Remarks by British High Commissioner at the Commemoration of 1994 Genocide in Rwanda

Remarks by British High Commissioner at the Commemoration of 1994 Genocide in Rwanda:

Colleagues, friends, ladies and gentlemen, First of all I would like to thank Robert, Hypolitte and Zephy for everything that they have done to organise today’s events.

This month was the first time I had attended the Genocide Commemoration. I accompanied our Minister for AF to the Gisozi memorial on 7 April. I also attended the Walk to Remember and the event at the stadium and today we had the very moving experience of visiting Ntarama Genocide Memorial Site.

I wanted to share my thoughts and impressions with you and they are set against two experiences. First I visited Rwanda in my first role in the FCO in 1995 when of course the events were still very raw. Secondly I was posted in Bosnia from 2011 to 2015 and visited Srebrenica and the genocide memorial there several times. The scale of Srebrenica was much smaller – about 9000 mostly Bosnian Muslims were killed. But of course if you are a mother or a sister or a wife your experience of deep loss and tragedy is a shared one. At the same time Bosnia is a country that has not reconciled, which is still in huge denial and very ethnically divided. It’s a sharp contrast with Rwanda.

My First impressions after visiting the memorial were:

  1. The scale of the Genocide against the Tutsi as well as the large number of others killed is something we as foreigners will never really be able to comprehend. I find the scale, the level of brutality, and the rapid breakdown of relationships that made the genocide possible hard to comprehend. But we must understand as much as we can if we are to understand Rwanda today.

  2. I am impressed by how this commemoration involves every single member of Rwanda society. Young and old. Survivors and perpetrators. People of different ethnicity and religion. Rwanda can truly be proud of the way it brought its people together to remember and to unite. And I am proud of the role UK has had through organisations, like the Aegis Trust to help that remembrance and commemoration process.

  3. And thirdly those of us who are foreigners who come for short periods cannot but be amazed at how Rwanda has moved on and progressed. I can think of no other country in modern history which has taken such steps to emerge from such atrocities and in such a united way.

I wanted to say something about the UK in Rwanda. No Western country in hindsight is proud of its role during the genocide. We frankly did not do enough. For us, as for many countries we did not have representation in the country, but we did not know or care enough. Things have changed. The UK is now a proud partner of Rwanda. I see Rwandan politicians very positive about our development relationship because they know we are now here for the long term. The UK took the decision in the mid-nineties that we were going to invest in Rwanda and stick with it on its journey to becoming a peaceful, successful country.

I wanted to add a note on the genocidaire case which you will see has been in the news over the last week. Spoke to Foreign Minister and Justice Minister about this over last fortnight. This is a Judicial/technical not political decision. Rwanda asked us to prosecute. Metropolitan Police may decide on conducting preliminary enquiry. I cannot prejudge but I can say that the UK government is extremely keen to see those involved in atrocities face justice

Colleague and friends today

  • we remember because it is our duty to remember all those who died
  • we unite to ensure these sort of events never happen again
  • we renew our commitment to move forward with Rwanda and her long term development and security

So in closing, I would like to thank once again all those who have organised this afternoon, and to everyone for taking part and sharing experiences on what is a painful but hopeful day.

Thank you.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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African Consultative Group Meeting: Statement by the Chairman of the African Caucus and the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Governor Tarek Amer, Chairman of the African Caucus, and Ms. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), co-chaired the African Consultative Group meeting today (April 22, 2018) at the IMF Headquarters. They issued the following statement after the conclusion of the Group’s meeting in Washington:[1]

“We had very productive discussions on Africa’s economic developments and prospects. Growth began to recover in 2017 and is expected to continue to strengthen in 2018. But, growth remains too low on a per-capita basis, and there are significant downside risks to the outlook. These risks include a sharp tightening of global financial conditions, weaker than expected growth in key advanced and emerging economies, escalating trade tensions and ongoing security concerns.

“Against this backdrop, we agreed that reducing macroeconomic vulnerabilities and boosting private investment is necessary to lay the groundwork for transforming the current recovery into a sustainable growth spell and accelerating progress towards the SDGs. In particular, with public debt levels rising rapidly in many countries, containing debt vulnerabilities while creating room for much needed development spending requires continued efforts to boost revenue mobilization. In addition, sustainable growth and job creation requires reinvigorating private investment. We concurred that deepening financial systems and boosting FDI would help expand financing to the private sector. Advancing regional integration holds immense potential. Finally, other initiatives, such as public-private partnerships and special economic zones, can play a catalytic role in promoting structural transformation, but care is needed to contain contingent fiscal risks.”

Governor Tarek Amer noted that “we agreed on the need to accelerate structural reforms and access to finance in order to raise overall investment and medium-term growth rates to support job creation. The Fund, through its policy advice, can assist countries to design and implement growth-friendly fiscal adjustment, when needed, that responds to the country-specific sources of debt vulnerabilities while preserving needed investments in infrastructure, human capital, and other priority expenditures. In this context, countries need space to provide an appropriate social safety net and address security threats in order to maintain social cohesion. The Fund can support efforts to prioritize structural reforms, drawing on lessons from successful experiences of diversification, improved competitiveness, and fighting corruption, including by limiting illicit flows. We call on the Fund to continue to support, through policy advice and capacity building, the regional and international initiatives aimed at reinvigorating private investment, trade, debt management, and to assist countries to take advantage of the opportunities provided by digitalization.”

Ms. Lagarde stated that “the IMF will remain closely engaged with its African members. The Fund will continue to support the authorities’ efforts to address the current macroeconomic and structural challenges and achieve a stronger and durable and inclusive growth.”

[1] The African Consultative Group comprises the Fund Governors of a subset of 12 African countries belonging to the African Caucus (African finance ministers and central bank governors) and Fund management. It was formed in 2007 to enhance the IMF’s policy dialogue with the African Caucus. The Group meets at the time of the Spring Meetings, while Fund Management meets with the full membership of the African Caucus at the time of the Annual Meetings.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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U.S. Embassy Brings Egyptians and Americans Together to Celebrate 2018 Earth Day

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo celebrated Earth Day 2018 on April 22 by bringing together interested Egyptians and Americans at the American Center at the Maadi Public Library for an environmental “Teach-In.” The event featured a film showing and panel discussion, with the purpose of raising awareness of today’s environmental challenges and celebrating progress in environmental protection, as well as an exhibition of artwork and consumer products created from recycled plastics.

Chargé d’Affaires Thomas Goldberger welcomed experts from non-governmental organizations, the plastics industry, as well as entrepreneurs and academics to focus attention on this year’s global Earth Day topic “Ending Plastic Pollution.” According to Goldberger, “The U.S. Embassy is working with Egyptian partners to encourage environmental protection and sustainable development.” Referring to the Egyptian panelists and exhibitors, Goldberger praised the efforts of those in Egypt who are rising to the challenge to protect Egypt’s environment and natural heritage.

Participants viewed an Arabic-subtitled version of the film “A Plastic Ocean,” which talks about the damaging global impact of mismanaged waste and marine debris including microplastics on the marine ecosystem. This was followed by a presentation via videoconference on transboundary water cooperation by American geologist, internationally renowned U.S water expert and long time U.S. government science advisor Dr. Charles Lawson. As Lawson noted, water pollution doesn’t recognize boundaries and all countries need to work cooperatively to protect shared water resources. Following Lawson’s presentation, a number of Egyptians engaged in a panel discussion that highlighted the innovative efforts of local stakeholders in the fight against plastic pollution.

On the occasion of Earth Day 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo salutes all those in the Egyptian public and private sector as well as civil society who are working to keep Egypt’s air, land and water clean.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Embassy – Cairo.

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Release of the 2017 Human Rights Report for Ethiopia

The 2017 Human Rights Report for Ethiopia reflects serious challenges to the Ethiopian people’s ability to exercise their basic rights last year. We believe there is reason for optimism that the 2018 Human Rights Report will tell a different story, one of progress.

Notwithstanding the ongoing state of emergency, about which we have already expressed our views, 2018 has seen positive steps as well, including the release of thousands of prisoners. We are also encouraged by strong and clear statements by Prime Minister Abiy regarding the need for reforms that would ensure Ethiopian’s rights are protected and that they are able to participate in an inclusive political environment.

We stand ready to support the effort of translating those statements into action in the hopes subsequent reports will be able to reflect that progress.

The full 2017 Human Rights Report can be found on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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Source:: Release of the 2017 Human Rights Report for Ethiopia

      

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