The National Commission for the fight against Genocide (CNLG) and the International Coalition of sites of Conscience (ICSC) are carrying out a joint assessment exercise to ascertain the level of compliance by Genocide memorial sites bidding to be added on world heritage list.
At least four Genocide memorials are expected to be included on UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, which the commission says will, among other benefits, raise global awareness of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The sites are Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Gisozi, Nyamata Genocide Memorial site in Bugesera District, Murambi memorial centre in Nyamagabe District, and Bisesero Genocide memorial in Karongi District.
A consultative meeting, that started on Monday in Kigali, is part of the efforts to meet the UNESCO requirements to make the list of the world heritage sites.
Rwanda is working around the clock to ensure the sites are listed by the end of next year, officials said.
The consultations will also cover the level of engagement of communities living around the memorial sites to make sure they are on board and are contributing towards preservation of these sites.
Lobbying through networking
Sports and Culture minister Julienne Uwacu, who opened the four-day conference, said this was one way of making use of networks such as the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience to ensure the accreditation process is successful.
“Rwanda is dedicated to keep alive the memory of the Genocide against the Tutsi. The listing (by UNESCO) is needed so that future generations can know about the history of the Genocide and work to ensure it does not happen again, be it in Rwanda or elsewhere,” she said.
“With all means available to us, we will continue to make every effort to preserve its memory for its present and future generations.”
Uwacu said the sites have diverse functions, including education.
“It is on these sites that Genocide survivors, Rwandans and friends come and meditate about our history. It is also on these sites of memory that we keep the material and other evidence related to the Genocide,” the minister said.
Dr Jean Damascene Bizimana, the executive secretary of CNLG, said, throughout the workshop, Rwanda would learn from expertise of other countries that have their memorial sites on the list of world heritage.
He said the discussions will help Rwanda to fast-track the steps to list the four memorials of the Genocide against the Tutsi on the list.
Elizabeth Silkes, the executive director of ICSC, said they are interested in the requirements assessment so that once the sites are listed on the world heritage, they can be used as teaching tools to the people of the world.
Some of the world sites on the world heritage list include one on slave trade, the site of the Holocaust and the prison in Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was detained for opposing apartheid in South Africa.
Currently, there are 1,052 sites listed on UNESCO world heritage.