Rwandan Diaspora living in Germany at the weekend held separate events to commemorate the 22nd anniversary in honour of victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Accompanied by families and friends, Rwandans living in the cities of Heidelberg, Frankfurt, Mannheim and other smaller towns in southern Germany convened in the city of Mainz, while the second event was held in Cologne, Germany’s fourth largest city, bringing together mourners from as far as Aachen, Gelsenkirchen, Iserlohn, and Bonn.
According to organisers, this was meant to make it easy for all Rwandans scattered in the federal Republic of Germany to travel to the city in their proximity, that way they would be able to honor victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
In his speech at the event in Cologne, Rwanda’s Ambassador to Germany Igor Cesar reiterated the significance of remembering victims of the genocide, especially to the young generation born in the Diaspora who may not know so much about the country’s history, and to make sure that what happened never happens again.
“It’s very important for Rwanda and the international community because the Genocide against Tutsi was not a crime only for Rwandans, but a crime against humanity,” he said.
“Remembering victims matters to everyone and from this event we gather strength to be able to rebuild ourselves,” Cesar added, expressing gratitude towards the Germans who joined Rwandans in the commemoration activities.
The envoy urged Rwandans living in Germany also to start Ibuka chapter like their compatriots have done elsewhere in Europe.
To the young generation born and raised in Germany, who face challenges when it comes to expressing themselves in their mother tongue, Amb. Cesar pledged to open a Kinyarwanda language school in Berlin in May to promote Rwanda’s rich culture and heritage.
The President of Rwanda-Rhenanie Palatinat cooperation, Dr Richard Auernheimer, who attended the commemoration in Mainz, the seat of this partnership, told those gathered that both Germany and Rwanda have benefitted from the cooperation for the last 34 years and they intend to continue working together in all aspects including helping survivors rebuild their lives.
“Germany and Rwanda share a common history and therefore we together fight racism in all its forms and make sure that peace prevails in the world,” he said.
It should be recalled that the Federal Court of Justice, Germany’s highest appellate court sentenced Onesphore Rwabukombe a former mayor of Kiziguro during the genocide to life in prison overturning an earlier sentence of fourteen years.