I have decided to publicly bring to view the feelings and questions that I have been asking myself throughout my youthful life, through high school, university, and up to today.
First and foremost, in 1994 I was an eight-year-old boy when the genocide against Tutsi was taking place in my beautiful country of Rwanda . Since then, many questions kept flooding into my mind, and in the same way, I kept asking the very questions for which no single answer could be found. This has become a difficult puzzle, not only for me, but for many young people of my generation. This has left me with complex and pressing questions and answers to ponder. For example, it doesn’t matter whether you are a Christian, a Muslim, an Atheist, a Buddhist, or whatever your faith or belief is. No one has the right to offend anyone in the name of one’s belief or faith. There is never an excuse, nor a reason: there are none, completely none.
It doesn’t matter whether you think you are from this or that tribe, or are black, yellow, or white; nor does it matter whether you are African, Asian, American, European, or Australian. No one has the right to hurt, disrespect, or kill anyone in the name of one’s so called tribes, race, or origin. There is never an excuse, nor a reason: there are none, completely none. What matters is that you are a human being. What matters most is that all of us are equal human beings with universal feelings, rights to live and rights to pursue our dreams and fulfill our potentials.
Therefore, on a day like this, April 7th, a day when all Rwandans and friends of Rwanda remember and pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi in 1994, it is a time for all human beings to feel, and deeply recognize our failure to love each other, and to coexist peacefully, protect, and prevent. It’s also a time to understand a simple thing – all of us are human beings. This is not a matter of Rwandans, it’s a matter of humanity at large.
How could it be possible for a tragedy like this to happen in the 21st century? In a world of people with intelligence, people with power to lead over all other creatures, and a humankind that has already invented a myriad of technologies that the world has never known before, and above all, a world of such decent human beings. How could it be possible? How?
How many killings and massacres are still taking place worldwide right now before our eyes, without a single will to stop them, especially when we have the capacity to do so? How many and why this?
Has this tragedy taught us any lessons? If so, what do you do on a daily basis to make sure such a tragedy is never again a reality? What do you do? Fight genocide ideology or propagate it? Fight racism and xenophobia, or support it? Preach love or stir up hatred? Disseminate a sense of tolerance and forgiveness, or revenge? Ask yourself.
A day like this must remind us that racism and any kind of xenophobia or discrimination is just a bunch of nonsense; it is just a road to nowhere and merely a path to hell. Therefore, why are some of us still associated with this load of nonsense of racism, xenophobia, high ego and superiority? How is it possible that some of us are still stupid enough to believe in our differences based on skin color, faith, size, or any other physical traits and features?
A day like this must also remind us of the power of forgiveness, where in Rwanda we see perpetrators living side by side with survivors whose entire families were completely decimated by these same perpetrators. A day like this must remind us of the power of apologizing and demanding pardon. We human beings can be so arrogant to the point where it becomes almost impossible to apologize, though we are aware of our transgressions and offense to others.
To conclude, I would like to request every parent, every adult, and any leader in any position still associated, in one way or another, with any sort of racism, superiority, or xenophobia, to stay away from the young generation, and to let them keep struggling to shape a world of peace, and a world of better coexistence amongst the human beings on this planet, and to let them keep pursuing their way to a better future.
On this day, 22 years ago, I would like to thank with all my heart each and every individual who contributed in his/her own capacity to help Rwandan society heal and recover hope. I would like to thank those who stood the test of time by choosing the heroism to forgive, and doing what seemed impossible in the aftermath of the genocide. I would like to praise each and every individual who is trying to help the current and future generation: young people who are trying to nurture the sense and spirit of working together for the common good to make Rwanda, Africa, and the world a better place to live in for all of us, driven by unity, mutual respect, and tolerance.
Last but not least, we honor all those who lost their lives in this tragedy. Rest in peace, and may we young people stay together as one, and say in a single voice: never again in Rwanda, or in any place on this planet.
About the Author:
Mr. Aloys Ntezimana is a former UN Youth Delegate of Rwanda. As a Youth Leader in Rwanda and an International MBA student at the Business School Netherlands, he campaigns for unit of Rwandans “Ndi Umunyarwanda” and strives for sustainable development.
The Inter-agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD) held its annual meeting on 29-30th March in New York. UN Women took over the role as rotating co-chair of the Network for 2016-2017 together with UNDESA as permanent co-chair. The youth focal points of the 44 member entities reviewed progress made in 2015-16 and discussed opportunities for collaboration for the coming year.
UN Entities Highlighted News
ESCAP: Asia-Pacific Workshop on Building Capacity to Develop Youth Policies
The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) convened the Asia-Pacific Workshop on Building Capacity to Develop Youth Policies workshop on 29 March 2016 at the United Nations Conference Center in Bangkok. This brought together representatives of government and youth-led organizations from Cambodia, India, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, and Sri Lanka to review the findings of a regional analytical report examining challenges and opportunities in the school-to-work transition. Participants also identified related good practices and lessons learned to serve as material for an online interactive Youth Policy Toolbox being developed for an interregional project also involving ECA and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). More
ILO to increase evidence on what works for youth employment in the Middle East and North Africa
The ILO’s Fund for Evaluation in Employment has announced winners of their annual competition to support impact research on youth and women’s employment in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Having received 70 requests for assistance, the Fund will provide support of up to $685,000 to 7 results measurement projects and 7 impact research projects in the MENA region. More
ILO: Taqeem Community of Practice Peer Learning Event on results measurement for youth employment (Turin, 6-8 April 2016)
The Taqeem Community of Practice (CoP) is a collaborative approach to building capacity on monitoring, evaluation and impact evaluation and to foster learning and cooperation among youth-serving organizations in the Middle East and North Africa. Members of the CoP are youth-serving organizations that have been competitively selected through the ILO’s Fund for Evaluation in Employment to receive technical assistance on results measurement. On 6-8 April 2016, members of the Taqeem CoP met for a Peer Learning Event to design improved results measurement systems. More
With 3 out of 5 young people unemployed in Africa, how can financial services be better linked to economic opportunities for youth? What sectors offer untapped opportunities for youth? Which organizations are in place for young people to access relevant financial and non-financial services that support their transition from school to work? UNCDF’s YouthStart Global Programme probes these questions, and others, in an assessment of the youth economic opportunities ecosystem study conducted in: Benin, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Zambia. More
UNFPA Egypt: Yalla Y-PEER
This year Y-PEER Egypt launched a new recruitment campaign to increase the number of Y-PEER volunteers, focusing on universities, youth clubs and local NGOs. “Yalla Y-PEER” is the tagline of the campaign which attracts youth volunteers to join Y-PEER Egypt. The campaign attracts new members by providing youth with hands-on trainings to develop their personal and professional skills, particularly in the form of vocational and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) awareness workshops. The campaign utilizes Y-PEER techniques of peer education, role play and street interactions on topics such as the importance of volunteerism and the societal role of the network. The campaign motivated other Y-PEER networks in the Arab States region to launch “Yalla Y-PEER” in their own countries. More
UNFPA Tanzania: Being Young and Positive about Ending HIV Stigma
Tabitha, a 21 year old HIV activist from Zanzibar, Tanzania, has joined UNFPA Tanzania’s Youth Advisory Panel. “I’m so grateful for the chances I've had to stand up as a HIV activist. I want to put an end to HIV stigma. I want people who are HIV positive to know that HIV does not mean the end of your life! I want young people to know how to protect themselves from it,” said Tabitha. More
UN-HABITAT: Celebrating April 6th, the International Day of Sports for Development
As part of the April 6th celebrations, UN-HABITAT, in close cooperation with their local partners, staged two Community Sports Days in Kenya and Rwanda, respectively. Days filled with sports activities and workshops also promoted SDGs and youth participation in decision-making, while celebrating the power of sport as a tool for community development and urban planning. More
UN-HABITAT: Launch of the Colombia Urban Youth Fund and Project Management Training
On 8 April 2016, the UN-Habitat Youth and Livelihood Unit in partnership with Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje (SENA) launched the Colombia Urban Youth Fund window in Bogota, Colombia. This window aims to empower young people to provide urban solutions to urban challenges, moving towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, the partners conducted a learning and exchange workshop to 21 youth project coordinators from Colombia, Haiti, Nicaragua and Mexico with the aim of equipping them with project management skills. More
UNDP: Understanding and Supporting the Role of Youth in the Prevention of Violent Extremism
As part of the Global Meeting on Preventing Violent Extremism & Promoting Inclusive Development, Tolerance & Diversity organized by UNDP’s Oslo Governance Centre on 14-16 March 2016, this session placed young people at the centre of the discussion, focusing on understanding the positive contribution of young women and men in preventing violent extremism in different contexts and how the international community could effectively recognize, support and promote youth-led efforts and support the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2250. More
UNFPA Tunisia: Knowing My rights to Acknowledge My Rights
On the occasion of international book fair in Tunisia, Y-PEER, with UNFPA CO support and in collaboration with Amnesty International, organized a debate on sexual and reproductive rights for youth.
This meeting was an opportunity to discuss with Tunisian youth their perception on sexual and reproductive health and rights, how the most obvious rights for some are elusive for others, and how youth organizations should deploy more efforts to popularize these rights and advocate for an inclusive policy.
Youth in Action
Building Bridges proudly presents the Youth Ambassadors for The Road to Nairobi 2016!
The Road to Nairobi 2016 project will connect with youth entrepreneurs, local policymakers, youth organizations, UN entities, private companies and others to find real-life solutions. To achieve this, youth ambassadors have been appointed in each country. They will receive ownership over the project and will identify local youth entrepreneurs, organize events, create blogs and lead right where they are. We are excited to hit the road on 15 August 2016 and create solutions to foster youth employment together with the the youth ambassadors. More
Green Hope: Earth Hour – Youth group shines a light on climate change
The youth organization Green Hope celebrated Earth Hour in Dubai through two outreach events: they put up a booth at Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s Earth Hour event, and they also put up a booth at the iconic Dubai Festival City waterfront. More than 50 youth volunteers spent several hours spreading awareness amongst the thousands of visitors who came to the events through unique interactive sessions and also a dance drama highlighting the theme of conservation. More
Green Hope: Youth celebrate International Women’s Day in Dubai
To celebrate the upcoming International Women’s Day, youth organisation Green Hope held a panel discussion in Dubai on this year’s theme “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”. The panel brought together empowered women & men from various walks of life to share their views and opinions, in order to motivate and guide civil society towards a world of equal opportunity for both men and women. More
IFMSA: Training Manual on Climate and Health launch
The International Federation of Medical Students' Associations (IFMSA) have just published a pioneering Training Manual on Climate and Health with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Alliance on Climate Change Education. As a leading youth voice on Climate and Health, IFMSA have designed this manual to provide educational opportunities for students on the health consequences of climate change, the co-benefits of mitigation, and the role of health sector in adaptation and mitigation efforts.
ILO: Fiscal policy and the youth labour market
This report seeks to evaluate the potential that expansionary fiscal policy can have – and under which conditions – to ameliorate, and restrictive fiscal policy to worsen, conditions in youth labour markets. Through a panel econometric model applied to European countries, the analysis finds that a fully countercyclical fiscal policy is an instrument well-suited to ameliorating youth unemployment.
ILO: Labour market transitions of young women and men in Malawi
This report presents the highlights of a second round of the School-to-work Transition Survey (SWTS) implemented by the National Statistics Office in 2014. Results are compared to those of the first round (2012) and the analysis is updated and expanded to supplement the portrait of the youth labour market situation in Malawi presented in the first survey report. The report also outlines the institutional framework and relevant employment policies in the country.
ILO launches report on challenges of child labour and youth employment in Arab States
The report, entitled "The Twin Challenges of Child Labour and Youth Employment in the Arab States”, examines the related issues of child labour and youth employment in Arab States, with a particular focus on Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Yemen and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The report analyses data from recent household surveys collected in the five countries and sets out recommendations on how to address the challenges experienced in each state. More