Last month, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry officially recognized the genocide being committed by Daesh, also known as ISIL, against religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria. Recognition is the first step. Today, on the twenty-second anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, the world must demonstrate that we have learned from the past and will take all possible actions to stop Daesh’s genocide. 

Starting on April 7, 1994, upwards of around 800,000 Rwandans, predominantly Tutsis were massacred over the course of 100 days. Of those killed, an estimated 250,000–300,000 Tutsi women and girls were raped; many were even raped to death. The suffering of the women and girls who survived rape, enslavement, and sexual mutilation continues even today. The response of the international community, to this genocide was muted and politicized. In a deliberate attempt to avoid their international legal obligations, states refused to acknowledge the genocide until it was too late. This inaction failed the Tutsi people on an unimaginable scale.