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04.03.2010 13:27

Rwanda, a country marked by refugees


For the first time, FC Barcelona, through its Foundation, is visiting a refugee camp in Rwanda, which supports more than 18,500 people.

The fruit of an agreement between the UN agency for refugees, ACNUR, the FCB Foundation is visiting the Kiziba refugee camp, in the district of Karongi, in northeast Rwanda. The camp is home to 18,500 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Refugees of the Great Lakes conflict

The ‘Great lakes Conflict’ has had a huge impact on this region, and Rwanda is being affected by the armed warfare over geopolitical, social and economic interests involving the Hutu and Tutsi ethic groups.

Civil War broke out between these two conflicting groups in 1994, and led to the genocide of some 800,000 Hutus and Tutsis. The Tutsi rebels defeated the Hutu regime and the killing ended in July 2004. Almost 2 million Hutus fled to Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda and the DR Congo, and the militia also entered conflict with the Tutsis in the latter country. Therefore, many refugees were forced to flee again, this time to Rwanda, many of them children. There was a huge wave of refugees from the DR of Congo to Rwanda in 1996. Despite the 2002 peace agreement, there is still plenty of tension.

Most densely populated country

Rwanda, with 10,746,111 inhabitants, is the most densely populated country in Africa. The Foundation’s collaboration with ACNUR seeks to provide integral support to the zone in order to avoid the exploitation of children, forced recruitment, the consumption of toxic substances, gender violence and underage pregnancies.

In addition to the educational, sanitary and infrastructural support offered at the camp and education centre that FC Barcelona visited on Thursday, the club also hopes to offer activities and facilities to two refugee camps in Rwanda: Nyabiheke, in Gatsibo, with more than 14,200 refugees, and Gihembe, in the north of the country, which has some 19,500.
Rwanda, a country marked by refugees
Beneficial agreement with ACNUR
The alliance between the Barça and ACNUR was signed in January 2008 in order to promote initiatives for child refugees through collaborations with the United Nations. Today, more than 100,000 boys are girls are benefiting from programmes not just in Rwanda, but also in Ecuador and Nepal.

The alliance forged last year has been boosted economically by the MÉS campaign set up by Barça, ACNUR and NIKE to use sport as a motivator for children and refugees at risk all around the world. The first project was the establishment of the MÉS brand of clothing, profits from which go to the Foundation’s projects in conjunction with ACNUR.

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