Rwanda on Monday is marking 20 years since the1994 genocide, with the hope that lessons learned can help prevent future atrocities. But as many times as the international community has said "never again," a failure to act has continued to cost lives.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame will light a national flame of mourning Monday in a ceremony at the Kigali Genocide Memorial.
The April 7 commemoration marks the anniversary of the day violence broke out across the country, as ethnic Hutu militias killed 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in a 100-day rampage.
Across Rwanda, memorials to the victims display skulls and bones broken by machete blades and bloodied articles of clothing worn by the victims - constant reminders of the brutality that destroyed the nation.
Freddy Mutanguha, a survivor, is the country director of the Aegis Trust, which runs the Kigali Genocide Memorial. He said that with 20 years past, now is the time for the new generation to reflect on the past.
“We remember and we honor our victims each and every year, but it's a very important year because children who are born during or after genocide, they are now growing. It's an important opportunity for them to learn and to understand what happened in this country,” said Mutanguha.
Heads of state and other foreign dignitaries, including officials from the United States, Britain and the East African region, are expected in Kigali for the commemorations.
Mutanguha said it also is a good opportunity for international guests to learn from Rwanda.
“It's very important in terms of genocide prevention because those people will come and they will learn about what happens here so that they can prevent it in their own communities,” said Mutanguha.
In an opinion article timed for the anniversary, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the international community to learn from its failure to stop the genocide in Rwanda, and to take stronger action to confront modern day crises, like the conflicts in Syria and the Central African Republic.