Many survivors have lost their spouses, parents, children, extended families, and friends. They suffer complex health problems, like HIV/AIDS, as a result of sexual violence during the genocide. Large numbers live in dire poverty.
But survivors have also shown enormous strength by creating groups to help each other, working to protect the historical record by preserving important sites and providing testimony, and rebuilding their lives -- at times alongside the very people who perpetrated the genocide.
The post-genocide Rwandan government led by members of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) has pursued a policy of "unity and reconciliation." It adopted a new constitution, empowered women through legal reforms and promoting their participation in government, and increased economic growth and stability. It has also introduced an innovative adaptation of traditional local justice to deal with the backlog of legal cases related to the genocide.
But the government has been accused of committing human rights abuses inside Rwanda against political opponents and in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.
With the flight of roughly one million refugees, including perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the epicenter of violence shifted from Rwanda to Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It is estimated that more than five million people have died in an ongoing conflict in DRC as a result of two wars sparked in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide. Violence has often occurred along ethnic lines.