In April 2004, on the tenth anniversary of the commemoration of the genocide in Rwanda, the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) of the AU passed a resolution, sponsored by Rwanda, deciding to make 7 April an annual event in the AU calendar, and also to preserve part of Alem Bekagn prison, where the New AU Conference Building has been built, as a human rights memorial, dedicated in the first instance to the victims of the Red Terror and the Rwanda Genocide.
Immediately afterward, the AU General Assembly of the African Union endorsed the PRC’s Decision to establish a permanent memorial in honour of victims of major human rights atrocities in Africa. Assembly Decision (Assembly/AU/5 (XIV) paragraph 22 (iv)) mandated the AUC to “initiate steps to build a permanent memorial to the victims of human rights violations, including genocide, within the African Union headquarters”.
The African Union Human Rights Memorial Project (AUHRM) aims to preserve the memory of mass atrocities, in recognition of past sufferings and in the interests of future peace and security. The African Union (AU) established in its Constitutive Act a commitment to continental cooperation on the basis of human rights principles, constitutionalism, and the responsibility to intervene in the case of crimes against humanity, or genocide. The AUHRM will reflect a series of grave crimes committed against Africans, including the appalling case of genocide in Rwanda.
- Honour all victims and survivors of atrocities in the spirit of Pan African Solidarity.
- Document different histories of suffering in Africa, while promoting dialogue
- Educate African youth about past atrocities on the continent and tell the stories of those who strived to resist them.
- Denounce the crimes committed by Africans against Africans
- Confront genocide, crimes against humanity and human rights abuses in Africa and contribute to creating a human rights culture in Africa.