Rwanda Commemorates 1994 Genocide


He blames the traditional chiefs for not mobilising enough to defeat the colonialists.

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Museveni further accuses western imperialists for dividing Africa along ethnic lines that later bred violence and genocide.

The President uses the platform to lash at countries that continue to harbour genocidaires that they will not be tolerated.

He says former Rwandan dictator who killed Tutsi was trained and supported by Europeans.

Museveni also points out that “those hobnobbing with genocidaires will be fought and defeated.”

Museveni, stuff who supported the RPF to defeat what he described as “traitors, treat ” congratulated the government of Rwanda for turning around lives of many through economic transformation and empowerment.

He also notes that should genocidaires attempt to return to “kill people” they can “always count on the people of Uganda.”

African Union Commission Chairperson Dlamini Zuma emphasises that Africa’s diversity is her strength.

He describes the 1994 genocide as a scar on “our collective conscience, visit ” adding,”no group should ever be allowed to commit genocide.”

11:32am: Rwanda Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo welcomes all guests attending the function.

She says Rwanda was in 1994 plunged into darkness by the genocidal regime that killed over one million people mainly Tutsi.

Mushikiwabo notes that Rwanda has emerged from ashes and blood to a more united and resilient nation.

She praises Spain, Nigeria and other countries which creayed awareness and supported fight against genocide.

11:08am: Singing of Rwanda national athem underway as Presidents arrive at Amahoro Stadium

10:54am: Heads of governments and dignitaries travel to Amahoro Stadium for speeches.

10:35am: Presidents Kagame, Museveni and UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon lay wreaths at Gisozi Memorial site where 250,000 bodies of genocide victims are buried.

The function is attended by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, former South Africa President Thabo Mbeki and ex UK Premier, Tony Blair among others.

9:36am: Rwanda President Paul Kagame will today lead the walk to remember as the country commemorates 20 years after genocide in which one million mainly Tutsi were killed.

As part of Kwibuka20 activities in Rwanda, a Walk to Remember will be held from the Rwandan Parliament to Amahoro Stadium.

A number of distinguished guests including President Museveni will join the President along with thousands of young Rwandans.

In Kigali, Chimp Corp Giles Muhame reports that visiting Presidents will lay a wreath at the genocide memorial before heading to Amahoro Stadium for speeches.

President Museveni is expectedto give a speech.

As per the programme, at 3pm, participants will arrive at the Parliament upon which writing message on ribbons will commence.

The coordinator will then explain the purpose of the walk and give directions before the arrival of special guests.

This will be followed by the arrival of President Kagame.

The walk will begin at 6pm ending at Amahoro Stadium for the Kwibuka20 Vigil Walk to Remember around the world.

Walk to remember

The Walk to Remember was created by young Rwandans as a way to remember the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and unite to ensure genocide is never repeated, anywhere in the world.

Today’s Walk to Remember takes place in all corners of the globe. Hundreds of thousands of Rwandans and friends from around the world walk to stand against genocide and support survivors.

The event was started in 2009 by young Rwandans to ensure the world never forgets what happened in Rwanda in 1994.

More than fifteen countries worldwide are participating in the Global Walk to Remember.

The countries include Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Canada, China, India, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

In Rwanda over the next 100 days, communities will hold their own Walk to Remember events.

Government, private and civil society organisations will also have their own Walk to Remember, honouring the memory of the staff who worked at their institution and were killed during the genocide.

The Kwibuka Flame of remembrance today returns to Kigali Genocide Memorial where president Kagame will flag off the national mourning period.

Quick facts about Rwanda genocide

The Rwandan Genocide was a genocide mass slaughter of Tutsi and moderate Hutu in Rwanda by members of the Hutu majority.

During the approximate 100-day period from April 7, 1994 to mid-July, an estimated 500,000–1,000,000 Rwandans were killed, constituting as much as 20% of the country’s total population and 70% of the Tutsi then living in Rwanda.

The genocide was planned by members of the core political elite known as the akazu, many of whom occupied positions at top levels of the national government.

Perpetrators came from the ranks of the Rwandan army, the National Police (gendarmerie), government-backed militias including the Interahamwe and Impuzamugambi, and the Hutu civilian population.

The genocide took place in the context of the Rwandan Civil War, an ongoing conflict beginning in 1990 between the Hutu-led government and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which was largely composed of Tutsi refugees whose families had fled to Uganda following earlier waves of Hutu violence against the Tutsi.

International pressure on the Hutu-led government of Juvénal Habyarimana resulted in a cease-fire in 1993 with a roadmap to implement the Arusha Accords that would create a power-sharing government with the RPF.

This agreement displeased many conservative Hutu, including members of the Akazu, who viewed it as conceding to enemy demands.

Among the broader Hutu populace, the RPF military campaign had also intensified support for the so-called “Hutu Power” ideology, which portrayed the RPF as an alien force intent on reinstating the Tutsi monarchy and enslaving the Hutus, a prospect met with extreme opposition.

On April 6, 1994, an airplane carrying Habyarimana and Burundian president Cyprien Ntaryamira was shot down on its descent into Kigali, killing all on board.

Genocidal killings began the following day: soldiers, police and militia quickly executed key Tutsi and moderate Hutu leaders, then erected checkpoints and barricades and used Rwandans’ national identity cards to systematically verify their ethnicity and kill Tutsi.

These forces recruited or pressured Hutu civilians to arm themselves with machetes, clubs, blunt objects and other weapons to rape, maim and kill their Tutsi neighbors and destroy or steal their property.

The breach of the peace agreement led the RPF to restart their offensive and rapidly seize control of the northern part of the country before capturing Kigali in mid-July, bringing an end to the genocide.

During these events and in their aftermath, the United Nations (UN) and countries including the United States, Great Britain and Belgium were criticized for their inaction, including failure to strengthen the force and mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) peacekeepers, while observers criticized the government of France for actively supporting the genocidal regime.

The genocide had a lasting and profound impact on Rwanda and its neighbouring countries.

The pervasive use of war rape caused a spike in HIV infection, including babies born of rape to newly infected mothers; many households were headed by orphaned children or widows.

The decimation of infrastructure and a severe depopulation of the country crippled the economy, challenging the nascent government to achieve rapid economic growth and stabilization.

The RPF military victory and installation of an RPF-dominated government prompted many Hutus to flee to neighbouring countries, particularly in the eastern portion of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) where the Hutu genocidaires began to regroup in refugee camps along the border with Rwanda.

Declaring a need to avert further genocide, the RPF-led government led military incursions into Zaire, including the First (1996–97) and Second (1998-2003) Congo Wars.

Armed struggles between the Rwandan government and their opponents in DRC have continued to play out through proxy militias in the Goma region, including the M23 rebellion (2003-2013).

Large Rwandan Hutu and Tutsi populations continue to live as refugees throughout the region.

Today, Rwanda has two public holidays commemorating the genocide.

The national commemoration period begins with Genocide Memorial Day on April 7 and concludes with Liberation Day on July 4.

The week following April 7 is designated an official week of mourning.

The Rwandan Genocide served as the impetus for creating the International Criminal Court to eliminate the need for ad hoc tribunals to prosecute those accused in future incidents of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.


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