Tribunal for Rwanda Should Provide Reparations for Women Infected With HIV Through Rape During 1994 Genocide, Report Says
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda should provide reparations -- including antiretroviral treatment -- for women infected with HIV through rape during the country's 1994 genocide, according to a new report by Rights & Democracy -- an organization created by the Canadian Parliament in 1988, the Ottawa Citizen reports (Eaves, Ottawa Citizen, 12/19). Rwanda this year marked the 10th anniversary of the genocide, when Hutu extremists in three months killed more than 800,000 minority Tutsis and Hutu moderates. During the genocide, Hutu militia raped Tutsi women in a deliberate plan to use HIV/AIDS as a weapon. An estimated 500,000 Rwandan women were raped during the 1994 genocide. AVEGA-AGAHOZO, a Rwandan organization also known as Widows of the Genocide, last year polled and tested 1,200 of its 25,000 members and found that 80% had been raped and 66% were HIV-positive (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/6). Francoise Nduwimana, the author of the report, said that up to 400,000 Rwandan women were infected with HIV through rape during the genocide and many of the women currently are not receiving antiretrovirals, according to the Citizen. "The problem is that while there are solutions in the sense that there are antiretroviral drugs that should be available, the issue has not been addressed and most of the women are dying," Nduwimana said. The tribunal until recently said that providing antiretroviral treatment was beyond its capacity, but it now offers $30 per month in treatment costs to tribunal witnesses. However, Nduwimana said that half of the women she met on a recent trip to Rwanda were not receiving the money for treatment, according to the Citizen. Nduwimana's report is set to be sent to the tribunal, the Rwandan government and other organizations that work with widows in Rwanda (Ottawa Citizen, 12/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.