Rwandan history has been a series of subsequent events, namely colonization, poor governance characterized by discrimination based on region, self-interest, ethnicity, injustice, divisionism, etc. that led Rwanda to a disastrous genocide and massacres in 1994.
The Rwandan genocide claimed numerous human lives and brought about enormous material damages. These resulted in consequences such as poverty, familial conflicts, orphans, widows, street and non- accompanied children, imprisonments, trauma, casualty, etc. All aspects of society have been victimized by this incidence. People’s hearts were broken and many had no hope for a new future.
In order to overcome these harms of the 1994 genocide, the Rwandan government has put into place a program of reconciliation and unity among its citizens. It is in that context that the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC) was created.
Furthermore, in order to empower this program of unity and reconciliation and to construct State of rights, the government of Rwanda has also initiated Gacaca participative jurisdictions.
Being conscious of, and feeling concerned with, the depth of the consequences brought about by the tragedy that our country endured, we feel the obligation to effectively contribute to the country’s reconstruction by creating a Christian ministry entitled, CHRISTIAN ACTION FOR RECONCILIATION AND SOCIAL ASSISTANCE (CARSA) with the following objectives :
Rehabilitate broken hearts from tribal- based hate and other conflicts,
Promote the challenge of positive behavior of among ethnicities in churches,
Offer opportunities to overcome the previous conflicts and set up new perspectives for the future,
Promote the health sector fight against HIV/AIDS,
Provide assistance to vulnerable adults.
Promote holistic development
Since its creation, CARSA has conducted trainings and seminars to benefit many people ; youth in secondary schools, universities, youth from different organization, church leaders and survivors of genocide and perpetrators. For this category of people, we had focused our efforts in Bugesera districts especially in Ngeruka, Ruhuha and Nyarugenge sectors. After an important impact within these communities, CARSA extent its activities in Mugina and Nyamiyaga sectors from Kamonyi districts since 2010.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Political background : the roots of a century-long conflict
North Kivu ; a province of some four million inhabitants is home of five main communities : the Nande, Banyarwanda immigrants (Tutsi and Hutu), Hunde, Nyanga and Tembo. Local violence originates in inter-communal resentment. It is fuelled by competition for land and political/economic power and has been exacerbated by massive migrations of Rwandans (Banyarwanda), years of political manipulation and bad governance from Kinshasa, and the consequences of the genocide in Rwanda.
In March 1993, the inter-ethnics violence reached a climax. after the Nande youth militia “Ngilima” supported the local militia groups in their efforts to “exclude and exterminate” the immigrant Banyarwanda in Walikale, Rutshuru and Masisi territories. From July 1993, civil society groups and the central government tried to bring the situation under control.
However, tensions were still high, particularly in Masisi, as over a million Rwandan Hutu refugees flooded the eastern Congo, along with the army and militias that had perpetrated the genocide in 1994. The presence of these combatants further radicalized the local communities. The ex-FAR/Interahamwe often fought together with MAGRIVI members, local Hutu militia and Mobutu’s army, targeting local communities as well as Banyarwanda of Tutsi origins who were seen as supportive of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) insurgents taking power in Kigali.
This new peak of violence was the source of a deep rift between the Hutu and Tutsi communities in North Kivu. In Rutshuru, the Hutu population, which had lived there for centuries, was often at odds with the recent Banyarwanda immigrants of mainly Tutsi origin. In Masisi, however, the alliance between Hutu and Tutsi had endured thanks to their common history. Almost without exception, Tutsi in Masisi and Goma sold their
land and cattle and left for Rwanda in fear of persecution. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency around 53,000 Tutsis Congolese had fled to Rwanda. To prevent extremist Rwandan Hutu militia from using the Masisi and Rutshuru territories as a springboard for incursions into Rwanda and to allow repatriation of Congolese Tutsi to Masisi, Rwanda and Uganda formed and militarily supported Laurent Kabila’s AFDL, this in late 1996 took control of North Kivu. Some Tutsi refugees started returning to Masisi.
Far from improving the situation, this foreign military intervention worsened community divisions in the province and didn’t solve the problem.
As a result, inter-communal mistrust continued to grow. Resentment was aimed particularly at the Banyarwanda of Tutsi origins, who more than ever were seen as the
fifth column of the Rwandan invasion.
Current situation : still a long way to go
The end of 2009 saw optimistic statements about the situation in Congo from both the United Nations and the Congolese government. However, the experience on the ground in North Kivu seemed to point to a different picture. More than 12,000 Tutsi refugees have already returned from Rwanda since May 2009. Most didn’t register with the Congolese authorities and moved to strongholds of former Tutsi-led rebels who joined the government army last year, according to UNHCR.
The consequences of the circle of conflict in North Kivu are at all levels. Until now women are still raped.
According to the Human Right Watch in the Democratic Republic of Congo, tens of thousands of women and girls have suffered horrific acts of sexual violence.
The destructive long-term physical, psychological, and social effects of sexual violence on the victims cannot be underestimated. The situation is particularly bad for girls, who are at risk of serious injuries after rape, and whose health is at risk if they get pregnant. Their future is often compromised as they have difficulty finding a partner, drop out of school, are rejected by their own family, or have to raise a child born from rape while still being a child themselves.
Because of the situation above, CARSA has started operating in the East of CONGO, North Kivu province. The CARSA’s contribution will be more focused in trauma healing, repentance and forgives but also in social transformation. Since 2009 we have some activities running out in this region.