The Kigali Genocide Memorial today hosted the 24th Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. In an event attended by more than 300 guests including survivors and international dignitaries, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame laid a wreath at mass graves where over 250,000 victims of the genocide have their final resting place. He then lit the Flame of Remembrance, Urumuri Rutazima, beginning 100 days of mourning marking the 100 days of the genocide in which a million Tutsi were murdered.
“Remembering is about being aware of the truth of our history, that it’s our history and that we must remain united. This will be the foundation of rebuilding Rwanda and moving forward,” Kagame stated in a short speech at the Memorial. “I want to thank Rwandans for the choice they have made and the path we are on. We all understand the role we have to play to reverse our bad history and draw strength for our development.”
Established by the Aegis Trust in 2004 at the request of the Rwandan Government and Kigali City Council, the Kigali Genocide Memorial continues to be run by Aegis today on behalf of CNLG (Rwanda’s National Commission for the Fight against Genocide) as a place both of remembrance and learning for a new generation.
“The commemoration is time for us to reflect on our tragic past,” says Memorial Director Honore Gatera. “Building unity is possible with a full and thorough understanding of the Genocide against the Tutsi, its victims and consequences.”
Originating at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, a peace-building education programme developed by the Aegis Trust has now been integrated into Rwanda’s national schools curriculum. Peace schools at the Memorial, and in Karongi in the west of Rwanda, support teacher training in peace-building.
During Kwibuka24, visitors to the Kigali Genocide Memorial are invited to pay their respects by laying flowers at the mass graves. Whether on site or online, everyone is welcome to leave a message in the Memorial’s digital guestbook as a way to remember the victims and show support to survivors. You can leave your message in the guestbook on the Memorial’s website: www.kgm.rw.