Washington - US President Barack Obama on Thursday marked the 17th anniversary of the "unimaginable slaughter" of Rwanda's genocide, saying it reminded the world of its duties to civilians in places like Libya.
Obama, who last month used US air power to protect Libyan civilians, saying he could not permit a massacre, warned the lessons of Rwanda must not be forgotten.
"Seventeen years ago today, the world watched as an unimaginable slaughter began to unfold in Rwanda," Obama said in a written statement.
"One hundred horrific days later, more than 800 000 innocent people - men, women, and children - lay dead in one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century.”
"Rwanda reminds us of our obligations to each other as fellow human beings, and our shared responsibility to prevent attacks on innocent civilians, as the international community is doing today in Libya," Obama said.
The President said that the world must summon courage to ensure that mass atrocities and genocides never happen again, but also noted that Rwandans had since their tragedy worked to build a more prosperous and democratic society.
"As they reflect on this painful day, Rwandans must know that the United States will be their partner in pursuit of the secure and peaceful future that they and their children deserve," Obama said.
Around 800 000 people, mostly minority Tutsis, were murdered during the 1994 Rwandan genocide mainly by Hutu militia.
First Published: Friday, April 08, 2011, 13:54