April 7 marked the 25th Commemoration of the Rwandan Genocide that killed more than 800,00 Rwandans in 1994.
Governor General, Julie Payette visited the Republic of Rwanda to demonstrate Canada’s commitment to preventing genocide, and to show Canadian support for the reconciliation processes.
“During this time of mourning and remembrance, Canada offers its deepest sympathies to Rwandans and to those who served the cause of peace and lost so much,” said Governor General, Julie Payette
The mass killing was directed by members of the Hutu majority government during the 100-day period from April 7 to July 15, 1994, after a plane was shot down above Kigali airport.
Canadian Armed Forces Members were deployed with the United Nations Assistance Mission from 1993 – 1996 to help end the Rwandan Civil War that began in 1990 between the Rwandan Armed Forces and the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).
According to Veterans Affairs Canada website, “At times, more than 400 Canadian soldiers would find themselves in the midst of some of the worst violence that could be imagined while taking part in international peace efforts to try to bring some stability to the embattled African nation.”
Located in central Africa, Rwanda is a small rural nation. The country is approximately half the size of Nova Scotia, with a population of approximately eight million.
Governor General Payette issued a statement to the members who were deployed on this mission showing her appreciation and gratitude to CAF members, “The courage with which you continue to live your lives today does you great honour.”
During the week of commemoration, she participated in various events including laying a wreath at the Kigali Genocide Memorial on behalf of the people Canada. Governor General Payette also laid a wreath during the lighting of the Flame of Remembrance by President Kagame.
The flame will burn for the 100 days of slaughter.Visit this page to read about one soldier’s experience in Rwanda.