• Throughout April 2014, Human Rights Watch is commemorating the 20th anniversary of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.  On this occasion, Human Rights Watch stands in solidarity with the victims and with those who survived.

    Between April and July 1994, Hutu extremists in Rwanda carried out a genocide aimed at wiping out the Tutsi minority. The genocide claimed more than half a million lives in just three months.  Members of the Rwandan security forces and Hutu militia, as well as tens of thousands of ordinary Hutu civilians slaughtered Tutsi men, women, and children across the country. Many Hutu who attempted to hide or defend Tutsi and those who opposed the genocide were also killed.  It was one of the most efficient and terrifying episodes of targeted ethnic violence in recent international history.

    Click here to read a Human Rights Watch briefing paper entitled "Justice After Genocide: 20 Years On" published on March 28, 2014, to mark the 20th anniversary of the genocide

    Click here for other documents relating to the Rwandan genocide.

  • One of many houses marked with the word “Tutsi” stands in a deserted village in eastern Rwanda, just a few kilometers from a church in which more than 1,000 people were massacred by Hutu militiamen.

Featured Content



  • Mar 28, 2014

    Significant progress has been made in national and international courts to bring to justice those responsible for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, Human Rights Watch said today in a briefing paper marking the 20th anniversary of the genocide.

  • Mar 28, 2014
  • Jan 28, 2014
    In the 19 years since the Rwandan Patriotic Front took power, Human Rights Watch has documented numerous cases of arbitrary arrests, detentions, prosecutions, killings, torture, enforced disappearances, threats, harassment, and intimidation against government opponents and critics.
  • Jan 22, 2014
    Official investigations into the murder of a Rwandan anti-corruption activist appear to have ground to a halt six months later. The case has received surprisingly little public attention, and the victim’s family is still awaiting justice. Human Rights Watch has visited the town of Rubavu where the body was found and interviewed witnesses and the police.
  • Dec 31, 2013
    With the slaughter of civilians in Syria still horribly unrestrained, it is easy to be discouraged about human rights. There is, of course, every reason for outrage about Syria, and about the international community's narrow focus on peace talks, unlikely as they are to succeed anytime soon, without any comparable effort to stop the killing of civilians while the fighting continues. But there has been human rights progress in many areas in 2013. That is of obvious importance for the immediate beneficiaries, but it also should encourage efforts for progress on persistent abuses elsewhere. Here are a few of the human rights milestones of the past year.
  • Nov 4, 2013
    A Rwandan refugee who had served as a bodyguard for Rwandan President Paul Kagame was forcibly returned by Ugandan police to Rwanda after going missing on October 25, 2013. His whereabouts were unknown for six days. The man, Joel Mutabazi, is now in police custody in Rwanda, in an undisclosed location.
  • Oct 3, 2013
    United Nations Security Council members should use their visit to the Great Lakes region of Central Africa to help end human rights abuses and impunity for the worst crimes in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to Security Council members sent on October 2, 2013. Security Council members are to leave on October 3 for a 6-day trip to Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, and Ethiopia.
  • Sep 3, 2013
  • Aug 14, 2013
    The leadership of the Rwandan League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights has been ousted because of its independent stance. People believed to be favorable to the government have taken over the organization in what has become a typical state tactic to silence human rights defenders.
  • Aug 12, 2013