From 1996 to 1997, The Carter Center worked to find a political solution to the crisis in the Great Lakes region of Africa following the Rwandan genocide.
Following the Rwandan genocide of 1994, the presidents of Uganda and Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) asked President Carter to facilitate a meeting between themselves and the presidents of Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania — countries collectively known as the Great Lakes region of Africa. Their goal was to negotiate a regional initiative to combat the climate of genocide, repatriate 1.7 million Rwandan refugees, and curb violence in the region. President Carter was joined in this effort by former Tanzania President Julius Nyerere, former Mali President Amadou Touré, and South Africa Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
After summits in Cairo, Egypt, and Tunis, Tunisia, in March 1996, the presidents agreed to:
1. Prevent cross-border raids into any country;
2. Halt arms flow to rebel groups;
3. Remove people stirring fears that it is unsafe to return to Rwanda from refugee camps;
4. Return military equipment to its country of origin, including Rwandan equipment held in Zaire;
5. Turn over individuals indicted for genocide crimes to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda; and
6. Allow some 300 human rights observers in Rwanda to work with returning refugees.
However, despite these important commitments and strenuous efforts to implement them, there was little support from the international community, and most refugees finally returned to Rwanda only when full-scale violence broke out in Zaire in October 1996.
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Size: 26,338 square kilometers
Population below poverty line: 45 percent
Life expectancy: 60 years
Ethnic groups: Hutu (Bantu), Tutsi (Hamitic), Twa (Pygmy)
Religions: Roman Catholic, Protestant(includes Adventist and other Protestant), other Christian, Muslim, animist, other, none, unspecified
Languages: Kinyarwanda (official, universal Bantu vernacular), French (official), English (official), Kiswahili (Swahili, used in commercial centers)
Source: U.S. Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook 2016