Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Ranking Member on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, released the following statement regarding the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide.

“Today marks the 20th anniversary of the start of Rwanda’s genocide, one of the darkest events of the 20th century. Over a 100 day period, 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were brutally killed, eviscerating the social fabric of the small central African country. We should remember the failure of the international community to prevent the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Rwandans and remind ourselves of our commitment to ‘never again’ allow this scale of atrocity to occur. It is also important to honor the resilience of the Rwandan people, who have rebuilt their country in a truly extraordinary national effort, and who have continued to reconcile with themselves and their past.

“As Americans and members of the international community, we still have a lot of work to do before we can consistently and adequately fulfill the commitments we made following the Rwanda genocide. Today, mass atrocities continue to be committed in Syria, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, and other parts of the world. The continued practice of slavery and human trafficking also demonstrates the widespread injustice that we need to tackle. The challenges for the international community are indeed enormous, but we must continually strive to do better for the sake of the innocent people who cannot defend themselves and for the sake of our own humanity. I therefore also encourage us all to recognize the everyday triumphs of the human spirit around the world and to recommit ourselves to our duty to protect against the brutal hatefulness that gripped Rwanda two decades ago, wherever it may arise.”