KIGALI, Rwanda (4th April 2017): - Never Again Rwanda (NAR) today hosted the national youth conference on commemoration policy and practice of 1994 Genocide perpetrated against Tutsis.
The one-day conference that attracted several hundreds of youth from across the country, was held at the Grand Legacy Hotel under the theme, ‘The Role of Memory in healing and fighting against Genocide ideology’
Introduction and background of the conference:
NAR is a peace building and social justice organization that arose in response to the 1994 genocide perpetrated against the Tutsis. Guided by a vision of a nation where citizens are agents of positive change and work together towards sustainable peace and development NAR organised this conference for the 6th time to rally for the same cause.
Why the conference took place?
During the 1994 genocide perpetrated against the Tutsis youth were manipulated into committing crimes against humanity; in the present Rwanda youth play a vital role in the reconstruction of peace processes in the post-genocide Rwanda. However, majority of youth who were born after genocide are not informed on the Rwandan history and most especially genocide history and factors that contributed to 1994 genocide perpetrated against the Tutsis. This conference gives a platform to the Rwandan youth and other key stakeholders to discuss the national practice of Genocide commemoration and provide relevant recommendations that may inform the policy and decision making process.
Where the conference took place?
The conference took place on 4th April 2017 at Grand Legacy Hotel. NAR hosted 100 participants comprised of Civil Service Organisation’s, international agencies, government institutions, and experts in the field of healing and memory. The conference was also attended by youth representatives of diverse backgrounds from various districts across Rwanda.
Who spoke at the conference?
Among the speakers was Fidele Ndayisaba, the Executive secretary of the national Unity and Reconciliation Commission who stated that Rwandan’s might not be able to change the past but can sustain achievements and build a better legacy
Jenny Ohlsson the Ambassador of Swedish Embassy said that it is important to remember because remembrance of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis is an antidote; it’s not a life-long vaccine hence every generation needs to get vaccinated repeatedly.
Immaculee Mukankubito the Director of operations at NAR noted that it is everyone's obligation to remember and that NAR as an organization chose to focus on empowering youth with opportunities to become active citizens through understanding genocide its causes and effects and contribute towards peace building and sustainable development.
What came out of the conference
Increased understanding of how memory of the 1994 genocide contributes to the healing process of Rwandans.
A safe space provided for youth to discuss with different members of government and non-governmental bodies their role during the commemoration period in their communities and countries.
Approaches and best practices on healing shared among youth and various stakeholders.
Increased ability of the youth to openly discuss sensitive conflict issues related to genocide ideology and destructive messages within their families, schools and communities.
The objectives of the conference were (and not limited):
- Establish a platform for the Rwandan youth and other key stakeholders to discuss the national practice of Genocide commemoration and provide relevant recommendations that may inform the policy and decision making process.
- To increase awareness among Rwandan youth about 1994 Genocide perpetrated against Tutsi in Rwanda.
- To promote the preservation of memory of Genocide and eradicate its ideology.
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