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Supporting Survivors

"They were not killed during the genocide, but they are now dying of AIDS, so in essence
it was a suspended death sentence."

— Ms. Binaifer Nowrojee, researcher with Human Rights Watch, at a press conference on women living with HIV/AIDS from sexual violence during the Rwandan genocide
Webcast - Summary of the press conference

The costs of failing to prevent genocide are immense, whether measured in the number of lives lost or the suffering of survivors.

In Rwanda today, thousands of genocide survivors still face significant challenges in their efforts to rebuild their lives, including victims of sexual violence, orphans and widows.

Victims of Sexual Violence

An estimated 100,000-250,000 women were raped during the three months of genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

Rape committed during war is often systematic and intended to terrorize the population, break up families, destroy communities, and, in some instances, change the ethnic make-up of the next generation. Sometimes it is also used to render women from the targeted community incapable of bearing more children.

Sexual violence during war creates multi-fold challenges for survivors:

Watch the webcast of a discussion event at UN Headquarters looking at the heavy cost of genocide on women in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo today.


Many of these children do not go to school or eat regularly. Some, as a result of the widespread rape during the genocide and the increased spread of HIV/AIDs, are now falling ill themselves. Many are at risk of exploitation and abuse. It is a generation that has lost its childhood and whose future is very much at risk.


Among the survivors of the Rwandan genocide were thousands of women — both Hutu and Tutsi — who were widowed in the course of the conflict. All traumatized, many had suffered rape, some were infected with HIV/AIDS and many had witnessed the killing of family members.

Since 1994, these women and organizations that support them have been fighting to change attitudes towards women in Rwanda and to change laws regarding the property, marital and inheritance rights of women

Working to Support Survivors

Since 1994, many organizations have been established within and outside of Rwanda to support the needs of Rwandan genocide survivors. The work of such organizations ranges from assisting victims in their quest for justice through the local, national or international judicial processes; providing financial assistance; providing medical and psychological assistance; managing orphanages and employment programmes for youth in Rwanda. See how you can get involved.

For More Information

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