17 October 2018

Rwanda: Efforts to Put Genocide Memorial Sites on Unesco Heritage List to Conclude This Year

The Government will this fiscal year hand in its final file to have four of the country's Genocide memorial sites included on UNESCO World Heritage List, the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) has said.

Tabling the commission's activity report for the 2017/18 fiscal year and projections for the coming year before parliament, the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners in CNLG, Dr Emmanuel Havugimana, said that the process, which has been ongoing since January this year will see the Genocide Memorial Sites of Nyamata, Murambi, Bisesero and Gisozi added to the highly sought-after global heritage list.

"In the 2017/2018 period, as part of the registration process, we worked further on the documents, improving the content concerning the management and conservation of the sites based on the advice from UNESCO," he said.

Havugimana also said that to publicise and seek support, CNLG attended a meeting that brought together representatives from UNESCO-member countries in Manama, Bahrain where issues surrounding the quest to have a heritage site was registered.

Tentative list

CNLG's Executive Secretary Damascène Bizimana told the Senate recently that the sites are currently on the 'Tentative List' of the natural, cultural and mixed world heritage sites.

"We have no doubt that these four sites will be permanently registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List but one of the things we need to look into is how we'll preserve their uniqueness," he said.

A team of UNESCO officials arrived in the country in April to examine the status of the sites and also joined Rwandans during the commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi.

The team recommended that memorial sites' buffer zones are clearly demarcated and ensuring that development master plans do not tamper with the sites' maps.

The UN agency also raised concerns over the "validity" of Kigali and Bisesero Genocide memorial sites which were constructed after the Genocide, unlike Murambi and Nyamata whose pre-Genocide structures remain intact.


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