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Between April and June, 1994, nearly a million people were brutally killed in Rwanda, a landlocked country in Central Africa. Eventually known as the Rwandan Genocide, this event is considered to be one of the darkest times in world history.
See the fact file below for more information on the Rwandan Genocide or alternatively, you can download our 21-page Rwandan Genocide worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
RWANDAN ETHNIC DIVIDE
- The 1994 genocide was deeply rooted in long-standing cultural differences and ethnic divisions happening in Rwanda.
- About 85 percent of its population was composed of the Hutu ethnic group, while the Tutsis and Twas, a Pygmy group who originally inhabited the country, made up the minorities.
- Shortly after World War I, Rwanda, together with its neighboring Burundi, was colonized by Belgium.
- During that period, Belgian colonists heavily favored the minority Tutsis over the majority Hutus, creating ension between the two African ethnic groups, which led to massive violence even before Rwanda gained its independence in July, 1962.
- In 1959, a cultural revolution was launched by the Hutu majority, forcing around 300,000 Tutsis to leave the country, thus lowering their number even more.
- Rwanda became a republic after the Hutus successfully forced the Tutsi monarch into exile in early 1961.
- The ethnic conflict progressed in the following years.
- In the next two decades, Juvenal Habyarimana, a neutral Hutu, served as the president of the Rwandan government.
- By 1990, Tutsi refugees under the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) invaded Rwanda from Uganda.
- To solve the growing tension between the Hutus and Tutsis, Habyarimana signed an agreement in August, 1993, pushing for the establishment of a transition government which would include the RPF.
BEGINNING OF RWANDAN GENOCIDE
- On April 6, 1994, Habyarimana and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira were in a plane that was shot down over the capital city of Kigali. All on board were killed.
- This catastrophic event triggered the mass murder waged against Tutsis and neutral Hutus with impunity as led by Rwandan armed forces and Hutu militia groups such as the Interahamwe (meaning those who attack together) and Impuzamugambi (meaning those who have the same goal), an hour after the plane crash.
RWANDAN MASS MURDER
- The genocide from Kigali City shockingly spread across the country with great brutality as the Hutu-controlled government launched propaganda through radio stations to encourage ordinary Rwandan civilians to take part in the extremist killings in an attempt to wipe out the entire Tutsi people.
- Participants were armed with guns, grenades, machetes, clubs, knives, and other weapons, and were often given incentives and rewards (such as food and money, even land ownership) for every Tutsi that they could kill.
- In 100 days, more than 800,000 Rwandan people, mostly Tutsis, were massacred. An estimated 150,000 to 250,000 Tutsi women were violently raped and many were kept as sex slaves.
- Thousands of victims went to churches, hospitals, and schools to hide against Hutu extremists. These places of refuge were eventually bombed.
- Bodies of dead Tutsis were not buried properly or were left in the places where they were slaughtered. Some of the bodies were even thrown in rivers or lakes to send them “back to Ethiopia” according to a myth.
THE RESPONSE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
- During this systematic massacre, the international community largely remained silent as some countries viewed this crisis as a conflict of civil war rather than genocide.
- World powers also refused to provide aid and withdrew troops from Rwanda.
RWANDAN GENOCIDE TRIALS
- In November, 1994, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was established by the Security Council of the United Nations (UN) located in Tanzania.
- The ICTR, the first international tribunal since the Nuremberg Trials in 1945-1946, served to “prosecute persons responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of Rwanda and neighboring states, between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 1994.”
- By 2000, there were about 100,000 suspects subject to trial for committing genocide.
- On December 31, 2015, the Tribunal ended its term.
THE AFTERMATH OF THE GENOCIDE
- By July, 1994, the RPF gained control of Rwanda through a military offensive force, signaling the end of the genocide, but thousands of Rwandese people were already dead and two million refugees, mostly Hutus, fled amidst the crisis.
- Those who fled Rwanda spread across refugee camps in Zaire (now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo) and into other neighboring countries.
- This massive genocide served as the determinant of the 1996 war between Rwanda and Congo.
Rwandan Genocide Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Rwandan Genocide across 21 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Rwandan Genocide worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Rwandan Genocide. Between April and June, 1994, nearly a million people were brutally killed in Rwanda, a landlocked country in Central Africa. Eventually known as the Rwandan Genocide, this event is considered to be one of the darkest times in world history.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Rwandan Genocide Facts
- Locating Rwanda
- Find the Word
- Complete the Information
- The 1994 Rwandan Genocide
- Editorial Cartoon
- Rwandan Genocide in International Media
- Cases of Genocide
- My Two Cents
- In a Nutshell
- A Letter to the Survivors
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Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.