Rwanda Commemoration Project: Genocide In Our Time

April 7, 2004 marks a decade since the beginning of the Rwandan genocide, when nearly a million people were killed in ninety days while the international community largely stood by. The United Nations has now declared April 7th as the "International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda." The Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law has developed the Rwanda Commemoration Project to encourage law schools, universities, NGOs, community groups and others to hold events to commemorate the anniversary of this modern-day genocide, and to use it as a lesson, reminder and warning about genocide in our time.

To do this, the Center has developed a resource booklet, with programming ideas, substantive issues of discussion, and a resource list. This booklet can be used as the starting point for creating your own day of commemoration. We have also developed a lesson plan for use in high schools to teach about the lessons of genocide, using Rwanda as the primary example. Genocide can happen again; it has happened and will continue to happen unless we stay vigilant and learn and apply the lessons of our recent past.

Download the full resource booklet. (PDF File)

Access the full teaching lesson plan.

- Background
- Lesson Plan
- Letters to World Leaders & UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
- Press Release Template
- Programming Ideas
- Resource List
- Sample Day of Programming
- Sample Event Checklist
- Topics of Discussion

For more information about opportunities to study international human rights law, visit the International Legal Studies Program.

This drawing and others in the booklet are by child survivors of the Genocide and are taken from the book, Witness to Genocide: The Children of Rwanda, edited by Richard A. Salem. For more information, please see