Remembering the Rwandan Genocide
The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) “pumps oxygen through our blood in Parliament,” Senator Roméo Dallaire said at a recent luncheon organized by Concordia in his honour.
Dallaire has been affiliated with the university since he was appointed to the Canadian Senate in 2007. That year, he became the Distinguished Senior Fellow at MIGS, which is also the institutional partner of the Canadian All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity.
In 2010, the Canadian Parliament passed a historic motion making Nobel Peace Prize winner Lester B. Pearson’s birthday, April 23, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Mass Atrocities. Now an annual event, it sees Canadians gather to commemorate the victims of mass atrocity crimes and reflect on what can be done to protect civilians.
On the evening of April 23, MIGS will hold the first-ever Montreal event at Concordia to mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Mass Atrocities.
Given that 2014 is the twentieth anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, a panel discussion has been planned with Paul Dewar, a Member of Parliament for the New Democratic Party; journalist Léo Kalinda; Naomi Kikoler, the director of policy and advocacy for the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect; and Lisa Ndejuru, a member of Montreal’s Rwandan community.
The event will also be an opportunity to honour individuals who continue to fight for human rights around the globe, and serve as an inspiration to Canadians. MIGS is awarding the first-ever Roméo Dallaire Human Rights Leadership Award to Irwin Cotler, one of the world’s most distinguished human rights champions.
After the Holocaust, the world made a promise that “never again” would it let such mass atrocities be repeated. However, the international community failed to protect people in Cambodia, Bosnia and Rwanda, and now, as well, in Syria and the Central African Republic.
This is not a reason to give up. Younger generations, in particular — what Dallaire calls the “generation without borders” — have the responsibility, tools and power to make a difference.
This April 23 will be an opportunity for Canadians to come together at Concordia for an evening of insight and inspiration.
The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies event recognizing the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Mass Atrocities takes place on April 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the J.A. DeSève Cinema in Room LB-125 of the J.W. McConnell (LB) Building (1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.) on the Sir George Williams Campus. Registration is required.