|ICRC Activities in Rwanda: 1993 - 6 April 2000 (International Committee of the Red Cross , 230 p.)|
COMITINTERNATIONAL DE LA CROIX-ROUGE
Today, Rwanda is still suffering the after-effects of the 1994 genocide and massacres, which according to different estimates left between 800,000 and one million people dead. Since then, persistent efforts have been made to rebuild the countrys infrastructure, which was totally destroyed. However, the security situation remains volatile in some areas.
One of the countrys main challenges remains the significant numbers of people in prison. Since 1994, efforts have been made to revive the judicial system and to rebuild the prison infrastructure, which had disintegrated, leaving prisons in need of complete repair.
On the economic front, Rwandas dependence on agriculture has led to over cultivation and environmental degradation caused by soil erosion. The result is a diminishing land base for a growing population whose main means of sustenance is farming.
The ICRC delegation is located in Kigali with sub-delegations in Kigali, Butare and Kamembe and 6 offices throughout the country
The priority for the ICRC tracing service remains family reunification for children separated from their parents during the mass repatriations in November 1996, following which over 28,000 unaccompanied children were registered. By the end of 1998, 87% of them had been reunited with close relatives. In June, 1998, a third album was published in conjunction with UNICEF containing photos of children too young to give any information about their identity or the whereabouts of their families. Since the launch of the programme in May 1997, the photos of a total of 1,655 unidentified children have been circulated, and as a result some 700 children have been reunited with family members.
Assistance for Genocide Survivors:
The ICRC continues to concentrate its efforts on assisting the most vulnerable among the survivors of the 1994 genocide. Although poverty is rife throughout Rwanda and the needs are enormous among all sectors of the population, this group, estimated at about 150,000 people, remains the hardest hit and the least likely to receive assistance from other sources. Many were profoundly traumatized by the events and still bare physical and psychological wounds.
The ICRCs programmes for this vulnerable group mainly target widows, orphans, disabled and elderly people. Assistance is provided via local associations and includes food and non-food supplies, as well as training and materials for agriculture and livestock-breeding. The aim is to set up projects that provide beneficiaries with a sustainable source of income or help them on their way to self-sufficiency.
Education and Promotion of International Humanitarian Law (IHL):
Given the countrys recent history and the prevailing situation, promoting compliance with humanitarian rules, spreading awareness of general humanitarian principles and raising the profile of the ICRC and the Red Cross remain an essential task in Rwanda. The field specialists who form the network set up for this purpose receive continuous training and guidelines were established. Great emphasis is placed on increasing the capacity of all ICRC and Rwandan Red Cross staff to included IHL education in their day-to-day activities and on promoting IHL within the Rwandan military. The ICRC initiated discussions with the Rwanda Patriotic Army in order to develop a plan of action for permanent instruction in the law of war within the force.
Water and Sanitation Program:
The ICRC continues its programmes designed to restore or provide a reliable water supply in both urban and rural communities. A survey was conducted to determine the need for the rehabilitation and improvement of water-supply systems in repatriation/resettlement areas. The systems had been damaged during the events of 1994 or just afterwards, when no management or supervision was in place, and the relevant authorities still lacked sufficient financial and/or human resources to restore the supply to pre-1994 standards. The ICRC engages in technical and material cooperation with the national water, gas and electricity board to allow rehabilitation and carry out work on water projects throughout Rwanda.
Budget and Staff:
The 1999 budget for the ICRC Rwanda is SFr 6,573,382.
- 82 expatriates.
- 660 locally hired staff.
The ICRC activities in Rwanda cover a wide spectrum of humanitarian activities, such as:
Visits to prisoners to check on their material and psychological conditions of detention:
In 1998, the ICRC:
- visited 112,807 detainees in 130 places of detention.
- provided 11,066 tonnes of food and 186 tonnes of high protein biscuits to detainees in civilian prisons and lock-ups
Restoring family links through the Red Cross Message Network (RCM):
- In 1998, the ICRC exchanged 20,218 RCMs between detainees and their families.
- from 1994 to 1998, the ICRC has carried out the reunification of 63,749 families.
Providing assistance to vulnerable people:
- In 1998, the ICRC provided 944 tonnes of food, 130 tonnes of non-food items to vulnerable groups including survivors of the genocide.
- In cooperation with the Federation and the National Society, the ICRC provided 11, 450 school children, in 25 schools, with 690 tonnes of food in 1998
Cooperation activities with the National Society:
- In 1998, the ICRC held discussions with the Rwandan Red Cross with a view to setting up a tracing service within the National Society and trained branch secretaries in tracing techniques.
- In 1998, by means of a project delegated to the Swiss Red Cross, the ICRC ran a limb-fitting workshop in Gatagara for disabled people and amputees.
Promoting and facilitating seminars to spread the basic rules of International Humanitarian Law and humanitarian principles.