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International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda

Skulls of victims of the genocide in Rwanda (Source: Wikimedia Commons)7 April 2014 -- Today marks the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the Rwandan genocide. After the assassination of Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana, Hutu extremists launched a massive, systematic campaign of killing and rape against Rwanda's Tutsi minority and moderate Hutus. An estimated 800,000 people were murdered before the genocide ended in July of 1994.

The United Nations General Assembly has designated 7 April as an annual Day to commemorate the genocide's victims and reflect upon the lessons of Rwanda, including the international community's failure to do more to halt the violence. United Nations member states, organisations of the UN system and other relevant international organisations and civil society groups are particularly invited to observe the Day.

Every year on 7 April, special observances and activities in memory of the Rwandan genocide's victims are held worldwide. The Day also seeks to support the survivors of the genocide and strengthen the international community's efforts to truly make "never again" a reality.

Source: Lessons from Rwanda: The United Nations and the Prevention of Genocide Programme

Selected Learning Materials

Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know. Educator's Guide
The intention of the Educator's Guide is to make prominent writings of field journalists on war crimes accessible to youth, young adults, and future decision makers, as well as to inform the general public. The guide is intended to increase public exposure to the reality of war crimes, including genocide.

'Hotel Rwanda' Teacher's Guide
This teacher's guide based on the 2004 film is intended for use by high school age students. It can also be used in the traditional classroom or a community setting. The guide explores the history of the crisis, generates debate on strategies that could have been pursued to prevent the genocide, and offers educators an opportunity to explore the idea of individual and collective responsibility.

Victims' Guide to the International Criminal Court
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an important tool in prosecuting the perpetrators of genocide and other heinous crimes. This guide explains the Court and its jurisdiction, how to bring a case before it and how victims should address a complaint. It also describes the challenges and obstacles the Court faces.

International treaties about genocide:

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948)

Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (1998)

Useful Links

International Criminal Court

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda (Human Rights Watch) 

Lessons from Rwanda: The United Nations and the Prevention of Genocide

Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide (UN)

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: Committee on Conscience

Links to organisations involved in anti-genocide work



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