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Paris: Future memorial to Rwanda genocide victims 'very important' – Association

Marcel Kabanda, president of the survivors' association Ibuka France in Paris on April 7, 2023.   -  
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Cleared / AFP


Rwandans in France marked Friday (Apr.07) the 29th anniversary of the last genocide of the XXth century.

The commemoration came as France announced it will build a memorial to victims of the 1994 genocide.

This Paris ceremony was attended by members of genocide survivor associations and by French officials.

"I think it's very important to have a place in the heart of Paris for the memory, for the memory, for this place of memory of all these people who lost their lives because they were Tutsi," Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, the French foreign ministry's State Secretary for development said.

"It is a national tribute first of all, but it is a permanent tribute. We must never forget and history must always be taught, so that 'never again'."

For decades Kigali accused Paris, which had close ties to the Hutu regime in power at the time of the genocide, of complicity. 

Big step for relations

During100 days of the 1994 massacre, Hutu extremists killed an estimated 800 000 people, mainly minority Tutsis and Hutus who tried to protect them from Hutu extremists.

The president of the Ibuka France genocide survivor association, welcomed the announcement of the erection of a memorial as "very important".

"I think this is part of this desire to appease memories and relations between France and Rwanda because one of the causes, the bone of contention, was the genocide," Marcel Kabanda said.

"Once it is recognised, once we do the work of remembrance, the work of truth, the memory work, the work of commemoration, together, once we remember together, we can live together."

The monument will be erected in Paris on the Left Bank of the river Seine not far from the foreign ministry

Paris already hosts a garden of the remembrance of the Rwanda genocide in theparc de Choisy (Southern Paris). A stela was unveiled in 2014 at the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise (north-eastern Paris).

After years of tensions, a commission of historians appointed by Macron in 2021 returned a damning indictment of France's role in the bloodshed.

It said France had been "blind" to preparations for the genocide and bore "serious and overwhelming" responsibility, findings the French government accepted.

The commission found no proof of French complicity in the bloodshed.

Vincent Duclert, who led the historians' commission, said the new memorial would allow "recognition of the extreme importance of the 1994 catastrophe" and highlight France's "responsibility".

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