6 April 2012
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On 7 April 2012, Rwanda will remember the victims of the 1994 genocide. The United Nations (UN), governments and civil society organizations will commemorate the victims of the genocide this month through services, conferences, lectures and other events. This year marks the 18th anniversary of the genocide, and memorial events center on the theme ‘Learning from our history to build a bright future’. As we soberly remember the egregious crimes that took over 1 million lives in 1994, we must also strengthen our resolve to “learn from our history” to prevent threats of mass atrocities from occurring in the future.
With prevention as its primary focus, the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP, R2P) advocates for the strengthening of capacities and the mobilization of political will of UN bodies and Member States, regional and sub-regional organizations, and civil society to ensure that the international community responds rapidly to threats of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing. The International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP) aims to promote RtoP and prevent these threats of mass atrocities from occurring by clarifying the role of these actors in preventing RtoP crimes, examining the tools available to protect populations and reflecting on best practices from past crisis situations.
RtoP provides a broad range of economic, political, humanitarian and military tools for the international community and individual states to implement to prevent and halt the threat of mass atrocity crimes. National actors can ratify human rights treaties and maintain efficient and fair security sectors and criminal justice systems. Individual Member States can work to ensure the protection of the human rights of their populations by assisting one another through training and capacity building. They can also support regional dialogue and justice mechanisms, engage in preventive diplomacy and deployment, and impose economic sanctions, asset freezes and trade and arms embargoes. Regional and sub-regional organizations and the UN can co-ordinate fact-finding missions and commissions of inquiry to investigate and report alleged human rights violations, prevent incitement through the monitoring of local and regional media, government statements and reports, and ensure the creation of early-warning mechanisms and timely information-sharing between actors at local, national, regional and international levels. Ending impunity for these crimes is also fundamental to their prevention, and support from governments for the work of the International Criminal Court and regional and international justice systems can help ensure the protection of populations from mass atrocities.
Civil society plays a crucial role in monitoring at-risk situations and evaluating efforts by actors at all levels to prevent crimes under the norm’s framework. Civil society reaches diverse audiences through education and engagement in dialogue on the prevention of these most egregious crimes. To this end, ICRtoP members and partners publish journals, develop toolkits and educational documents, and conduct direct engagement, trainings and conferences for diplomats, UN and regional officials, parliamentarians, academics, media groups, and other NGOs.
Events on Mass Atrocity Prevention & Commemoration of Past Crimes
Please visit this page and our events website for updates on events.
1. Book Launch: ‘This Is Your Time, Rwanda: Emerging Story of a Bold Nation and its Brilliant Destiny’
7 April 2012
Georgetown University Campus, Gaston Hall, 37th Street NW, Washington, DC 20057
“The Genocide in Rwanda is over, we are progressing steadily,” is the clear message from international lawyer Justine Rukeba Mbabazi’s new book This is Your Time, Rwanda, Emerging Story of a Bold Nation and its Brilliant Destiny. (…) Mbabazi delivers victorious stories of courageous people that are not only rebuilding their country, but over the last 17 years have successfully rebuilt the country into a thriving metropolis.
For more information see here.
2. Annual Commemoration of the Genocide in Rwanda - Memorial Ceremony at United Nations Headquarters in New York
11 April 2012, 6pm – 7.30pm
ECOSOC Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York
The programme of the memorial ceremony is as follows:
• Candle lighting
• Video message from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
• Remarks by:
H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser, President of the General Assembly
H.E. Ms. Asha-Rose Migiro, Deputy Secretary-General
H.E. Ambassador Susan E. Rice, Permanent Representative of the United States to the UN
H.E. Ambassador Eugène-Richard Gasana, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Rwanda to the UN
Representative of the African Group (to be confirmed)
Mr. Carl Wilkens, Director of World Outside My Shoes, former head of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency International in Rwanda
• Reading of excerpts from "Book of Life" — letters from orphans, widows and imprisoned genocidaires — compiled by Odile Gakire Katese, directed by Ludovica Villar Hauser
• Musical performance
The memorial ceremony is organized by the UN Department of Public Information, in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Rwanda to the United Nations. In addition, commemorative events led by UN Information Centres around the world are planned in Bangladesh, Belgium, Burundi, Colombia, Congo, India, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Mexico, Namibia, South Africa, Switzerland, Tanzania, Uganda, Ukraine and Zambia.
Only those who will have confirmed their participation will be attending.
3. Panel Discussion - “Preserving Memory, Promoting Justice”
15 April 2012, 2:00pm – 4:00pm
NYU Law School, Furman Hall, Room 216 245 Sullivan Street
(between Washington Square South and West 3rd Street) New York, New York 10012
A special program commemorating the 1994 genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda, with MCW (Miracle Corners of the World) & MCW Jacqueline's Human Rights Corner, co-sponsored by the NYU Law- African Law Association
Valentine Iribagiza: Genocide survivor, featured in PBS documentary Valentina’s Nightmares.
Zachary D. Kaufman: Attorney at O'Melverny & Myers LLP, Political Scientist, Adjunct Professor at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, Co-author ofAfter Genocide: Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, and Reconciliation in Rwanda and Beyond. (Columbia University Press, 2009).
Taylor Krauss: Independent Documentary Filmmaker, Founder of Voices of Rwanda, a 501c3 organization dedicated to filming testimonies of Rwandans for use in memorialization, genocide education, and research.
Robert Van Lierop: Partner at McLaughlin & Stern LLP, Former Ambassador/Permanent Representative of the Republic of Vanuatu to the United Nations, Former Civil Rights Litigator for the NAACP, 2011 High Level Advisor on Justice, Accountability, Truth and Reconciliation for UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).
To view the website, see here.
For the event brochure, see here.
4. Lecture: Ali al-Ahmed, in conjunction with the Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights
16 April 2012, 12pm
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
55 Fifth Avenue, Room 1008 at Noon
A fellow at the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and Founder of the Institute for Gulf Affairs, Ali al-Ahmed was a journalist who exposed major news stories such as the Pentagon’s botched translation of the 9/11 Bin Laden tape in December, 2001. He also discovered the video of Daniel Pearl’s murder. He is the author of many publications, has testified before Congress several times on issues including civil rights and religious freedom in the Middle East, and is a frequent consultant to major international broadcast media networks. Mr. al-Ahmed will discuss current issues of the Middle East including human rights, religious & political freedom, terrorism, and education, connecting each of these areas to the so-called “Arab Spring.”
Particular focus will be on:
• The crisis of education and corruption of knowledge due to governmental control over information apparatuses
• Lack of human rights, democracy and economic prosperity as a consequence of the lack of available education
• The use by Middle East authoritarian governments to utilize education as a means to controlling societies to ensure regime survival
Pasta lunch will be served.
5. Speaker – Immaculee Ilibagiza, Rwandan Genocide Survivor
30 April 2012, 7pm – 8.30pm
Swiftel Center, 824 32nd Avenue, Brookings SD 57006
Immaculee Ilibagiza, a Rwandan genocide survivor, will tell her story Monday, April 30, at the Swiftel Center in Brookings. Ilibagiza’s life was transformed dramatically during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, when she and seven other women spent 91 days huddled silently together in the cramped bathroom of a local pastor’s house. During that time, 800,000 people were killed and entire families were slaughtered.
Since the tragedy in Rwanda, Ilibagiza has written six books, spoken to countless groups and dignitaries around the world and raised funds for her Left to Tell Charitable Fund, a charity that directly benefits children orphaned by the genocide.
Tickets are on sale at the Swiftel Center box office, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or online at swiftelcenter.com.
For more information visit www.swiftelcenter.com or www.immaculee.com.
6. Cambodia: A Quest for Justice - Film Screening and Panel Discussion
30 May 2012, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Museum of Tolerance, New York at 226 E. 42 St.
From Nazi Germany to Rwanda to the former Yugoslavia, the world has attempted to bring some measure of justice to the victims of mass atrocities. In Cambodia, a reign of terror obliterated one-quarter of the population more than three decades ago. The Emmy-nominated United Nations documentary “Cambodia: A Quest for Justice” tells the unforgettable story of the first case ever heard at the United Nations-backed international tribunal. This event will screen the documentary, followed by panelists who will discuss what the trial means for Cambodia and the prevention of future genocides.
Seats are limited to 40