Men and women were killed at Mukamira and Bigogwe military barracks. Others were thrown into Nyaruhonga caves in Nyabihu District.

The Genocide against the Tutsi began on 7 April 1994. After three days, almost all the Bagogwe people living in the area had been killed. The militia who carried out the murders there were then transported to other parts of the country to reinforce other genocidal forces which were perpetrating the killings.

Rwanda honours politicians who paid the price for defiance

Kigali, 13 April 2017 – The official Kwibuka23 Commemoration Week (7-13 April) was concluded today with an event to honour politicians who opposed the genocidal plan and paid the ultimate price for defiance.

The event took place in Kigali at Rebero Genocide Memorial, which serves as the final resting place for over 14,000 victims of the Genocide against Tutsi and 12 politicians who were killed for standing against the genocidal government in 1994.

The politicians buried at Rebero Genocide Memorial include:

  1. Landouard Ndasingwa (Liberal Party)
  2. Charles Kayiranga (Liberal Party)
  3. Jean de la Croix Rutaremara (Liberal Party)
  4. Augustin Rwayitare (Liberal Party)
  5. Aloys Niyoyita (Liberal Party)
  6. Venantie Kabageni (Liberal Party)
  7. Andre Kameya (Liberal Party)
  8. Frederic Nzamurambaho (PSD President and Agriculture Minister)
  9. Felicien Ngango (PSD)
  10. Jean Pierre Mushimiyimana (PSD)
  11. Faustin Rucogoza (MDR)

The former President of the Constitutional Court, Joseph Kavaruganda, is also buried at the memorial. Former Prime Minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana, is buried at the National Heroes Mausoleum at Remera and was also honoured today.

Special guests included Senate President Bernard Makuza, Sports and Culture Minister Julienne Uwacu, Ibuka President Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu, CNLG ES Dr Jean Damascene Bizimana, the Executive Secretary of the National Forum of Political Organisations, and the dean of the diplomatic corps.

After laying a wreath on the graves of the victims and observing a moment of silence, Senate President Bernard Makuza said that the 12 politicians were killed for choosing the righteous path.

“The politicians buried here should serve as an example to all of us as politicians. Remembering them reminds us that above anything else, politicians should endeavour to improve citizens’ wellbeing.  Bad leadership generates bad results, whereas good leadership brings people together to achieve positive results,” Senate President Makuza said.

The Senate Speaker reminded politicians and other guests convened at Rebero that the 1994 Genocide was no accident.

“The truth is that the Genocide was no accident. It was not a natural disaster. The history of divisionism goes way back to the colonial era when Rwandans were divided into unfounded ethnic groups,” He said.

He further reiterated that politicians should always bear in mind that it is their responsibility to cement the current constructive politics that the country enjoys.

Families and friends of the politicians killed in the Genocide also laid wreaths on the graves of their loved ones.

Although the national Mourning Week concludes today, Kwibuka23 activities will continue until 4 July 2017 – the date Rwanda was liberated from the genocidal regime by then Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA).

In 1994, Rebero served as a refugee for those who had survived the killings at Nyanza-Kicukiro. This was after the RPA troops had captured the strategic hill of Rebero in order to fight genocidal forces. The survivors were relocated after a few days due to intense fighting in the area.

Rwanda remembers thousands abandoned by UN troops to be killed at Nyanza-Kicukiro

Kigali, 11 April 2017 – As events to commemorate the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi get underway, today, Rwandans from across the City of Kigali gathered at Nyanza Hill in Kicukiro District, to remember over 3,000 Tutsi abandoned by UN Belgian troops to be killed by Interahamwe militia and genocidal government soldiers.

When the Genocide began on 7 April 1994, thousands of Tutsis from various corners of Kicukiro neighbourhoods sought refuge at former Kicukiro Technical School known as ETO.  The school was a base of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) peacekeeping forces; the refugees thought that the forces would protect them.

In her testimony, Irene Rwizihirangabo, who survived the Nyanza massacre, recounted the ordeal that those who had fled at ETO Kicukiro went through.

Following the killing of 10 Belgian peacekeepers that were part of the UNAMIR, the peacekeeping troops received orders to leave Rwanda. Regardless of the tension that had built up as Interahamwe surrounded ETO Kicukiro, the UN troops there also decided to leave.

A select group amongst the refugees pleaded vainly with the troops commander to stay, to protect them from Interahamwe militia and genocidal government soldiers.

On 11 April 1994, UNAMIR Belgian troops left ETO Kicukiro.  Their departure was simultaneous with the entry of Interahamwe militia and genocidal government soldiers.  The latter took the refugees to Sonatube where then Mayor of Kigali City, Lt Col Tharcisse Renzaho ordered that they instead be taken to Nyanza Hill and killed there because Sonatube was too visible as it is along the road to the airport. Nyanza was a secluded area.

“We were shocked to see UN peacekeeping troops leaving people targeted by killers in danger. They abandoned us in time of need. That was an act of cowardice,” Rwizihirangabo said.

The abandonment of refugees at Kicukiro is a symbol of failure by the United Nations to protect Tutsis during the Genocide.

“Under a heavy downpour, starved Tutsi were forced to march to Nyanza. Those too weak to march were killed on the way. When we arrived at Nyanza, our identification cards were checked before mass killing began. The militia shot and threw grenades in the crowd before using machetes to finish off those of us who were still alive,” recalled Rwizihirangabo.

The next morning, Interahamwe and genocidal government soldiers attempted to finish the slaughter; RPA soldiers stopped them. The latter rescued close to 200 Tutsis who had survived the massacre.

Each year, on 11 April, a memorial ceremony takes place at Nyanza, in memory of the Genocide victims murdered in cold blood after UN troops abandoned them. A march is held from former ETO Kicukiro to Nyanza Memorial site, followed by a night vigil to remember the victims.

Speaking at the event, the Speaker of the lower chamber of parliament Donatille Mukabalisa called on Rwandans to come together to support Genocide survivors and ensure that they are not alone.

“Those who left us to die taught us to value ourselves and depend primarily on our own means for solutions,” Speaker Mukabalisa said.

Nyanza Hill in Kicukiro District is known as one of the places where mass killings took place during the Genocide against the Tutsi.

Nyanza-Kicukiro Genocide Memorial serves as the final resting place for over 11,000 victims of the Genocide. About 3,000 of them were killed on site while 8,000 were murdered in other parts of Kicukiro.

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Minister Kabarebe hails Bisesero Genocide resistance

Karongi, 10 April 2017 – Defence Minister James Kabarebe has hailed the courage, bravery and heroism of the people of Bisesero who put up one of the toughest resistance against Interahamwe during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Minister Kabarebe was speaking today in Karongi District as genocide survivors, residents and Rwandans from across the country came together to honour the memories of over 50,000 Tutsi killed in Bisesero.

During the Genocide, Bisesero literary became a battlefield as Tutsis tried to defend themselves against the Interahamwe militia. Armed with mainly stones, spears and other traditional weapons, Tutsis managed to hold back the killers for several months until the militia received reinforcement.

Reinforcement by soldiers, gendarmes, policemen and more militias from other parts of the country such former prefectures Cyangugu, Ruhengeri and Gisenyi finally quelled their fighting spirit, Eric Nzabihimana, a survivor testified.

On 13 and 14 May a mega-attack was launched that left thousands dead, but survivors kept fighting for their lives. Between 27 and 30 May, more attacks were carried out claiming thousands more.

Minister Kabarebe pointed out that the tale of the Bisesero resistance has become a symbol of fearlessness, determination and heroism of the people who used stones and sticks against guns and machetes.

A memorial that stands at the hill depicts the perilous walk that Tutsi underwent in their battle for survival.

“Bisesero memorial site is an indelible symbol of the massacres of Tutsi here and will remain as an everlasting reminder of the heroism and resistance of the people who had fled on these hills,” Minister Kabarebe said.

He said that commemorating the Genocide is an occasion to pay respect to its victims and an opportunity to look back at where Rwanda came from, where it stands today, where it is heading.

“The Bisesero resistance reminds us that those who planned and executed the Genocide were defeated by courageous Rwandans who fearlessly stood to build a new Rwanda,” Minister Kabarebe said.

The Defence Minister further pledged his support to survivors in order to help them improve their wellbeing and called for concerted efforts in fighting Genocide denial.

Brief History

Also known as the Memorial of Resistance, Bisesero Genocide Memorial serves as the final resting place for over 60,000 victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi.

In May 1994, residents from neighbouring areas took refuge at Bisesero. As Interahamwe kept on hunting down and killing Tutsis, thousands trekked from miles away to take refuge at Bisesero.

As the killings drew by, Bisesero residents had organised a resistance to fight back. They had refused to succumb to Interahamwe militia. Bisesero residents were put to a tactical preparation to fight back anyone who had come to attack the village.  They took strategic cover on top of a hill called Muyira where they could spot the militia.

On 13 May, upon knowledge that Bisesero residents had organised a resistance, Interahamwe mobilised Heavy Artillery.  Many survived the first attack. They stayed in hiding until 13 June when French soldiers came to Bisesero, claiming that their intention was keeping people safe and stopping the Genocide.

After the French arrival, hundreds of residents came out of hiding seeking help from them. Not long after the French had left the area, Interahamwe came back to finish what they had started. On 30 June, the French came back only to find almost everyone slaughtered.

We owe it to ourselves to always strive for the better – Minister Kaboneka comforts Ntarama survivors

Bugesera, 9 April 2017 – Today, thousands joined Bugesera residents to pay respect to the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. The commemoration event took place at Ntarama Genocide Memorial where over 5,000 Tutsis were brutally killed by Interahamwe militia and genocidal government soldiers.

Speaking at the event, the Minister of Local Government Francis Kaboneka recounted the history of the Bugesera region. Bugesera’s history is one of longtime persecution of the Tutsi that started long before 1994. The district was exposed to mass killings of Tutsis in 1959, 1963, 1972 and 1992.

Before 1960, most of Bugesera was arid, inhabited and Tsetse infested. At that time however, Tutsis from the northern part of the country were massively deported to the region. A second group from former Gikongoro followed in 1963. They were not expected to survive.

Between 1960 and 1969, Tutsi who had fled Rwanda attempted to attack the country from Burundi. This resulted in massacres of Tutsis in Bugesera.

“Those who say that genocide happened in 1994 are doing nothing but a disdain. What took place here in 1994 was just a wind-up of what had long been taking place. Churches where people would go for purification, blessings, prayers and holly communion turned into slaughterhouses in 1994,” Minister Kaboneka said.

Minister Kaboneka further urged Bugesera residents, especially Genocide survivors, to draw strength and courage from the country’s tragic history towards rebuilding their lives. He called on all those who are yet to pay reparations to survivors to do so in the nearest future and challenged the communities to follow up on such cases.

“From our history, we drew strength and courage to carry on, fight for our dignity. Let us remember with hope. We have a brighter future before us. We deserve to live better and descent lives. We owe it to ourselves and our loved ones who were killed to always strive for the better,” he said.

Chantal Niwemugeni, a survivor who had fled at Ntarama Church during the Genocide, recalled the gruesome killings that took place the church. Narrating the ordeal that her and other Tutsis who had sought refuge at the church went through, Niwemugeni recollected that when Interahamwe militia and former government soldiers attacked the church, old people tried vainly to put up a resistance.

“We were suffocated with a pepper-like gas, before the militia threw grenades inside the church. Thereafter, throngs of Interahamwe mixed with soldiers flocked in with machetes, clubs, spears and other crude weapons to finish off those who were still breathing,” she recalled.

Those who survived the killings at Ntarama fled to Kimpima hill, to former Nyamata Parish, to wetlands along River Akagera and to many other places.

“In wetlands along the river, most of us preferred to drown ourselves and commit suicide than being hacked to death by the militia. Eventually, RPA soldiers came to our rescuers. Today, we have soldiered on with hope,” recounted Niwemugeni who caught up with her studies after the Genocide and now has a Master’s Degree in Finance.

Located in Bugesera District, Ntarama Church became a Genocide Memorial in 1995. Over 5,000 people were slaughtered in the church and its compound.

On 7 April 1994, a day after President Habyarimana’s plane had been downed, Tutsi homes were set ablaze in Ntarama, with some resistance from local farmers. Tutsi families in Bugesera had fled to Ntarama Church because in previous massacres, attackers had respected religious sites.

On 13 April 1994, Interahamwe militia conducted a census of Tutsis who had fled to Ntarama Church. After the census, they were told to stay together so that the government could guarantee their security. This was a strategy to draw out even those who were still in hiding. On 15 April 1994, Interahamwe militia and government soldiers from Gako military barracks began coordinated, systematic killings of Tutsis.

Commemoration event takes place at Nyarubuye

Nyarubuye, 8 April 2017

Today, hundreds of Nyarubuye residents joined by the youths from Kigali organised a commemoration at Nyarubuye Parish, in Kirehe District where the Chief Justice Prof Sam Rugege was the guest of honour.

The event started by a tour of a Nyarubuye Memorial where 35,000 hacked to death with extreme cruelty.

During the commemoration, genocide a survivor Theopista Mukanoheli who sought refuge at Nyarubuye Parish but later left because she saw that the place wasn’t safe, said that Nyarubuye many Tutsi gathered there before they were killed.
Mathieu Fashingabo who was deputy to Mayor Sylvestre Gacumbitsi but opposed the genocidal politics and saved hundreds of Tutsi by helping them cross Akagera river to Tanzania, explained in details the background of the genocide ideology before 1994 in former Rusumo commune current Kirehe District. He said that Tutsi were not allowed free movements and were monitored in their daily life.

The guest of honour Chief Justice Prof Sam Rugege invited the Nyarubuye residents to fight genocide ideology and build on the progress we have achieved

“Today, due to the good leadership, all Rwandans are equal before the law, we should take opportunity of this good leadership to build a better Rwanda we want where our grandchildren will live in dignity” he added.

Nyarubuye Genocide Memorial serves as the final resting place for over 35,000 victims of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi who were killed there and other 13, 000 from surrounding areas. . By 12 April 1994, the number of Tutsis who had fled to Nyarubuye Church from surrounding areas had grown considerably and on 13 April 1994, a census was undertaken to count Tutsis who had fled at Nyarubuye Church.

They were estimated to be 35,000. As the census was underway, Tutsis believed that the aim was to determine how much support they needed. The census was actually meant to quantify the number of killers needed to perpetrate the killings. After the census, gendarmes & militia armed with guns, grenades, machetes and spears attacked Nyarubuye Church from various points. Led by gendarmes & Interahamwe militia, the killers cruelly exterminated all the Tutsis who had fled to Nyarubuye Church.

Ijambo Perezida Paul Kagame yavuze atangiza umuhango wo Kwibuka ku nshuro ya 23 Jenoside yakorewe Abatutsi

Kigali, 7 Mata 2017

Nagira ngo mpere ku ijambo twagejejweho n’abana baririmbaga n’abavugaga andi magambo.

Batangiye batubaza, bavuze mu rurimi rw’Icyongereza, barabaza ngo ariko: “Ubundi aha twahageze dute?” Ngirango mwabyumvise. Twahageze dute? Twarinze tugera aha dute?

Ntabwo ari ikibazo umuntu yasubiza ubungubu cyangwa mu mwanya muto, ariko tugomba kugisubiza. Uburyo bwo kugisubiza uko bikwiye ni ukugisubiza buri munsi mu byo dukora, twongera kubaka igihugu kugira ngo kibe igihugu cyacu twese, cya buri Munyarwanda, ndetse kikaba n’icy’abanyamahanga bakigenda cyangwa bashaka no kugituramo. Buri munsi dukwiriye kuba dusubiza icyo kibazo.

Nsubiye kubijyanye n’uyu munsi, Kwibuka ni ngombwa kandi nagira ngo mbwire abacitse ku icumu ku buryo bw’umwihariko ko batari bonyine. Batakaje imiryango, ariko hari umuryango umwe batatakaje: ni Igihugu cyabo. U Rwanda ni umuryango w’abacitse ku icumu, ni umuryango wa buri Munyarwanda.

Ibyo nabyo, kwibutsa ko batari bonyine, ni kimwe mu gusubiza cya kibazo: twageze aha dute?

Iyo dusubije amaso inyuma, tukareba mu mateka, n’ibi byose bijya kuba cyangwa igihe byabaga na nyuma yaho, hari abagize uruhare mu guteranya abantu, bakangana. Hari ibihugu, imiryango mpuzamahanga, n’abantu ku giti cyabo…

Ariko hari n’abandi bakoze ibyo bari bashoboye, cyangwa bagombaga gukora bakiza abantu.

Ku isonga, kugeza n’ubu, harimo Abanyafurika bamwe, n’Umuryango w’Afurika yunze Ubumwe. Mu minsi ishize ya vuba aha, muri Afurika yunze Ubumwe, ihagarariwe n’umushyitsi dufite uyu munsi, Umuyobozi Mukuru wa Komisiyo ya Afurika, nibyo yaramaze kuvuga, Abanyafurika barahagaze, bavuga ko Abanyarwanda badakwiriye gukomeza gutotezwa.

Muribuka, higeze kuba ikibazo cyari gishingiye ku cyo bita ubucamanza mpuzamahanga. Habayeho impaka n’ibiganiro birebire, aho ibihugu bimwe bishaka guhindura amateka ngo ibyabaye mu Rwanda n’uruhare rwabo babyivaneho ahubwo babishyire ku Banyarwanda bose, ndetse n’abarokotse jenoside. Icyo gihe Afurika yarahagaze iranga, hafi ibihugu byose, ijya ku ruhande rw’u Rwanda, iravuga iti ntabwo ari byo.

Nangira ngo nshimire Abanyafurika mbinyujije ku uhagarariye Komisiyo y’Afurika yunze Ubumwe uri hano.

Ugiye kureba no mu gihe abantu bicwaga Loni, ubundi yagombaga kugira icyo ibikoraho, yari ifite ibibazo byayo. Ariko burya biragoye kumenya Loni icyo ari cyo, kuko Loni ntabwo ari igihugu. Ni umuryango ibihugu bihuriyemo. Ahubwo ibihugu bifite imbaraga bikoresha Loni uko bishaka. Ibintu byaba byabaye bibi Loni akaba ariyo ifatwa n’icyaha; byaba byabaye byiza, ibihugu biyirimo, biyikoresha akaba ari byo bifata ishimwe.

Rero nitwumva na Loni tujye tumenya icyo ari cyo. Nta gihugu kitwa Loni. Ni ikintu cy’imvange, abavangiyemo bakayikoresha uko barushana imbaraga. Ni ibyo byagaragaye mu Rwanda. Ariko mu byo batashoboye gukora, Abanyafurika bamwe barabikoze ku giti cyabo. Ni yo mpamvu twibuka umusirikare w’Umunyasenegale, kapitene, wanze kumvira amategeko rusange, agakoresha amategeko ashingiye ku mutimanama we, wo kumva ko ibyakorwaga atari byo. Ni nayo mpamvu abasirikare ba Ghana banze kumva amabwiriza babahaga, kuko babonaga ko ibyakorwaga bitari byo, ko byari bibi.

Murumva rero kwifatanya n’Abanyarwanda byaranze Abasenegale n’Abanyaghana ari kimwe nka byabindi navugaga mbere by’uko Abanyafurika bahagaze ku Rwanda muri Afurika yunze Ubumwe.

Hari n’abandi bari hano, bava mu bihugu bitandukanye barokoye abantu. Twavuga nk’Umunyamerika warwanye ku bantu, akagaburira abari bihishe, akabarwanaho, agahuruza, akagira ate. Nawe twamuhaye ishimwe rijyanjye n’ibikorwa bye by’ubutwari. Hari abandi mu bihugu bitandukanye by’Uburayi cyangwa aho nari mvuze, muri Amerika n’ahandi, abantu ku giti cyabo barwanije ibyakorerwaga hano.

Ni ukuvuga rero ngo iki kibazo duhora duhangana nacyo, ni ikibazo kigoranye, cy’inzitane. Ariko, n’ubwo tutabuza ibikomeye gukomera, cyangwa ibigoranye kugorana, hari uburyo bwo gukemura ibintu bimwe dushoboye. Dufite ubushobozi bwo kubikora. Tuzajya dukemura ibyo dushoboye, ibyo dushoboye nk’u Rwanda, Ibyo tudashoboye tuzabireka, tubishyire i ruhande.

Nk’ubu iyo wumvise ibiganiro bibaho ku isi, abantu ntibakivuga ku ubuzima bw’abantu bwatakaye, ahubwo bari mu magambo no gushakisha inyito y’ibyabaye. Bakajya aho bakavuga bati tubyite dute? Ni Jenoside y’Abatusi? Ni Jenoside yo mu 1994?. Nuko bakajya aho bagashakisha amagambo asobanura ibykozwe hano.

Ntabwo bikiri ubuzima bw’abantu. Ni amagambo gusa; ni amazina. Tubyite dute? Murabizi, ikiremwamuntu – ntekereza ko turi abantu beza, ariko nanone turi n’abantu babi. Iyo haje akantu gato tugaragaza intege nke zacu.

Hari abibwira ko bazanye akarusho, bati ntiwayita Jenoside yakorewe Abatutsi, ngo ni Jenoside yo muri1994, cyangwa Jenoside y’Abanyarwanda. Abo rero, baragerageza kuzana urujijo, nkaho urujijo ari narwo ari ikinti k’ingenzi. Undi akaza yibwira ko yarushije abandi, ati reka tubyite Jenoside y’Abatutsi n’Abahutu batari intagondwa.

Ngewe mfite ikibazo cyatuma ntinjira muri ibi biganiro, kuko ntacyo bimaze. Ni ugukora ubusa. Abo bagomba kwemeza inyito ni nabo bagize uruhare muri ayo mahano. Wagira ngo kwirirwa bakina n’amagambo hari inyungu bifite.

Twabuze abantu. Twapfushije abarenga miliyoni, kandi ntabwo bishwe n’ibiza. Ntibazize urupfu rusanzwe. Bishwe n’abantu. Ubwicanyi bwatewe na politiki yo muri iki gihugu ndetse na politiki mpuzamahanga.

None se ni gute abantu bakomeza gukina n’amagambo? Maze bakazana inzobere. Izo nzobere ni izikora iki? Zizatugarurira se abantu twatakaje? Twebwe nk’Abanyarwanda, ibi si ibiganiro dukwiye kujyamo cyangwa ngo duteshwe igihe n’amanjwe atadufitiye akamaro.

Jenoside ifite igisobanuro kandi si na nge wayihaye icyo gisobanuro. Iyo umuntu avuga Jenoside yakorewe Abayahudi, ifite igisobanuro cyayo. Si ngewe ushyiraho ibisobanuro. Niba ufite ikibazo cyo kubonera izina ubwicanyi bwabereye hano, ibyo ni ikimenyetso cy’uko ufite ikindi kibazo. Icyo kibazo ni cyo ukwiye kubanza kwitaho.

Abantu baratotejwe hano mu Rwanda mu gihe kirekire. Ntabwo byabaye mu mwaka wa 1994 gusa. Byabaye igihe kirekire cyane. Nizere ko namwe mutibagirwa vuba mutyo, nk’abo bashaka ibisobanuro. Kuki mutinya kuvuga ibintu uko bimeze? Ese kuba Abatutsi baratotejwe igihe kirekire mu Rwanda nabyo ni amayobera? Ni bishya? Ni ikintu kitari kizwi se? Waba ufite ikibazo niba ari uko ubibona.

Twe nk’Abanyarwanda, tugomba kubaho, tukibagirwa ibyo bidafite agaciro. Kandi uburyo bwo kubaho uko tubyifuza ni ukugera aho tuvuga tuti: Hari abantu muri iki gihugu, bamwe bita gito cyangwa kinini, batotejwe igihe kirekire. Batotezwaga kubera icyo bari cyo, kubera abo bari bo. Ni ibyo byabaye. Ngaho ababishaka bazabyite ikindi bashaka.

Icya kabiri ni ukuvuga tuti: ibyo byarabaye, ntitwashoboye kubikumira. Byarabaye, ntitwabisubiza inyuma. Ariko uyu munsi twagira icyo dukora. Icyo dushobora gukora ubu ni ukwiyemeza ko bitazongera kubaho ukundi. Nta bantu bazongera gutotezwa.

Mu myaka iri imbere, ahari nyuma yacu twe dushishikajwe no kubaka umusingi no kubaka igihugu cyacu, wenda nko mu myaka mirongo itanu iri imbere, cyangwa ikindi gihe ntazi, habayeho abantu b’abasazi, ubwo bwo sinamenya ibizaba. Ngewe ndavuga ubu, no mu myaka mike iri imbere, ntabwo uko gutoteza abantu byakongera kubaho. Ntibyabaho. Ibi rwose turabishoboye.

Mwibagirwe abo bavuga ubusa ku Rwanda, baneguza izuru ibyo dukora n’ibyo bisobanuro bagenda bashaka kuduha. Mubibagirwe. Ibyo ni ugukora ubusa. Nk’Abanyarwanda tuzakomeza kubaho, kandi tububemo uko bitubereye. Ibyo abandi babitekerezaho birabareba.

Kandi rwose twiyemeje gukorana no gufatanya n’abantu bose. Dukeneye inshuti, dukorana n’inshuti kandi dushaka inshuti.

Ariko nyamara ibyo ntibikuraho ko tugomba kubaho ubuzima bwacu. Ntabwo bugomba kugengwa n’undi muntu uwo ari we wese, uko byagenda.

Ndashimira abo bose bakomeje kudufata mu mugongo no kubana natwe mu byo twanyuzemo byose. Ni amateka atoroshye.

Abo bandi nibumva bashatse guhinduka bakaza kwifatanya natwe tugakorana, nabo rwose tubahaye ikaze. Abo barimo abafata icyemezo cyiza, naho baba barakerewe bingana iki, bagera aho bakagaruka mu nzira nziza, bakemera amakosa bakoze, bakayasabira imbabazi Abanyarwanda. Tubashimira iyo ntambwe maze tugakomezanya urugendo.

Abo bandi batabyifuza, bakumva bahindura amateka n’inzira twiyemeje, nabo ntacyo badutwaye. Ariko bagomba kumenya ko bafite umwanzi ukomeye, kuko ntituzaborohera. Ntabwo bazadutesha umurongo, ntabwo bazahindura ibyo twemera, ntibazahindura politiki twiyemeje cyangwa ubuzima bwacu kandi binafite icyo bitumariye. Ntacyo babikoraho. Aho bazazira bazasanga tubiteguye.

Yego rwose bitwara igihe. Hari ubwo bitwara igihe ngo abantu bamenye ko bafite ikibazo. Nk’Abanyarwanda twarabyihanganiye, turakomeza.

No mu minsi ishize, n’imibanire yacu na Kiliziya Gaturika, si ibanga. Twagiranye ibiganiro kenshi cyane, bamwe bavuga ngo si Kiliziya, ngo ni abantu ku giti cyabo. Ariko ubu ikibazo twakiboneye umuti. Ndabishima kandi ndanashimira abo bayobozi bakuru babigizemo uruhare bagatuma twese tugaruka mu nziza nziza. Ni byiza rwose.

Hari abandi bashishikajwe cyangwa badashaka kwiyumvisha uruhare rwabo ariko ahubwo ugasanga bagenda bashaka kutuzanira ibindi bibazo. Ibi bamaze imyaka 23 babigerageza. Ariko ntibazatubuza gutera imbere. Ntibazabigeraho. Uko baba bakeka ko bakomeye kose ni akazi kabo.

Dufite inzirakarengane hano ariko usanga bagirwa abanyamakosa y’ibyabakorewe. Hari abatarasabye imbabazi ariko bataranemera n’ibyo bakoze.

Nta mafaranga yabo dukeneye. Ntabwo tubasaba amafaranga. Si yo dushaka. Nta mafaranga yanganya agaciro n’abacu miliyoni twabuze muri Jenoside. Icyo dukeneye ni ukuri, ukuri kuzatuma abantu babohoka bagakomeza ubuzima bwabo.

Tuzakomeza tubyihanganira. Ariko hari nyirantarengwa, hari ibyo tutazihanganira. Ntabwo washaka gufata ubuzima bwacu uko ubishaka. Ntibishoboka.

Nibwira ko iki ari kimwe mu byo twakuye muri ibi byago twagize. Aya mahano yatwaye ubuzima bw’abacu twayakuyemo uko tugomba kubaho. Dufite ibyo twayigiyemo, byakomeje ibyo twemera, ariko kandi ibyabaye byarabaye, ntabwo twabihindura. Cyakora hari icyo twakora uyu munsi tukanategura ejo hazaza. Kandi tuzabikora.

Abantu batotejwe ntabwo bazongera gutotezwa, ndetse n’abandi bose ntawe uzahohoterwa. Abataratotejwe mbere, nabo ntawe uzabatoteza. Nta muntu uzongera gutotezwa. Icyo bivuze ni uko twese nk’Abanyarwanda tugomba kubaho ubuzima bwacu, nk’abandi uko babaho ku isi. Tuzakomeza inzira twatangiye yo kubaka igihugu n’ubuzima bwacu.

Turagushimira Moussa, kuba wahagarariye umugabane wacu wa Afurika tunahuje byinshi, dukorana byinshi kandi tuzakomeza gukorana mu guteza imbere ubuzima mu gihugu cyacu. Ariko kandi niba hari n’icyo twakora ngo dutange umusanzu mu kuzamura ubuzima bw’abavandimwe bacu b’Abanyafurika, turabyiteguye.

The speech of President Paul Kagame at the 23rd Commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi

Kigali, 7 April 2017

Let me start with the words the children were singing.

They started by asking, “How did we even get here?”. I think you heard it. It’s not a question one can answer right away, or even in a short time. But we will have to answer it.

To do so in a fitting manner, we have to answer it daily in what we do to build this country, so that it belongs to all of us, all Rwandans, and even others who visit or want settle here. Every day we should seek to answer this question.

Coming back to this day: To remember is a must. And in remembering, I would like to tell genocide survivors that they are not alone. They lost family. But there’s one family they didn’t lose—their country. Rwanda is the family of survivors. It’s the family of every Rwandan.

Reminding them that they are not alone is also part of answering “How did we even get here?”.

When you look back in history, as this was about to happen, when it was happening and afterwards, there are those who had a role in pitting people against each other. Countries, international organisations, individuals…

But there are others who did what they could, or had to do.

At the forefront, up to today, were some Africans. Also the African Union. Not too long ago, in the African Union, represented today by Moussa, the African Union Commission Chairperson, Africans stood up and said Rwandans shouldn’t continue to be targeted.

You remember the issue based on ‘universal jurisdiction’. There were long debates, where some countries who want to change history and shift responsibility for their role in what happened in Rwanda onto Rwandans, even those who survived. Africa, almost all the countries, stood up against that. I want to thank Africans for this, through the African Union Commission Chairperson.

As people were being killed, the United Nations had its own problems. The United Nations is difficult to define. it is used by countries who blame it when things go wrong, and take credit when things go right.

So when we refer to the United Nations, we should understand what it means. There is no country called ‘United Nations’. That’s what happened in Rwanda: What the United Nations wasn’t able to do, individual Africans tried to do.

That’s why we remember the Senegalese captain who refused to follow orders and did what he felt was right in his heart, because he saw that what was happening was wrong. This is why Ghanaian soldiers defied orders when they saw that what was happening was not right.

So you see, between Senegalese and Ghanaians, the solidarity that bound them is similar to what Africans displayed when they stood with Rwandans in the African Union.

And there are others here from different countries who saved people. Like the American who hid, fed, and fought for people, and who we recognised for the courageous actions. There are others in various countries in Europe, or the United States as I mentioned, and elsewhere, people who took personal initiative to fight what was happening.

It means that this problem we are dealing with is complex and difficult. Even though we can’t stop difficult things from being difficult, there are ways to solve what we can solve. We as Rwandans have the ability to do it. What we are unable to do, we leave aside.

When you listen to the discourse around the world now, it’s not about lives lost, but about playing with words. Semantics. Was it the genocide of Tutsis, or the genocide of 1994? They have gone into a search of words for what happened.

It’s no longer the lives of people, it’s now the words, the names, what do we call it? Human beings—I think we are good people, but at same time, when small things happen, we display our weaknesses.

There are those who now bring ‘improvements’. You can’t call it the genocide against the Tutsi, it’s the ‘genocide of 1994’, or the ‘Rwandan genocide’. They are struggling to be vague, as if being vague is very important also. Then somebody brings another improvement: Let’s call it genocide of Tutsis plus moderate Hutus. I mean…

I had problems getting into this debate because it’s absolute nonsense. Those deciding what it should it be called are the same who got involved in it. As if playing with words, with names, is of any substance.

We lost people. We lost over one million people. And it wasn’t a natural disaster. It happened through the hands of some people. And politics was the cause, whether local or international.

So how can people keep playing with words? They bring in experts. Experts to do what? Bring back people we lost? As Rwandans, we should not get involved in, or distracted by, this nonsense that is there every day.

Genocide has a definition, and I’m not the one who put that definition there. When you talk about the Holocaust, it has its definition, I’m not the one who put the definition there. If you have a problem matching the definition with what happened here, it’s because you have another problem. You need to address that other problem.

People were targeted here in Rwanda for decades. It did not happen in 1994; it happened over decades. Come on, you can’t have such a such short memory, those who try to be smart with definitions… Why should you be afraid of saying things as they are? That Tutsis were targeted for decades here in Rwanda is a mystery? Is it something that was not known? You have to have a problem in order not to see that.

But as Rwandans, we have to live our lives and forget about this nonsense. And the way to live our lives is to come to a point, as where we are now, to say: Yes, a section of the people of this great country—call it small if you want—were targeted. They were targeted for who they are. That’s what it is. So you can call it something else…

The second is to say: That happened; we failed to prevent it. It happened; we couldn’t reverse it. But today we can do something about it. What we can do today is that it won’t happen again. People are not going be targeted.

For the future, beyond those of us here who aspire to build a foundation, if some mad people come, fifty years ahead—I don’t know how many; I am not sure about that. But I am talking about the present and the immediate future. We cannot have this again; absolutely not. This is within our means, today.

Forget about all those funny stories about Rwanda, about what we are trying to do today and all kinds of descriptions and definitions about us. Forget about that. That’s just nonsense. Rwandans, we are going to live our lives, and we are going to live our lives the best way we think we should live our lives. It doesn’t matter what someone else is thinking about.

But we are open to working together, for cooperation, for collaboration, to work with people. We need friends, we work with friends, we look for friends.

But when all that is said and done, we will have to live our lives, and these are our lives. They are not going to be managed by somebody else. Absolutely.

So I thank all who have been with us, in all this we have gone through. It has been a very difficult history and situation indeed.

For those who can decide later on that they need to change course and also be with us and we work together, they are very welcome. We welcome them. Including those who happily—it doesn’t matter how long it takes—come to recognise their failure and say it to Rwandans. We are happy and ready to move on.

For those who don’t want, and think they can change the course we are on, they are also welcome. But they should understand that they have a formidable opponent in us. They will never shake us out of our beliefs—the beliefs about our politics, about our lives, that belong to us and have meaning for us—they can do nothing about it. If they want anything they will find us ready for that.

Yes, it takes time. People recognise they have a problem they have to deal with. I am really happy, and I am sure Rwandans are happy, that we have moved on.

Even in recent times, with the Catholic Church—it’s not a secret. We have had back and forth, with people saying, you know, these are individuals who did this… But we have sorted the matter. I am happy and I am grateful and thankful to those senior people who have had a hand in it and who have helped to put us on a good course. It’s a good thing.

Well, there are others who are still struggling with trying to understand their responsibility and they are still on the course of trying to create problems for us around that. They have been doing that for the last 23 years now. But they won’t stop us making progress. They won’t. It doesn’t matter how powerful they think they are.

We have victims here, and they turn around and blame the victims for the problems they caused them—those who haven’t apologised. But they haven’t even recognised.

We are not asking for money. We don’t ask for money. There’s no money to compensate the lives of our one million people that were taken during this genocide. It’s the truth that we are after, the truth that allows people to live their full lives going forward.

So for the time being, we shall live with that. But there is always going to be a cut-off point. There is where a line gets to be drawn and you can’t just manipulate people’s lives as you wish. You can’t.

I think this is also something we got from this tragedy. The tragedy that took the lives of our people maybe came with a silver lining, and that is it made us better people. We have more solid beliefs, and the past is the past; there’s nothing we can do about the past. But there is always something we can do for the present and for our future. And we will do it.

So those people who were targeted will never be targeted again and even others won’t. Those who weren’t targeted in the past, won’t be targeted in the future. It’s about not targeting anybody in the future. Meaning that we are all Rwandans that deserve our country and our lives, just like everyone else in this world.

We look forward to maintaining the course on which we are, to rebuild our lives and our nation.

Thank you, Moussa, for representing our African continent that we are so connected to, and work with, and want to work with, not only to improve our country but, if we can do anything, even make a bit of a contribution to improve the lives of our brothers and sisters across Africa, count on us.

Thank you.

Statement by Ambassador Valentine Rugwabiza, Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Member of Cabinet of the Government of Rwanda at the 23rd Commemoration of the Genocide Against the Tutsi at the United Nations Headquarters

Your Excellency Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations; Your Excellency Vice President of the United Nations General Assembly, Excellencies, Permanent Representatives to the UN;

Dear Survivors, compatriots and friends of Rwanda;

On behalf of the people and the Government of Rwanda, I want to thank you all for joining us at this 23rd Commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi. Your presence means a lot to Rwanda. It is a mark of your respect for the dignity of the victims and the resilience of the survivors. I take this opportunity to thank the Department of Public Information for their cooperation in organising this annual commemoration.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

The purpose of the annual commemoration at the United Nations is to continue to raise awareness of the international community about our collective responsibility to prevent Genocide from happening anywhere in the world. We do so by honouring the memory of the victims; by renewing our resolve to fight the Genocide ideology and by sharing with the world what we have done in Rwanda to make “Never Again” a reality.

The annual commemoration also provides us with an opportunity to reflect on lessons learnt since the failure of the international community to prevent and stop the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. The theme for this year’s commemoration; “Remember the Genocide against the Tutsi – Fight Genocide Ideology – Build on Our Progress,” reminds us that the Genocide against the Tutsi was the result of a well organised plan and ideology to exterminate all Tut It also reminds us that the ideology didn’t stop with the end of the Genocide. Indeed, the denial, alteration and distortion of the facts of Genocide are all well-known and documented mechanisms used by Genocide ideologues.

One of the mechanisms used by Genocide deniers is the use of deliberately confusing languag Whenever we refer to the Genocide against the Tutsi, historical clarity and the use of correct words are of critical importance.

What we commemorate today is neither the Rwanda Genocide nor the 1994 Genocide. It is the Genocide against the Tutsi. Any other reference is inaccurate, misleading and wrong.

Let us remember that the former International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda established by this very body concluded in its judgement on 2nd September,

1998 that; “Genocide was, indeed, committed in Rwanda against the Tutsi as a group.”

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We all know that the Genocide against the Tutsi was not inevitable yet it happened. The question to reflect on today is “Why?” Why those who had the responsibility and capability to prevent or stop it didn’t act? Why   those in positions of influence and authority at the time, made the wrong decisions? Many elaborated explanations have been suggested to explain the failure of the international community to act and stop the Genocide against the Tut The truth is much simpler; those who were invested by the Charter of the United Nations with   the duty and responsibility to prevent and stop the Genocide against the Tutsi did not consider that the lives of those targeted mattered sufficiently to warrant their protection. If faced with a similar situation today, will they act differently? We can only hope so; and it is this hope that lessons have been learnt from our tragic History that informs our annual commemoration at the United Nations.

We pay special tribute to the Ghanaian contingent of peacekeepers in Rwanda in 1994 and to the late Captain Mbaye Diagne from Senegal. These fellow Africans refused the orders of the then UN leadership in New York to evacuate with the rest of the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda and thus to abandon the victims to their fate. To them, the lives of those targeted mattered. These gallant sons and daughters of Africa demonstrated courage, empathy and a sense of responsibility that many others lacked.

In Rwanda, we have learned hard lessons from our tragic history. We have learned that Genocide ideology strives where its manifestations and expressions are tolerated. We have learned that hatred knows no borders. It is a poison that spreads where human rights violations are widespread with no accountability.

We also learnt that the most effective defense against Genocide ideology is our cohesion as a people and it is this lesson that informed our choices for unity, reconciliation and a governance system centered on the wellbeing and dignity of all Rwanda

Rwanda today offers a story of hope; how a country and its people can stand strong in the face of adversity and together build a new and united natio Through investing in our people and building institutions, we have delivered peace, security, opportunity and, more importantly, dignity for all Rwandans.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me conclude by thanking all of you again for your presence at the 23rd Commemoration of the Genocide against the Tut I thank in particular the survivors. Your strength and resilience remains a source of inspiration.

We also remain forever indebted to the Rwanda Defense Forces – men and women who, under the command of His Excellency President Paul Kagame, single handedly stopped the Genocide against the Tutsis in July 1994. Without them, there wouldn’t be survivors like Sonia to tell their story.

I thank you.

Statement-by-HE-Amb.-Rugwabiza-Kwibuka23

Press release: #Kwibuka23 activities during Commemoration Week

#Kwibuka23 activities during commemoration week

Kigali, 06 April 2017

This year, Rwanda marks the 23rd commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Themed “Remember the Genocide against the Tutsi – Fight Genocide Ideology – Build on Our Progress”, this year’s commemoration will be an occasion for Rwandans from all walks of life to pay tribute to the more than one million innocent lives lost and visit the memorials where victims are buried.
On 7 April 2017, events will be held at national level and in villages to begin the National Commemoration Week. Throughout the week, Rwandans throughout the country will reiterate their commitment to fight genocide ideology and reflect on the country’s journey of unity and reconciliation in the last 23 years. The Commemoration Week will end on 13 April 2017 with an event to HONOUR politicians killed for opposing the genocidal government.

MOURNING WEEK ACTIVITIES:

  • 7 April: Lighting the Flame of Remembrance, Walk to Remember and Night Vigil
  • 8 April 2017: Visit and Commemoration at Nyarubuye Memorial Center
  • 9 April 2017: Visit and Commemoration at Ntarama Memorial Center
    Café Litéraire at Rwanda Revenue Authority
  • 10 April 2017: Visit and Commemoration at Bisesero Memorial Center,
  • 11 April 2017: Kwibuka Nyanza- Kicukiro
  • 12 April 2017: Visit and Commemoration at Murambi Memorial Center
  • 13 April 2017: Official Closing of Commemoration Week at Rebero

Minister of Sports and Culture, Uwacu Julienne said: “Rwandans come to the memorials to remember their loved ones, and to learn from their tragic past.  As a Nation we build our strength from our sad history and we can never allow such a tragedy to repeat itself. We will always remember and share the history of the genocide against the Tutsi as we recover and create a spirit of unity as a people, which will serve as the foundation of a better future for all Rwandans.”

Ends

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Ibikorwa byo #Kwibuka23 bizakorwa mu cyumweru cy’icyunamo

Kigali, kuwa 06 Mata 2017

Uyu mwaka u Rwanda ruribuka ku nshuro ya 23 Jenoside yakorewe Abatutsi mu 1994. Insanganyamatsiko y’uyu mwaka iragira iti: “Twibuke Jenoside yakorewe Abatutsi, turwanya ingengabitekerezo ya Jenoside, dushyigikira ibyiza twagezeho”. Kwibuka kuri iyi nshuro bizaba umwanya ku Banyarwanda b’ingeri zose wo kwibuka no kunamira inzirakarengane zisaga miliyoni imwe zazize Jenoside yakorewe Abatutsi banasure inzibutso za Jenoside zishyinguyemo izo nzirakarengane.

Ku itariki ya 7 Mata 2017, umuhango uzabera ku rwego rw’Igihugu ndetse n’urw’Umudugudu hatangizwa icyumweru cy’Icyunamo. Muri icyo cyumweru,Abanyarwanda mu Gihugu hose bazashimangira ubushake bwabo mu kurwanya ingengabitekerezo ya Jenoside ndetse banatekereze ku rugendo rw’ubumwe n’ubwiyunge mu myaka 23 ishize. Icyumweru cy’icyunamo kizasozwa kuwa 13 Werurwe 2017, gisozwe n’umuhango wo Kwibuka abanyapolitiki bishwe bazira kudashyigikira ibikorwa bibi bya guverinoma y’abicanyi.
IBIZAKORWA MU CYUMWERU CY”ICYUNAMO

  • Ku itariki ya 7 Mata 2017: Gucana Urumuri rw’Icyizere, Urugendo rwo Kwibuka n’Ijoro ryo Kwibuka
  • Ku itariki ya 8 Mata 2017: Gusura  no Kwibuka ku rwibutso rwa Nyarubuye
  • Ku itariki ya 9 Mata 2017:-Gusura no Kwibuka ku rwibutso rwa Ntarama
                     -Ibiganiro nkarishyabwenge (Café Litérraire) ku kigo cy’Igihugu cy’imisoro n’amahoro (RRA)
  • Ku itariki ya 10 Mata 2017: Gusura no Kwibuka ku rwibutso rwa Bisesero
  • Ku itariki ya 11 Mata 2017: Kwibuka I Nyanza –Kicukiro
  • Ku itariki ya 12 Mata 2017: Gusura no Kwibuka ku rwibutso rwa Murambi
  • Ku itariki ya 13 Mata2017: Gusoza ku mugaragaro icyumweru cy’icyunamo ku I Rebero

Minisitiri w’Umuco na Siporo, Uwacu Julienne yagize ati:“ Abanyarwanda baza ku nzibutso Kwibuka ababo bakundaga no kwigira ku mateka mabi banyuzemo.Nk’Igihugu,tuvoma imbaraga mu mateka akomeye ababaje twanyuzemo kandi ntidushobora kwemera ko amahano nk’ariya yongera kubaho.  Tuzahora twibuka tunasangize abandi amateka ya Jenoside yakorewe Abatutsi uko tugenda twiyubaka kandi tuzakomeza kubaka no kugarura ubumwe mu Banyarwanda, ibi bikazaba ishingiro ry’ahazaza heza h’Abanyarwanda bose”.

 

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