Pope calls for prayer to avoid repeat of Rwanda genocide
Ten years after the outbreak of the conflict that led to genocide in Rwanda, Pope John Paul II has called for prayer and peace initiatives to prevent a repeat of the tragedy.
In just three months, 800,000 people were massacred and three million Rwandans fled their country, while corpses floated down rivers and in Lake Victoria, according to UN sources.
"Ten years have passed since, on 7 April, 1994, in Rwanda, serious confrontations broke out between Hutus and Tutsis, which culminated in genocide, in which hundreds of thousands of people were brutally killed," the Pope said before praying the Angelus on Sunday.
"Let us pray to the Lord that such a tragedy will not be repeated ever again," the Holy Father implored before thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square.
The Holy Father appealed to religious and civil leaders, and members of the international community, "generously committed to taking peace to the beloved region of the Great Lakes."
Various parties and countries are struggling for control of the African region's vast natural resources.
"Don't be discouraged! Be builders of the civilisation of love, animated by the word of the Lord," the Pope said, quoting Christ's words "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."
No More Genocides Like Rwanda's, John Paul II Insists (Zenit 28/3/04)
Uganda sliding towards genocide, religious leaders warn (The Tablet 27/3/04)
Pope recalls Rwanda massacres of 1994 (Catholic World News 29/3/04)
Human dignity, equality are true basis of social relations (Vatican Information Service 27/3/04)
Reflecting on the 10-year anniversary of Rwanda (Catholic Relief Services)
30 Mar 2004