Registration of National Genocide Memorial Sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List
Through the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), the government of Rwanda initiated a process of registering Nyamata, Murambi, Bisesero and Gisozi genocide memorial sites on the list of UNESCO World Heritage List. This initiative is imperative for Rwanda and the world at large as it will help in the preservation of the memory of the genocide against the Tutsi today and the generations to come. It will also contribute in fighting against genocide and its ideology through educating those who visit the memorials and the evidence of the brutality with which the genocide was committed. It is also a way of honoring the victims and preserving memory so that what happened doesn’t repeat in Rwanda and anywhere in the world.
The following are the genocide memorials that have been nominated for registration:
1. Nyamata Genocide Memorial Site
Nyamata Genocide Memorial is located in Bugesera district in the Eastern Province and it was a Catholic Church Parish before and during the genocide. Though churches were regarded as sacred hence whoever takes refuge there his/her safety guaranteed, this changed during genocide whereby Nyamata and other churches across the country turned into slaughter houses for Tutsi victims. At Nyamata memorial site alone, more than forty thousand victims of genocide are laid to rest.
2. Murambi Genocide Memorial Site
Murambi genocide memorial site is located in Nyamagabe district in the Southern Province. The memorial site is a former technical school which was under construction. During the genocide, Tutsis in former Gikongoro and surrounding areas were urged by security organs to gather at the school in order to ensure their safety and security. However, as it turned out, it was a strategy of bringing them together so that their killing can be carried out easily and in a short period. During the night of April 21, 1994, killers raided the area and more than forty five thousand people lost their lives.
3. Gisozi (Kigali) Genocide Memorial Center
Gisozi genocide memorial is located in Kigali City, Gasabo district. The memorial was constructed in 1999 and is the biggest in the country with more than 250,000 victims of the genocide laid to rest at the memorial. Apart from Tutsis that were killed at the current location of the memorial, other victims were taken from different location across the City of Kigali and surrounding areas to be accorded decent burial.
4. Bisesero Genocide Memorial Site
Bisesero genocide memorial site is situated in Karongi district in the Western Province. It was constructed in 1998 in order to preserve the heroic acts of Tutsis in the region for having defended themselves for more than two months against killers. After being weakened for lack of weapons and starvation, they were defeated and eventually killed. The memorial is home to more than forty five thousand victims.