HEALTH & SAFETY
Meetings on Monday at 3PM Geisel. Check back for more information.
The purpose of the Health & Safety Committee is to ensure the well being of all members and collaborators through preparation and prevention. Projects range from vaccinations and first aid training for our members and advisers heading abroad to developing water testing strategies for the water transportation system.
The Health & Safety Committee is currently researching various water testing kits that can be used during our trip. The Health & Safety Committee also publishes a weekly article about issues from Rwanda's past, how they are dealing with these issues in the present, and how these issues affect Rwanda's future. Past articles can be found in the Article Archive.
Rwanda: From Past to Present
By: Lauren Crudup
Many have speculated as to whether or not President Kagame of Rwanda is or was involved with the formation of the M23, a rebel group established in the eastern portion of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The United Nations has questioned Kagame as well as other political officials about Rwanda's involvement with the M23, and despite fervent denial on the part of the Rwandan government, there still appear to be doubts, as noted during Kagame's recent interview with CNN.
M23 stands for the March 23 Movement. On this date in 2009, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the former National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), a rebel militia comprised mostly of Tutsis that fled Rwanda during the massacres of the nineties, signed a peace treaty. The treaty allowed for the CNDP to become an official political party. Aljazeera reported that members of the CNDP had allegedly risen through the ranks of the Congolese government during this period, but believed that they were treated unfairly, and thus formed their own movement, the M23. The M23 now actively confronts the Congolese military and wish for their officers to be integrated into the official Congolese military.
The M23 have become international news recently since their former leader, Bosco Ntaganda, surrendered himself to the US Embassy in Rwanda near Kigali. Ntaganda, also known as the Terminator, will be brought before the International Criminal Court to face charges for war crimes including recruiting at least 149 child soldiers to fight in his rebel force. Other crimes Ntaganda is charged with include persecution on ethnic grounds, rape, sexual slavery, and pillaging.
Algazeera noted that when they arrived at one of the bases for the M23, that they appeared organized and well fed. Reporters speculated that they did not appear as a rebel force that had undergone hard times, and that they were possibly being aided by an outside organization. Reports indicate that weapons and ammunition have been smuggled from Rwanda and Uganda into the rebel camps. President Kagame has denied and continues to deny the United Nation's allegations despite a damning 2012 report. The United Nations threatened Kagame with war crimes for harboring Ntaganda and aiding the M23 in 2012; as of yet, no official charges have been filed.