UN chief warns of rising xenophobia, praises Rwanda's recovery on 25th genocide anniversary

Source: Xinhua| 2019-04-13 02:27:12|Editor: Xiaoxia
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Photo taken on April 12, 2019 shows a general view of the commemoration ceremony of the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda, at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Twenty-five years after the Rwanda genocide, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday warned of rising xenophobia at a UN commemoration ceremony, while praising the recovery the country has achieved since the tragedy. In 2003, the UN General Assembly designated April 7 as the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

UNITED NATIONS, April 12 (Xinhua) -- Twenty-five years after the Rwanda genocide, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday warned of rising xenophobia at a UN commemoration ceremony, while praising the recovery the country has achieved since the tragedy.

"On this Day, we honor those who were murdered and reflect on the suffering and resilience of those who survived," Guterres said. "Today we stand in solidarity with the people of Rwanda."

April 7 marks the start of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda which lasted for about 100 days to mid-July 1994 and killed more than one million people, overwhelmingly Tutsi.

In 2003, the UN General Assembly designated April 7 as the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda.

In 2018, the assembly amended the title of the annual observance to the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, recalling also that Hutu and others who opposed it were killed.

At the ceremony, Guterres warned: "As we renew our resolve to prevent such atrocities from ever happening again, we are seeing dangerous trends of rising xenophobia, racism and intolerance in many parts of the world."

Particularly, he pointed to current widespread proliferation of hate speech and incitement to violence, "things that were very clearly present in Rwanda immediately before the genocide.

He called on political, religious and civil society leaders to reject hate speech and discrimination, and to work vigorously to address and mitigate the root causes that undermine social cohesion and create conditions for hatred and intolerance.

In the meantime, the UN chief praised the recovery Rwanda has made since the 1994 genocide, saying the path is "a rightful source of pride and comfort for the people and Government of Rwanda."

He noted Rwanda is now the fourth largest contributor to UN peacekeeping operations and leads in woman leadership with 60 percent of its parliamentary seats held by female lawmakers.

As a pioneer in banning single-use plastic bags, the country is now one of the cleanest nations on Earth, he said.

"In all, Rwanda's experience holds so many lessons for humanity," he said. "From the darkest depths, the country has risen in a quarter century as a pioneer for the sustainable future we all strive for."

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