UNESCO considering World Heritage status for genocide sites in Rwanda – Africa
Rwanda News-29 Sept 2012: Four of Rwanda’s largest memorial sites for the 1994 genocide against Tutsis have been recently suggested for consideration to be granted the UNESCO World Heritage status. According to The Ministry of Culture in Rwanda, a document was submitted to the UN agency on June 15 asking it to look into giving global status to the Rwandan Genocide sites notably Gisozi in Kigali, Nyamata in Bugesera found in Eastern Province, Bisesero genocide site in western Rwanda and Murambi genocide museum in the South.
Rwanda’s Ministry of culture has revealed that, they have now established from government sources that UNESCO wrote back to them on September 21 with indication that the process for consideration had been launched. The four genocide museums have been placed the tentative list, suggesting there are high chances they could be selected and added on UNESCO’s list of world Heritage sites. Many tourists on Rwanda gorilla safari are very much interested in visiting these sites and knowing what exactly happened before, during and after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. For instance, the Gizozi genocide museum / site is famously known globally as the Kigali genocide Memorial site where some 300,000 victims are laid to rest. Last year, over 42,000 foreigners visited the site from different parts of the world.
The Mutambi genocide site in Southern Rwanda where French troops based there splashed lime into mass graves where about 45,000 Tutsis were dumped. Murambi genocide museum was a technical school that turned into a slaughter ground. All these are typical evidence for the genocide and are must see destinations in Rwanda Africa. By the time Murambi site was redeveloped recently, the bodies had not decomposed. At the moment, the remains of full human structures are visible for all visitors who combine Rwanda gorilla tour with genocide museums. Genocide survivors of the Murambi massacres report that French soldiers played volleyball on the mass graves.
As for Nyamata genocide site, situated about 30km outside Kigali city, is where over 30,000 Tutsis were left for dead by genocide militias using bombs, guns and machetes. Before the Nyamata massacres, this was a catholic church. But within a few days, the tens of thousands that had sought refuge there were no more!! Inside the Nyamata complex, there are cloths of the victims and many other personal belongings – all of which show human brutality, mass rape, brutalization of women and the use of HIV as a deliberate weapon of genocide.
The Bisesero site on the other hand is found in western Rwanda, this is where at least 30,000 victims perished. Tens of thousands of Tutsis sought refuge at this location because it was up in the hills believing they had escaped the militia. But unfortunately, they ended up being massacred from where they expected to be safe! They were regularly attacked by thousand of interahamwe with reinforcements from the French military based in the area at the time. Despite fighting back with stones and sticks, they could not hold back the fire power of the government militia forces.
All the above are must see sites while on your Rwanda gorilla safari and therefore qualify to be UNESCO world heritage sites. Many visitors on gorilla tracking in Rwanda want to combine their trip with a visit to any of the genocide museums on Rwanda and to know the history of the country. At all the genocide museums, there are survivors of the genocide employed to give you first hand information of what happened before, during and after the genocide. You will know true causes and effects of the genocide as well as the forces / countries that took part in the massacres.