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Rwanda- A Forced Migration

Background
• Set against backdrop of civil conflict 1990-1992
• Drought had also triggered rural to urban migration
• !960’s-Post-colonial establishment of Hutu Government
• Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF)-Tutsi rebels, many refugees, launch
cross border raids
• RPF control of coffee and tea producing areas-impact on Govt revenue
• Hard line response from Government-8,000 arrested in purges on anti-
government sentiment
• Militias form (backed by Government weapons) e.g Interhamwe
(“Those who attack together”)
• Escalation of Political violence/Ethnic tensions
Rwanda-Push Factors

• 6 April 1994- President’s plane crashes, suspected rocket attack-
Interhamwe mobilize support for reprisal attacks
• UN peacekeeping forces refused permission to intervene in massacre
• UN could only provide shelter and food, but not protection
• Genocide-Army and militias aim to eradicate all Tutsi
• When RPF launched an offensive from the North, retaking the country
in July 1994, Hutus fled to neighbouring countries
• Revenge attacks by Tutsi police, continuing border tensions in Hutu
dominated areas
Pull-Where to?

• Neighbouring African countries have always had Rwandan populations
• Initial movements to UN safe havens, then to refugee camps for many
Rwandans-food aid and shelter
• Many Tutsi fled to Burundi
• Some managed to go to Belgium
• Hutu militia, government officials and the army fled to French controlled zone
in Southwest (regime and army had been French backed)
• Refugee camps for Hutu in Tanzania, DR Congo (was Zaire)
• Importance of migration networks-family, ethnic groups
• Distance?
• Half of Rwanda’s 7.5 million people forced to leave their homes
Migration obstacles

• Violence
• Roadblocks by militias
• Ineffective UN protection
• Cost
• Corruption
• Distance
• Family-especially if fears for safety
• Return migrations-Hutu fear of reprisals, threats by own militia
• Return migration- homes, especially in rural areas, now occupied by
new tenants
Migration-Permanent or Temporary?

• 100, 000 Rwandans repatriated from Burundi in 1996
• 720, 000 of displaced Rwandans return from DR Congo in 1996 after
beginning of Civil war there
• Tanzania returned 480, 000 refugees in 1997
• 10,000 returned voluntarily from Uganda
• 1 million Rwandans who had left the country in the 50’s and 60’s have
returned since 1994
• Fewer than 100, 000 Rwandans now remain outside the country
Effects on country of Origin/Destination?