French youth leaders and their other European colleagues, yesterday, visited widows of the 1994 Genocide, as part of an outreach programme to commemorate the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The youth are members of the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement (EGAM).
Valerie Mukabayire, the president of Avega Agahozo, an association of Genocide widows, said such visits comfort and strengthen them during such difficult times.
“We are encouraged when we receive the people who join us to our loved ones. As we commemorate, we become stronger and our sorrow is minimised,” Mukabayire said.
The association has 19,009 members, comprising 18,733 widows and 276 widowers with 61,721 dependants.
More than 1,600 of the widows are aged above 70 and close to 1,000 were left without a single family member.
The association’s members include 1,800 women who were raped during the Genocide and more than 1,000 children who were born out of rape during the Genocide.
Benjamin Abtan, the president of EGAM, said their visit to Rwanda will help the French youth to sensitise Europeans about the Genocide against Tutsi as well as advocate for justice and holding those responsible to account, especially French leaders.
“We will never stop until the truth is told about the negative responsibility of some French people who colloraborated with perpetrators before, during and after the Genocide,” Abtan said.
“We want the truth to come out and justice to be delivered. Perpetrators who live in France should be sent to Rwanda for prosecution and the responsible French should be held accountable by French courts,” he added.
After their Rwanda visit, the French youth will return home and help educate other young French and European citizens about the Genocide.
Another member, Christopher Metz, said the outreach programme will equip EGAM members with tools to fight genocide ideology and revisionism in Europe.
“The participants will be able to understand the situation here in Rwanda before, during and after Genocide and go home to confidently tell the people there about what happened in Rwanda,” Metz said.