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The Rwanda Forum
Permission requested to use information from http://www.iwm.org.uk
The Rwanda Forum on Saturday 27 March remembered the 800,000 to a million Tutsi and Hutu moderates murdered in just three months by the Hutu extremist government ten years ago this month.
Designed to raise the level of debate in advance of the anniversary on 7 April, it drew an international cast of speakers including several eminent African politicians and lawyers to contribute their views on why the genocide occurred and on preventing future ethnic conflict.
The Forum began with speeches from Regina Ingabire from Kigali and Poppy Sebag-Montefiore, two of the recent graduates whose international student organisation, Never Again, first had the idea for the Forum and approached the Museum to be a host and co-partner.
This was followed by a statement from Kofi Annan read by his Special Representative for the Great Lakes Region, Ibrahima Fall, expressing his 'bitter regret' over the UN's failure to do more to stop the genocide.
More young Rwandans - Emmanuel Uwurukundo, Jean Baptiste Kayigamba, Albert Nzamukwereka and
Emmanuel Ruhara, - testified about their experiences - and about the aftermath of the genocide in Rwanda - why history can for the moment not be taught in Rwanda schools, and how, in a situation where neighbours turned on each other, apology and forgiveness are vital if Rwandan society is to rebuild.
In a session chaired by Channel Four broadcaster Lindsay Hilsum, General Romeo Dallaire, the Force Commander of UNAMIR and General Anyidoho, its Chief of Staff, gave their thoughts on why UN forces had been unable to stop the genocide.
An account from Czech Ambassador Karel Kovanda threw light on discussions of the Security Council at that time,
and British Ambassador to Rwanda Dr Lillian Wong spoke frankly of Britain's role - the Foreign Office's unfamiliarity with Rwanda at that time and its extreme caution over action.
The final session concentrated on visions for the future: how Rwanda's troubled history can be put to positive effect in Africa, the role of international justice, of NGOs such as Genocide Watch and the likely more prominent role of the EU in conflict prevention in Africa.
Trade Rwandan coffee was provided by Union Coffee Roasters, and the day
concluded with a performance by Ballet
Information compliments of http://www.iwm.org.uk
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