The Rwandan community in China, on Friday, launched activities to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi with the lighting of the Kwibuka (remembrance) Flame.
The ceremony, held in the capital Beijing, was attended by officials from Chinese government and key Chinese institutions, representatives of the UN in China, as well as Africans in the Diaspora and friends of Rwanda.
During the ceremony, Francois Xavier Ngarambe, Rwanda’s ambassador to China, passed on the remembrance flame, a symbol of remembrance, resilience and courage, to young Rwandans and their Chinese counterparts who represent the post genocide generation.
Handing over the Flame, he said: “The post genocide generation has the responsibility to hold and spread love, peace and hope. They have a responsibility together with all the young people of their generation to ensure that hope lasts, that peace lasts forever, and it is now my responsibility to charge you with this very important mission.”
The 20th commemoration of the Genocide against Tutsi is being marked under the theme: “Unite, Remember, Renew.”
Quoting Elie Wiesel, a holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winning advocate for peace, Amb. Ngarambe said “the aim of memorial is to create links between the past and present, between the past and the future.”
“Remembering the victims is an act of love and empathy, and an act of restoration of their humanity and their dignity,” he said.
Ngarambe said Rwandans have not been held back by the tragedy that befell them twenty years ago but have rather come together to forge a new narrative, a narrative of peace, development and hope.
“Rwanda is gradually becoming a country of equal rights and equal chances for all, and a model for women and youth empowerment. It has the ambition to become a knowledge-based economy and is rightly nicknamed the Silicon Valley of Africa,” he said.
Sun Baohong, the deputy director-general of the Department of Affairs at China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, hailed Rwanda and its leadership for the progress made in the last 20 years.
“We are pleased to see that under the leadership of President Paul Kagame, Rwandan government and people have gradually emerged from the shadows 20 years after the Genocide and made remarkable achievements,” she said.
“We will continue to work together with the government and people of Rwanda to promote the China -Rwandan friendship and build a world with lasting peace and common prosperity.”
Arie Hoekman, the UN resident coordinator and interim in China, commended the people and government of Rwanda for ‘continuing to promote an inclusive spirit and dialogue for healing, reconciliation and reconstruction.’