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French President has asked for forgiveness for his country’s role in the Rwanda Genocide, 1994.
About Rwanda Genocide, 1994:
- The “Rwandan Genocide” refers to the 1994 mass slaughter in Rwanda. It was of the ethnic Tutsi by members of the Hutu majority government.
- The killings began in early 1994 and continued for approximately 100 days. As per a few estimations, there was killing of more than 800,000 Rwandans during that period.
Sequence of Events:
- 1918 — After World War 1, Rwanda came under the League of Nations to be governed by Belgium. During the rule, Belgians favored the minority Tutsi (14%) over the Hutus (85%). This led to a widening communal rift between Tutsis and Hutus.
- 1959 — Hutus rebelled against the Belgian colonial power and the Tutsi elite. This led to the Tutsis community fleeing Rwanda.
- 1962 — Belgium had withdrawn from Rwanda. However, motivated violence continued against the Tutsi even after the independence.
Immediate Cause of Genocide:
- In 1994, Rwanda’s president who belonged to the Hutu majority was killed. He was returning after signing a peace agreement (Arusha Accords) with the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front(RPF).
- The Hutu-led government in Rwanda blamed the RPF for the attack on the president.
- Thereafter, the military and Hutu militias systematically targeted the Tutsi ethnic group. They used the nation’s public broadcaster, Rwanda Radio for spreading propaganda.
How did the conflict end?
- The conflict ended when the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front seized control of Rwanda in July 1994. It is also when the leader Paul Kagame assumed power.
- Paul Kagame led government in Rwanda since then has been able to bring stability and development to the mineral-rich nation.
What role did France play during the Rwanda Genocide 1994?
- During the genocide, France was accused. It was for acting as a staunch ally of the Hutu-led government that ordered the killings.
- In 1994, France deployed a UN-backed military force in Rwanda called Operation Turquoise– which was able to save some people. However, it was accused of sheltering some of the genocide’s perpetrators.
Source: Indian Express