President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Ambassador Samantha Power joined the international community today in marking the 20th commemoration of the genocide in Rwanda.
President Obama said, "We honor the memory of the more than 800,000 men, women and children who were senselessly slaughtered simply because of who they were or what they believed. We stand in awe of their families, who have summoned the courage to carry on, and the survivors, who have worked through their wounds to rebuild their lives. And we salute the determination of the Rwandans who have made important progress toward healing old wounds, unleashing the economic growth that lifts people from poverty, and contributing to peacekeeping missions around the world to spare others the pain they have known."
— Department of State (@StateDept) April 7, 2014
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, Ambassador Power led the U.S. delegation to the commemoration ceremony in Kigali, Rwanda.
Ambassador Power said, "On this solemn day of sorrow and remembrance, we come together to honor those who survived, mourn those who perished, and move forward with the unfinished tasks of accountability, healing, and reconciliation. In so doing, we are encouraged by the remarkable progress Rwandans have made in rebuilding their society, particularly in the areas of education, agriculture, women’s empowerment, and health. Deeply conscious of the human costs of mass violence, Rwanda has also been a prominent and effective contributor to international peacekeeping operations, including the African Union mission now underway in the Central African Republic."
Ambassador Power continued, "As individuals and nations, we lack the power to rewind history; we cannot restore life to the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who were so ruthlessly deprived of life twenty years ago. But we do have the power to honor the memory of those who were lost; to strive to prevent future genocides; and to join forces across every boundary of geography, culture, ethnicity, and creed to foster a climate of mutual understanding, shared respect, and lasting peace."
Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre displays family photographs of individuals who died in the Rwandan genocide, Kigali, Rwanda, April 5, 2014. [AP Photo]
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