KIGALI - The visiting Belgian Minister for Development Cooperation, Charles Michel and European Union (EU) Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs yesterday visited Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre at Gisozi to pay tribute to victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Prior to visiting the memorial site, the two officials who were in the country on a 3-day working visit to assess the impact of EU aid on development, visited the site where 10 Belgian peacekeepers were killed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
In an interview with The New Times shortly after laying the wreath on the remains of the victims and touring the memorial site, the Belgian Minister who also co-chairs the EU said that the memorial site plays a key role of keeping the memory and showing the failure of the international community.
“This is very impressive and important for our memory and also important for the international community to see the grave mistake they made here in Rwanda 16 years ago.”
“This memorial is very important for the security and stability of Rwanda because it gives all of us a collective memory of what happened in the past and how we can avoid it. It is also important for our young people from different countries to come to the memorial and know the history of this country,” Michel said.
Michel said that last year the EU sent a delegation of youth to come and visit the memorial to know the history of the genocide and the importance of the international community is preventing such things from happening again.
On the fallen Belgian soldiers, Michel said that it was equally important to preserve the memory of the soldiers who died on service, adding that the fallen soldiers are a sign of how the world did not recognise where Rwanda was headed into.
Earlier before visiting the memorial site at Gisozi, the EU officials had visited Kigali Central Teaching Hospital (CHUK) as one of the projects aided by the EU.
On Wednesday the two officials visited bench terraces and coffee stations in Shyorongi and Rulindo, as well as the Mutobo Transit Camp, in Musanze, Northern Province. Thursday they visited Kigali Central Teaching Hospital (CHUK) and the Mpazi Ravine in Kigali.