The UN-designated Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Rwanda Genocide, which falls on 7 April, aims to commemorate the death of hundreds of thousands of people who were killed in Rwanda in 1994.

Tutsi and moderate Hutu (who refused to take part in the killings of the Tutsi) were systematically executed by the Hutu majority before the eyes of the international community. It is estimated that between 800,000 and 1 million people, including women and children, were killed in the three months from 6 April to 15 July 1994.

IBTimes UK spoke with Mariam Tumukunde, a survivor who has been living in London since 1995, on how her family was affected by the genocide and what helped her find the strength to continue to live after her loss.

Rwanda genocide

Tensions between Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups started with the Belgian colonisation in 1922. The colonisers supported the Tutsi political power and exacerbated ethnic differences between Hutu and Tutsi by introducing the compulsory use of identity cards.

After a Hutu revolution led to the 1962 declaration of independence and the establishment of the Rwanda republic, led by the MDR-Parmehutu, the country was rocked by sporadic violence between the Hutu government and Tutsi rebels.

In 1990 the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), formed by Tutsi refugees who had fled along with their families to Uganda due to ethnic violence in the previous years, invaded Rwanda, starting the Rwanda civil war.

The conflict lasted until 1994, when the genocide against the Tutsi was sparked after suspicions spread that the Tutsi had carried out an attack against the then Hutu president Juvénal Habyarimana, who died together with Burundi's President Cyprien Ntaryamira in a plane crash on 6 April 1994.