Winnipeg survivors of Rwandan genocide speak out at commemoration events
University of Manitoba Faculty of Social Work professor Régine Uwibereyeho King could hardly forget the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, the country where she was born. She survived the genocide and later worked in a trauma-healing program before moving to Canada in 2000.
King wants to remind other Canadians that an estimated 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu were murdered in a state-sponsored genocide that lasted only 100 days. She calls on Canadians to stand in solidarity with Rwanda by learning and remembering.
April 7 marks 20 years since the beginning of the genocide. The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, professor King, U of M students and members of the Rwandan community in Winnipeg have organized a series of public events as part of an international movement around the theme Kwibuka20 – Remember, Unite, Renew. Kwibuka means “remember” in Kinyarwanda, Rwanda’s official language.
A survivor’s story: 12:15 p.m., April 7, Anhang Room, Millennium Library, 251 Donald St. King will share her story of survival and her ongoing work in genocide prevention.
Testimonies, panel discussion and vigil: 5:30 p.m., April 7, starting at Room 217, University Centre and moving outside to the Duckworth Quad south of the administration building. Two U of M Rwandan students and Dr. King will share their stories of the genocide experience, followed by a panel discussion and candlelight vigil.
Photo display: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., April 14-18, Gallery of Student Art, First Floor, University Centre, Fort Garry campus.
“The University of Manitoba is focused on fostering reconciliation and has been honored to host the National Research Centre for Truth and Reconciliation,” King said. “This year is particularly important for understanding genocide because the University of Manitoba will host the 11th International Association of Genocide Scholars conference in July and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights opens in September.”
The 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda is one of five genocides formally recognized by Canada’s Parliament and will be featured prominently in the museum.
“As a journey of inspiration, the CMHR intends to become a national and international hub for human rights education. Our exhibits and programs will bring ideas to life, in order to encourage reflection and dialogue,” said Clint Curle, head of stakeholder relations for the museum, which is partnering with the University of Manitoba’s Centre for Human Rights Research, sociology department and Faculty of Social Work on the April 7th commemorative events.
For more information, contact Régine Uwibereyeho King at regine [dot] king [at] umanitoba [dot] ca or 204-474-9094, or Christelle Mekoh, CMHR Manager, Communications, at christelle [dot] mekoh [at] museumforhumanrights [dot] ca or 204-289-2114, cell: 204-299-7055