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Excellency Moussa Faki Mahamt,

                 Chairperson of the African Union Commission,

Excellency Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa,

                  Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission,

Excellency Parfait Onanga Anyanga, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union,

Excellency Hope TUMUKUNDE GASATURA, Ambassador of the   Republic of Rwanda to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union and UNECA,

Excellencies Commissioners,

Excellencies Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Religious Leaders,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

As we gather today to commemorate the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, we have to uphold the fitting message of this year’s theme: “Remember-Unite-Renew”. The horrific events that took place in Rwanda 28 years ago represent one of history’s darkest chapters as close to a million Rwandans lost their lives in a genocide perpetrated by their own fellow citizens.

On the occasion of the 28th Commemoration of the Genocide, I wish to express our solidarity and common humanity with the People and Government of Rwanda. Today, Ethiopians join all Rwandans to honour the memory of the victims and convey their empathy to the survivors of the genocide.

The Rwanda genocide was not only horrific because of the gruesome way in which it was carried out, but also because it was preventable. As we all recall, the International Panel of Eminent Personalities that was established by the OAU/AU, up on the proposal by Ethiopia, to investigate the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda, had concluded that the genocide was avoidable and the international community failed to act to stop it.  

This occasion therefore, should remind us of our collective responsibility to protect humanity from genocide and to ensure that such horrific crimes will never revisit humanity again.  It should also remind us of our responsibility to redouble our efforts towards achieving peace, reconciliation, justice, as well as protection of human and peoples’ rights on the African Continent.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

          When the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1948, the world said ‘Never Again’. In spite of such resolve, however, it is tragic to note that genocide had to revisit humanity again.

On this occasion, we wish to recognize the members of the United Nations Peace Support Mission in Rwanda, including Ethiopian Peacekeepers, who spared no effort to support those traumatized and to protect those seeking protection at the time. Ethiopia is proud to have taken a leading role in the peacekeeping operation and in protecting the most vulnerable and in community rehabilitation and peacebuilding.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Since the genocide, Rwanda has become a living example to the world that it is possible to rise from the ashes and rebuild a stronger and resilient society. We must continue to congratulate Rwanda for the innovative community-based approach such as the Gachacha courts, to achieve healing and reconciliation, consistently working towards the African success story that the county has become today. The credit goes mainly to the people of Rwanda and their political leadership who have rebuilt their country and society with resolve and tenacity.

As we join in solidarity with the people of Rwanda, we must take a hard look at today's world and ensure that we take note of the lessons of 28 years ago. We all, as Member States of the African Union and the United Nations carry the responsibility to prevent such heinous crime from ever happening again.

Finally, let me conclude my remarks by reiterating Ethiopia’s firm commitment to work together with our Union, the international community and all other stakeholders to prevent the recurrence of genocide and to ensure that impunity is not tolerated anywhere in the Member States of the African Union.   

Let us “Remember-Unite-Renew”

I thank you

Posted by Abraham Kebede

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