Lindsey Hilsum questions how much the international community has learned from the last Rwandan tragedy: I was in Rwanda when the fighting began. It was clear at the time that rape was a tool of war. The majority of women who survived the Hutu attacks on Tutsis were gang-raped, sometimes for weeks on end, by the thugs who murdered their families. Many of them are now dying slow, painful deaths from AIDS. There are 7,800 confirmed cases, with estimates of as many as 14,000 undocumented women who are infected with the virus. (Today a total of 500,000 people, nearly nine percent of the adult population of Rwanda, is H.I.V. positive.) In a forthcoming report, Africa Rights, a human rights organization, has documented the cases of nearly 200 Rwandan women infected by H.I.V. The testimonies speak of shame, stigma, pain and poverty. Many of these women took in children left orphaned by the genocide. As the women succumb to AIDS, the children are left without care or supervision. The cycle of tragedy intensifies. ...In fact, the United States Agency for International Development has selected prisoners convicted of participating in the genocide as a target group to receive counseling and testing as they return to the community. And the United Nations International Tribunal for Rwanda provides antiretroviral drugs to the prisoners accused of masterminding the slaughter. Similar programs on this scale simply do not exist for Rwanda's rape victims.


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