Rwanda empowers women to recover

Anthony Faiola recently spent time in Rwanda and discovered that women are restarting the country’s damaged coffee industry and in the process helping to provide much needed economic stability. He recently discussed his trip on NPR’s Tell Me More.

More than a decade ago, nearly a million people died in the Rwandan genocide. The violence claimed so many men’s lives that it left a gender imbalance that endures today. But that also provided the opportunity for many Rwandan women to take the reins of their country. Washington Post reporter Anthony Faiola discusses Rwanda’s new female leaders.

The most interesting part of Faiola’s message is that Rwanda has been successful because they have empowered women. In a society that used to live with rather traditional African roles, if they had remained unchanged by the genocide, they would likely be struggling with an even greater range of issues.

This is not to belittle the immense problems they are currently having, particularly with engrained prejudices, but clearly one of the biggest challenges in a post-genocide region is economic recovery. Without it, a country is far more likely to destabilize and fall back into violent patterns.

One thought on “Rwanda empowers women to recover”

  1. Hello Tim

    I can’t see an e-mail address to post direct to you, so I hope you won’t mind if I post this press release about the Nuhanovic and Mustafic court actions tomorrow as a comment. They’re civil court cases being brought agsinst the Dutch State for its abandonment of civilians under its protection at Srebrenica to be murdered by Ratko Mladic’s Bonsian Serb Army.

    ***

    Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker / Society for Threatened Peoples
    P.O.Box 2024, D-37010 Göttingen
    Tel.: +49-551-49906-0 / Fax: +49-551-58028 / http://www.gfbv.de / info@gfbv.de

    PRESS RELEASE

    The Hague / Göttingen, 13 June 2008

    First civil court action by Srebrenica survivors against the Dutch State on 16.6.2008 at The Hague
    Evicted from UN protection: Dutch Blue Helmets delivered helpless Bosnian refugees into the hands of Serb murderers

    At Srebrenica in 1995 Dutch soldiers in UN blue helmets refused to protect Bosnian refugees who sought shelter in the UN forces’ compound and instead handed them over to be murdered by Serb forces even though only a few metres away other inhabitants of what was supposed to be a UN “safe area” were being raped and killed. The family of one of their Bosnian interpreters were refused asylum, along with other UN employees known personally to the soldiers. This Monday in The Hague survivors of the genocidal atrocities perpetrated at Srebrenica will seek to hold the Dutch State accountable for these grave failings in two civil court cases due to be heard before the District Court at Prins Clauslaan 60 at 10 a.m.

    Alongside a group of survivors from Srebrenica, Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker (GfbV) / Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) will be demonstrating its solidarity with the relatives in a vigil in front of the Court building. The fate of the plaintiffs’ relatives was one shared by thousands of Srebrenica’s other inhabitants.

    One of the actions is being brought by the UN interpreter Hasan Nuhanovic, whose efforts have long been supported by GfbV/STP. “The tragic fate of Hasan’s parents and his younger brother, cold-bloodedly evicted from a UN office, turned over to the Serb forces and then murdered, has completely devastated his life”, according to GfbV/STP General-Secretary Tilman Zülch. “His thoughts are constantly revolving around the horrors of Srebrenica and the responsibility UN forces bear for the death of his helpless family.”

    Fadila Memisevic, Director of GfbV/STP’s Bosnian Section, believes “Hasan Nuhanovic has found meaning for his life in his search for the truth and his campaign for justice. He has our fullest support in his campaign”.

    Nuhanovic researched and documented the terrible events at Srebrenica in meticulous detail over more than 500 pages before taking his case to law, alongside a similar action brought by the family of the murdered electrician Rizo Mustafic.

    A few days after the enclave fell to the Serb forces on 11 July 1995 the Dutch Blue Helmets were ordered by their government to leave Srebrenica, abandoning the defenceless Bosnians entrusted to their protection. The names of 8373 former inhabitants of the UN safe area who were murdered by the triumphant Serb forces and buried in mass graves are known. One of them, Hasan Nuhanovic’s father, was recently identified from remains discovered in one of those mass graves. The fate of Hasan’s mother and his brother remains unknown. Many of the mass graves were subsequently destroyed by Serb troops using bulldozers to conceal all evidence of the crime. The victims’ remains were taken away and reburied elsewhere.

    The Tragedy of the Nuhanovic Family:
    Hasan Nuhanovic spent the night of 12-13 July 1995 with his parents and brother in an improvised office in the UNPROFOR support base at Potocari, on the outskirts of Srebrenica, taking orders from the Dutch officer Andre de Haan. De Haan, who was in the same room along with a doctor and a nurse, had been a guest of the family on a number of occasions and was fond of his mother’s cooking. Even so, when news was received that nine men had been killed outside the UNPROFOR base no-one came forward to help the family about to be separated from one another, Nuhanovic remembers in the account he gives in his book “Under the UN Flag”. The next morning, between 5 and 6 a.m., de Haan said to him, “Hasan, tell your mother, your brother and your father that they must leave the base, now.”

    Jasna Causevic, South-Eastern Europe Officer
    (Tel. +49 17952435 38 / +49 174 546 0297 )

    In the UK you can e-mail GfbV / STP for further
    information via Owen Beith

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