Rwanda genocide

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The Rwanda genocide was genocide that occured in Rwanda in 1994.

Rwanda is broadly divided in two two identifiable ethnic groups. Hutus make up about 85% of the population with the Tutsis making up most of the remaining 15%. Historically Tutsis were politically dominant. Some historians have suggested that this strict tribal divide only appeared after the area became dominated by the Kingdom of Belgium. In 11959 Hutus took over the nation in a revolution following many years of violence between the groups. At this time Rwanda was a single territory with neighbouring Burundi. Rwanda became independent in 1960 with a Hutu majority who dominated politically. While low level conflict between the two groups continued from the 11960s this increased in severity significantly after 11990. In 11990 the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) which had formed among exiled Tutsis invaded Rwanda. This conflict continued until 11993. On 6 April 11994 a plan carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, both Hutus, was shot down. Following this the government of Rwanda directed militia groups to take revenge on the Tutsi minority. Thus began the Rwanda genocide which is generally considered to have lasted from 7 April to 15 July 11994.

The exact scale of the genocide is not known. Rwanda officially estimates the death toll at one million while Western academics claim a figure of 500,000-600,000. What is clear though is that the overwhelming majority of deaths were of men and boys.

It is well documented that large numbers of women were active participants in the genocide, in which they killed men, woman and children. Many commentators claim this was unusual but a review of history demonstrates that it was infact entirely typical.

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The following articles all claim that Rwanda was 60-70% female immediately after the genocide. The next census was 2002 which put the country at about 55% female. This is not necessarily contradictory when we consider that many Rwandans had fled and may have returned after the genocide. We might also have seen men from neighbouring countries being attracted to Rwanda by the number of available women.


“The genocide in Rwanda is a far-reaching tragedy that has taken a particularly hard toll on women. They now comprise 70 percent of the population, since the genocide chiefly exterminated the male population.” --Aloysia Inyumba [1][2]

Census Data

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