Early Violence 1959-1962
Following the outbreak of violence in 1959, a decision was taken by the government to gather internally displaced Tutsis from the prefectures of Ruhengeri, Gisenyi, Gitarama, and Gikongoro and settle them in the Nyamata Refugee Camp. This was undertaken on 22nd November 1959. Nyamata was selected because there was sufficient land and infrastructure.
The relocated Tutsis were not content with their new environment due to poor living conditions and a desire to return to their homes. Their concerns were raised with the United Nations General Assembly held on 11th-12th December 1960 where a request to close the refugee camps was made. The head of the UNHCR at that time requested that the refugees be allowed to return home and harvest their crops however, all requests were ignored.
Ntarama Genocide Memorial
The Church of Ntarama was turned into a genocide memorial site to remember the 5,000 people who lost their lives there. This site is of particular national significance and the human remains, clothing and artefacts taken by those killed in the church remain on display at the site. A project to preserve the site in perpetuity is now being undertaken.
The Genocide Memorials – Rwanda – Rwanda’s sacred places that emphatically state “Never again” that reminds that evil exists in our world – but also as one looks around present day Rwanda – one can see the triumph over evil through he resilient spirit of Rwandans and their commitment to a Rwanda for all Rwandans.