The AU Human Rights Memorial Project
The Interim Board
In collaboration with the AU, a technical group of experts, representatives of the AU Commission, permanent members to the AU (Ethiopia, Rwanda and South Africa), academics, members of survivor groups, museums, memorial centres, civil society and donor organisations met in Addis Ababa on 4-5 November 2011 and decided that an Interim Board be established with authority over the Memorial and related events.
Members of the Interim Board include:
1. Professor Andreas Eshete (Chair)
2. Three representatives from the AU Commission, including Office of the Chairperson, Dept. of Political Affairs and Dept. of Peace and Security
3. Members of Permanent Representatives to the African Union: Ethiopia, Rwanda and South Africa
4. Survivors group: Ethiopian Red Terror survivors and Rwanda survivors
5. Memorial museums: three to be decided by consultation, to include Aegis Trust (Rwanda) and Maison des Esclaves (Senegal) and Sites of Conscience
6. Civil Society: Justice Africa, InterAfrica Group and Red Terror Research and Documentation Centre
7. Donor Organisation: Japanese International Corporation Agency (JICA)
The Interim Board is led by Chairperson Professor Andreas Eshete, former President of Addis Ababa University. Professor Eshete, graduate of Yale University, is a Law and Philosophy professor. He is currently chair for the African Institute for Democratic Deliberation and Action; UNESCO Chair for Human Rights, Peace and Democracy at Addis Ababa University and the advisor to the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Professor Eshete expressed his expectations and future plans for the Interim Board as follows:
‘I expect the interim board to shepherd the execution of the AU Human Rights Memorial with special attention for certain concerns, among them: to make sure sites of grave violations on the new AU grounds are demarcated and preserved; to secure free public access to the memorial; to see that this is not merely a memorial of man’s inhumanity to man but one with a particular focus on African citizens victimised by belligerent states; if possible, it would be good to set aside days when the memorial is reserved for visits by schoolchildren, a step that would also serve to introduce the AU to youth.’
The responsibility that the AU and Professor Eshete, together with his team, have assumed is not only extensive but also very essential. The Interim Board is conscious that the creation of the Memorial is to provide visitors with an opportunity to reflect upon the impact genocide had in shaping the demography, history, culture, and environment of the African continent.