Youth surround a bonfire during the ?Night Vigil? as part of events to mark the 18th Genocide Commemoration in Kigali, capital of Rwanda, April 7, 2012. Youth use the ?Night Vigil? to remember innocent Tutsis killed in the 1994 genocide. The theme of this year?s anniversary is:
Youth surround a bonfire during the ?Night Vigil? as part of events to mark the 18th Genocide Commemoration in Kigali, capital of Rwanda, April 7, 2012. Youth use the ?Night Vigil? to remember innocent Tutsis killed in the 1994 genocide. The theme of this year?s anniversary is: "Learning from our history to build a bright future". (Xinhua/Cyril Ndegeya) (cl)

A deep grief engulfed Rwanda and for that matter the whole African continent during and after the ignoble act of the 1994 genocide.

Youth surround a bonfire during the ?Night Vigil? as part of events to mark the 18th Genocide Commemoration in Kigali, capital of Rwanda, April 7, 2012. Youth use the ?Night Vigil? to remember innocent Tutsis killed in the 1994 genocide. The theme of this year?s anniversary is: "Learning from our history to build a bright future". (Xinhua/Cyril Ndegeya) (cl)Indeed from April 7 and for three consecutive months more than 800000 people- overwhelmingly Tutsi and moderate Hutu, Twa and others- were systematically killed across Rwanda.

In order to honour the memory of the victims of that despicable act and recognize the pain and courage of those who survived, the United Nations’ General Assembly, on 3rd December 2003, adopted resolution A/RES/58/234 designating April 7 as the International Day for Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda.

This should serve us, as an occasion, to ponder on the fundamental causes of such violent and criminal behaviors. Therefore the diagnosis of the past must enable us to squarely defy the challenges of the present, renewing our collective resolve to prevent such atrocities from happening again.

There is no gainsaying that Africa’s predicaments including the Rwanda genocide are, amongst others, the direct consequences of the policies of divide and rule of the former colonial masters. Africans, in particular the youth, must be conscious of this sad situation in order to bring back the spirit of oneness amongst themselves and face their common enemies namely poverty, diseases, foreign exploitation of their resources etc.

Bafflingly it seems that a little has been learnt from the painful Rwanda genocide experience. Today in many places, around the world, people have being exposed to the cruelty of violent conflicts and the indignities of poverty mainly in developing countries. Intolerance persists in societies torn apart by war as well in democracies that largely enjoy peace.

However it is heartwarming to note that, in the midst of this confusion, due to its selfless, hardworking and visionary leadership, Rwanda is, today, undeniably an illustration of peace, stability and sustainable development in Africa worth of emulation by others. While applauding Rwanda, AASU deplores the lack of policies capable of uplifting the people from miseries and the persistence of corruption in many African countries.

On this occasion, AASU urges African leaders to do more than just speak about the integration and prevention of conflicts on the continent;

AASU calls African leaders to summon the courage to always act in unison in promoting and defending the interests of their people and use their rich cultural and ethnic diversities as a source of their strength and unity;

AASU hails the people of Rwanda for their courage and determination to put behind the sad event of 1994 and position their country on the path of sustainable development and use their diversity to cement their unity forever.

Never again genocide on the African continent!
All for African unity now!
Awaah Fred
(Secretary General)

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