|ICRC Activities in Rwanda: 1993 - 6 April 2000 (International Committee of the Red Cross , 230 p.)|
5 March 1998
- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been working in Rwanda since 1964 and has maintained a permanent delegation in the country since 1990. It is one of the few international organisations to have remained in the country throughout the tragic events of 1994. It maintains offices and operations in all prefectures with expatriate staff in Kigali, Butare, Gitarama, Gikongoro, Cyangugu, Kibungo, Kibuye and Byumba. The ICRC employs about 75 expatriate and 700 Rwandan staff throughout the country.
- A large part of the ICRCs work in Rwanda is in the field of detention. Its delegates visit detainees in all prisons and cachots (communal lock-ups) in the areas accessible for security reasons. Since 1994, the ICRC has registered over 125,000 detainees in Rwanda of which roughly 60% are held in prisons administered by the Ministry of Justice. At the request of the Ministry of Justice, the ICRC in 1997 provided just under 60% of the food requirements of the countrys prisons. It also provides nutritional supplements, life-saving medications and basic hygiene material to both the prisons and cachots. ICRC water and sanitation projects have ensured an adequate water supply and proper waste disposal for several prisons and the neighbouring population.
- ICRC water and sanitation projects have restored or provided a consistent supply of drinking water to over 35 communes throughout the country including three major districts of the capital Kigali. Many of these projects involve the updating of pumping stations or the tapping of underground springs thus ensuring a year round supply of drinking water. This spring water requires much less chemical treatment and thus represents considerable ongoing operational savings for the national utility Electrogaz.
- Since 1994, the Tracing Agency of the ICRC has maintained the central data bank concerning all Rwandan children separated from their families. Over 55,000 children have been reunited with their families in Rwanda since 1994. Close to thirteen thousand of these cases were handled by the ICRC. Since the beginning of the massive repatriation in late 1996, close to 26,000 unaccompanied children were registered. Tracing teams from the ICRC and other agencies have succeeded in reuniting close to 80% of these children with family members. The ICRC is now turning its attention to the more difficult cases, such as the 1,800 children too young to provide adequate information about their families and their origins. In co-operation with UNICEF, the ICRC has published two photo-albums with pictures of a total of six hundred and forty-three of these children. 2,500 copies of each of these brochures have been distributed throughout the country and anyone recognising a child is asked to contact the nearest ICRC office. The two brochures have lead to about two hundred family reunions so far and two further brochures are being planned.
- In co-operation with a variety of Rwandan associations and NGOs, the ICRC is assisting a number of micro-projects for vulnerable populations in various regions of the country. In the southern commune of Runyinya, the ICRC has constructed 89 houses for widows and other victims of the genocide. Most of these houses have been built on the site of the beneficiaries former dwellings. Other projects are assisting women traumatised during the genocide. ICRC has provided sewing machines, material and food to allow these women to learn a trade and to attend sessions to improve their life skills and participate in collective therapy. Still other projects are providing genocide survivors or those recently repatriated with seeds and tools for agricultural projects, livestock for breeding projects, or other material to start vulnerable groups on the road to economic self-sufficiency. The ICRC is contributing to about thirty projects at any given time and over the last year the beneficiaries of these projects totalled close to 15,000 people. The ICRC is furnishing tuition and school kits for over 2,000 orphans of the genocide, allowing them to complete their secondary education. In co-operation with the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and with the Rwandan Red Cross, the ICRC is providing food for noon meals for 16,000 students in 29 secondary schools in various regions of the country.
- At HVP (Home de la Vierge des Pauvres) Gatagara, a centre managed by a Belgian religious order for handicapped children, the ICRC in co-operation with the Swiss Red Cross has rebuilt and re-equipped the orthopaedic workshop and a physiotherapy clinic. Using ICRC orthopaedic technology, two Swiss Red Cross orthopaedists and an SRC physiotherapist are training 11 of the 18 Rwandan staff most of whom are themselves handicapped. The orthopaedic centre produces prosthesis and braces for patients from all regions of the country. The children treated at the centre are victims of polio, congenital deformations, or accidents. There are also cases of mine injuries.
- The ICRC is also providing a surgeon, anaesthetist, general medical practitioner and a medical administrator to the Kibuye District Hospital. The hospital located in an isolated area of western Rwanda is the only referral hospital for an estimated population of close to a half million people and ICRC support allows it to remain open. The ICRC also provides salary step-ups for the staff of 96 Rwandan employees as well as all medications, perfusions and dressing material. The ICRC also provides the food necessary to operate the hospitals centre to treat malnourished children.