Batwa Mission Report 1994
A report of the UNPO Mission with APB, Investigating the situation of the Batwa People of Rwanda.
September 28- December 15, 1994
In July 1994, Charles Uwiragiye, Executive Secretary of the Association pour la Promotion des
Batwa( APB 2), left Rwanda and managed to reach Geneva, where he attended the meeting of the UN
Working Group on Indigenous Populations.
Charles Uwiragiye had miraculously survived the war and the genocidal terror in Rwanda that broke
out in April 1994. His name was on the target lists of people to be killed. During April and May 1994,
Charles Uwiragiye and his family hid for several weeks in an abandoned house in the rural suburbs of
Kigali. Eventually they were evacuated by troops of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and brought to
a displaced persons camp in the north of Rwanda.
In Geneva the international community learned for the first time about the fate of the indigenous
Batwa of Rwanda during: this bleak period in Rwanda's history. Based on his personal experiences
during the genocidal terror and the civil war, Charles Uwiragiye feared that up to 70% of the Batwa
community might have perished in the period from April to July 1994. However, as he did not have
the full picture of what had happened in other parts of the country, Charles Uwiragiye stressed the
need of sending a fact finding mission to Rwanda to investigate what remained of the various Batwa
communities scattered around the country.
After attending the UN meetings in Geneva, Charles Uwiragiye travelled to The Netherlands, to visit
the International Secretariat of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO). With the
help of UNPO, Charles Uwiragiye travelled through Europe, visiting several NGOs and government
representatives to inform them on the situation in Rwanda in general and, more specifically, on the
position of the Batwa.
UNPO is an organization of nations and peoples which are not adequately represented in international
organizations such as the United Nations. UNPO was founded in 1991 and has currently 48 members
(including supporting members). The Batwa of Rwanda have been member of UNPO since January
1993; represented in the organization by the Association for the Promotion of Batwa (APB).
At the request of APB, UNPO sent a mission to Rwanda and neighbouring countries, Zaire, Tanzania
and Burundi. The mission travelled and worked in the region from October 3 until December 20, 1994.