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Rwanda 20 Year Memorial Timeline

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Senan Downes

on 15 March 2016

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Transcript of Rwanda 20 Year Memorial Timeline

Return of Refugees

Country Factsheet 1994
Pre Conflict Post Conflict

Population: 7.5 million 5.2 million

% of People living in Poverty: 53 % 77 %

% of female-headed households: 21 % 34-50 %

The 1994 genocide and war lead to the emergence of child-headed households. By 1997, there were an estimated 85,000 households headed by children, averaging 4-5 children per household.
System / Services Support
Shortly after the genocide Trócaire began working on refurbishing schools, establishing credit schemes for rural women, supporting widows and orphans, rebuilding homes, and rehabilitating local agriculture. A Trócaire emergency team worked hard to meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of refugees who returned home from Zaire and Tanzania. This included food and tools distribution, healthcare, and sanitation. Trócaire also led two major seed distributions in five communes in Gikongoro in October 1994 and January 1995. Maize, beans, vegetables and hoes were distributed to over 40,000 families on each occasion. Other projects supported by Trócaire involved income generation activities and leadership training for women, training in conflict resolution for refugees, as well as the production of radio and theatre plays promoting peace.

In addition to supporting agricultural rehabilitation at local levels through the provision of material and other support to genocide survivors, Trócaire also directly assisted the Rwandan Ministry of Agriculture in support of their national rehabilitation programme. In fact Trócaire provided direct support to a number of Government Ministries with the payment of salaries, the funding of training courses in Ireland and Rwanda, and the provision of vehicles.
Trauma/ Healing Support

After the genocide many Rwandans displayed symptoms of post-traumatic stress: depression, apathy, hyper-vigilance, sleep disturbances, mood swings, anxiety, and avoidance behaviour. Women and children were the most in need of counselling – the most vulnerable of whom were women that had been raped or lost husbands and children.

Trócaire’s Trauma and Rehabilitation Programme responded to the needs of many Rwandans who were suffering deep psychological scars through psycho-social counselling and therapy. The programme was initially ran by a group of Rwandan women who had a background in nursing and social work, but eventually expanded through the training of other counsellors. Advertising raised awareness throughout Rwanda of the one-to-one counselling offered by trained personnel across the country. In addition, Trócaire provided an opportunity for reconciliation, peacebuilding and healing, where people could meet and talk in a supportive environment. This approach was a first for Trócaire, combining Irish expertise with Rwandan culture and skills in what became a model programme. Today, ARCT-RUHUKA (the Rwandan Association of Trauma Counsellors), originally established by Trócaire, remains a leading NGO in Rwanda.
Governance and Human Rights
One of the underlying causes behind conflict in Rwanda has been population pressure upon finite, limited resources - notably land, compounded by deep seated ethnic divisions. Since 2006, a key strategy of Trócaire has been to help reduce the pressure on land in Rwanda through the maximisation of agricultural production (and the value secured by producers) as well as the promotion of alternative, rural income generating activities, based on easily accessible micro-finance services. In fact as part of a broader national strategy to reduce rural poverty in Rwanda, micro-finance has been identified as a tool for improving access to financial services, promoting rural entrepreneurship (including co-operatives) and improving rural livelihood security.

The goal of Trócaire’s current Livelihoods Programme in Rwanda (since 2013) is to ensure the poor and vulnerable in eight target districts receive greater returns from their farm and off farm activities, enhance their food security and their ability to meet basic household needs. By 2018 Trócaire aims to help improve the food security of 21,053 vulnerable female and male famers and to increase household income for 68,996 poor women and men in Rwanda. The strategy to achieve this involves maximising the returns from agricultural activities and throughout the production, processing and sales processes.
Civil Society Development and Peace Building

From 2006, much of Trócaire’s civil society engagement focused on improving civil society performance and capacity, and the promotion of human rights. Partner organisations in Rwanda began advocacy on important national issues such as democratisation, HIV/ AIDS, poverty reduction and peace building. Human rights projects increased women’s access to justice, and genocide trial monitoring contributed to promoting fair, transparent and equitable judgements. An important goal of Trócaire’s civil society work was to help develop some level of cohesion among various stakeholders in an emerging, but difficult civil society environment. Trócaire continued to support trauma healing services, helping to rebuild hope, confidence, and a spirit of reconciliation among communities. In addition Trócaire supported Rwandans to manage conflicts and pursue opportunities for peaceful co-existence through sensitisation on rights and responsibilities, as well as facilitating conflict mediation.
In November 2009, Rwanda is admitted as the 54th member of the commonwealth. In doing so, Rwanda became only the second country to be admitted without a British colonial past or constitutional link to Britain.
Security Council
In October 2012, the United Nations General Assembly elected Rwanda to one of five rotational seats on the UN Security Council for the term 2013-14. Rwanda was the only African country running for one of five rotating seats in the 15-member council and secured 143 votes from among the 193 member states of the General Assembly. It was 20 years since the last Rwandan government, those who were responsible for the genocide, held a seat on the Security Council.
Busan Conference & Aid effectiveness
At the 2011 Busan conference on aid effectiveness, Rwanda emerged as a leading voice in pushing for greater transparency, greater monetary control for recipient countries and ending tied aid. At a follow-up meeting to the Busan conference on aid effectiveness, participants agreed on 10 indicators put forward by the UK and Rwanda, which provided the basis for a global monitoring framework for development assistance.
Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy
In 2008, Rwanda commenced the implementation of the second-generation poverty reduction strategy termed the ‘Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy’ (EDPRS). While the project was multifaceted, the overall objective of the EDPRS was to reduce the share of the population living below the national poverty line from 56.9% in 2005 to 46% in 2013. This overall goal was achieved ahead of schedule in 2011.
Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy II
In September 2013, the Rwandan government launched the second phase of the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy’ (EDPRS II), with the core focus on improving the quality of life for all Rwandans and moving the country from low income to a middle income economy. The programme will run for five years and end in 2018. Amongst others, the goal of EDPRS II is to further reduce the percentage of people living below the national poverty line from 45% to 30%.
Parliamentary Elections 2013
In September 2013, Rwanda held its third parliamentary elections. The RPF, with seemingly unrivalled political supremacy, claimed a resounding victory. Women’s participation continued to increase, with 64% of the seats won by women. Again, observers note that opposition parties, who do not align themselves with the RPF, are unable to operate.

A number of organisations accuse the Rwandan government of using vaguely worded laws on “genocide ideology” and “sectarianism”, to criminalise legitimate opposition and criticism of the government. Opposition party leaders accused of “divisionism” are imprisoned, while other members of their parties claim to have been threatened.
20 years after the genocide of the Tutsi, Rwandan Defence Forces are actively engaged in peacekeeping duties with an African-led mission in the Central African Republic (CAR), in a brutal ethnic/sectarian conflict, which echoes that of the one in Rwanda.

On the 17th of February, Rwandan troops found themselves fighting off militias while escorting members of a displaced Muslim population who were fleeing to Cameroon. Once again, in CAR, the international response from the west and U.N. Agencies has been slow and underwhelming. In addition to their work in CAR, Rwanda has also previously sent peacekeepers to Darfur, South Sudan, Haiti and Mali.

In September 2008, Rwanda held its second parliamentary elections. President Kagame's Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) wins with a large majority. In this election, Rwandan women took the majority of the seats, with 56.2% of the vote, and the Assembly elected the first female speaker of Parliament in October 2008. However once again, observers note the lack of political space for any meaningful opposition. Indeed, some organisations even accuse the Rwandan government of inflating the percentage of opposition to give the impression that the election was more competitive than is really was.
Support to Ministry of Justice
While post-genocide justice and reconciliation was a pressing issue in Rwanda, the justice system was ill-prepared to deal with the scale of the challenge. In response to this situation, Trócaire supported the training of legal counsellors and judicial defenders, and provided logistical support to the Ministry of Justice as well as the Gacaca community trials.

Trócaire also provided legal aid to assist genocide survivors and those accused of genocide crimes. In this way Trócaire helped to facilitate the release of over 22,000 prisoners and the completion of over 8,300 genocide related trials. As part of Trócaire’s justice programme a number of Justice Working Groups were established in local areas. These groups were charged with making decisions about funding priorities and distributing Trócaire funds.
Sustainable Livelihood Development
Moving to a Partnership Approach
Trócaire’s humanitarian intervention was carried out as a first step in the transition to a long-term development model of partnership in Rwanda. The period 2001-2002 was characterised by a complete move to the new partnership approach under four major programmes:
• Civil Society
• Food Security
• Integrated Rural Development
• Support to the Traditional Justice System

A number of Trócaire’s partners had emerged and developed from within Trócaire’s humanitarian intervention phase in Rwanda. By 2002-2003, Trócaire had approximately 50 partner organisations in the country. Around 15 of these had been established by Trócaire itself.

While Trócaire’s official rationale for moving to a partnership approach in Rwanda was one of strategy and a desire to return to the organisation’s operational roots, deteriorating security in many parts of the country also played a significant role in the decision.

Interestingly, Trócaire was relatively well regarded by the authorities in Rwanda. A major reason for this was the fact that Trócaire did not directly operate in the refugee camps in Eastern Zaire, where many of the Hutu militia fled following the genocide. Other INGOs that had chosen to work in the refugee camps fell out of favour with the Rwandan authorities, and as a result many organisations could no longer operate in Rwanda.
Humanitarian Response
Trócaire took a three layered approach to the genocide in Rwanda – meeting emergency needs, setting up a rehabilitation programme and active lobbying at home on the crisis. It is important to note that the scale of the emergency, and the severity of its impact on Rwandan civil society, was such that Trócaire decided to depart from its partnership-only way of working.

In the south-west of the country, Trócaire worked with Medical Missionaries of Mary to provide emergency healthcare. Trócaire’s health centre at Cyanika treated up to 2,000 people per day, and as needs grew, Trócaire’s work expanded to provide water and sanitation, education services and agricultural inputs such as seeds and tools.

Trócaire also responded to the needs of refugees who had fled the country and provided emergency grants, food, shelter and medicines to Caritas in Zaire, to the Diocese of Mbarara in Uganda, to the Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service in Tanzania and Caritas in Burundi. Many local organisations and government departments whose infrastructure had been destroyed approached Trócaire and received support.

At the height of the crisis, Trócaire had a team of 25 experienced volunteers from Ireland and several hundred local Rwandan staff working on the ground. Trócaire made a special appeal on behalf of the victims of the genocide, and in less than a month, IR£6.54 million (approximately €8.25 million in today’s terms) was donated by the people of Ireland in an exceptionally generous act of solidarity.

It is estimated that more than 250,000 Rwandan women and girls were victims of some form of sexual violence, and that 66% of women who were raped have tested positive for HIV and AIDS. According to witnesses, many women were killed immediately after being raped.

Countless women managed to survive, only to be told that they were being allowed to live so that they would "die of sadness." The militiamen would force women to submit sexually with threats that they would be killed if they refused. These forced "marriages", as this form of sexual slavery is often called in Rwanda, lasted for anywhere from a few days to the duration of the genocide, and in some cases longer.

Gacaca Courts
Country Factsheet 2012
Population: 10.5 million

Population Density (people per sq. km): 451

Life expectancy: 55.7 years

% of People living in Poverty: 44.9%

% of female-headed households: 32.1%

No. of children living in child-headed households: 100,000

% of the population under 15: 42.3%

% of the population over 65: 2.5%
In November 1994, the United Nations Security Council, recognising that serious violations of humanitarian law were committed in Rwanda, and acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, created the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The ICTR was established for the prosecution of persons responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of Rwanda between the 1st of January 1994 and the 31st of December 1994. The court may also deal with the prosecution of Rwandan citizens responsible for genocide and other such violations of international law committed in the territory of neighbouring States during the same period.

In October 1998, the ICTR delivered its first judgement, convicting Jean Paul Akayesu of genocide and crimes against humanity for his role in the April-July 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. Akayesu was sentenced to life imprisonment. With the judgment in Prosecutor v. Jean-Paul Akayesu, the ICTR became the first international criminal tribunal to define rape as an act of genocide and to find an individual guilty of genocide on the basis, inter alia, of acts of rape and sexual violence.
While some refugees returned to Rwanda as early as July 1994, for many of those displaced, it took several years for them to return to Rwanda, and indeed some have never returned. Those who fled to Zaire became entangled in active war, as yet again the international community stood by. In eastern Zaire, the Hutu militias had effectively taken control of the camps. Acting like a virtual government in exile, the militias trafficked in arms, diverted international aid to the black market for buying weapons and conscripted refugees to mount increasingly fierce attacks across the border into Rwanda. These militias would eventually evolve into the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FLDLR), who continue to carry out attacks both in eastern DRC and across the border in Rwanda.

The 1994 genocide and the later removal of the genocidal government the same year by the RPF, provoked a mass exodus of over two million people from the country. By late August 1994, UNHCR estimated that there were over two million refugees in neighbouring countries, including some 1.2 million in Zaire, 580,000 in Tanzania, 350,000 in Burundi and 10,000 in Uganda.

Additionally, it was estimated, that a further 1.5 million, were internally displaced. The conditions in the refugee camps, especially those in eastern Zaire, were totally inadequate and under-equipped, with water resources, infrastructure and medical facilities stretched to breaking point. Cholera and other diseases broke out in the camps, killing tens of thousands, before being brought under control.

The Rwandan civil war that erupted in October 1990, culminated between April and July 1994, when Rwanda experienced the darkest and most brutal period of violence in its history. On the 6th of April, 1994, President Juvénal Habyarimana was returning from peace negotiations in Tanzania with the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), a rebel group consisting mainly of Rwandan Tutsi refugees in Uganda, when the plane in which he was travelling was shot down over Kigali by unknown assailants. All on board were killed.
Within hours, Hutu extremists seized control of the government and military and began executing the political elite who might oppose their plans. Assisted by tens of thousands of soldiers, local militia, and ordinary citizens, the extremists launched a three-month nation-wide genocidal campaign to wipe out the country's minority Tutsi population. At least 800,000 Tutsi and thousands of moderate Hutu were killed in seemingly well planned attacks, while the world looked on.
In the lead up to the event, the international community ignored all the warning signs, and whilst the genocide was unfolding, they failed to act, becoming witnesses to the atrocity. In January 1994, the U.N. denied a request for additional troops from General Romeo Dallaire, head of the peacekeeping operation in Rwanda, after he learned that a plan for genocide was in place. A previous failed mission in Somalia in October 1993, which led to the death of 18 U.S. soldiers, had left little enthusiasm amongst the U.S and others for more foreign intervention. On April 21, two weeks after the murder of 10 Belgium soldiers, who part of the UNAMIR peacekeeping mission, the Security Council voted unanimously to withdraw most of the UNAMIR troops, cutting the force from 2,500 to 270. The atrocities continued.
Meanwhile, the advancing RPF began taking over parts of the country. By mid-July, the RPF had ended the genocide, seizing control of Kigali and the rest of the country. Hutu militias fled to Zaire, while around 1.5 million Hutu, fearing vengeance on the part of the oncoming RPF, fled to the neighboring countries.
Within a few months of the genocide, Rwandan prisons were bursting at the seams with genocide suspects. By October 1994, an estimated 58,000 persons were detained in prison space intended for 12,000, and by 1998, the number of prisoners had increased to 130,000. Consequently, the conditions in the prisons were utterly inhumane, and resulted in the deaths of thousands of detainees. Conventional courts began trying genocide cases in December 1996, but had only managed to try 1,292 genocide suspects by 1998. At such a rate, genocide trials would have continued for more than a century, leaving many suspects behind bars awaiting trial for years and even decades.
Prison Overcrowding
Vision 2020
In 2000, the Government of Rwanda adopted 'Vision 2020', the development programme which primary objectives included transforming Rwanda into a middle-income country by the year 2020 and transforming Rwanda into a knowledge-based economy. The expected outcome of the vision is a united Rwanda that is competitive both regionally and globally. Since the initiation of Vision 2020, Rwanda has made significant progress towards attaining these objectives in a number of areas, including education and health care.

The vision was initially implemented through the medium term planning framework that began in 2002 with the first Poverty Reduction Strategic Plan (PRSP I). The first Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS), which covered the period of 2008-2012, and the subsequent second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II), which is currently being implemented, then followed this.

Vision 2020 highlights gender equality as a crosscutting issue, thus offering a vehicle for addressing gender-related issues including GBV. This is materialized through the NGP, meant to act as one of the tools to translate Vision 2020 into action, which is giving guidance for equality of opportunities between women and men/boys and girls in every sector.

2003 Presidential Election
Constitution 2003
The Constitution of Rwanda was adopted by referendum on May 26th 2003, replacing the older Constitution of 1991. The turnout for the referendum was 87%, with 93% voting in favour. The constitution, under Article 54, ensures that neither of the two main ethnic groups, can politically dominate the other, as it states that ‘political organisations are prohibited from basing themselves on race, ethnic group, tribe, clan, region, sex, religion or any other division which may give rise to discrimination’. Furthermore, the constitution states that ‘'a political organization holding the majority of seats in the Chamber of Deputies may not exceed 50 per cent of all the members of the Cabinet', which has allowed independents and opposition members to hold key positions in government and parliament.
However, with most opposition parties choosing to associate themselves with the Rwanda People’s Forum (RPF) rather than asserting independent positions, and the government using Article 54 of the constitution, and other legislation to accuse its rivals of “divisionism”, and thus outlawing them, several organisations have accused the RPF of effectively creating a one-party-system.
2003 Parliamentary Elections
In October 2003, Rwanda held its first multi-party parliamentary elections. Newly elected President Kagame's party, the Rwnada People’s Forum (RPF), wins absolute majority. 48.8% of the seats in Rwanda’s lower house were won by women. With this result, Rwanda ranked first among all the countries of the world in terms of the number of women elected to parliament.
During the nine-year period of post-genocide transitional government, from 1994 to 2003, women’s representation in Parliament (by appointment) reached 25.7 percent, which lead to the new constitution being very gender conscious. It was specific mechanisms designed to increase women’s political participation, which included a constitutional guarantee and a quota system, which provided women with the platform to achieve dramatic gains in the political sphere.
2008 Parliamentary Elections
Country Factsheet 2005
Population: 9 million

Population Density (people per sq. km): 350

% of People living in Poverty: 56.9%

% of female-headed households: 25%

% of children-headed households: 0.7%

% of the population under 15: 44%

 % of the population over 65: 1.5%
East Africa Community
In June 2007, Rwanda formally joined the East African Community as full members. Together with Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania, and Uganda, they form a regional intergovernmental organisation, which are seen as a leading regional economic organisation in sub-Saharan Africa.
2010 Presidential Election
In August 2010, Rwanda held its second multiparty presidential election. Paul Kagame wins with 93% of the vote, and thus secures himself a second seven year term in office. To Kagame’s supporters he is seen as a leader who has brought economic growth, stability and peace, while those who oppose Kagame see him as the head of an authoritarian regime that does not allow dissent.

Political parties that openly criticise the Rwandan Patriotic Front’s policies are prevented from taken part in the election, and independent newspapers are suspended. Indeed, many of Kagame’s critics and opposing political leaders find themselves threatened, imprisoned, exiled, and even murdered.
1994 - 2014 Timeline
By the turn of the millennium, post-genocide justice and reconciliation remained arguably the most pressing challenges facing Rwanda. As such, the Gacaca courts were established in 2001 and rolled out nationwide in 2005 to address the overload of cases in the conventional justice system and a prison crisis. In Rwandan context, or local language, Gacaca means, “judgment on the grass". Through the centuries in Rwanda, Gacaca system has been used as a method of disputes resolutions in areas like land and cattle disputes, dowry disagreements, and other crimes. In designing Gacaca for genocide-related cases, the government made significant changes to the customary model, transforming it into a more formal, state-run judicial apparatus.

The trials, which were community based and carried out in public, were based on truth telling and confessions as well as rending punishments to violators while still emphasising the need of harmony and social order. The villagers elected nine judges, who were "people of integrity", for each Gacaca court, and they had the power to impose penalties of community service up to life in prison. The court had the power to deal with major crimes including murder and assault. However, rape was still dealt with by conventional courts. In June 2012, the Gacaca community courts, which tried nearly 2 million people, were shut down, leaving behind a mixed reception. It is said that about 65% of the nearly two million people tried were found guilty.

On the 25th August 2003, nine years after the genocide, Rwanda held its first multiparty presidential election. The election, which was marred by irregularities and an extremely restrictive political space, was emphatically won by Paul Kagame with 95% of the vote. With this victory Paul Kagame secured a seven-year term in office
Peacekeeping 2014
“The killings happened in the community, the people watched it, they saw it, they know who did it, they know who didn’t do it. Then everybody has to be involved”

Interestingly, Trócaire’s civil society programming developed at the same time as Rwandan authorities began to scrutinise and challenge civil society space in the country. Freedom of speech, for example, became significantly limited, and human rights actors who were critical of the government risked being falsely accused of promoting ‘genocide ideology’. As a result of increasing tension, civil society and human rights actors, including Trócaire, were forced to programme within certain parameters that were ‘acceptable’ to the authorities. This meant that Trócaire’s civil society work became largely restricted to promoting women’s rights, improving access to local services, engaging on the government’s decentralisation process, and promoting peace and reconciliation.

Trócaire’s current Governance and Human Rights (GHR) Programme in Rwanda builds upon earlier civil society and peace building work, and has at its core the enhancement of civic participation in decision making processes, through the use of conflict sensitive approaches. Despite certain achievements and commitments in terms of democratisation and decentralisation in Rwanda, a number of core, underlying problems remain to be addressed, namely: limited civic participation; pressure on land and other resources and the related tensions and conflicts; gender inequalities; and trauma.

In this context, the aim of Trócaire’s GHR Programme is to contribute to a just and lasting development in Rwanda through the promotion of participatory and accountable governance at both local and national level. A key objective of strengthening civic participation in decision and policy making is that local development processes become increasingly ‘pro-poor’ and reflect the priority needs of vulnerable communities. Strategies to achieve this involve training community leaders, providing information to citizens on their rights, providing technical support to civil society organisations, and supporting citizens, especially the poor and marginalised, to identify and articulate local issues.
Role of Women after Genocide
Women in decision-making
As politicians, women's participation was extremely low prior to the genocide. In parliament, women's participation never rose above 17%. Within the executive branch of government, there were no women appointees until 1990, when women constituted a mere 5.26%. Today, Rwanda can be seen as a leader in gender parity in government. In 2008, women were elected to 56% of the seats in Parliament, making it the world leader in female democratic representation.

The mere presence of women in cabinet, parliament, the judiciary, and all spheres of life served as role models and also helped to develop confidence among other women. This opened up possibilities for increasing women’s role in decision making.

Examples of laws on which they worked include the inheritance law, the law on the rights of the child, and the rights of women at the place of work.

It is worth noting that the President of the Supreme Court of Rwanda and the Minister of Justice are both women, as is the Executive Secretary of the Gacaca courts.

Of the 12 judges on the Supreme Court, 5 are women giving a representation of 41.7%. Further, at the local administration level, under the decentralization arrangement, women occupy 26% of the posts on the executive councils of each province.
The 7th April 1994 reminds me an enormous number of bodies of the people killed across all places where I was staying in Remera (Kigali). It was a terrible situation and nobody was expecting to survive even one night. It was impossible to understand what was happening. Our parents, relatives and friends had been killed.
20 Years after the Genocide I thank God for the protection given to us and the Government of Rwanda for everything done to achieve the current situation which is very encouraging even if there is a long way to go.
When I go back to the situation in 1994, I have fears and sometimes I decide to close the page and to go for a prayer asking God to help me to think about the future and not the past. I use the same opportunity to ask God to protect us against any other Genocide in Rwanda and across the world.

Claire Uwineza, Office Administrator
As the 20th commemoration of genocide against the Tutsi approaches, the loss of my family is never far from my thoughts. The commemoration reminds me that I am the only survivor of my family as my both parents, five siblings, husband and other relatives were killed. Myself I faced death.

In April 1994, we were not considered human beings, our families were born to be killed and this was done without mercy.

The sorrow and pain are still fresh for some genocide survivors.

But commemoration is also an opportunity for me to look back at all that happened and truly understand why God spared my life. I feel and I am convinced that I had survived for a reason. I have to commit myself towards contributing that genocide never happens again in Rwanda and in any part of the world.

My wish is that we can all be involved in actions and attitudes that promote healing, truth, justice, understanding, peace and love.

Christine Murekatete, Project Officer/ Governance and Human Rights Programme
My recommendation is to ask to Trócaire to maintain its support to the Rwandan people especially in peace building/ reconciliation as a way to avoid any other Genocide following what happened in 1994.

Habiyakare Daniel, Gardener
The 7th April will mark the 20th Anniversary of the start of genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda. Like previous years, its difficult period when you hear or watch some cases, stories really you are shocked and feel the 1994 tragic period. The contribution and effort of everyone is needed for helping recovery, reconciliation and forgiveness.
Hope the same situation should not happen elsewhere.

Diogene Rusumbabahizi, Finance and Administration
On the 20th anniversary of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, I stand in solidarity with the victims and with those who survived.

The combination of national and international action to end impunity for the genocide in Rwanda should be considered as a priority in the development of international justice to definitely end the Genocide ideology so that it can never be happened in the world.

I also believe that reconciliation through, not only justice but also, poverty reduction should be a key strategy in Rwanda.

Let all of us say “Never Again”.

Rwanda Sustainable Livelihood Project Officer
The 7 April 2014 will mark the 20th Anniversary of the start of Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. As Trocaire staff and as one of the persons who were in Rwanda in 1994 by the time of the Genocide, the commemoration is an opportunity to remember the Innocent peoples killed by their colleagues, by their neighbors, by their friends and by their relatives across the Country.

The commemoration of the Genocide is a great time to go back to 1994 period and to ask some questions: Why the Lack of protection for innocent peoples? Why the lack of assistance? Why the lack of human being? Do we have the answers?

Over the last 20 years, we have observed the positive efforts and changes aiming at rebuilding the Country and the Rwandan society. We are hoping that the Genocide will never happen again. We are hoping that the future will be much characterized by the forgiveness and sustainable peace among the citizens.

We are appreciating the effort and courage from different international organizations and countries which decided to take action from 1994 Genocide period aiming at saving the lives of people and rebuilding our Country.

The solidarity in a peaceful country is now my dream. God help us.

Emmanuel Karulinda, Sustainable Livelihoods Programme Officer
On the 7th April 2014 we will mark the 20th Anniversary of the start of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. As a Trócaire staff in Rwanda, my thought is that every Rwandan has been affected by the consequences of the Genocide. In this regard the people killed have lost their life. For me who stayed alive, my ambitious is to improve my life by focusing more on development activities instead of staying isolated. This will result in my own and the country development.

Evanys UTETIWABO, Accountant
With regard to the 20th Anniversary of the start of Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, my thought is to say thanks to the Government of Rwanda and to Trocaire for having come timely during a critical time.

Francois Nkulikiyinka, Guard.
As a staff member, Trócaire should keep its approach to provide training in solidarity as way to build the peace among ourselves and to develop our country.

Umwizerwa Immaculée, Cleaner

As a Trócaire staff, my first reaction is to think how people have suffered and been killed by their colleagues. My feeling now is to stand together with other Rwandan people and the rest of the world in fighting against the genocide in Rwanda and across the world.

Rurangwa Innocent, Driver.
Hopes for Rwanda, Twenty Years after the Genocide

I hope:

 The anniversary and those in subsequent years will be held in a true spirit of remembrance and not manipulated, internally or externally, for political ends;
 The Government will come to view itself as strong enough to open up to constructive criticism from civil society and the media and that they in turn will embrace such a role, to the benefit of society and the development of Rwanda;
 All citizens of Rwanda will enjoy equal access to basic human rights and have the same opportunities to pursue their dreams, irrespective of their ethnicity, religion or origins;
 Last but not least, that the Genocide will cease to overshadow the lives of Rwandans and that, while respectfully marking this terrible event, both old and young might look forward to a better, happier future.

Paul Watson, Country Director, 1/4/14
In 1994 Rwanda experienced the Genocide against Tutsis. It was a very sad time characterized by a lack of human being spirit. Very difficult to understand what happen. Our friends and relatives have been killed, houses and other infrastructures destroyed. For the present time, we are preparing the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the start of the Genocide against Tutsis. The governments of Rwanda and different donors have done everything possible to build peace among citizens by encouraging reconciliation among Rwandans. This has resulted in tangible positive results as evidenced by the level of socio-collaboration between citizens, the inter-marriage between ethnic groups without problem. The current development level for Rwanda as a country is very positive as evidenced by the progress in education, roads construction and the increase in accessibility to electricity across the country for all without discrimination.
I would like to encourage everybody to fight against the Genocide in Rwanda and across the World. Genocide is equal to animosity actions.

NGABONZIZA Richard, Driver
With regard to the 20th Anniversary of the start of Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, as a Trócaire staff, I thank the Government of Rwanda for having stopped the Genocide. I thank Trócaire as well for its immediate intervention. Trócaire has now been in Rwanda for the last 20 years and has assisted the Rwandans namely the staff and the targeted beneficiaries to overcome a critical situation. We should promote justice and development for all Rwandans especially for Genocide survivors aiming at reconstruction.

Kimenyi Phocas, Guard.
With regard to the Genocide against Tutsis, I think many people have been affected and traumatized due to the consequences of the Genocide. As a consequence there is a lack of trust among people. The Genocide has resulted in a significant number of orphans and widows, a high poverty level and critical living conditions.
Currently, there is a positive progress because we have a good Leadership which is supporting citizens in their development efforts. Trócaire has contributed to this development effort. Thanks to those who stopped the Genocide.

Hatangimana Zacharie, Guard
20 years after Rwanda was devastated by the Genocide against the Tutsi, I have seen Rwanda going through a process of positive change as illustrated by the visible and steady socio-economic progress, but more importantly by improvement in people’s mental health, life vision and social relations. This has not been a smooth and linear trajectory, but a result of a variety of processes which took the courage of visionary individuals, including not only those in high leadership positions, but also, and especially, those ordinary individuals who were otherwise unknown until they were noticed following their high sense of humanity: accepting to go beyond a history of cyclical hatred and destruction, and opening a new page of love, forgiveness and reconciliation. Having been close to such processes in my work with local partners has given me a reason to hope for a better future, even in moments of doubt which often crop up all along this journey towards recovery from an unusually traumatic past.

Modeste Sibomana, Good Governance & Human Rights Programme Officer
I, Julienne Mazimpaka as a Rwandan, as Trócaire’s employee, as also a human being, that date remind me of the worst things which happened in the whole world especially in my Country Rwanda.
There is many widow and widower, orphans, prisoners, people who lost their family members up to now.
As Trócaire’s employee, I think we must respect each other, and we should join our hands to strive for excellence because we have done many thinks which shows that we can do better.

Julienne Mazimpaka, Cleaner
Rwanda Staff Reflections
The burden of rebuilding the country fell heavily on Rwandan women. After the genocide, it was estimated that 70% of the population was female and that 50% of all households were headed by women. Regardless of their status - Tutsi, Hutu, displaced, returnees-all women faced overwhelming problems because of the upheaval caused by the genocide, including social stigmatization, poor physical and psychological health, unwanted pregnancy and, increasingly, poverty.

A large number of women became pregnant as a result of rape during the genocide. Pregnancies and childbirth among extremely young girls who were raped also posed health problems for these mothers. The "pregnancies of the war," "children of hate," "enfants non-desirés" (unwanted children) or "enfants mauvais souvenir" (children of bad memories) as they are known, are estimated by the National Population Office to be between 2,000 and 5,000.
National Development
Trócaire's Work
Trócaire Video. Let the Devil Sleep: Rwanda 20 Years after the Genocide
Full transcript