Unamir (United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda)

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Amy Davidson

UNITED NATIONS ASSISTANCE MISSION FOR RWANDA
This essay will aim to discuss, in depth, the, United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) that took place in Rwanda in 1994. This essay will provide; an explanation of why Rwanda was in need of a UN peacekeeping forces by covering the events leading up to the 1994 genocide, an explanation of the role Australia played in the peacekeeping mission by covering the assistance Australia provided and an outline of the situation in the country now, and how the UN’s involvement assisted in this situation by outlining the countries current circumstances and conditions. Rwanda is located in east central Africa, bordered by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi. The current president of Rwanda is Paul Kagame who was elected in 2000, he was then reelected in 2010. The population of Rwanda is approximately 9, 800,000. At the completion of World War 1 Rwanda, was under the rule of the Belgian League of Nations, obliged to follow their laws and regulations. The two ethnic groups that made up the population of Rwanda were the Hutu and the Tutsi. Though the two believed they were extremely different in appearance, this was not noticeable to outsiders. The Belgian League of Nations ruled it compulsory for the two groups to carry identity cards, specifying what group they belonged to. On July 1st, 1962 Rwanda became an Independent nation under the Hutu rule; Rwanda is still an independent nation, governing under constitution laws, laid down on the 26th May, 2003. Rwanda’s third president, Juvenal Habyarimana, was elected president in 1973; he was president for 20 years before being assassinated on the 6th April 1994, when his plane was shot down. Authorities still do not know who shot down the president’s plane, though the Judge ruling the case believed it to be Rwanda’s current president, Paul Kagame, whom

UNAMIR

presents

was the leader of the main Tutsi Rebel Group at the time. After the president’s death, Habyarimana’s guards began killing Tutsi opposition leaders; the Hutu’s joined the massacre by killing their Tutsi neighbours and other Hutu’s that sympathised with the Tutsis. Over the 100 day period of uproar, 800,000 Tutsi’s were murdered. This act of genocide was led by a 30,000 member militia group, known as Interahamwe; the leader of this militia group is still unidentified.

Genocide Torture Victim

Current President Paul Kagame

The role that Australia played in the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Rwanda was a small, but a significant one. In August of 1994 a team of 308 medical personnel were sent to assist in and to provide medical assistance and support, to both the Rwandan citizens and International personnel. The team consisted of many different medical teams; a medical company, an infantry company group, four Armoured Personnel Carriers, and a logistics support company. The Medical Company consisted of two specialist surgical teams; a preventative medical section and a support platoon which provided all pathology and pharmaceutical needs. The different teams of medical staff were from all separate forces; The Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal Australian Navy and The Army Reserve. After a six week period the force rotated the medical staff with others back in Australia, sending the current team home to make room to bring the new team in.

Rwanda’s central hospital was located in Kigali, the countries capital; it had been considerably damaged, both internally and externally by the time the Australian Advanced Party arrived two weeks prior to the medical staff. The hospital walls were splattered with blood from people who were fleeing the horrendous massacre. It was airless inside the building due to the external damage done, causing the stench of blood and faeces to be increased. Before any patients could be assisted or treated by the newly arrived medical staff, there was still more work to be done before the...
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