Unveils plaque in memory of victims
The Delegation of the European Commission (EC) to Rwanda yesterday, for the very first time, officially honoured members of their staff who were killed during the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi.
14 of the 26 Rwandan staff members at the EC were killed during the genocide, some along with their families.
The commemoration took place on Friday at the EC headquarters in Kigali, where a plaque bearing names of the deceased was unveiled and a wreath laid in their memory in the presence of their family members.
Angela Kayitesi, a widow of Radjab Bunyundo, one of the victims, said she welcomed the move by the European Commission, saying she had not understand why their departed had not been officially recognised by the organisation they served.
“At least we can see now that the Commission recognises our existence,” she said. “Life has gone on, though with a lot of challenges.”
Kayitesi’s husband left her with two children who are now almost completing their secondary school. Her wish is that the Commission would render support to the children to be able to carry on with university studies.
They were helped through high school by the Fund for Assistance of Genocide Survivors (FARG), according to Kayitesi.
The Head of Delegation of European Commission to Rwanda, Dr. David MacRae, said the Commission shares pain with those who lost theirs at the time, and underlined that the commemoration is a must to avoid repetition of bad history.
“It is not only necessary to commemorate the Rwandan genocide, but also to make it well known around the world, including Europe,” he said.
He commended the work being done by the National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG) which has embarked on putting up a research and documentation centre on genocide.
MacRae also presented to the gathering a message from the EU Commissioner on Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, who admits having seen the firm engagement of Rwandans to unity and reconciliation.
“I would like to confirm to you that I will ever speak on your behalf, for your efforts worth supporting,” reads part of Louis Michel’s message to members of the deceased.
“I will regularly come back to Rwanda, that’s for sure.”
The Minister of Culture and Sports, Joseph Habineza, commended the initiative by the Commission, saying that it brings a message of hope to those who lost their family members.
“This is really something we encourage, that the memory of our compatriots is never lost,” he said.
Habineza also requested for more research about people who lost their lives during the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi, saying that if they were well carried out, it would help to know the real truth of what happened, thus leading to reconciliation.
The Commission’s efforts are part of the series of activities expected in the country in commemoration of the victims of the Genocide in which over a million people lost their lives.