The Baptist World Alliance award also recognizes the pastor’s fight to eliminate stigmatization of HIV/AIDS victims.
Corneille Gato Munyamasoko, a Rwandan Baptist who has dedicated his life to peace and reconciliation and fighting the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS, will receive the 2015 Baptist World Alliance Congress Quinquennial Human Rights Award, the group has announced.
The award, presented every five years, will be made in July in Durban, South Africa, where the 21st Baptist World Congress, the first in Africa, will be held.
Munyamasoko, general secretary of the Association of Baptist Churches in Rwanda, was born in exile in what was then Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to refugee parents who fled Rwanda in 1959 when outbreaks of ethnic violence shook regions of the country.
While working as a teacher in the DRC, Munyamasoko joined other youth leaders to bring various factions together, helping to overcome national rivalries and ethnic differences between Rwandans and Congolese, restoring harmony and reducing interpersonal conflicts.
The 1994 genocide in Rwanda was a turning point for Munyamasoko and his family. The arrival of genocidaires from Rwanda, those who committed genocide in that country, led to killings of Tutsi people in the DRC.
Munyamasoko and his family returned to Rwanda to participate in the reconstruction of the country. He was appointed as a high school principal in a region that bordered the DRC.
Armed genocidaires made regular incursions across the border from the DRC into Rwanda. On one occasion the entire student body of a nearby boarding school was killed. Munyamasoko and his wife, Anne-Marie, opened their home to accept genocide orphans as their own children.
Pastors of the Association of Baptist Churches in Rwanda later elected him deputy general secretary of the denomination. His responsibilities included pastoral duties in a congregation, regional church leadership and oversight of 51 schools.
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SOURCE: Baptist News Global