The Times of Tanzania
Eastern Africa News Network, Breaking News Tanzania

Rwanda Genocide Memorial locations become World Heritage Sites

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has designated four of Rwanda’s genocide memorials as World Heritage Sites.

The sites include the Kigali Genocide Memorial in the capital city, the Murambi Genocide Memorial Center in southern Rwanda and the Nyamata Genocide Memorial in eastern Rwanda.

There is also the Bisesero Genocide Memorial in western Rwanda among the new world heritage sites.

Each of the sites bears distinctive characteristics showing the cruelty with which genocide victims were ruthlessly massacred.

UNESCO endorsed the properties at the World Heritage Committee in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The announcement comes just a month after the management of the Arusha International Conference Center (AICC) also dedicated special memorial library in reminiscence of the Rwanda Genocide and the United Nations’ tribunal that Tanzania hosted at the building.

All the same, the resting place of the more than 800,000 people killed in the 1994 Rwanda genocide was among sites in three continents added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

The sites at Nyamata, Murambi, Gisozi and Bisesero in Rwanda commemorate the mass killings of mainly the minority Tutsi victims.

They were shot, beaten or hacked to death by Hutu rebels between April and July of 1994.

The Kigali memorial site, the main one in the country, hosts the remains of 250,000 genocide victims found in the streets, houses, and mass graves in Kigali and surrounding areas.

Also, the about 45,000 people who had sought refuge in the Nyamata church in eastern Rwanda, south of Kigali, were massacred in one day.

The building was transformed into a memorial representative of other churches in which the victims of the genocide died.

The Bisesero site on the other hand commemorates the resistance led with traditional weapons including spears, machetes and sticks by Tutsi against the genocide perpetrators.

Philbert Gakwenzire, the head of Ibuka, an umbrella organization that connects the groups that aid survivors of the genocide, said the move would help enhance the preservation of the memorial sites and increase visits to the sites for people to understand the dangers of genocide.

In 2018, the United Nations General Assembly designated April 7 as the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi ethnic group, which left about 1 million people dead, mostly Tutsi and moderate Hutus, within a span of 100 days.

UNESCO has also inscribed Rwanda’s Nyungwe National Park on the World Heritage List, making it the country’s first site to attain such status.

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