Hutu and Tutsi


1994 Genocide


Neglect from other countries


Works Cited

Beginning of the Downfall in Rwanda

European Colonial Rule

The French and Belgian colonizers invaded Rwanda from 1892 to 1962, in which they took advantage of Rwandan resources and control of their government. Many of the actions seen from European Colonialism, such as ethnic ranking, contributed to the start of the violence and genocide. The Belgians came in and restructured all of Rwanda to reflect their customs and how they wanted to rule. Before they invaded Rwanda there was no distinction between the Tutsi and Hutus, they were one ethnic group. The only difference between the two was that Hutu were mostly agriculturalists and Tutsi were cattle breeders. The Belgians separated the people of Rwanda into these two races, even when they did not know the original tribes of the people. The Tutsis were considered the superior race because of their European-like features. Ethnicity in Rwanda then became a matter of racial and political classification. Colonial engineering and segregation was brought into Rwanda at this time because the Belgians chose the Tutsi as the superior race and discriminated against the Hutu. Since it was difficult for anyone to differentiate between the Tutsis and Hutus, they were given identity cards, which later was a determination of whether they lived or died. Between 1952 and 1959 Belgian political reforms gave the Tutsis better opportunities and a better life while depriving Hutus of all political and economic power, which caused the violence between the two groups to escalate.

In 1959 control in Rwanda shifted as the Hutu Revolution broke out. The Belgians eventually improved the life for Hutus and supported them. They saw the Hutu as the dominant ethnic group in Rwanda and worked to ensure Hutu domination over the Tutsi. The Belgians encouraged the start of the violent end of the Tutsi rule in Rwanda, where thousands of Tutsi disappeared by death or fleeing the country. Many Tutsis fled to nearby countries, but those who stayed in Rwanda after 1964 became hostages to an unstable country. Hutu rebellion seized power and began stripping the Tutsi of their land. By 1960 the Belgians strongly favored the Hutu. The Belgians opened up the system to the majority Hutu, giving them rise to political power within the colonial framework. By 1973, the Rwanda had a Hutu president, Juvénal Habyarimana, who ruled as a dictator until he was assassinated in 1994. His death set off the genocidal killing of Hutu against Tutsi. Although the world now estimates that between 500,00 and 1,000,000 Rwandans were killed, at the time most nations declared these numbers an exaggeration and denied the label of genocide. After the Tutsis were killed and many more fled, Rwanda was left almost completely a population of Hutus. Colonial rule destroyed the relationship between the Hutus and Tutsis forever in Rwanda.