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Rwanda: Human rights overlooked in mass repatriation

, Index number: AFR 47/002/1997

This report summarizes the findings of an Amnesty International visit to Rwanda in November 1996, and presents an overview of the risk of human rights violations facing returnees to Rwanda. In November and December 1996 hundreds of thousands of refugees returned to Rwanda, driven from Zaire by the escalating violence and brutal abuse of human rights in the conflict there, and from Tanzania in a mass repatriation operation that took place with the cooperation of the UNHCR. These repatriations took place with the acquiescence of the international community who appear to have forgotten the broader problem of disregard for human rights in Rwanda. By mid-December 1996 the number of detainees held without trial had reached 90,000, including over 1,000 returnees; the overcrowding in many detention centres continued to result in deaths among detainees; and arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial executions and "disappearances" persisted.

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