Thursday, 8 November 2012

Did anyone come to Rwanda’s aid during the 1994 genocide?

Did anyone come to Rwanda’s aid during the 1994 genocide?

International leaders were strongly criticised for failing to come to Rwanda’s aid. Most Western aid workers and soldiers were pulled out of Rwanda following the murder of 10 Belgian soldiers in Kigali.

Tutsi men, women and children were being murdered, yet for weeks foreign leaders failed to acknowledge that the genocide was occurring as this would have demanded their direct intervention and aid. Some have claimed that foreign governments initially viewed it as a civil war, not a genocide.

Why were international governments reluctant to intervene during the Rwanda Genocide?

Some governments, including the US used terms such as 'acts of genocide' to identify what was occurring in Rwanda. The issue was that if it was declared officially as a genocide, these governments had a duty to intervene. The reluctance of the American, and other European governments to stay in Rwanda may have been influenced by the brutal murder of 10 American soldiers in Somalia in 1992. As their bodies were brutally shredded and dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, the reality of the horrific consequences of interevening in Africa came to light.

In addition, it is questionable whether international givernments have their own interests at heart when intervning in African conflicts. After all, there are no oil reserves or diamonds in Rwanda...

The role of RTLM Radio

The Rwanda genocide was fueled and quickly escalted due to the RTLM radio, which was a hate radio station encouraging people to turn against the Tutsis.  On an international level, there may have been reluctance to intervene in this due to freedom of speech. But many argue that by cutting off the RTLM radio station, the genocide would havebeen unlikely to spread to many rural areas of Rwanda.

What bought the Rwanda Genocide to an end?

The genocide came to an end in mid July 1994 when the Tutsi military group the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front) managed to defeat the Hutu extremists. Paul Kagame finally became President of Rwanda in 2001 after occupying a number of different functions in the government, including Vice President. He continues as President today.

Follow this link for background information on the Rwanda genocide. We are always striving to improve our links and information, so please comment on our blog.

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