Rwanda Refugee Camps
in Zaire and Tanzania
Presentation by: William Rodriguez, Nicco
Baratto, Kevin Evangelisto
Setting the Scene
• When: July 1994-December 1995
• Where: Zaire and Tanzania
(Predominately along the borders of Rwanda)
Setting the Scene (2)
Who: Several Organizations and
States were involved in the
situtation of the Rwandan
Refugees in Zaire and Tanzania.
These include but are not limited
RPF: Rwandan Patriotic Forces
FAR: Rwandan Armed Forces
UNHRC: United Nations High
Commisioner Of Refugees
MSF: Medecins Sans Frontieres
Government of Zaire
Government of Tanzania
The Situation
1: Rwandan Hutus flee in the wake
of the RPF under the instructions of
the FAR.
2: Conditions in the camps were
horrific in terms of sanitation as well
as continued violence on the part of
the Hutu Refugees.
3: MSF struggled with the question
of whether aiding the genocidares
was therefore abetting their
genocidal crimes.
4: Eventually the danger
outweighed the altruism of MSF and
by December of 1995 MSF almost
entirely withdrew from the region.
Consider These
Should MSF aid political actors who
committed genocidal crimes?
Is MSF responsible for the violence from
their hijacked aid?
Camp Conditions
• Mass Cholera
outbreaks in both
the Benaco and
Goma camps
• Little to no
• Misappropriations
of food supplies
• Civilian killings
MSF’s Views on the Camps
“The aid system did not function well - there were
breaks in the food pipeline, which caused terrible
malnutrition.” Page 12
“No census had been conducted. Huge quantities of
food were distributed which the leaders resold… This
wasn’t resale on a small scale, but huge quantities of
food by the sack-full.” Page 13
“800 people have died of cholera in Goma, according to
MSF teams. Thousands more are at risk… As one of
the MSF teams drove from Katale to Goma yesterday,
they counted 200 dead bodies. “
Organization of Camps
• MSF provides evidence of
refugee organization
through these case studies
• Old Rwandan Hutu leaders
during the genocide
established leadership
roles in the camps
• As organization increased,
violence escalated putting
MSF volunteers at risk
MSF Opposition
Bernard Pécoul,
MSF France
General Director:
“We witness and even
participate in the
rehabilitation of the
executioners through
humanitarian aid. It’s
Arjo Berkhout,
MSF Holland
“I am stopping
working for these
people because I
cannot take any
responsibility for
this project.”
MSF Statement regarding
Central Africa
“As militia members and former members of
the Rwandan army re-armed themselves
from within the camps, cries for action by
humanitarian agencies to isolate the
perpetrators of the genocide and bring them
to justice fell on deaf ears. Consequently the
refugees became hostages and relief
workers found themselves aiding and
abetting the genociders.”
Médecins Sans Frontières. “Rwandan
Refugee Camps in Zaire and Tanzania in
1994-1995.” April 2004 - April 2014.
Van Soest, Marcel. "A Statement by MSF
Regarding Central Africa for the Hearing at
the House of Representatives House
Committee on International Relations." MSF
USA. MSF USA, 4 Dec. 1997. Web. 27 Oct.