The Aegis Trust’s Chief Executive Dr James Smith and Executive Director Freddy Mutanguha have today released the following statement:
Following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, on behalf of all at the Aegis Trust and Kigali Genocide Memorial, we wish to express deepest condolences to His Majesty King Charles III and the whole Royal Family.
Throughout a lifetime of dedicated public service, from engagement in the war effort against Nazism to 70 years as British monarch, Queen Elizabeth put the people she served before herself. With grace and humility, the Queen was a gentle yet powerful champion of peace, unity and reconciliation – from the island of Ireland to the furthest reaches of the Commonwealth, of which she was head.
During the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda earlier this year, we were honoured to host a visit by King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, where 250,000 victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi have their final resting-place.
Noting the potential for climate change to become a growing driver of mass atrocities and genocide in the future, we appreciate the King’s prescient acknowledgement that there is not a moment to lose in the fight against it, and we pledge ourselves to support His Majesty wholeheartedly in that effort. We have no doubt it is what the Queen would have wanted.
Our founders were honoured to receive Her Majesty’s recognition for services to Holocaust education and genocide prevention, and we will continue to draw strength and inspiration from her remarkable example.
King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla place wreath at mass graves, Kigali Genocide Memorial, during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Rwanda, June 2022. Click here for more pictures from the visit.
In his speech opening CHOGM, King Charles stated: “Visiting Rwanda and the Kigali Genocide Memorial for the first time, and speaking to the survivors, I have been overwhelmed by the resilience, grace and determination of the Rwandan people.”
Queen Elizabeth II awards MBE to Marina H Smith, 2005. Marina, who passed away in June this year, co-founded the UK National Holocaust Centre with sons Stephen and James Smith, who went on to found the Aegis Trust. They both subsequently received Queen’s honours for services to Holocaust education and genocide prevention.