The start of Kwibuka 30 – the 30th anniversary of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda – was marked at the Kigali Genocide Memorial this morning as the President and First Lady of Rwanda lit the flame of remembrance which will burn for the next 100 days, recalling the 100 days in 1994 in which a million people were murdered.

International dignitaries joined them to lay wreaths at mass graves where 250,000 victims of the genocide have their final resting-place, and to take part in the national ceremony of remembrance at the BK Arena.

Among them were the presidents of Congo, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, South Africa, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mauritius, Tanzania, Israel and the Czech Republic; the prime ministers of Ethiopia and Lesotho; the vice presidents of Benin, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya and Gambia; and former presidents Bill Clinton (USA), Nicolas Sarkozy (France) and Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria).

The birthplace of peace and values education in Rwanda, the Kigali Genocide Memorial is run by the Aegis Trust on behalf of Rwanda’s Ministry of National Unity & Civic Engagement as a place of remembrance and learning for Rwandans and the international community.

On April 5th, it was officially inaugurated as a World Heritage Site in a ceremony with UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay.

“The actions we take today to foster unity and build resilience against intolerance are a tribute to the memory of those who were killed during the Genocide against the Tutsi solely due to their identity,” says Freddy Mutanguha, CEO of the Aegis Trust and Kigali Genocide Memorial. “As genocide survivors, we remember them not as mere statistics symbolizing humanity’s shortcomings, but as the cherished individuals and beloved family members we shared our lives with. Today, we invite everyone worldwide to join us in remembrance and renew their dedication to ensuring that no one else endures such profound trauma, anguish and bereavement in the future.”