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April 5, 2024

2024 International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda

The Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities (AIPG) marks April 7, 2024, as the annual International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. This commemorative day is dedicated to honoring the memory of the victims of this tragic chapter in human history, recognizing the immense loss suffered not only by the Tutsi community but also by those Hutu and others who opposed the genocide and fell victim to its violence.

The genocide, which began to unfold on April 7, 1994, remains a haunting reminder of humanity's darkest hours. Over the course of just three months, over 800,000 people, mostly Tutsi, were systematically murdered, leading to the unimaginable loss of nearly 70% of the Tutsi population, a staggering toll that still resonates today.

Targeting primarily the Tutsi ethnic group but also moderate Hutus, the genocide was sparked by the assassination of Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana. Extremist Hutu militias, with support from the government, launched a systematic campaign of violence, using machetes and guns to massacre Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Despite early warnings, the international community failed to intervene effectively. The genocide lasted around 100 days, leaving an estimated 800,000 to one million dead. The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) ended the killings in July 1994. Rwanda faced immense challenges to rebuilding and reconciliation afterward. The Rwandan Genocide stands as a stark reminder of the consequences of hate, intolerance, and indifference, and serves as a call to action for the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities worldwide.

Initially established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2004 through A/RES/58/234, the International Day of Reflection has evolved over the years, reflecting the ongoing efforts to address the legacy of genocide and mass atrocities. With updates in 2018 and reaffirmations in 2020, the global community has shown its commitment to learning from the past and preventing such horrors from reoccurring.

In commemorating the 30th anniversary of this solemn day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres reminds us of the progress made in Rwanda and beyond in preventing genocide. AIPG echoes this sentiment, recognizing the resilience of survivors and the importance of collective action in building a world where such atrocities are never repeated.

We will never forget the victims of this genocide. Nor will we ever forget the bravery and resilience of those who survived, whose courage and willingness to forgive remain a burst of light and hope amidst this dark chapter in human history. This year, we remind ourselves of genocide’s rancid root: hate.
To those who would seek to divide us, we must deliver a clear, unequivocal and urgent message: never again. We can draw a straight line between the senseless slaughter of one million Tutsi — as well as some Hutu and others who opposed the genocide — and the decades of hate speech that preceded it, enflamed by ethnic tensions and the long shadow of colonialism.
Today, around the world, the darkest impulses of humanity are being awakened once more by the voices of extremism, division and hate. On this solemn day of remembrance, let’s pledge to stand as one against all forms of hatred and discrimination. Let’s ensure that the acts that began on April 7, 1994 are never forgotten — and never repeated. Anywhere.

As we reflect on the past and honor the lives lost, let us also recommit ourselves to the vital work of preventing genocide and mass atrocities. AIPG stands ready to support this endeavor, working to empower individuals and communities with the knowledge and skills needed to create a future where peace and dignity prevail.

Sheri P. Rosenberg

Documentos de orientación y notas informativas sobre prevención

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SNCF Papers

Llenar el silencio: Un estudio sobre la historia corporativa del Holocausto y la naturaleza de la memoria corporativa
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Instituto Auschwitz Informes anuales

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Recursos de formación

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Folleto sobre los mecanismos nacionales de prevención del genocidio y otros crímenes atroces (2015-2018)

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Informes anuales de la Red Latinoamericana para la Prevención del Genocidio y Atrocidades Masivas

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