Famine in camps of Burundese refugees in Rwanda - French
Their brothers, parents and children were savagely slaughtered in Burundi. They're dying of hunger here in Rwanda, the neighbouring country to which they took flight.
A woman: "My husband and three of my five children have died. They died of hunger here in the camp. »
A man (MSF): "I've worked for MSF for ten years, and I think that I'm losing my grip. I saw twenty five severely malnourished children today, and no one cares, the kids just die. We've just brought in another little girl whose parents are dead, and she's looking after another little girl, who's mother's dead too. That's really hard to digest. »
A woman (MSF): "This child says he's going to die. »
A woman (MSF), discussing a young girl with a refugee: "She's got no possessions? Not even a blanket? Nothing?"
The refugee: "No, nothing. "
The MSF woman: "Gently, gently. »
A woman (MSF): "When a child dies in your arms, you always feel like you've failed. We tell ourselves that we're here to save them, and then one dies, two die, three die: it hurts because we should be able to save these kids. Every single time we see that the quality and quantity of food can be up to half the survival rations. When a refugee camp opens, we watch over it, we organise it, we count the people. »
Rony Brauman: The fault lies with those who are directly responsible for organising assistance for the refugees, and more specifically, for organising food supplies to the refugee camps, and this particular United Nations agency has not done its work - I'm talking about the World Food Programme. We've known since December that we're heading straight for a famine, it was predictable, written on the wall, and probably deadly. »
MSF: "In a country at peace, a country with good roads, we had a big problem, a serious problem, with food distribution. »
A man: "The organisations responsible for distribution weren't ready, they weren't organised or available. »
A man: "The quantity of food planned for the refugees, the basic ration, was inadequate. »
A woman (MSF): 'I have the impression that the different organisations working for the refugees are not liaising. One should be providing food, another distributing it, and there's a problem between them, no one's taking charge. »
A refugee: "The food's being diverted, we're getting nothing! »
Another refugee: "The rations are being trafficked. »
Rwandan Tutsis and moderate Hutus fleeing the massacres - French
TV presenter: In Rwanda, increasingly horrified witnesses observe the massive exodus of civilians fleeing the civil war to seek refuge in neighbouring Burundi. We know about the ethnic war between Hutus and Tutsis, but there's a political war raging too. Patricia Coste:
Commentary: "There's an exodus from Rwanda. An exodus on such a scale that it's been qualified as a major humanitarian disaster by the Red Cross. Half a million people are fleeing the country, crossing the rivers. They haven't all managed to reach Burundi, so they're flooding back into Tanzania, where the HCR is reporting lines of people eight kilometres long.
In the camps, it’s always the same wounded, the bandaged neck, hiding a machete cut that missed its mark. In Rwanda, the massacres continue. According to one of the rare European witnesses still on the ground, an ICRC delegate we've just reached in Kigali, a new massacre has just taken place in Gitarama, south of the capital, where the provisional government is currently headquartered:
The ICRC delegate: "I think there's not a corner of Rwanda that will escape these massacres. It's an ethnically-driven, politically-driven manhunt. »
Commentary: For political reasons, the refugees dare to start talking. Including this man, one of the rare opponents of the ruling party that managed to escape:
Alphonse Nkubito: "It's not ethnic massacres, it's a political operation. It's a political game that's being played out between those who don't want democratic change, in other words the President's circle, and the opposition. The truth is that the President's circle wanted to liquidate, extinguish, all these democratic leanings, and it's got its way. I'm telling you, if they catch me they'll kill me, even now. And I'm Hutu. »
Commentary: Hutu, like this woman, the former prime minister, massacred right at the start by extremist elements of her own ethnic group. Extremists who didn't want to share power with the Tutsis. So the democratic Hutus have joined the persecuted Tutsis in the wave of death and exodus. »
Report on situation in Rwanda - French
TV presenter: The United Nation's General Secretary, Mr. Boutros Ghali, is calling for the use of force to re-establish calm in Rwanda, torn apart by civil war. Hundreds of thousands of Rwandans continue to pour out of the country. Philippe Gaillard reports, one of the rare Western journalists we can still reach in Kigali, the capital:
Philippe Gaillard (ICRC delegate): We've made contact with the authorities in Kigali, who are currently doing what’s required by passing messages via Rwanda's two main radio stations, the national station and the ‘radio-télévision libre des Milles Collines’, asking people to calm down, respect civilians, arrest suspects - if there are any, handing them over to the appropriate authorities, and lastly to respect the wounded, whoever they might be, and help the Rwandan Red Cross and International Committee of the Red Cross do their work. It's clear that the message is getting through, it shows. Yesterday, we evacuated thirteen wounded people, today eleven - some of whom reached our hospital by themselves. It's a good sign, compared to what we've seen in the previous days. »
MSF (Un) Limited - English
MSF/AZG - Dr Rony Zachariah testimony about massacre of MSF Rwandan staff during the genocide (English)
Bradol: French government’s lack of involvement to stop the “genocidaires" - English
16 May 1994 - TF 1 - Interview Dr. Jean-Hervé Bradol - MSF France Programme manager on French government’s lack of involvement to stop the “genocidaires” (French/English)
Bradol: French government’s lack of involvement to stop the “genocidaires" - French
16 May 1994 - TF 1 - Interview Dr. Jean-Hervé Bradol, MSF France Programme manager (French)
Interview with Jean-Hervé Bradol, MSF France Programme Manager, 08:00 news bulletin, TF1 on 16 May 1994 (in French).
Patrick Poivre d’Arvor: With us this evening is a doctor who set up MSF’s surgical outpost in Kigali on 13 April. Could you tell us about what you saw there? You say this is a horribly brutal war?
Jean-Hervé Bradol: Yes. The majority of the victims we treat are not victims of war, but of a massacre. Most have machete wounds, but others are brutally finished off with automatic rifles. We can’t call them war victims. These people are victims of massacres.
PPDA: And this sometimes happened before your very eyes as you transported them by ambulance…
JHB: Exactly. It’s extremely difficult to get the casualties back to the hospital for treatment, as the militia drag them out of the ambulances and finish them off in the street.
PPDA: And that is happening systematically in Kigali. You’ve seen that?
JHB: Yes. For a month the town of Kigali has been divided up into a grid. The houses are searched one by one for people suspected of being hostile to the most extreme forces of the army. The suspects are executed along with the rest of their family. That includes babies, women, old men, absolutely everyone. There are no survivors. And when we went back to the area to try to pick up the wounded, the militia boasted about it, saying “There’s no-one left to pick up, we’ve killed them all.” And that’s exactly what they do. This is a policy of deliberate, systematic, planned extermination.
PPDA: Is this definitely genocide, then?
JHB: Yes. It really is a deliberate massacre on a huge scale.
PPDA: We tend to think “It’s Hutu against Tutsi, it’s an ethnic war.” Whereas it’s much more complicated than that.
JHB: That’s what they would like us to believe, perhaps to justify the passivity in some quarters. They try to present the Rwandans as tribes slaughtering each other. I believe this description is the final insult to the victims. This is a political conflict. They have to stop portraying the situation in Rwanda as tribes slaughtering each other. What’s more, this description is hardly harmless. France has a particularly serious role and responsibility in Rwanda. Those now carrying out the slaughter, those who are implementing this policy of planned, systematic extermination have been funded, trained and armed by France. And that is something that hasn’t been exposed properly yet. No French authority has explicitly condemned those responsible for the slaughter. And yet the French State knows these people only too well, since it has provided them with equipment.
PPDA: And that’s why you decided to write an open letter to President Mitterrand ?
JHB: Exactly. That’s why we decided to write an open letter to the President of the Republic, because, clearly, the humanitarian organisations can’t cope with this horror alone. What’s more, it’s now practically impossible for us to work properly in Rwanda, to meet the needs that you described in your report, unless there is robust intervention on the part of the international community; France in particular, since it knows the assassins well, has armed them and equipped them. We believe this policy actually encourages the slaughter and murder to continue. And at the moment, we have yet to hear any declarations from the French State. We have yet to hear the French State call on the torturers in Kigali and Butare to stop, and I must stress that we find this extremely shocking.
PPDA: And for the moment you can’t, of course, assess how many have been killed, because the sources are extremely far apart and there are very few journalists who can see what’s going on. How many would you say?
JHB: I think that when we speak of more than 100,000 dead in Rwanda… we should remember that Rwanda has a population of seven million. When quoting such figures, when describing how the capital has been completely divided up and searched house by house to exterminate people, it’s tantamount to saying that four million have been killed in a month of political conflict. We’ve never seen anything like it. When we count the Rwandan employees working for MSF, we can say today that more than 100 Rwandan MSF employees have been assassinated by government armed forces. That has never happened in our history. This is an unprecedented catastrophe even in the 20 years that we have seen of war, death and horror.
PPDA: Thank you very much, Jean-Hervé Bradol. It was high time someone spoke out forcefully about what is happening over there, as it really is genocide.
RPF takes over Kigali
5 July 1994
MSF’s Call for armed intervention to stop the genocide
TV presenter: The fighting continues in Rwanda, particularly in the capital, Kigali, where the rebels are trying to dislodge the last governmental forces in an attempt to save human lives. This morning in Paris, a first for the humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières as it issues an unequivocal call for an armed intervention. Meanwhile France, as you know, is due to transport a humanitarian convoy from tomorrow on. Report by Valérie Fourniou:
Commentary: "Under duress, MSF has had to leave the refugee camp of Benako in Tanzania. The Rwandans have seized power, the same ones who organised the massacres in their own country. And for the first time, the French doctors have put their humanitarian reserve to one side:
Philippe Biberson (MSF): "It's logical to call for an armed intervention to stop the massacre because humanitarian workers can't do it themselves. We're not looking for an armada to interpose between two fronts. What's needed, in our opinion, is something along the lines of the United Nations forces known as UNAMIR, the contingent currently stationed in Kigali. We think that if UNAMIR was strengthened, if it was given a minimum of resources to work with, it could be effective. »
A dawning realisation or a display of powerlessness from an NGO who only recently denounced military involvement in humanitarian affairs? »
22 June 1994
Wouter van Empelen, MSF Holland programme manager
ITW - Wouter van Empelen, MSF Holland programme manager (Dutch)
Witnessing killing at checkpoint - MSF Holland programme manager
ITW - Wouter van Empelen, MSF Holland programme manager; witnessing killing at checkpoint in April 1994 - filmed in Butare region in October 1995 (Dutch - English subtitled)
Kigali during the genocide - English
MAHA Production 2006 - The MSF Adventure – Patrice Benquet, Anne Valleys – Dr. Jean-Hervé Bradol, MSF France Programme Manager on his experience in ICRC/MSF Kigali during the genocide (English)
Kigali during the genocide - French
MAHA Production 2006 - L'aventure MSF – Patrice Benquet, Anne Valleys – Dr. Jean-Hervé Bradol, MSF France Programme Manager on his experience in ICRC/MSF Kigali during the genocide (French)
Internal debates about the qualification of genocide - English
The MSF Adventure – Patrice Benquet, Anne Valleys – MAHA Production 2006 - Dr. Jean-Hervé Bradol, MSF France Programme Manager on internal debates within MSF France about the qualification of genocide (English)
Les débats internes concernant la qualification de génocide - French
L’aventure MSF - Patrice Benquet, Anne Valleys – MAHA Production 2006 - Dr. Jean-Hervé Bradol, Responsable de programme MSF France sur les débats internes concernant la qualification de génocide (French)
The MSF Adventure - English
The MSF Adventure – Patrice Benquet, Anne Valleys – MAHA Production 2006 - Dr. Jean-Hervé Bradol, MSF France Programme Manager on French government’s lack of involvement to stop the “génocidaires” (English)
L’aventure MSF - French
L’aventure MSF - Patrice Benquet, Anne Valleys – MAHA Production 2006 - Dr. Jean-Hervé Bradol, responsable de programme MSF France sur l’inertie du gouvernement français à faire pression sur les génocidaires (French)
MSF meeting with French President Mitterrand - English
The MSF Adventure – Patrice Benquet, Anne Valleys – MAHA Production 2006 - MSF France Programme Manager on MSF meeting with French President Mitterrand on 12 June 1994 (English)
MSF meeting with French President Mitterrand - French
The MSF Adventure – Patrice Benquet, Anne Valleys – MAHA Production 2006 - MSF France Programme Manager on MSF meeting with French President Mitterrand on 12 June 1994 (French)