There is need for selected Genocide memorials in Rwanda to be included on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, to educate the world about the country’s history which can help prevent similar atrocities worldwide.
The Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, said this yesterday while visiting Kigali Genocide Memorial to pay respect to victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Rwanda asked UNESCO to include four Genocide memorial sites on its world heritage list.
The Government hopes it will have met all the requirements by 2018.
The sites are Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Gisozi, Ntarama Genocide Memorial in Bugesera District, Murambi Genocide Memorial in Nyamagabe District, and Bisesero Genocide Memorial in Karongi District.
“I am following this closely; I know there is a final proposal (about the request to include memorial sites on world heritage list). It is up to the experts to decide and a committee will say its final word but I do believe it is very important,” she said after touring the memorial.
Bokova said that, while there is criteria to follow, to include a memorial site on the list a World Heritage Committee will assess whether the memorial sites meet the requirements.
She said that once the memorial sites are included on the World Heritage Sites, it will help better document what happened in Rwanda and help the current and future generations learn about the tragic history and ensure that it is never repeated anywhere.
After the tour, Bokova said she was moved by what happened in Rwanda but hailed the country’s reconciliation path and recovery process.
“Of course, I am deeply moved, you cannot visit this memorial without thinking not just about what happened here but rather what were the reasons,” she saidd.
She said UNESCO developed solid education programme covering about holocaust, and the Genocide in Rwanda among others.
In the visitors’ book, Bokova expressed UNESCO’s commitment to support the people of Rwanda in their struggle for truth and justice.