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Rwanda: Children Suffer In Aftermath Of Genocide

Rwandan Children Still Suffer In Aftermath Of 1994 Genocide – Unicef

The Rwandan genocide of 10 years ago, which orphaned 95,000 children and left the majority of rape victims HIV positive, has rendered the country home to one of the world’s largest proportions of child-headed households.

For these children “the genocide is not just a historical event, but an inescapable part of daily life today and tomorrow," UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said.

An estimated 101,000 children live in some 42,000 child-headed households, either because their parents were killed in the genocide, died from AIDS or have been imprisoned for genocide-related crimes, UNICEF said. Meanwhile, some 400,000 children are not in school and 20 per cent die before the age of 5.

Of the 2,000 women tested up to 1999 – many of them rape survivors – 80 per cent were HIV-positive, even though many had not been sexually active before the genocide. By 2010, an estimated 350,000 children are expected to be orphaned by AIDS, UNICEF said.

The 10th anniversary must be marked with renewed concern for those continuing to suffer from the genocide, Ms. Bellamy emphasized. “We are all still accountable for supporting reconciliation and healing, and for ensuring that atrocities never happen again,” she said, stressing the need to hold perpetrators accountable and restore the dignity of victims by alleviating their suffering.

The UN declared 7 April “the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda” to remember the mostly Tutsi and moderate Hutu Rwandans killed by their Hutu countrymen during a 100-day rampage.

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