Rwandans and friends of Rwanda all over the world on Friday 7th April 2017 marked the anniversary of the 1994 Genocide that claimed 1 million Tutsis.
The event was presided over by Rwandan President Paul Kagame alongside AU Chairperson Moussa Faki. This year's commemoration is held under the theme, "Remember the Genocide against the Tutsi -Fight Genocide Ideology -Build on Our Progress."
On April 7th Rwandans and friends of Rwanda joined together to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the Genocide against the Tutsi.All flags in the country hang half way throughout the 7 days of mourning. This year’s commemoration is held under the theme, "Remember the Genocide against the Tutsi, Fight Genocide Ideology-Build on Our Progress."
The event began with the President laying wreaths on mass graves of victims of the genocide at the Kigali memorial site in Gisozi and lighting of the flame of remembrance that will burn for 100 days. 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.The flame symbolizes Rwanda’s hope of a better future.
President Kagame alongside AU Chairperson light a flame of Hope at the Kigali Memorial Site
More than 400 guests including the African Union Chairperson Moussa Faki and families of survivors attended the lighting of the flame event.
In his remarks, President Kagame comforted the survivors, ''You are not alone.You have a family in this nation that will always be there for you, our Nation. There is nothing we can do about our past, but there is something we can do for our people in the present''.
In his address, the AU Commission Chairperson, Faki, said that he was deeply touched by what happened in Rwanda but also consoled by the courage and resilience of Rwandans. AU Commission Chair called on Rwandans to work together and build their country for a better future of the generation to come.
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.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 community members will be working for half a day during weekdays to enable them to participate in community discussions organized as part of commemoration activities. Later in the afternoon, President Kagame, First lady Jeanette Kagame and AU chairperson joined over 1000 youth for the walk to remember in honor of the victims of the genocide.