Reviewing Rwanda and the Genocide of 1994

Rwanda, the Land of a Thousand Hills, is located in central Africa. Rwanda has a population of 11,055,976; with 84% of the population Hutu, 15% Tutsi, and 1% Twa. Over half of the population is Roman Catholic.

Hutus and Tutsis in the 15th century lived in independent cooperation, under a system controlled by the Tutsi King. Hutus were farmers and the Tutsis raised cattle. Under this system, Hutu farmers were given cattle and land to farm for their allegiance to the king. Although, both groups had many things in common, the Tutsi were considered elite and had advantages over the Hutus.

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Belgian’s Colonization

  • During World War I the country is occupied,  then colonized by Belgian
  • The country is named Ruanda-Urundi
  • Over time, Belgium instigates power struggle between Hutus and Tutsis
  • Civil war breaks out
  • Over 180,000 Tutsis are exiled

On July 1, 1962, Ruanda-Urundi became the independent nation of Rwanda. For a brief period there was peace and progress. In 1973, the military took power. Discontent stirred among the exiled Tutsi Rwandans. In 1990, under the name of Rwanda Patriotic Force (RPF), the exiled Tutsis demanded rights for an estimated 500,000 Tutsis living in Diaspora globally.

Response to the Demands

Cease fire and peace talks were scheduled. On April 6, 1994, military and militia groups began rounding up and killing all Tutsi and political moderates. The killing spree continued for two months.

  • Over 800,000 Tutsis and Moderate Hutus were killed.
  • Two million Tutsis fled to Zaire (the Democratic Republic of Congo), Tanzania, and Bun.
  • One million became part of the global Diaspora

The genocide ended on July 16, 1994 when the RPF gained control. Since the genocide, democracy in economic, political, and judicial institutions has become Rwanda’s priority to ensure the end to the war crimes that occurred.

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