The Aegis Trust, which runs the Kigali Genocide Memorial at Gisozi on behalf of Rwanda’s Ministry of National Unity & Civic Engagement, has warmly welcomed designation of the Memorial as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee at its 45th session today, along with the genocide memorial sites at Nyamata, Murambi and Bisesero.
“Designation as a World Heritage Site recognises the Kigali Genocide Memorial as a place of outstanding value to humanity and an irreplaceable source of inspiration,” says Memorial Director and Aegis Trust CEO Freddy Mutanguha. “We are honoured by this recognition, which acknowledges the memory of the 250,000 victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi who are buried here, and the role the Memorial plays through education in building sustainable peace for the future.”
“As UNESCO’s constitution states, ‘since wars begin in the minds of men and women, it is in the minds of men and women that the defences of peace must be constructed’,” says Aegis Trust founder Dr James Smith. “No World Heritage Site could be more focussed on addressing that challenge than the Kigali Genocide Memorial.”
UNESCO Secretary General Audrey Azoulay visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial on 5th September, touring its permanent exhibitions and laying a wreath at the mass graves. “This memorial does incredible work,” Azoulay commented, “first in preserving the memory of victims, but it also shows the mechanisms which led to this universal tragedy.”