Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you, Ambassador Rwakazine, for organizing this commemoration ceremony, as we mark 29 years since the horrific events of 1994.
Today, we remember and pay tribute to all those who lost their lives.
Almost 1 million victims, the majority of whom were Tutsi, but also Hutu and others, were killed over the course of 100 days of brutal violence.
We honour those who fell victim to this tragedy, those who sacrificed their lives to save others, and the survivors who continue to bear the scars of this violence.
We remember the estimated 100,000 children, separated from their parents and deprived of their childhood, and half a million women who suffered horrendous abuse and sexual violence.
We owe them our full support so that they may live a life of opportunity, hope, and peace.
We will hear the voice of one such survivor today.
Ms. Providence Umugwaneza, it is an honour to have you at this event.
Your story is very much one of courage and determination.
Determination to carry on in the face of abhorrent violence, loss and suffering.
Determination to help other women and girls, especially those who were victims of sexual violence.
Above all, determination to achieve social justice and reconciliation.
Reconciliation can only be sustainable if it is inclusive.
By hearing your voices and those of other survivors, we can learn from the past and build a future in which everyone is treated with dignity, equality and respect for their human rights.
This ceremony reminds us that we cannot allow the passage of time to erase our memories of the past, to let history be forgotten or distorted.
This is more important than ever in today’s digital age, where disinformation, the manipulation of facts, and genocide denial are often the last phase of the genocide campaign to deny justice for the victims and survivors.
By remembering the past and reflecting on its lessons, we can prevent such atrocities from happening again.
We must recognize the early warning signs of impending violence and stop it in its tracks.
As the UN Secretary-General said, “we must be ever vigilant and always ready to act” in order to safeguard societies from the malice of hate and division.
This requires fighting back against hate speech in all its forms, be it offline or online, to prevent discrimination, dehumanization and persecution.
Instead, we must harness the positive role of technology to raise awareness, educate future generations and ensure that survivors’ stories are not confined to the past.
Ladies and gentlemen,
No matter how much time has passed, we must never allow the scourge of genocide to return, at any time or place.
Let us learn from Rwanda’s example as we plant the seeds of peace, tolerance and justice for all.