Kigali: Prince Charles has said the world must ensure a genocide like Rwanda’s is not repeated, following a visit to the country’s memorial in Kigali, ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting beginning on Friday.
Charles appeared deeply moved as he visited the memorial with wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.
The memorial contains photographs and personal items of some of the hundreds of thousands of Tutsis killed in the slaughter carried out by Hutu extremists.
Charles, according to one official, said: “We must ensure it never happens again”.
After laying a wreath at the Kigali Genocide Memorial he met with President Paul Kagame and Rwanda’s first lady Jeanette Kagame.
Kagame is praise for his role in the military victory that ended the genocide in 1994.
Human rights advocates have criticised the country’s suitability to host CHOGM because of Kagame’s repression of human rights, including restrictions on press freedom, the murders of political dissidents and allegations of state-enforced disappearances.
Charles’ first visit to Rwanda comes a week after he was reported to have described the UK’s proposed migrant deportation deal with the African nation, based on Australia’s offshoring solution, as “appalling”.
Jennifer Robinson, the international human rights barrister of London’s Doughty Street Chambers, said Rwanda’s questionable record made it both unfit to host the summit and unfit to accept Britain’s unwanted asylum seekers.
“Any country that engages in enforced disappearances on such a systematic and widespread scale as the one the Rwandan government has, and the failure of the rule of law to properly protect against that, raises very serious, grave questions about whether the Rwandan government can adequately prepare for and support asylum seekers,” she said.
Robinson has taken the case of Australian citizen and Rwandan refugee, Noel Zihabamwe, to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances after two of his brothers went missing in the central African nation after they were taken into custody by police.
The first-in-line to the throne took over from the Queen as head of the Commonwealth at the end of the last summit in London in 2018.
Charles will meet his prime minister, Boris Johnson, who is in Kigali for CHOGUM, for what Clarence House said would be a “cup of tea and a catch up” on Friday morning, their first since Charles’ comments criticising the one-way asylum seeker plan.
The British government’s first scheduled deportation flight was grounded when the European Court of Human Rights, which has no connection to the European Union, barred the plane from leaving in an injunction.
On Tuesday, the government announced plans to rip up the existing Human Rights Act, and give British courts the power to ignore such rulings in the future.
Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has proposed a Bill of Rights to replace it, which he said would “curb abuses of the system and inject a bit more common sense” into human rights law.
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