Safer to stay silent: The chilling effect of Rwanda's laws on 'genocide ideology' and 'sectarianism'

Report
September 16, 2010

Safer to stay silent: The chilling effect of Rwanda's laws on 'genocide ideology' and 'sectarianism'

Rwanda’s laws on “genocide ideology” and “sectarianism”, more commonly known as “divisionism”, were introduced in the decade following the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Up to 800,000 Rwandans were killed during the 1994 genocide, most of them ethnic Tutsi, but also some Hutu who opposed this organized killing and the forces that directed it. Aware of the role that hate speech and the infamous hate radio Radio Télévision Libre des Milles Collines (RTLM) played in inciting genocidal participation, the post-genocide government led by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) enacted laws to encourage unity and restrict speech that could promote hatred.