Rwandan Genocide, Christchurch attacks, priorities in the Pacific, and partnerships

Posted on 09 April 2019

+ Rwandan Genocide: 25 Years On 

On 6th April 1994, the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi were both killed in a rocket attack on their airplane, while returning from peace negotiations in Dar es Salaam.

This was the catalyst for a 100-day period of brutal violence and the genocide of over 800,000 Tutsi and the murder of moderate Hutu. The UN estimates that nearly 75% of the Tutsi population was

The months of April and May 1994 were one of the most important moments of Africa's post-independence history.

As Rwanda was entering the global consciousness as the location for thousands of brutal deaths, Nelson Mandela was becoming an emblem of the continent’s hope and triumph over adversity as he was sworn in as South Africa's first black president. Nigerian author Wole Soyinka wrote at the time, "Rwanda is our nightmare, South Africa is our dream."

This week, Rwanda and the global community marked 25 years since the genocide. It's clear the horrific events of Rwanda continue to shape today's policymakers and peacemakers. In 2014, the genocide was the "fork in the road" not just for Africa but for the world, when the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) was formally introduced at the UN, borne out of the international communities failure to respond in the lead up to the tragedies of Rwandan and also the Srebrenica massacre in 1996.

It was a recognition that our 'responsibility to protect' can trump state sovereignty where a mass atrocity was imminent. 

R2P was invoked in the deployment of peacekeeping troops to Darfur a year after the Rwandan genocide and has since been referenced if not directly used, in crisis and conflicts such as Libya, Ivory Coast, South Sudan, Yemen, Syria and the CAR.

Along with R2P, Rwanda also influenced greater codification of international norms on the Protection of Civilians (POC). Both POC and R2P share the same foundation of the protection of vulnerable human beings. POC applies to crimes against civilians, whereas R2P applies to crimes against populations (i.e. both civilians and combatants). In addition to greater provision and mandate for protection for affected civilians and populations, the Rwanda Genocide (along with Bosnia in 1995) also shifted some much needed focus towards the impact of primary and secondary trauma upon aid workers and humanitariansAlthough it could be considered a significant number of years (decades?) later that support for the psychological health of, and duty of care for, field-based staff, has received the significant focus it truly requires.

The R2P principle is generally accepted today, although it still struggles to become a binding international legal 'norm'. Some view its use in Libya after Colonel Muammar Gaddafi threatened to hunt down and kill his own citizens like 'cockroaches' as a failure, while others ask why R2P was directly used in Libya, but not Syria where there was clear evidence of an attack on civilians with chemical weapons. 

But there is no doubt that after Rwanda and Srebrenica, our 'responsibility to protect' civilians over states is now well understood, as well as the other components of the R2P principle - 'The Responsibility to Prevent' and the 'The Responsibility to Rebuild.'

The cold hard truth remains that prior to the Rwandan, the world did nothing to prevent a genocide. This lack of action still weighs heavy on the conscious of many Western donors and perhaps constrains criticisms of the Kagame government in Rwandan, which has been criticised by some for his autocratic style of government.

But it is notable that Kagame has himself ordered his own government to set a deadline on aid dependence.

Over this weekend, Kagame said that "Fear and anger have been replaced by the energy and purpose that drives us forward young and old... this history will not repeat. That is our firm commitment". Lest we forget also.
+ CID researcher's global message on the Christchurch attacks

"Contrary to the dominant narrative that frames Muslims as newcomers to New Zealand, Muslims first arrived as early as 1769. The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand, the country's national Muslim organisation, recorded that from the 1850s Muslim families began to settle in Cashmere, Christchurch," writes CID researcher Farid Saenong in the Middle East Eye.

We have been lucky to have Farid Saenong as part of our CID team for the last year, working on a paper on deradicalisation in the Pacific and how NGOs can effectively deal with extremism.

Farid is also a regular at the CBD Muslim place of prayer, one floor below the CID offices.

Farid and his wife, academic Eva Nisa, have been doing global media interviews and writing pieces on the Christchurch attack in an attempt to understand, from a Muslim perspective, why this happened here.

You can read their analysis here, of how a self-identified 'just a regular white man' inflicted New Zealand's worst terrorist attack.

Here they write about a history of the Muslim community in New Zealand for the Conversation. And here in Stuff.

And for those of you who speak Arabic, here he is doing the rounds on Arabic speaking TV stations. And more here and here for Indonesian TV

And here for TVNZ. 

In the past, Muslims in New Zealand communities have been invisible, he says.

"Over the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s there was an influx of Muslims from Fiji, Asia and Europe. Among them, Hanif Ali, from Fiji. He was the only Muslim living in Porirua in the 1960s and says it was an isolating time.' There was no social life, didn't go out anywhere. Being Muslim we didn't go to the pub and drink. Pub was abhorrent of places, not a nice place.'"

Throughout all these interviews, Farid talks about the strength of love and support from non-muslim New Zealanders since the attacks. 

"In the face of extreme violence, the people of New Zealand have shown a strong and persistent commitment to preserving its common values of tolerance, openness and peace."

That invisibility that Hanif Ali felt in the past must be a thing of the past.

The CID team thanks Farid for his work in promoting these messages across the world, and we're proud to call him 'one of us.'
+ CID's annual Survey of the Sector is out

The annual CID survey of the sector has been sent to your CEOs.

Please make sure your organisation completes the CID survey so that your priorities, focus, challenges and experiences are represented in this public survey - in the stories and data we share with donors, the public and decision-makers.

If you haven't received your individual link or have any questions, please contact Josie Pagani  -
+ Top priority in the Pacific - jobs, education, health

Although the impact of climate change is affecting people's lives across the Pacific, the top priorities for most people remain better job opportunities, a good education and better healthcare.

Action on climate change is in the top 10, but consistently below these priorities, and below good governance and gender equality, in nearly every Pacific country, according to data from MyWorld Analytics.

Even in countries like Kiribati, arguably one of the countries most adversely affected by climate change, action on climate change ranks lower.

What this tells us is not that people don't care about climate change, but that they are not identifying the challenges they face as a direct result of climate change, and they are not using the 'development-speak' when they talk about the climate.

When you ask people if they are concerned about 'food security' and the 'quality of their water', these rank higher than climate change action.

This gives us important insight into how we as development actor need to adapt the way we talk about climate change.

We need to do more listening and reflect the language and the priorities of our partners in the Pacific.
+ Making partnerships work - podcast

How do we scale up our partnerships with other sectors, including the private sector in order to deliver on the SDGs and in particular SDG Goal 17 which calls for collaborations between national governments, the international community, civil society, the private sector and other actors? 

Darian Stibbe runs the Partnering Initiative in the UK, dedicated to accelerating partnerships.

Business can be a force for good he argues in this podcast with World Vision's Trihadi Saptoadi, and business leader, Jane Nelson from the Harvard Kennedy School Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative. 

We need an unprecedented level of collaboration to achieve the SDGs. Business is made of people too who care about these issues. Connecting with them is vital, particularly at the country level, he says. We need to bring in local companies as well as businesses from donor countries.
+ Planning for the day after in Venezuela

"For the people of Venezuela, it may seem as if the current humanitarian, political, and economic crisis has no end in sight.

"Severe lack of food, money, electricity, and health and sanitation services are harming many every day. High rates of severe child malnutrition and preventable illnesses have been reported. Many have fled. There are currently over 3.6 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants, mostly scattered across Latin America. The de facto ruler Nicolás Maduro and his supporters have not indicated a willingness to transfer power anytime soon, despite the mounting international and internal pressure for change.

Yet, there is hope and determination among Maduro’s opponents and in the international community," writes the CSIS, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies this week.

A plan for the 'day after' must be a priority, the writers argue.

"If the “day after” arrives and Venezuela is not ready with an action plan to immediately put in place, it will be much more difficult to distribute critical humanitarian aid, restore basic services, hold free elections, and get the country back on its feet."

+ Smartphones & social media use growing - new data

"Large majorities in the 11 emerging and developing countries surveyed either own or share a mobile phone, and in every country, it is much more common to own one’s own phone than to share it with someone else," reveals new data from the Pew Research Centre.

No surprises, smartphone use is especially common among younger and more educated groups.

"Meanwhile, access to tablets or computers is rarer. In only one country – Lebanon – does a majority (57%) have access to a working desktop, laptop or tablet computer in their household, and mobile devices play a prominent role in how people access the internet and their social networks in many of these nations."

PIANGO & CID: Localisation workshop - How will it change the way we work?
Agree a shared understanding of Localisation 

Identify what a system-wide shift to Localisation would look like

Define our role and what we’re being funded to do

Explore ways to promote Localisation to the public
Building on former workshops, we will take a practical look at how localisation can work well (or not) on the ground, and how it is changing the way we work.
This workshop will provide a forum to: 
  • Share the latest research and experiences
  • Define localisation
  • Explore real-life development and humanitarian examples, and identify what works and what doesn't
  • Deal openly with challenges – is localisation a threat to our funding? 
  • Look at how to manage risk
  • Identify how far along we are on the journey and what¹s been done to date
  • Define what needs to change
  • Look at how to measure localisation – how do we know we’re doing it?
  • Provide you with background materials, online resources, tools, policy templates and more
Proposed Outcome
  • Agree a shared understanding of localisation, and what works, what doesn’t
  • Propose a Roadmap for change -  identify what a localised system could look like if we completely overhauled the way we work
  • Identify key actions and responsible actors for making change
  • Identify ways to manage risk and accountability, and to monitor localisation
Selina Kuruleca, facilitator 

Selina works as a consultant with PIANGO (Pacific Islands Association of NGOs). She has been facilitating localisation workshops across the Pacific and has hosted workshops for many organisations including the WHO, the World Bank, UNFPA, Red Cross, and many NGOs, corporate and government departments.

She has a background in conflict mediation and resolution, in post-emergency psychological services, in mental health and in localisation.

To register, click here.
+ CID welcomes a new Associate Member

The Compass Housing Services has joined CID as an Associate Member, we are very excited to welcome them to the CID whānau. 

Compass Housing Services provides high-quality tenancy and asset management services for low income households.  They currently work in Auckland, New Zealand and in the Pacific.  In the Solomon Islands they partner with RMIT University Melbourne in a resilience project and in Vanuatu they developed a community facility.

They are also partnering with UNH in Vietnam working with the Ministry of Construction on policy development of Affordable Housing Models.  

For more information, click here.
+ The CID Weekly is proudly sponsored by


Africa New Zealand Pacific Islands Partnerships South America