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In the aftermath of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, the Rwandan government was faced with a herculean task of restoring peace, stability and unity to a divided, traumatized state. Led by President Kagame, the government instituted a comprehensive national unity and reconciliation policy to bring together divided “ethnic” groups, Hutu perpetrators and Tutsi survivors, and create one Rwandan identity. From an outsider’s perspective, this policy was a monumental success and an example for other post-conflict states on how to create peace. However, is our jubilation towards Rwanda’s “success” premature? Are we looking at post-genocide Rwanda through rose-coloured lenses? Utilizing a variety of scholarly material, eyewitness accounts and government documents, this paper will examine the un(intended) effects of this policy on other “minority” groups that exist within Rwanda, specifically the indigenous ethnic Twa and LGBTI communities. These minorities were selected, in spite of their differences, to examine whether or not this policy had implications for identities not part of the intended benefactors of this policy. This paper finds that, intentional or not, Rwanda’s “One Rwanda” policy excludes these communities and as a result, there is systemic societal discrimination against these minorities that make living their daily lives a struggle and threatens their existence entirely. For LGBTI people, despite the government's passive acceptance of their identity, cultural conservatism and the influence of religion leaves many LGBTI Rwandans in poverty, facing undue hardship. For the Twa, the federal government does not attempt holding a positive attitude towards this “ethnic” minority and anti-discrimination laws within the Constitution seem to be null and void as is evident by their persecution. Kagame’s government must make serious efforts to examine discrimination towards Rwandan minorities and implement a cultural shift. This shift will not happen immediately, but it must begin somewhere and soon.


Author's note: "This paper was written as part of Dr. Lindsay Scorgie Porter's experiential course to Rwanda (Political Science 3395G, Huron University), studying post-genocide reconciliation and peacebuilding. To be awarded for this paper is a testament to the true value that experiential learning has on a students' academic and professional career and Western (and Huron in particular) should be commended for encouraging faculty and students to participate in experiential learning. It is in the field where some of the most important and life-changing learning takes place and I am honoured to be awarded for a paper that was inspired by what I saw and learned abroad."