Kigali: Rwanda Monday began a week of activities to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide that saw the massacre of some 800,000 Tutsi victims.
A minute's silence was observed in the country, radio and television stations while national flags flew at half-mast, Xinhua reported.
A "Flame of Hope" that will burn until July was also lit by President Paul Kagame at the memorial of the genocide of Gisozi, a hill overlooking the city of Kigali where the remains of 300,000 Tutsi victims of the 1994 genocide are buried.
The commemoration is on the theme: Remember, Unite, Renew in honouring the memory of those who perished and offering comfort to survivors of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
The Rwandan genocide started after the then Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana and Burundi president Cyprien Ntaryamira were killed April 6, 1994, when their plane was shot down as it prepared to land in Kigali.
Within 100 days, an estimated 800,000 Rwanda Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred.