The Prince of Wales will spend his first full day in Rwanda meeting survivors and perpetrators of the country’s 1994 genocide, prior to attending a summit of Commonwealth leaders.
Charles has been encouraged by former Rwandan footballer Eric Murangwa to visit a church outside the Rwandan capital where the remains of tens of thousands of genocide victims are buried.
Mr Murangwa was sheltered from the killings by teammates, and Charles made him an MBE in recognition of his efforts raising awareness of the genocide against the Tutsi. He is the founder of the organisation Football for Hope, Peace and Unity.
In April, Mr Murangwa was invited to watch as the prince planted a tree at Dumfries House in commemoration of the genocide victims.
In 1994 hundreds of thousands of members of the Tutsi community were slaughtered in Rwanda by ethnic Hutu extremists. The issue of genocide and reconciliation is said to be very close to the prince’s heart and he will visit a village that was targeted.
Chris Fitzgerald, deputy private secretary to the prince for foreign, Commonwealth and development affairs, has said Charles, who will be joined by the Duchess of Cornwall, will visit Rwanda’s National Genocide Memorial and museum, where they will lay a wreath followed by meeting and listening to survivors.
He added “Later that day, his royal highness will travel to a memorial site and reconciliation village where he will meet perpetrators and survivors who live side by side, to listen to their experience of the genocide and the difficult process of reconciliation.”
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is taking place in Kigali following its postponement in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 crisis and the heir to the throne will represent the Queen, head of the Commonwealth.
Charles last represented the Queen at the event in Sri Lanka in 2013 – a move that was interpreted as preparation for his future role as monarch – and in 2018 he was appointed the monarch’s designated successor as head of the Commonwealth.
The event, which is usually held in a different country every two years, brings together leaders from the 54 Commonwealth nations.