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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Rwanda: looking beyond the slaughter
Author:Plaut, MartinISNI
Periodical:The World Today: Chatham House Review
Geographic term:Rwanda
Subjects:ethnic relations
civil wars
Abstract:This paper examines the background to the recurrent bouts of conflict that have afflicted the people of Rwanda, now a land racked by the most appalling slaughter. When colonization came to Rwanda in 1894, the nation was dominated by a monarchy, in which the Tutsi had established their rule over the Hutu majority. The Tutsi definition of themselves as superior was accentuated by German and then by Belgian colonialism. The turning point came in 1957, when the Hutu started demanding Hutu rights. In 1961, the Belgians connived with the Hutu to remove the king from power. Over half the Tutsi chiefs were replaced by Hutu, and violence spread across the country. By the time of formal independence on 1 July 1962, the Hutu had won an overwhelming majority in an election and were firmly in control of the country. The Tutsi, however, struck back, launching raids into Rwanda by armed groups from exile. At the end of 1990, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) crossed the Ugandan border into Rwanda, but was contained by government forces. The Arusha Accord of August 1993 laid down a formula for sharing power before holding elections for a democratic government. When President Habyarimana was killed in an air crash in April 1994, the present slaughter began. In the face of the government-inspired massacres, the UN displayed a degree of indecision seldom seen in its history of decisionmaking. Finally, in June 1994, France was given approval for a limited, humanitarian intervention to stop the massacres. Ref.