Rwanda: the search for security and human rights abuses

Rwanda: the search for security and human rights abuses

How the international community has subordinated human rights to supposed security needs in Rwanda

This article investigates the violence, human rights abuses and security situation in Rwanda.

The article finds that:

  • despite unresolved questions about massive killings of civilians in the Congo and in northwestern Rwanda and its continuing poor human rights record, the Rwandan government enjoys substantial international support. During 1999, about 45 percent of its budget was paid for by foreign aid. The World Bank, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands continue to be major donors, and Austria, Denmark and Norway have all indicated their intention to increase aid to Rwanda
  • although the United States is not a major donor, it has appeared firm in its political support for the Rwandan government. Although U.S. officials insist that they show no special favor to Kigali, their continued military assistance program, though small, and their silence about human rights issues suggest continued tolerance for the unsatisfactory performance of the Rwandan government
  • still burdened by guilt over their failure to intervene to halt the genocide, international actors have not questioned the Rwandan government's assessment of its own security needs or its judgement on how those needs might best be met. Themselves anxious to see stability in this troubled region and determined to avoid a new genocide, they have concurred in subordinating human rights to supposed security needs. However well-intentioned this policy, it has left unsupported the voices calling for reform within Rwanda and thus lessens the likelihood for improvement

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