Christian Aid Calls UK Government Review Support to Rwanda

( [email protected] ) Apr 19, 2004 11:24 AM EDT

On the 10th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda, Christian Aid is calling for the UK government to review its support to the Rwandan government. A new report, It's time to open up, says the UK should be a more 'critical friend' to Rwanda and concentrate on helping it to establish strong democratic roots and a legitimacy which will provide long term stability for all Rwandans and succeeding governments.

Ten years ago today, the Rwandan genocide faced the most concentrated slaughter of human beings in our generation. During 100 days in 1994, an estimated 800,000 women, children and men, mostly ethnic Tutsis, were massacred. These murders were instigated by Rwandan government, military and media leaders and carried out by thousands of machete-wielding Hutus.

Freedom of the press and speech are limited, social and economic rights are still unfulfilled and the resources of neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo have been plundered through proxy militias.

'It's time to open up' draws on Christian Aid's unique role in Rwanda. It began working in Rwanda in 1963, supporting churches to meet the needs of rural communities. After the genocide in 1994, Christian Aid's support grew to help Rwandan organisations respond to the enormous needs of the post-genocide period. This included helping orphans' and widows' organisations and peace building.