The Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities (AIPG) marks April 7, 2022, as the annual International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, recalling that Hutu and others who opposed the genocide were also killed. The Rwandan Genocide, which began on this day in 1994, was characterized by the systematic murder of over 800,000 Rwandans, most of which were members of the Tutsi community. The atrocities, which continued for a period of three months, destroyed approximately 70% of the Tutsi community in Rwanda, which at the time represented 20% of the country’s total population.
Initially established by the UN General Assembly on December 23, 2004 through A/RES/58/234, a new draft resolution, A/72/L.31, was adopted on January 26, 2018. This resolution recognizes more recent developments, such as the results of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and resolutions made by the Security Council (e.g. Resolution 2150). A/72/L.31 also serves to update the official name of the observance to its current title. An additional resolution, A/RES/74/273, which was adopted in 2020, reconfirmed the potential of the International Day to contribute to the prevention of future genocides by commemorating the victims and taking into account the lessons learned from the genocide. The Day of Reflection offers an opportunity to consider the factors that had led to this devastating atrocity and to continue the collective pledge of “never again.”
On this occasion, the Auschwitz Institute remembers and commemorates the victims and survivors of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, as well as their friends, families, and loved ones. AIPG recommits itself to the pursuit of justice for the victims of this terrible crime and other historical atrocities by building a world that prevents future genocides before they occur.
Dr. Ashad Sentongo, Director of AIPG’s Africa Programs, emphasized the value of AIPG’s work explaining that:
The April 14 commemorative date memorializes the loss of hundreds of lives in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. It serves to recognize what Rwanda and the rest of the world have achieved towards restoring peace and rebuilding communities affected by genocide and mass atrocities. But most importantly, it reminds us that the prevention of such crimes against humanity is both a responsibility and within the means of everyone. AIPG’s APO collaborates with the Africa Union, International Conference on the Greats Lakes Region, the East Africa Community, and other international organizations to build such capacity and provides ongoing technical assistance to state and civil society leaders to implement policies and programs towards preventing genocide and other atrocities.