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Greg Dorey


Part of UK in Ethiopia

11th April 2014

Remember, Unite, Renew

I am writing this in Mandela Hall of the African Union in Addis Ababa, where Ministers, Ambassadors, Religious Leaders, Senior Officials and Civil Society are gathered to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Rwanda Genocide. “Kwibuka” (“to remember” in Kinyarwanda) is a global programme underway since January to ensure that the deaths of over a million Rwandans in 1994 are not forgotten.

kwuibuka 20

The theme for this year’s Commemoration is “Remember, Unite,Renew”. We are listening to prayers, speeches, songs, stories from schoolchildren and a short film of testimony from one of the survivors. We are learning too of Rwanda’s subsequent history of reconciliation and nation-building. It is an opportunity to reawaken our awareness about the value of life and to renew collective commitments to uphold fundamental human rights. “Never again” are words we are hearing often.

But as well as recalling the fate of so many Rwandans, many of us are watching with horror as conflict unfolds next door in South Sudan, despite a Cessation of Hostilities agreement. There are some 5 million people there who are now in need of urgent humanitarian assistance – and if people cannot plant their crops soon, even more will suffer. I hope that the leaders of all sides in South Sudan will take the chance to remember the lessons of the Rwanda Genocide and accept their urgent and personal responsibility to stop the fighting in their own country.