Rwandan President Paul Kagame, his wife Jeannette Kagame, African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker light the flame of remembrance at the Kigali Genocide Memorial during the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the 1994 Rwandan genocide against Tutsi, in Kigali, capital of Rwanda, on April 7, 2019. Rwandans on Sunday started the commemoration to mark the 25th anniversary of the 1994 genocide that left over 1 million people dead, mainly ethnic Tutsis, with President Pual Kagame calling for continued efforts to transform the country. (Xinhua/Office of the President of Rwanda)
Rwandan President Paul Kagame, his wife Jeannette Kagame, African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker light the flame of remembrance at the Kigali Genocide Memorial during the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the 1994 Rwandan genocide against Tutsi, in Kigali, capital of Rwanda, on April 7, 2019. Rwandans on Sunday started the commemoration to mark the 25th anniversary of the 1994 genocide that left over 1 million people dead, mainly ethnic Tutsis, with President Pual Kagame calling for continued efforts to transform the country. (Xinhua/Office of the President of Rwanda)

As Africa marks the 25th Anniversary of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, the African Union (AU) has called on Africans to renew collective commitment and uphold the promotion and protection of peoples’ rights across the continent.

The statement was made by Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, at the headquarters of the AU in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on Sunday. “It is vital to keep in mind that the 7th of April stirs within us our appreciation for the gift of life as well as our common humanity which obliges us to renew our collective commitment to uphold the promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights,” Faki said in the statement. He further indicated that the commemorative event “is an opportunity to celebrate the remarkable resilience of the people of Rwanda as well as the extraordinary leadership of Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda.” He further commended “the amazing efforts of the people of Rwanda on the road to reconciliation, creativity, justice, social cohesion, construction management of diversity and inclusive socio-economic development.”

The 55-member pan African bloc, which annually held commemorative event to remember the victims of the Genocide in Rwanda, also stressed that the “genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda had a profound impact on the AU and the African continent as a whole.” Egypt’s Ambassador to the AU, Osama Mahmoud Abdelkhalek, who is also the Chairperson of the AU Permanent Representatives Committee, said the painful shadow of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda still “looms above all of us and remains irreversible scare in the consciousness of humanity as one of its darkest moments in history.” “It also gathered the international community around the fair goal and the principle of never again,” Abdelkhalek said, as he emphasized the need to recognize collective continental and regional responses since the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda.

Abdelkhalek also underscored the need for “robust and adaptable programs for accountability, truth, justice based on national ownership to make never again a concrete reality and healing the affected nations.” The commemorative event was organized by the AU’s Department of Political Affairs in partnership with the Rwandan Embassy in Ethiopia. Rwanda’s Permanent Representative to the AU, Hope Tumukunde Gasatura, also stressed that “fighting genocide ideology remains a duty to all Africans.” This year’s commemorative event marked the eleventh year since the AU commenced the annual commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.The commemorative event featured the AU Anthem, National Anthem of Rwanda performed by the AU Choir, as well as a Flame of Remembrance lit. A a minute of silence was also observed in memory of the victims of the Rwanda Genocide.

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