Opinion Pieces Examine Achievements, Challenges In Rwanda Since 1994 Genocide

In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, the following opinion pieces discuss the country’s achievements in development as well as challenges the country faces.

Huffington Post: The Next Frontier in Rwanda
Mark Shriver, senior vice president for strategic initiatives at Save the Children

“… There is much talk about economic development in Africa and clearly it is important. Indeed, Rwanda does have a number of significant barriers to its future, not the least of which are too many places where there are still dirt roads, lack of electricity, and unclean water — though they seem to pale in comparison to reconciling a population that was torn apart by a brutal genocide. But we can also look to Rwanda and be proud of their achievements on the health front. Rwanda has a real opportunity to show the world what is possible when government, civil society, and the private sector come together around a common goal. Wouldn’t it be incredible to have a country that today is most associated with an atrocity that left one million of its citizens dead, instead be seen as a leader in the fight to save the 2.9 million newborns who still die each year around the world? Let’s hope that the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit seizes that opportunity…” (4/7).

Foreign Policy: ‘There Is No Hope To Get a Better Life’
Marie Berry, PhD candidate at UCLA

“… Rwanda has made tremendous progress in many areas since the genocide, and Rwandan women are, in many ways, in a better position than they were two decades ago. Certainly elite women in government, NGOs, and business have more rights and financial stability than ever before, and there is some hope that their progress will eventually trickle down to the masses. Perhaps most importantly, the country has not seen a resurgence of violence. Yet for ordinary Rwandan women, paying for rent, school fees, and food is extremely difficult, as ‘good jobs’ are scarce. Beneath the façade of gender equality and strong development in general, discontent is slowly growing — a discontent exacerbated by young men, too, who find themselves unemployed and desperate. This growing unhappiness raises the specter of social instability in Rwanda, something neither the government nor its international backers want…” (4/7).

Foreign Policy: In the Wake of Mass Murder
John Norris, executive director of the sustainable security program at the Center for American Progress

John Norris, a former USAID disaster-relief worker in Rwanda, recounts stories of his time working in the country after the genocide in 1994 (4/7).

Foreign Policy: ‘Never Again’ Isn’t Enough
Jonas Claes, senior program officer in the Center for Applied Research on Conflict at the U.S. Institute of Peace

“The 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide offers an opportune moment to reflect on the horrific events of 1994, and honor the countless victims and survivors who still carry the collective trauma of mass murder. Remembering these deliberate efforts to extinguish an entire ethnic community should not only give us pause, but also encourage our atrocity prevention community, including humanitarian and peace organizations around the world, to rethink how such failures of humanity can guide us forward, beyond ‘Never Again’ slogans…” (4/7).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

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