The outcome of Beyond Conflict Program was used in celebrating the International day of peace 2019

Every year since 2011, NURC (the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission) in collaboration with government institutions and Partners celebrate the International Day of Peace and further their broader efforts to build a culture of peace and reconciliation among Rwandans.

This year, The International Day of Peace in Rwanda was celebrated in Parliament. Participants were the Cabinet Minister of the office of the President, Senators and MPs, the police and army, the National Commission of Demobilization and Re-integration, religious leaders, civil society organizations and youth representatives from different districts of Rwanda.

NURC invited GER to attend the event with some of the beneficiaries of GER and CFOR Program (Beyond Conflict Rwanda) who reconciled. The reconciliation story of Patrick and Carine was chosen to be shared with all participants who were in the parliament and other Rwandans who were following the event via different media platform. Kamayire Carine, a Genocide survivor, was among the group where Hakizimana Patrick was executing Genocide in 1994. They said how the forums of GER and CFOR helped them to meet again after 23 years. They shared their stories and reflected their history.

                            Patrick on the Parliament Panel sharing his story on the International Day of Peace 2019

Carine shared her painful experiences. “I was 26 years old when the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi happened. I was mature enough to know what was happening. I was two months pregnant which made me have to sleep often everywhere we were hiding. After more than 23 years, I met Patrick during the Forum of GER and CFOR in such a surprising way. I heard Patrick saying that he had participated in the Genocide. In that moment, I remembered that I saw him killing people in the place where we were. I reminded him in details of what he did there. He acknowledged that what I said was true.”

Patrick reflected on how he was a perpetrator of the Genocide, and how he regrets what he did. “I regret what I have done during the Genocide; I had not known that Carine is a survivor of the group of people I was killing. When we met in GER and CFOR Forum, it was my great opportunity to ask for forgiveness”

Carine and Patrick said that lessons learnt from the forums helped them to go beyond their tragic history and reconciled, they are now giving their contribution in the reconciliation process.

                             Innocent (Center), Executive Director of GER, with other authorities following the testimony of Carine and Patrick

“I and Patrick have continued to develop our relationship. Now we stay in contact, communicate and support each other in helping others in our community. I recommend scaling up the interventions in other areas of the country” said Carine.

“I thank Carine for forgiving me,(to me it’s a chance to meet a survivors that I have offended and apologize, I wish to find others too) I have continued to participate in these interventions of conflict transformation and reconciliation, which have helped me to interact with others and have made me more open and capable to say what I did even though it is so terrible and shameful.”

                   Participants of The International Day of Peace 2019 in the Parliament of Rwanda were mostly youth

The Speaker of the Parliament, who was the guest of honor, appreciated the work of Partners who are contributing to the process of reconciliation, and who are especially making vital efforts to support the youth, including those from families of survivors, perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, and from marginalized groups.GER is committed to continue contributing in activities of supporting reconciliation, engaging in peace building and document stories to be shared with others.