rwanda eng

Rwanda Genocide | World History | Free PDF Download

banner-new-1

BACKGROUND

  • The earliest inhabitants of what is now Rwanda were the huntergatherers who settled in the area between 8000 BC and 3000 BC and remain in Rwanda today.
  • Between 700 BC and 1500 AD, a number of Bantu groups migrated into Rwanda, and began to clear forest land as a way to gain space for agriculture.
  • The Hutu and Tutsi distinction arose later and was not a racial one, but principally a class or caste distinction in which the Tutsi herded cattle while the Hutu farmed the land. The Hutu, Tutsi and Twa of Rwanda share a common language and are collectively known as the Banyarwanda.
  • By 1700, the Kingdom of Rwanda, ruled by the Tutsi Nyiginya clan, became the dominant kingdom from the mid-eighteenth century,expanding through a process of conquest and assimilation, and achieving its greatest extent under the reign of King Kigeli Rwabugiri in 1853–1895.

BACKGROUND

  • Rwabugiri expanded the kingdom west and north, and initiated administrative reforms which caused a rift to grow between the Hutu and Tutsi populations.
  • Rwanda and neighbouring Burundi were assigned to Germany by the Berlin Conference of 1884, and Germany established a presence in the country in 1897 with the formation of an alliance with the king.
  • German policy was to rule the country through the Rwandan monarchy; this system had the added benefit of enabling colonization with small European troop numbers.
  • The colonists favoured the Tutsi over the Hutu when assigning administrative roles, believing them to be migrants from Ethiopia and racially superior. The Rwandan king welcomed the Germans, using their military strength to widen his rule.Belgian forces took control of Rwanda and Burundi during World War I, and from 1926 began a policy of more direct colonial rule.

 REVOLUTION

  • After World War II, a Hutu emancipation movement began to grow in Rwanda, fuelled by increasing resentment of the inter-war social reforms, and also an increasing sympathy for the Hutu within the Catholic Church.
  • Catholic missionaries increasingly viewed themselves as responsible for empowering the underprivileged Hutu rather than the Tutsi elite, leading rapidly to the formation of a sizeable Hutu clergy and educated elite that provided a new counterbalance to the established political order.
  • The monarchy and prominent Tutsi sensed the growing influence of the Hutu and began to agitate for immediate independence on their own terms. Hutu activists responded by killing Tutsi, both the elite and ordinary civilians, marking the beginning of the Rwandan Revolution.

REVOLUTION

  • The Tutsi responded with attacks of their own, but by this stage the Hutu had full backing from the Belgian administration who wanted to overturn the Tutsi domination.In early 1960, the Belgians replaced most Tutsi chiefs with Hutu and organised mid-year commune elections which returned an overwhelming Hutu majority
  • The king was deposed, a Hutu dominated republic created, and the country became independent in 1962.As the revolution progressed, Tutsi began leaving the country to escape the Hutu purges, settling in the four neighbouring countries: Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania and Zaire.
  • By 1964, more than 300,000 Tutsi had fled, and were forced to remain in exile for the next three decades. Pro-Hutu discrimination continued in Rwanda itself, although the indiscriminate violence against the Tutsi did decrease somewhat following a coup in 1973, which brought President Juvenal Habyarimana to power.

RWANDAN CIVIL WAR

  • By 1980s, a group of 500 Rwandan refugees in Uganda, led by Fred Rwigyema, fought with the rebel National Resistance Army (NRA) in the Ugandan Bush War, which saw Yoweri Museveni overthrow Milton Obote.
  • These soldiers remained in the Ugandan army following Museveni’s inauguration as Ugandan president, but simultaneously began planning an invasion of Rwanda through a covert network within the army’s ranks.
  • In October 1990, Rwigyema led a force of over 4,000 rebels from Uganda, advancing 60 km into Rwanda under the banner of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).
  • Rwigyema was killed on the third day of the attack, and France and Zaire deployed forces in support of the Rwandan army, allowing them to repel the invasion.
  • Rwigyema’s deputy, Paul Kagame, took command of the RPF forces, organising a tactical retreat through Uganda to the Virunga Mountains, a rugged area of northern Rwanda.

 RWANDAN CIVIL WAR

  • In June 1992, following the formation of a multiparty coalition government in Kigali, the RPF announced a ceasefire and began negotiations with the Rwandan government in Arusha, Tanzania.
  • In early 1993, several extremist Hutu groups formed and began campaigns of large scale violence against the Tutsi. The RPF responded by suspending peace talks and launching a major attack, gaining a large swathe of land across the north of the country.
  • Peace negotiations eventually resumed in Arusha; the resulting set of agreements, known as the Arusha Accords, were signed in August 1993.
  • The United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), a peacekeeping force, arrived in the country and the RPF were given a base in the national parliament building in Kigali, for use during the setting up of the BBTG

 BEGINNING

  • In March 1993, the Hutu Power began compiling lists of “traitors” whom they planned to kill, and it is possible that Habyarimana’s name was on these lists.
  • Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLMC), which broadcast racist propaganda, obscene jokes and music, becoming very popular throughout the country.
  • During 1993, the hardliners imported machetes on a scale far larger than what was required for agriculture, as well as other tools which could be used as weapons, such as razor blades, saws and scissors. These tools were distributed around the country, ostensibly as part of the civil defence network.
  • In October 1993, the President of Burundi, Melchior Ndadaye, who had been elected in June as the country’s first ever Hutu president, was assassinated by extremist Tutsi army officers.

BEGINNING

  • On 11 January 1994, General Romeo Dallaire, commander of UNAMIR, sent his “Genocide Fax” to UN Headquarters.
  • The fax stated that Dallaire was in contact with a high level informant who told him of plans to distribute weapons to Hutu militias to kill Belgian members of UNAMIR in order to guarantee Belgian withdrawal.
  • The informant, a local politician, had been ordered to register all Tutsis in Kigali with an example that they could kill up to 1,000 Tutsis in 20 minutes, leading to the extermination of the Tutsis.
  • Dallaire requested permission for the protection of the informant and his family. Kofi Annan repeatedly forbade the operation until guidance was received from headquarters.

 GENOCIDE

  • On April 6, 1994, the aeroplane carrying Rwandan President Juvén Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira, the Hutu president of Burundi, was shot down as it prepared to land in Kigali, killing everyone on board.
  • Responsibility for the attack was disputed, with both the RPF and Hutu extremists being blamed. Despite disagreements about the perpetrators, many observers believe the attack and deaths of the two Hutu presidents served as the catalyst for the genocide.
  • Following Habyarimana’s death, on the evening of 6 April, a crisis committee was formed,Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana was legally next in the line of political succession, but the committee refused to recognise her authority.

 GENOCIDE

  • The large scale killing of Tutsi on the grounds of ethnicity began within a few hours of Habyarimana’s death. The killing spread to Ruhengeri, Kibuye, Kigali, Kibungo, Gikongoro and Cyangugu provinces on 7 April.
  • In rural areas, the local government hierarchy was also in most cases the chain of command for the execution of the genocide. The governor of each province, acting on orders from Kigali, disseminated instructions to the district leaders who in turn issued directions to the leaders of the sectors, cells and villages within their districts.
  • During the remainder of April and early May, the Presidential Guard, gendarmerie and the youth militia, aided by local populations, continued killing at a very high rate.Gerard Prunier estimates that during the first six weeks, up to 800,000 Rwandans may have been murdered.

 GENOCIDE

  • killings continued throughout May and June, although they became increasingly low-key and sporadic. most Tutsi were already dead, and the interim government wished to rein in the growing anarchy and engage the population in fighting the RPF.
  • Out of a population of 7.3 million people, 84% of whom were Hutu, 15% Tutsi and 1% Twa, the official figures published by the Rwandan government estimated the number of victims of the genocide to be 1,070,014 in 100 days.
  • It is estimated that about 300,000 Tutsi survived the genocide. Thousands of widows, many of whom were subjected to rape, are now HIV-positive. There were about 400,000 orphans and nearly 85,000 of them were forced to become heads of families. It is estimated by some experts that between 250,000 and 500,000 women were raped during the genocide

Indian History | Free PDF

banner-new-1