Canada Marks 15th Anniversary of Rwandan Genocide

(No. 92 - April 7, 2009) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today marked the 15th anniversary of the beginning of the Rwandan genocide, during which approximately 800,000 people were killed over a period of a few months.

"This day of remembrance reminds Canada and the international community that we must draw on lessons learned in Rwanda to ensure those errors are not repeated elsewhere," said Minister Cannon.

Minister Cannon also noted Rwanda's continuing efforts to rebuild the country in the aftermath of the genocide.

"For the past 15 years, Rwandans have been taking courageous steps to remedy the consequences of the genocide," said the Minister. "Canada encourages Rwanda to pursue its efforts to rebuild the country, foster national reconciliation and allow its people to heal and eliminate ethnic divides."

In 2004, Canada's Parliament declared April 7 a day of remembrance for the victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, encouraging "all Canadians, as well as the government, to take appropriate steps on that day to commemorate the genocide and to reflect upon its lessons."

In addition, on April 7, 2008, Parliament unanimously adopted a resolution designating April 7 the Day of Reflection on the Prevention of Genocide.

Please visit Canada-Rwanda bilateral relations for more information.

For more information on Canada's commitment to the people of Rwanda, please visit Rwanda.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Natalie Sarafian
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874