Czech minister pays tribute to Rwanda genocide victims
The Foreign Affairs Minister of Czech Republic, Hon. Jan Kohout has said that the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda and the Holocaust against the Jews must be commemorated and taken as lessons in Humanity’s history.
Kohout made the remarks while visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial where he laid a wreath and paid tribute to genocide victims at mass graves where over 250,000 victims of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide remains lie today.
After a guided tour of the site he said: “I am speechless and I am afraid that all my words will sound dull and empty. Nevertheless, today’s visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial is a symbolic demonstration of the solidarity and sympathy of the Czech people,” said Kohout.
He however, pointed out that institutions such as the Lidice Memorial in the Czech Republic, and the Kigali Genocide Memorial, serve as reminders of these tragic incidents and play an instrumental role in scientific research, education and enlightenment, especially for a younger generation.
The Foreign minister also signed a memorandum of formal partnership between Aegis Trust Rwanda-which oversees the Kigali memorial site activities with the Lidice Memorial in the Czech Republic. Lidice Memorial keeps memories of the extermination of up to 1.5 million Romani people under the Nazis; many Romani Gypsies were interned at the Lety concentration camp near Lidice.
Freddy Mutanguha, the Aegis Country Director, said that there is something special about Rwanda and Czech Republic since they all share a history of the same kind.
He noted that it was the Czech Ambassador to the United Nations – Karel Kovanda – who fought tirelessly to bring the Security Council to recognize and respond effectively to the Genocide against the Tutsi.
“The people of the Czech Republic hold a special place in the hearts of survivors here in Rwanda, because we know that when all the World was silent, in the darkest days of 1994,” he said.
Mutanguha and the Czech minister reaffirmed their commitment to implementation of the signed memorandum and support for both countries in educating communities and preserving memories of the atrocities that happened in the history of their countries.
The Czech visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial also included a delegation of business representatives who are visiting Rwanda to explore scope for greater collaboration between companies in the two countries.