UN observes 20th anniversary of Rwandan genocide

The massacres occurred in 1994
The UN, on Thursday, launched a series of events observing the 20th anniversary of the 1994 Rwandan genocide by lighting a flame of remembrance.

The events will recount the horrors of ethnic cleansing that killed more than 800,000 people.

At the flame-lighting, genocide survivor, Immaculee Ilibagiza, author of Left to Tell, recalled her experience of the 100 days of massacres, when Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by ethnic Hutu extremists across the Eastern Africa nation.

While her entire family was slain, Ms. Ilibagiza, a Tutsi, survived by hiding in a Hutu friend’s small bathroom with several other women for three months.

“They literally stopped by the door, inches away from us,” Ms. Ilibagiza said, recalling the numerous times the house was searched. “It is by the grace of God that 300 to 400 people searching a four-bedroom house, and nobody saw the bathroom where we were hiding.”

Ms. Ilibagiza said that the story of Rwanda since has become one of reconciliation and urged Rwandans to leave the anger and sadness behind.

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“Truly, as people, we are capable to do well, we are capable to love, we are capable to forgive one another, and we are capable of peace. It is my prayer that the world has learned the lessons of Rwandans,” she said.

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, said that Rwandans’ ability to unite and reconcile after such a tragedy has been an inspiration. He stressed that the world has fallen short of implementing the lessons learned from the Rwandan genocide.

“Our collective failure to prevent atrocities in Syria over the past three years is a shameful indictment of the international community,” Mr. Ki-Moon said.

The secretary general reminded of the ongoing atrocities in the Central African Republic and violence against minorities, such as the Roma, around the world.


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