Visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial today ahead of the 20th commemoration of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, Sweden’s Finance Minister Anders Borg paid respects to the victims of the genocide – some 250,000 of whom are buried at the Memorial – and called on the international community to build societies where genocide cannot be repeated.
Borg’s visit was hosted by the Aegis Trust, which established the Kigali Genocide Memorial in 2004 at the request of the Rwandan Government and Kigali City Council. Aegis continues to run the Memorial today on behalf of CNLG (Rwanda’s National Commission for the Fight against Genocide) as a place both of remembrance and learning for a new generation.
“It is important that the museum keep the memories of these historical crimes against humanity alive,” Anders Borg stated. “Twenty years after the genocide, the most important thing for the whole world is not to forget about what happened and build societies where everybody is respected, where this cannot be repeated.”
Funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Aegis is leading the nationwide Rwanda Peace Education Programme in collaboration with the Institute of Research & Dialogue for Peace (Rwanda), Radio la Benevolencija (Netherlands) and USC Shoah Foundation (USA). Supporting partners include the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies (Netherlands), the Rwanda Development Board and University of Texas Libraries.
“We are proud of our cooperation with the Aegis Trust because of their involvement in peace education and their expertise in genocide prevention,” commented Maria Håkansson, Chargée d’affaires at Swedish Embassy, accompanying the Swedish Finance Minister. “Sweden is convinced that development is intimately linked to peace,” she added. “We think that all development efforts should be planned alongside peace strengthening efforts.”
Aegis Director John Petrie and Deputy Director Yves Kamuronsi received the delegation from Sweden. “The support of the Government of Sweden for the Rwanda Peace Education Programme is helping us take this to decision-makers, educators, students and members of the community in all parts of Rwanda”, commented John Petrie. Yves Kamuronsi added, “Through this, Sweden is making a vital contribution to the nation’s future peace and stability, and we are incredibly grateful for their assistance.”