Survivors Fund (SURF) yesterday staged a Reading of the Testimonies of survivors of the Rwandan genocide at the Whitechapel Gallery in London. Testimonies, included those collected by SURF partners, Foundation Rwanda and Msaada, were read by members of the British public to give a voice to survivors and to raise awareness of their situation today. It is also marked a call on the UN to honour its commitment to provide greater support to survivors in Rwanda.
We staged the event with Pablo Picasso’s Guernica as a backdrop. Guernica has hung outside the Security Council at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 1985 to 2009, and it was the failure of the Security Council to act in 1994 that allowed and exacerbated the genocide. It is also the failure of the Unted Nations General Assembly to honour its resolution (64/226) that has prevented survivors from receiving the support they still critically need.
There is a thread that runs through all the work of SURF, a motivation to ensure that the voice of survivors is heard, that the memory of genocide is kept alive and that the victims are never forgotten. The event vitally demostrated that people in the UK not only remember the one million victims of the genocide in the 1994, but that they care about those still living with the legacy of the genocide.
We call on the international community, and in particular the UN, to listen and act.