Officials Demand Return Of Children

Wednesday, August 16, 2000
     Rwanda has called for international assistance in securing the return of some 30,000 children who were flown out of the country during the 1994 genocide, BBC Online reports.
     International charities helped fly the children to safety in countries such as Italy, Belgium, France and some neighboring African states. Rwandan officials say many of them still have parents or family who want them back (BBC Online, 14 Aug).
     Children were among the victims hacked to death in a rampage of ethnic violence directed at minority Tutsis by Hutu soldiers and militia. Other children were separated from their families when more than 2 million Hutu refugees fled Rwanda for neighboring countries (Associated Press, 16 Aug).
     “These countries cannot adopt these children without the consent of the Rwandan government and their parents or relatives,” said Janet KagameReuters/, 14 Aug)., wife of Rwandan President Paul Kagame. She was addressing the opening of a five-day conference in Kigali, Rwanda, on children’s rights.
     In one instance, 41 Rwandan children were adopted in Italy, and Rwanda’s attempts to return them to their families failed in an Italian court. Rwandan authorities say they will appeal the ruling and fight for the return of all children whose families are alive and desire their return