Rehumanisation and reconciliation in post-genocide Rwanda; An exploration of the way in which rehumanisation was a part of reconciliation projects in post-genocide Rwanda

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In the summer of 1994, the world was shook by the Rwandan genocide. This genocide was preceded by an intense process of dehumanisation. Today, however, Rwanda is praised for its seemingly extraordinary reconciliation process. As part of this process, it appears that dehumanised individuals have to become ‘human’ again. Yet rehumanisation, as the counterpart of dehumanisation, is a relatively understudied concept. This research has concerned itself with contributing to a better understanding of the concept of rehumanisation per se and in relation to reconciliation. To this end, an embedded case study – containing three reconciliation projects operating in Rwanda – produced an analysis of the way in which rehumanisation and reconciliation (and relating concepts healing and forgiveness) are approached in practice. Rehumanisation indeed appears to be an indispensable element in reconciliation projects in post-genocide Rwanda, for two reasons. First of all, enabling an open dialogue between people and fostering the emergence of social connections turned out to be highly relevant dimensions of both rehumanisation and reconciliation, thereby linking the two concepts together. Secondly, it has become clear that rehumanisation can bridge the gap between superficial and deep reconciliation and therefore is (or should be) an indispensable dimension of reconciliation.
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