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Rwanda commemorates the 1994 genocide | Coastweek

KIGALI (Xinhua) -- Rwandan President Paul Kagame (R, front) and African Union Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat (L, front) light the flame of remembrance at the Genocide Memorial at Gisozi in Kigali as Rwandan President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame lay a wreath at the genocide victim’s mass graves in Kigali, Rwanda, on April 7, 2017. Lighting the flame of hope and laying the wreath at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre marked the start of the 23rd commemoration of the 1994 genocide in which more than one million people in Rwanda, mainly Tutsi and moderate Hutus, were killed. XINHUA PHOTOS

Flame of hope lit at Kigali memorial center
as Rwanda remembers genocide

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Lighting the flame of hope and laying of wreath at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre marked the start of the 23rd commemoration of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

Rwandans and friends of Rwanda all over the world on Friday marked the 23rd anniversary of the 1994 Genocide that claimed close to one million lives of majority ethnic Tutsis and minority Hutus.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Rwanda First Lady Jeannette Kagame together with the African Union Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat laid a wreath at the genocide victim’s mass graves and as well lit the flame of remembrance at the Kigali Genocide Memorial at Gisozi in the country’s Capital.

The flame of remembrance will burn for 100 days marking three-month-long mourning of the victims of the 1994 genocide until July 4 when the genocide was stopped by the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) now Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF).

Kigali Genocide Memorial is home to more than 250,000 genocide victims. It has three permanent exhibitions, the largest of which documents the 1994 genocide. There is also a children’s memorial and an exhibition on the history of genocide around the world.

This year’s genocide commemoration is observed under the theme “Remember the Genocide against the Tutsi—Fight Genocide Ideology—Build on Our Progress.”

Speaking at the event to kick-start commemoration activities, Kagame paid tribute to African nations that stood up against those who tried to turn victims of the genocide against the Tutsi into perpetrators.

“There is nothing we can do about the past but there is something we can do for our people in the present. We are not asking for money, there is no money to compensate the lives we lost. It is the truth we are asking for,” Kagame said.

He noted that genocide was perpetrated against the ethnic Tutsis and global debate on how to call the genocide against Tutsis is “absolute nonsense.”

The memorial observance that falls on April 7 begins with a commemoration week that involves several activities among others, visiting and laying wreaths at memorial sites, according decent burial to exhumed genocide remains, giving testimonies, public lectures, and candle lighting vigils.

The activities officially last a week, but the commemoration continues up to July 4, marking 100 days of genocide.

At the event, AU Commission Chair called on Rwandans to work together and build their country for a better future of the generation to come.

No form of entertainment is allowed during the main commemoration week, April 7-13.

Throughout the week the Rwandan flag will be flying at half-mast in honor of the victims, while civil servants will be working for half a day during weekdays to enable them to participate in community discussion organized as part of commemoration activities.

Later in the afternoon hundreds of youth participated in the ‘Walk to Remember’ from the Rwandan parliamentary building to Amahoro National Stadium.



African Union commemorates 23rd anniversary of Rwanda Genocide

ADDIS ABABA, (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) on Friday marked the 23rd anniversary of the Rwanda Genocide at the headquarters of the pan-African bloc in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

In collaboration with Rwanda’s Embassy here in Addis Ababa, the commemoration was held under the theme of “Remember the Rwanda Genocide - Fight Genocide Ideology - Build on our Progress.” 

The commemoration is held to remember the lives lost during the Genocide of 1994 in Rwanda, show solidarity with the survivors and unite to ensure it never happens in Rwanda or elsewhere in Africa and beyond, said the AU.

Speaking on the occasion, Thomas Kwasi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson of the AU Commission, reiterated that the Rwanda Genocide commemoration is held on annual basis to remember the victims and renew Africa’s collective commitment to protect human rights.

The event at AU has involved activities including, Flame of Remembrance ceremony, screening of documentary movie on Rwanda Genocide, poem recitation, and musical dramas by school children, among others.

The commemoration of the Rwanda Genocide is annually organized by the pan-African bloc following the AU policy organ decision to recognize the 7th of April as a day of remembrance of the victims of the genocide and reaffirmation of Africa’s resolve to prevent and fight genocide on the continent.

The purpose of the commemoration is to continuously awaken greater awareness of the African peoples and the international community about the value of life and humanity, and to renew Africa’s collective commitment to protect and uphold fundamental human rights, said the AU.



Rwandans to remember victims of 1994 genocide on Friday

KIGALI, (Xinhua) -- Rwandans will remember the victims of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi on Friday at the Kigali Genocide Memorial site where remains of about 250,000 victims were buried.

The commemoration for the 23rd genocide anniversary will be an occasion for Rwandans from all walks of life to pay tribute to the more than one million innocent lives lost, according to a government statement released Thursday.

On Friday, events will be held at both the national level and in villages to begin the National Commemoration Week.

President Kagame will light the Flame of Remembrance at Kigali Genocide Memorial site.

In the afternoon there will also be a Walk to Remember from Parliament in Kigali to Amahoro stadium in Remera, where a night vigil will take place.

The statement said throughout the week, Rwandans throughout the country will reiterate their commitment to fight genocide ideology and reflect on the country’s journey of unity and reconciliation in the last 23 years.

The Commemoration Week will end on April 13 with an event to honour politicians who were killed for opposing the genocidal government.


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