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10th Anniversary Of Rwanda Genocide

10th Anniversary Of Rwanda Genocide Should Prompt Resolve, Annan Says

Next month's observance of the 10th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide should be an occasion not only for remorse but also resolve, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Saturday.

In a message delivered on his behalf to a symposium on the Media and the Rwanda Genocide at the Carlton University School of Journalism and Communication in Ottawa, Mr. Annan stressed the need to remember the victims "abandoned to systematic slaughter while the world, which had the capacity to save most of them, failed to save more than a handful, forever sullying the collective conscience." He also urged attention to helping the survivors.

"But most of all, we must pledge - to ourselves as moral beings and to each other as a human community - to act boldly, including through military action when no other course will work, to ensure that such a denial of our common humanity is never allowed to happen again," he declared.

The UN has had 10 years "to reflect on the bitter knowledge that genocide happened while UN peacekeepers were on the ground in Rwanda," he said, pledging "to sound the alarm about emerging crises and to help countries tackle the root causes of their problems."

Towards that end, Mr. Annan said he would soon appoint a UN special adviser on the prevention of genocide while making other proposals to strengthen UN action in this area. "There can be no more important issue, and no more binding obligation, than the prevention of genocide," he stressed.

While noting that there has been some progress in addressing the scourge, he added that "it is still not clear, were the signs of impending genocide to be seen somewhere today, that the world would mount an effective response."

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