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#Kwibuka30: Lithuania marks first ever commemorative ceremony

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On 25th April 2024, Lithuania marked the first ever commemorative events to honor the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

On the occasion of the 30th commemoration of the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, the commemoration was held at the Memorial Complex of Tuskulėnai Peace Park in Vilnius and was attended by representatives of the Lithuanian government, the diplomatic community, and Rwandan nationals living in Lithuania.

The official commemoration ceremony started with the lighting of candles by Dr. Arūnas Bubnys, General Director of the Lithuanian Genocide and Resistance Research Center, Mr. Vytautas Pinkus, Head of the Global Affairs Group of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olivier J.P. Nduhungirehe, Rwanda’s Ambassador to Lithuania (with the residence in The Hague), and Professor Justinas Žilinskas of the University of Vilnius.

Ambassador Olivier J.P. Nduhungirehe stated that it was the very first commemoration in Lithuania and the whole Baltic States of the 1994 genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

“Sunday 7th April 2024, was the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda,” as adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in a resolution of December 2003, reaffirmed in April 2020. In Rwanda, the commemoration lasts for the hundred days of the genocide, from 7th April to 3rd July, and the theme of the commemoration is always threefold: “Remember – Unite – Renew,” Ambassador Nduhungirehe told the audience in Vilnius.

“The 1994 genocide against the Tutsi was planned and committed by Rwandans against Rwandans, by an extremist regime against a part of the population. However, this crime was enabled by the failure of the international community, mainly the UN Secretariat, the UN Security Council, and individual western powers that were historically and economically linked to Rwanda,” Ambassador Nduhungirehe continued.

Ambassador Nduhungirehe mentioned that many genocide memorials were established in Rwanda, including four that were designated last year as UNESCO world heritage sites.

Ambassador Olivier J.P. Nduhungirehe thanked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania.

The Ambassador thanked European and North American countries that erected memorials to honor the victims of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda on their soil, namely France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany.

“We hope, in order to raise more awareness, to erect more genocide memorials in Europe, especially in the Baltic States,” the ambassador added.

Ambassador Olivier J.P. Nduhungirehe concluded by thanking the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania and the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre for organizing this event in cooperation with the Embassy.

For the first time Lithuania marks commemorative events to remember victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.


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