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Rwanda launches memorial garden for genocide victims - Xinhua

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KIGALI, April 8 (Xinhua) -- Rwanda on Monday launched the first phase of a Garden of Memory for victims killed in the 1994 Rwandan genocide against the Tusti in the country's capital, Kigali.

The Garden of Memory, located in Nyanza Genocide Memorial, symbolizes life and rebirth after the genocide and the protection offered by nature during the genocide, according to IBUKA, an umbrella body of genocide survivors' associations of Rwanda.

The features of the garden of memory include a stone monument, a dry garden, the forest of memory, landscape terraces, earth mounds, a meditation corridor, a seasonal marshland, and an amphitheater.

"Through this Garden of Memory, we are also seeking and sharing the truth about the genocide against the Tutsi, making it an intentional act and a powerful mechanism to share our stories of survival and resilience, while fighting genocide ideology," Rwandan first lady Jeannette Kagame said at the inauguration of the garden.

During the launch, the first lady, youth representatives and guests planted trees in the the forest of memory, one of the key features of the garden.

The garden will serve as monument in memory of thousands of Tutsis killed by Hutu extremists, said Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu, president of IBUKA.

"We have chosen to have the inauguration of the Garden of Memory as part of 25th anniversary of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi activities because remembrance is an act that will be there forever, so will be the garden," said Jean-Damascene Bizimana, executive secretary of the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide.

The foundation stone for the Garden of Memory was first laid in June 2000, by the Rwandan first lady, according to IBUKA.

The Rwandan government on Sunday morning started commemoration marking the 25th anniversary of the 1994 Rwandan genocide against Tutsi, raising the curtain of a three-month remembrance period.

The genocide claimed the lives of over 1 million people, mainly ethnic Tutsi. The annual commemoration is held every year from April 7 to July 4 in line with the period of the genocide.

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