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Caritas director says Rwanda anniversary challenges all

Caritas Australia director has said the tenth aniversary of the Rwanda Genocide should prompt all people to consider what they can contribute to communities split by violence.

This week the world marked the anniversary of the events in which the African country erupted into a spontaneous bloodbath, unprecedented in the latter 20th Century. 800,000 people were murdered in less than four months.

"At the time, the world committed itself to make sure that such violence and destruction of life would never happen again," said Caritas Australia director Jack de Groot. "Today, is the day to not just ask ourselves about what we have achieved but what more will we commit to in order to bring peace, reconciliation and healing to communities riven apart by shocking violence."

Caritas Australia responded to the 1994 crisis when Australian donors generously gave $3.4 million to an appeal for Rwanda. This was supported by an additional AusAid grant of $465,000 to complement Caritas Australia's emergency programs in the region. The money was used to buy food, shelter and clothing. It was also used to distribute emergency health services, care for orphaned children and provide trauma counselling, reconstruction of homes and rebuilding of the agricultural sector.

Pictured: Leonilla Ingabire and her son Igihozo Fiacre Juri who spoke of how she escaped from a church in Butare. This was her first time talking abot the events of 9 years ago. Leonilla survived the mass killings that took place in Rwanda in 1994. She was orphaned and left to bring up her brothers and sisters. She is now a mother herself and still has the responsibility for her siblings. Leonilla has been helped by trauma counselling programs which have been funded by donations from members of the Australian public through Caritas Australia. Photo credit - Noel Gavin/Allpix.

Reflecting on Rwanda 10 Years On (Caritas Australia 7/4/04)

Mark Raper SJ: Rebuilding Rwanda: ten years on (Financial Review 2/4/04)
World ponders Rwanda genocide 10 years later (Ecumenical News International 7/4/04)
Rwanda: 'We let it happen' (Sunday Herald 4/4/04)
Rwanda recalls 1994 massacres, asking questions

8 Apr 2004