A commemorative event was held in New Delhi to mark the 29th anniversary of the horrific genocide against the Tutsi community in Rwanda in 1994. The event was organized by the High Commission of the Republic of Rwanda in India, New Delhi, under the joint aegis of United National India and Gandhi Mandela Foundation Kamaladevi Complex, at India International Centre, 40, Max Muller Marg, New Delhi.
The chief guest at the event was Shri Mati Meenakshi Lekhi, Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture, Government of India. Other notable guests included Ms. Cynthia McCaffrey, UNICEF India Representative, Rwandan Ambassador to India Mukangira Jacqueline, and Nandan Jha, Secretary General of the Gandhi Mandela Foundation.
The program commenced with the presentation of a bouquet to the chief guest, followed by the national anthems of India and Rwanda. The guests paid tribute by lighting 29 candles while the song Quibuka played, and observed a minute of silence in remembrance of the victims of the Tutsi genocide.
In her speech, Shri Mati Meenakshi Lekhi highlighted India’s own history of genocides and emphasized the promotion of development and human values. She also mentioned Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Rwanda in 2018 and India’s support for peace and goodwill in Rwanda during the years 1994 to 1996 through the Indian Army and the United Nations Army.
An exhibition of paintings created by school students depicting the brutality of the Rwandan genocide was displayed through a video, accompanied by a performance of Mwakire indababo by students and a touching message from children of the Rwandan the community. A documentary film titled “The Genocide Against Tutsi” was also screened, with representatives from over 50 countries in attendance.
Nandan Jha, Secretary General of the Gandhi Mandela Foundation, expressed deep sorrow for the loss of over 1 million lives in just 100 days during the genocide and emphasized the importance of remembering the victims and working towards preventing such atrocities in the future.
Ms. Cynthia McCaffrey, UNICEF India Representative, conveyed the UN Secretary-General’s message on the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi Community in Rwanda, emphasizing solidarity and the promotion of peace, tolerance, and understanding among all communities.
Ms. Jacqueline Mukangira, High Commissioner of Rwanda, expressed gratitude to the Government of India and highlighted the close relationship between India and Rwanda. She also shared the tragic details of the genocide, including the loss of her own family members.
The International Day of Reflection on the Rwandan Genocide is commemorated by UNESCO every year on 7 April, marking one of the darkest chapters in human history. The Gandhi Mandela Foundation plays a significant role in organizing the event, promoting the values and ideals of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela for global peace, non-violence, and unity. The Foundation, certified by the Government of India, is headquartered in New Delhi and focuses on promoting individual liberty, civil liberties, and human rights worldwide.