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20 Years After Rwandan Genocide, Former U.N. Lead Investigator Says Violence Against the Poor an Everyday Reality

Gary Haugen says everyday violence crushing millions of the world’s poor.

Washington, D.C. (April 7, 2014) – 20 years after the genocide in Rwanda, the United Nations’lead investigator into the genocide says the poor around the world are still victims of violentcrimes every day.

In April 1994, more than 800,000 Tutsis and Hutus are estimated to have been killed over aperiod of 100 days. Gary Haugen, President and CEO of International Justice Mission, arrivedimmediately after the killings ended to lead the United Nations Special Investigations Unit inRwanda.

"When our neighbors in Rwanda most desperately needed protection, the world did notrespond. As we documented evidence that would eventually be used to bring the perpetratorsto justice, the team and I combed through mangled corpses and desperate personal effectsrotting in scores of massacre sites across Rwanda,” said Haugen. “Each day, as wepainstakingly documented this horror, we saw a clear and brutal picture of what it looks like tobe truly defenseless in the face of violence.”

Haugen says in the 20 years since the genocide in Rwanda, he sees across the developing worlda more gradual but massive rise of everyday violence – rape, trafficking, policy brutality,slavery – that will end up crushing more of the world’s poorest across the globe.

“Tragically, like those who perished in Rwanda, our poorest global neighbors are today callingout for protection from this everyday violence through their own justice systems, and for theworld to take notice of the nightmares unfolding in their communities, and they are gettingneither," said Haugen.

According to a 2008 UN study, four billion of the world’s people live outside the protection ofthe law. World Bank data suggest that, globally, women and girls ages 15 to 44 are at greaterrisk of being killed or disabled by everyday gender-based violence than by cancer, trafficaccidents, malaria and war combined — with poor women and girls absorbing the vastmajority of the abuse.

“We did not respond when our neighbors in Rwanda desperately needed our help. On thetwentieth anniversary of that tragedy, my most urgent hope is that we have learned torecognize the uniquely devastating legacy of violence and are better prepared to help thosethreatened by the sudden tsunami of tomorrow, but also those slowly drowning in the risingtide of everyday violence today,” said Haugen.

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