Rwanda has come a long way since the 1994 genocide. More than three million refugees have returned to the country, sixty thousand combatants have been demobilised and thousands of former genocide prisoners have returned to their communities. Internal security has improved, infrastructure has been rebuilt, the economy is improving and more women are taking part in political and economic life.
However, the country still faces a number of risks and challenges to peace. Economic development and land usage reform are taking place against a backdrop of unresolved trauma. Below the surface, communities across the country are still deeply divided and fragmented as a result of their experiences during and since the genocide. Without greater healing and reconciliation, there is a real danger that these tensions between communities could spiral into violence again in the future.
Rwanda also faces external instability in neighbouring eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which since 2012 has witnessed an escalation of violence by the M23 rebel group. This has led to tense relations between the two countries, especially after a UN report accused Rwanda of helping to destabilise eastern DRC – an accusation which Rwanda strongly denies.
The government and the people of Rwanda have made remarkable progress in re-establishing normality after the chaos and trauma of the genocide, with the support of the international community. It is important to continue to consolidate this progress and to ensure that peace is lasting and sustainable in the country.