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UN has 'moral duty' to act on lessons of Rwanda - Ban Ki-moon

7 April 2008 – The United Nations has a “moral duty” to act on the lessons of Rwanda and bolster efforts to prevent another genocide, Ban Ki-moon said in a message marking the fourteenth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide.

The Secretary-General said that in pursuit of this aim, he had created the full-time position of Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide, and appointed a Special Adviser with a focus on the responsibility to protect. “It is a cause I am resolved to pursue, in my time as UN Secretary-General and in the years beyond,” he said.

Mr. Ban went on to pledge his determination to work for human rights everywhere, adding that during this sixtieth anniversary year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN is pursuing a campaign to ensure that human rights are known and understood around the world.

In his message, the Secretary-General recalled his visit to the Genocide Memorial in Kigali earlier this year. “It was impossible to pass through those halls and not be affected – indeed, shaken to the core – by what the Rwandan people endured,” he said.

Recalling that more than 800,000 people lost their lives in the genocide, Mr. Ban said that the courage and resilience shown by the survivors should serve as an inspiration to all.

Events marking the anniversary of the Rwandan genocide are taking place at UN offices in New York and Geneva, while discussions and exhibitions are planned throughout the month at UN Information Centres (UNICs) in Burkina Faso, Burundi, Madagascar, Mexico, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Switzerland, Tanzania and Togo.

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