Prince Charles pays tribute to genocide victims in Rwanda
NNN: Prince Charles laid a wreath on Wednesday at a memorial to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda during the first visit to the country by a British royal.
The Prince of Wales and his wife Camilla paused in silent tribute at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, the final resting place for more than 250,000 victims of massacres nearly three decades ago.
The royal couple signed a note of remembrance to accompany a crown of white flowers.
They also spoke with survivors of the genocide in which some 800,000 people, mainly Tutsi, were killed by extremist Hutu forces between April and July 1994.
The monument, which houses skulls, bone fragments and shreds of clothing, is a testament to the horrors of the genocide and a regular stop for foreign dignitaries visiting Rwanda.
Charles and Camilla also toured the memorial museum where they viewed photographs of the victims and their possessions and heard personal accounts of the murders.
The royal couple touched down Tuesday night in Rwanda, where the Prince of Wales is representing his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, at a Commonwealth summit this week.
Leaders from many Commonwealth nations are expected to be in Kigali in the coming days for the meeting of the 54-member club, mainly from former British colonies.
Rwanda, a former German and Belgian colony, joined the Commonwealth in 2009 and in recent years has moved closer to the English-speaking world.
Charles and Camilla also met with President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame at the Rwandan leader’s official residence on Wednesday.
The royals and their hosts smiled for photos flanked by the flags of their respective countries before beginning a private gathering.
Before the Commonwealth summit, Charles reportedly criticized a migrant resettlement deal hatched between Kagame and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as “appalling”, setting the stage for an awkward meeting in Kigali.
The UK government said on Wednesday it would introduce legislation allowing it to override certain decisions by the European Court of Human Rights after a judge in Strasbourg blocked flights taking asylum seekers to Rwanda.
Opened in 2004 on the 10th anniversary of the murders, the Kigali Genocide Memorial features an education center, garden, library, and a 1,200-seat amphitheater that hosts workshops, plays, and films.
It contains three permanent exhibitions and exhibits clubs, machetes, arrows and other tools used in the massacres.
The remains of the victims are arranged in three main rows and more have been buried as new graves are discovered across the country.
In the cemetery, there is a Wall of Names dedicated to the victims of the genocide.
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