For Immediate Release
April 14, 2019
Contact: Don Hemedes
New York, NY- Families of the Missing’s President Jane Durgom-Powers and Corporate Secretary Don Hemedes attended the 2019 International Day of Reflection of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda at the UN General Assembly Hall last Friday April 12, 2019.
The event was attended by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces, and Rwandan President Paul Kagame among other ambassadors and Civil Society representatives.
Attendees were honored to personally hear stories of courage, strength, and forgiveness from two amazing genocide survivors: Ms. Esther Mujawayo-Keiner and Rev. Marcel Uwineza, S.J. Ms. Mujawayo-Keiner lost most of her family and later became a sociologist and psychotherapist who helps fellow genocide survivors. She co-founded the Association of Widows of April’s Genocide with the mission of reintegrating widows back into society. Rev. Uwineza is a Jesuit priest who lost many family members as well. He shared his story of meeting his brothers’ killer who knelt before him and ask for forgiveness. To which he responded with an embrace and said he forgives him. Nothing demonstrates strength better than being able to forgive those who have sinned against you.
These survivors delivered an unequivocal message to the United Nations that the UN needs to be more proactive in preventing genocides anywhere in the world and that the UN’s inaction in 1994 contributed to the loss of lives in Rwanda. Secretary-General Guterres reaffirmed the UN’s commitment to prevent future atrocities and praised Rwanda’s recovery and development.
Families of the Missing’s representatives are honored to meet with and learn from Ms. Mujawayo-Keiner and Rev. Uwineza after the event. The survivors commended FOM’s past and current work in empowering families of missing persons worldwide.