Rwanda has one of world’s highest proportions of child-headed householdsGENEVA/NEW YORK, 6 April 2004 – Ten years after the genocide in Rwanda that took the lives of 800,000 people, the country’s children continue to struggle with the lingering impact of the atrocities, UNICEF said today.
“Ten years later, the children of Rwanda are still suffering the consequences of a conflict caused entirely by adults,” UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said. “For them, the genocide is not just a historical event, but an inescapable part of daily life today and tomorrow.”
By the end of the genocide in 1994, 95,000 children had been orphaned.
“The children of Rwanda witnessed unspeakable violence,” Bellamy said. “Tens of thousands lost their mothers and fathers. Thousands were victims of horrific brutality and rape. Many were forced to commit atrocities. The impact of the tragedy simply cannot be overstated.”
Today, Rwanda’s children face extreme challenges:
Bellamy said the anniversary must be marked with renewed concern for those continuing to suffer from the genocide.
“We are all still accountable for supporting reconciliation and healing, and for ensuring that such atrocities never happen again,” Bellamy said. “’Never again’ means holding perpetrators accountable and restoring the dignity of victims by commemorating or alleviating their suffering.”
Even more important, Bellamy said, is to meet this anniversary with a renewed commitment to ensure that the world never again allows such a catastrophe to go unchecked.
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View video: Rwanda's children 10 years later