Legal Coordination of NGOs in Times of Crisis: The Role of NGOs During and After the Rwandan Genocide
Ohio Northern University - Pettit College of Law
February 23, 2011
The presence of NGOs in response to emergency situations is oftentimes vital in the survival of victims facing such conflicts. It is evident that although NGOs have responded in a time of need after various conflicts around the world, there is still a need for earlier response and greater coordination of the voluntary agencies, both horizontally and vertically, in order to be efficient and successful in their efforts. Not only is there a need to use NGOs more efficiently in the early warning stages of such conflicts, but there is also a need in post-conflict situations where NGO regulation poses an enormous problem in the realm of humanitarian intervention. Problems with coordination and regulation of NGOs were seen in the years leading up to the genocide in Rwanda, during the genocide, and in the aftermath of what has been called the “Holocaust of Africa.” There were many early-warning signs seen on the ground by the few NGOs in the country at the time; yet it was only after close to a million people were systematically killed in the course of one hundred days that the international community responded with humanitarian assistance in the country. This information was eventually communicated to the international community once the killings began; however, much could have been done to mitigate the amount of damage that was done in this country in 1994 before actual, physical conflict occurred. This paper will first discuss the early warning signs leading up to the genocide and how NGOS on the ground could have influenced the international community if given the chance to be heard. Next, the involvement of NGOs during and immediately after the genocide will be discussed, with a focus on the issue of coordination among the NGOs vis-à-vis one another and NGO coordination with the United Nations. Finally, suggestions for the future of NGO involvement in conflicts will be addressed so that such atrocities can be mitigated in other possible conflicts that may occur around the world.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 28
Keywords: NGOs, Rwanda, Genocide, Warning Signsworking papers series
Date posted: February 24, 2011
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