Great Lakes Refugee Crisis

The Great Lakes refugee crisis is the common name for the situation beginning with the exodus in April 1994 of over two million Rwandans to neighboring countries of the Great Lakes region of Africa in the aftermath of the Rwandan Genocide. Many of the refugees were Hutu ethnics fleeing the predominantly Tutsi Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF), which had gained control of the country at the end of the genocide. However, the humanitarian relief effort was vastly compromised by the presence among the refugees of many of the Interahamwe and government officials who carried out the genocide, who used the refugee camps as bases to launch attacks against the new government led by Paul Kagame. The camps in Zaire became particularly politicized and militarized. The knowledge that humanitarian aid was being diverted to further the aims of the genocidaires led many humanitarian organizations to withdraw their assistance. The conflict escalated until the start of the First Congo War in 1996, when RPF-supported rebels invaded Zaire and sought to repatriate the refugees.

Read more about Great Lakes Refugee Crisis:  Background, The RPF Advance and Hutu Exodus, Emergency Relief, Militarization of Refugee Camps, The Forgotten Years, Outbreak of War, Effects

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Great Lakes Refugee Crisis - Effects
... The crisis had a massive impact on the ecology of the region ... were badly damaged by the demands for firewood and charcoal made by the refugees ... Two years after the arrival of the refugees 105 km2 of the park's forest had been affected, of which 63 km2 had been razed ...

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