26 Mar 13 – UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie this morning visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Rwanda’s capital to honour the memory of all those murdered in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.
The Memorial was established in 2004 by the UK-based Aegis Trust for genocide prevention, working in partnership with survivors and the Rwandan authorities. Today it plays a key role in peace-building education, bringing together children of survivors and perpetrators to help strengthen community stability and resilience against the potential for violence in the future. The British Government is looking to support that work, which was profiled in the Guardian last week. Aegis also provides essential support to survivors of the genocide in greatest need; orphans, widows and gang-rape victims among them.
In just a 100 days, from April to July 1994, a million Rwandans were murdered simply because they were identified as ethnically Tutsi. UN peacekeepers were in Rwanda at the start of the genocide, but instead of being reinforced and mandated to stop the killing, much of the force was withdrawn. It has come to be regarded as one of the international community’s worst failures in modern times to protect people at risk of mass atrocities.