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International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda: Commemorations by UNESCO Headquarters
Event Date: 
Wed, 2021/04/07
Online (Paris)

On the occasion of the International Day on 7 April, UNESCO will organize an online event entitled From hate speech to genocide: lessons from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda to mark the 27th anniversary of the start of the genocide.


The online event will include welcome remarks by UNESCO-Director General Audrey Azoulay and  H.E. Amb. François Xavier Ngarambe, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Rwanda to UNESCO, followed by a survior interview with Freddy Mutanguha and a panel discussion with the participation of 

  • Ms Susan Benesch (USA), Director of the Dangerous Speech project
  • Mr Marcel Kabanda (France), Historian and former President of Ibuka France
  • Mr Paul Rutayisire (Rwanda), Historian
  • H.E. Amb. Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi (Argentina), President of Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes and former President of the International Criminal Court


The event will be moderated by Dr Stephen Smith, UNESCO Chair on Genocide Education and Executive Director of the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation.


The commemoration is being organized by UNESCO and the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation UNESCO Chair on Genocide Education, with the Permanent Delegation of Rwanda to UNESCO, in partnership with the United Nations Department of Global Communications and Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes (GAAMAC). 


The genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, perpetrated by the Hutu extremist-led government, took place from April-July 1994. Within just over 100 days, more than 800,000 members of the Tutsi minority were systematically murdered. Moderate Hutu and others who opposed the massacres were also killed during this period.


The event pays tribute to the victims of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi and to express solidarity with survivors. It aims to develop understanding about the particular role of hate speech leading up to and in the context of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda and foster awareness of risk factors, and especially hate speech, which could heighten the likelihood of atrocity crimes occurring. In addition, the event considers education’s potential to contribute to the prevention of genocide by promoting awareness of the causes and consequences of genocide and by building resilience against prejudice and hate speech.


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