Kigali, 7 April 2013
President Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame today joined thousands of Rwandans who participated in the activities in their community for the 19th Commemoration of the Genocide Against the Tutsi.
The ceremony began at the Gisozi Memorial Centre where President Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame laid a wreath on the graves of the hundreds of thousands of Genocide victims buried at the Memorial. President Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame lit the flame of hope that will remain lit for 100 days of Commemoration as a reminder to all of each day during which innocent men, women and children were killed based on their ethnic identity.
In a televised address to the nation, President Kagame called on Rwandans to ensure that Rwandans own their history and ensure that it is never forgotten: remembering Rwanda’s past remains a lesson for its future:
“We must do everything possible to make sure that we write our own history, preserve the physical evidence of genocide, including memorial sites, so that they do not get lost, but become symbols of remembrance and prevention of genocide. Remembrance of the genocide is an obligation for every Rwandan. It is also falls on us to teach and pass on that responsibility to the youth so that they, in turn, can pass it on to successive generations.”
President Kagame also urged Rwandans to stand in solidarity with survivors of the Genocide Against the Tutsi:
In remembering, it is important that we comfort those who lost loved ones and were left orphans, widows and or without any family so that they are not overwhelmed by the immense sorrow. They need reassurance to give them the courage and hope to carry on.
Pointing to the large number of Genocide perpetrators who have yet to face justice, President Kagame reminded countries of their responsibility:
“There are still some countries that harbour genocide suspects but persistently refuse to bring them to justice even where there is ample evidence. These countries must do the right thing and face up to their responsibility to fight and punish the crime of genocide.”
Following a national minute of silence and a visit to the memorial Peace Room, President Kagame joined the youth in the afternoon for that annual ‘Walk to Remember’ alongside thousands of Rwandan youth determined to Remember, Honor and Rebuild, as their theme states. Starting off at the Parliamentary Buildings, the walk ended with a night vigil at the Amahoro National Stadium.
This year’s commemoration is being held under the theme: “Let us commemorate the genocide against the tutsi by striving for self-reliance” and activities were held at village level.