Rwandan genocide survivors denied AIDS treatment
- By: Lindsey Hilsum
On 20 April the London based Survivors' Fund (SURF) launched a campaign for free antiretroviral treatment for survivors of the Rwandan genocide. Ten years after the genocide, in which 800 000 people were murdered, thousands of survivors are dying of AIDS. The Rwandan Widows' Association says that an estimated 70% of its 25 000 members are HIV positive, mainly because they were gang raped during the massacres.
“We have women who were raped the whole three months of the genocide,” said Esther Mujawayo, a survivor and founder member of the Widows' Association.
In April 1994, extremists from Rwanda's Hutu majority tried to wipe out the minority Tutsis, using machetes, nail studded clubs, and grenades. Many Tutsi women were kept as sex slaves while their families were killed. After the massacres started, the bulk of a United Nations peacekeeping force was withdrawn-- a decision which the United Nations' secretary general, Kofi