We pause today to reflect upon one of humanity’s darkest hours and pay our respects to the victims killed brutally and needlessly in the 100 days of carnage in Rwanda in 1994. On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I extend our deepest sympathies to all Rwandans who lost loved ones, friends, neighbors, and colleagues in the genocide. For the last 17 years, Rwandans have worked to rebuild their lives and chart a new course for their country’s future. Refugees and former combatants have returned and are living and working together throughout the country. Rwanda has worked to hold accountable those responsible for the tragic events of 1994.
Today, Rwanda’s economy is growing, investment and tourism are on the rise, and relationships with neighboring countries are being rebuilt. Rwanda has sent peacekeepers to United Nations missions in Sudan, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and most recently Haiti. It has spoken out against attacks on civilians in Libya, providing a powerful perspective on the urgency of humanitarian action. The United States commends Rwanda’s efforts to improve the well-being of its citizens, ensure accountability, and promote peace, stability, and development. As you remember the victims of 1994, know that the United States stands with you as we work together to build a secure, peaceful, prosperous, and democratic nation for yourselves, your children, and generations to follow.