Belgium the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, the North Sea to the northwest, it has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; the sovereign state is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Its institutional organisation is structured on both regional and linguistic grounds, it is divided into three autonomous regions: Flanders in the north, Wallonia in the south, the Brussels-Capital Region. Brussels is the smallest and most densely populated region, as well as the richest region in terms of GDP per capita. Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups or Communities: the Dutch-speaking Flemish Community, which constitutes about 59 percent of the population, the French-speaking Community, which comprises about 40 percent of all Belgians. A small German-speaking Community, numbering around one percent, exists in the East Cantons.
The Brussels-Capital Region is bilingual, although French is the dominant language. Belgium's linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its political history and complex system of governance, made up of six different governments. Belgium was part of an area known as the Low Countries, a somewhat larger region than the current Benelux group of states that included parts of northern France and western Germany, its name is derived after the Roman province of Gallia Belgica. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, the area of Belgium was a prosperous and cosmopolitan centre of commerce and culture. Between the 16th and early 19th centuries, Belgium served as the battleground between many European powers, earning the moniker the "Battlefield of Europe", a reputation strengthened by both world wars; the country emerged in 1830 following the Belgian Revolution. Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa.
The second half of the 20th century was marked by rising tensions between the Dutch-speaking and the French-speaking citizens fueled by differences in language and culture and the unequal economic development of Flanders and Wallonia. This continuing antagonism has led to several far-reaching reforms, resulting in a transition from a unitary to a federal arrangement during the period from 1970 to 1993. Despite the reforms, tensions between the groups have remained, if not increased. Unemployment in Wallonia is more than double that of Flanders. Belgium is one of the six founding countries of the European Union and hosts the official seats of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, as well as a seat of the European Parliament in the country's capital, Brussels. Belgium is a founding member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD, WTO, a part of the trilateral Benelux Union and the Schengen Area. Brussels hosts several of the EU's official seats as well as the headquarters of many major international organizations such as NATO.
Belgium is a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy. It has high standards of living, quality of life, education, is categorized as "very high" in the Human Development Index, it ranks as one of the safest or most peaceful countries in the world. The name "Belgium" is derived from Gallia Belgica, a Roman province in the northernmost part of Gaul that before Roman invasion in 100 BC, was inhabited by the Belgae, a mix of Celtic and Germanic peoples. A gradual immigration by Germanic Frankish tribes during the 5th century brought the area under the rule of the Merovingian kings. A gradual shift of power during the 8th century led the kingdom of the Franks to evolve into the Carolingian Empire; the Treaty of Verdun in 843 divided the region into Middle and West Francia and therefore into a set of more or less independent fiefdoms which, during the Middle Ages, were vassals either of the King of France or of the Holy Roman Emperor. Many of these fiefdoms were united in the Burgundian Netherlands of the 15th centuries.
Emperor Charles V extended the personal union of the Seventeen Provinces in the 1540s, making it far more than a personal union by the Pragmatic Sanction of 1549 and increased his influence over the Prince-Bishopric of Liège. The Eighty Years' War divided the Low Countries into the northern United Provinces and the Southern Netherlands; the latter were ruled successively by the Spanish and the Austrian Habsburgs and comprised most of modern Belgium. This was the theatre of most Franco-Spanish and Franco-Austrian wars during the 17th and 18th centuries. Following the campaigns of 1794 in the French Revolutionary Wars, the Low Countries—including territories that were never nominally under Habsburg rule, such as the Prince-Bishopric of Liège—were annexed by the French First Republic, ending Austrian rule in the region; the reunification of the Low Countries as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands occurred at the dissolution of the First French Empire in 1815, after the defeat of Napo
Rwanda the Republic of Rwanda, is a country in Central and East Africa and one of the smallest countries on the African mainland. Located a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rwanda is in the African Great Lakes region and is elevated; the climate is temperate to subtropical, with two dry seasons each year. The population is predominantly rural, with a density among the highest in Africa. Rwandans are drawn from just one cultural and linguistic group, the Banyarwanda, although within this group there are three subgroups: the Hutu and Twa; the Twa are a forest-dwelling pygmy. Scholars disagree on differences between the Hutu and Tutsi. Christianity is the largest religion in the country; the sovereign state of Rwanda has a presidential system of government. The president is Paul Kagame of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, who took office in 2000. Rwanda today has low corruption compared with neighbouring countries, although human rights organisations report suppression of opposition groups and restrictions on freedom of speech.
The country has been governed by a strict administrative hierarchy since precolonial times. Rwanda is one of only two countries with a female majority in the national parliament. Hunter gatherers settled the territory in the stone and iron ages, followed by Bantu peoples; the population coalesced first into clans and into kingdoms. The Kingdom of Rwanda dominated from the mid-eighteenth century, with the Tutsi kings conquering others militarily, centralising power and enacting anti-Hutu policies. Germany colonised Rwanda in 1884 as part of German East Africa, followed by Belgium, which invaded in 1916 during World War I. Both European nations perpetuated a pro-Tutsi policy; the Hutu population revolted in 1959. They massacred numerous Tutsi and established an independent, Hutu-dominated state in 1962. A 1973 military coup saw a change of leadership; the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front launched a civil war in 1990. The presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, both Hutus, died together when their aeroplane was shot down in April 1994.
Social tensions erupted in the 1994 genocide, in which Hutu extremists killed an estimated 500,000 to 1 million Tutsi and moderate Hutu. The RPF ended the genocide with a military victory. Rwanda's economy suffered in wake of the 1994 genocide, but has since strengthened; the economy is based on subsistence agriculture. Coffee and tea are the major cash crops for export. Tourism is a fast-growing sector. Rwanda is one of only two countries in which mountain gorillas can be visited safely, visitors pay high prices for gorilla tracking permits. Music and dance are an integral part of Rwandan culture drums and the choreographed intore dance. Traditional arts and crafts are produced throughout the country, including imigongo, a unique cow dung art; the name "Rwanda" is derived from the Rwanda-Rundi word rwanda meaning "domain" or an "area occupied by a swarm". The official name of the country was "Rwandese Republic" until May 2003, when the adoption of a new national constitution changed it to its current name of "Republic of Rwanda".
Modern human settlement of what is now Rwanda dates from, at the latest, the last glacial period, either in the Neolithic period around 8000 BC, or in the long humid period which followed, up to around 3000 BC. Archaeological excavations have revealed evidence of sparse settlement by hunter gatherers in the late stone age, followed by a larger population of early Iron Age settlers, who produced dimpled pottery and iron tools; these early inhabitants were the ancestors of the Twa, aboriginal pygmy hunter-gatherers who remain in Rwanda today. Between 700 BC and 1500 AD, a number of Bantu groups migrated into Rwanda, clearing forest land for agriculture; the forest-dwelling Twa moved to the mountain slopes. Historians have several theories regarding the nature of the Bantu migrations. An alternative theory is that the migration was slow and steady, with incoming groups integrating into rather than conquering the existing society. Under this theory, the Hutu and Tutsi distinction arose and was a class distinction rather than a racial one.
The earliest form of social organisation in the area was the clan. The clans were not limited to genealogical lineages or geographical area, most included Hutu and Twa. From the 15th century, the clans began to coalesce into kingdoms. One of these, the Kingdom of Rwanda, ruled by the Tutsi Nyiginya clan, became dominant from the mid-eighteenth century; the kingdom reached its greatest extent during the nineteenth century under the reign of King K
A refugee speaking, is a displaced person, forced to cross national boundaries and who cannot return home safely. Such a person may be called an asylum seeker until granted refugee status by the contracting state or the UNHCR if they formally make a claim for asylum; the lead international agency coordinating refugee protection is the United Nations Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The United Nations have a second Office for refugees, the UNRWA, responsible for supporting the large majority of Palestinian refugees. Although similar terms in other languages have described an event marking large scale migration of a specific population from a place of origin, such as the biblical account of Israelites fleeing from Assyrian conquest, in English, the term refugee derives from the root word refuge, from Old French refuge, meaning "hiding place", it refers to "shelter or protection from danger or distress", from Latin fugere, "to flee", refugium, "a taking refuge, place to flee back to".
In Western history, the term was first applied to French Huguenots, after the Edict of Fontainebleau, who again migrated from France after the Edict of Nantes revocation. The word meant "one seeking asylum", until around 1914, when it evolved to mean "one fleeing home", applied in this instance to civilians in Flanders heading west to escape fighting in World War I; the first modern definition of international refugee status came about under the League of Nations in 1921 from the Commission for Refugees. Following World War II, in response to the large numbers of people fleeing Eastern Europe, the UN 1951 Refugee Convention adopted the following definition of "refugee" to apply to any person who: "owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country. In 1967, this legal concept was expanded by the UN Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees.
The Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa expanded the 1951 definition, which the Organization of African Unity adopted in 1969:"Every person who, owing to external aggression, foreign domination or events disturbing public order in either part or the whole of his country of origin or nationality, is compelled to leave his place of habitual residence in order to seek refuge in another place outside his country of origin or nationality." The 1984 regional, non-binding Latin-American Cartagena Declaration on Refugees includes: "persons who have fled their country because their lives, safety or freedom have been threatened by generalized violence, foreign aggression, internal conflicts, massive violation of human rights or other circumstances which have disturbed public order." As of 2011, the UNHCR itself, in addition to the 1951 definition, recognizes persons as refugees: "who are outside their country of nationality or habitual residence and unable to return there owing to serious and indiscriminate threats to life, physical integrity or freedom resulting from generalized violence or events disturbing public order."
European Union's minimum standards definition of refugee, underlined by Art. 2 of Directive No. 2004/83/EC reproduces the narrow definition of refugee offered by the UN 1951 Convention. The same form of protection is foreseen for displaced people who, without being refugees, are exposed, if returned to their countries of origin, to death penalty, torture or other inhuman or degrading treatments; the idea that a person who sought sanctuary in a holy place could not be harmed without inviting divine retribution was familiar to the ancient Greeks and ancient Egyptians. However, the right to seek asylum in a church or other holy place was first codified in law by King Æthelberht of Kent in about AD 600. Similar laws were implemented throughout Europe in the Middle Ages; the related concept of political exile has a long history: Ovid was sent to Tomis. By the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, nations recognized each other's sovereignty. However, it was not until the advent of romantic nationalism in late 18th-century Europe that nationalism gained sufficient prevalence for the phrase country of nationality to become meaningful, for border crossing to require that people provide identification.
The term "refugee" sometime applies to people who might fit the definition outlined by the 1951 Convention, were it applied retroactively. There are many candidates. For example, after the Edict of Fontainebleau in 1685 outlawed Protestantism in France, hundreds of thousands of Huguenots fled to England, the Netherlands, South Africa and Prussia; the repeated waves of pogroms that swept Eastern Europe in the 19th and early 20th centuries prompted mass Jewish emigration. Beginning in the 19th century, Muslim people emigrated to Turkey from Europe; the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913 caused 800,000 people to leave their homes. Various groups of people were designated refugees beginning in World War I; the fir
2015 South Kivu earthquake
A magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck the Democratic Republic of the Congo 35 km north northeast of Kabare, South Kivu on August 7 at a depth of 11.0 km. One policeman was killed in Bukavu. Several houses collapsed and people were injured in neighboring Rwanda; the International Seismological Centre has a bibliography and/or authoritative data for this event
Second Congo War
The Second Congo War began in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in August 1998, little more than a year after the First Congo War, involved some of the same issues. The war ended in July 2003, when the Transitional Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo took power. Although a peace agreement was signed in 2002, violence has continued in many regions of the country in the east. Hostilities have continued since the ongoing Lord's Resistance Army insurgency, the Kivu and Ituri conflicts. Nine African countries and around twenty-five armed groups became involved in the war. By 2008, the war and its aftermath had caused 5.4 million deaths, principally through disease and starvation, making the Second Congo War the deadliest conflict worldwide since World War II. Another 2 million were sought asylum in neighboring countries. Despite a formal end to the war in July 2003 and an agreement by the former belligerents to create a government of national unity, 1,000 people died daily in 2004 from preventable cases of malnutrition and disease.
The war was driven among other things. The First Congo War began in 1996 as Rwanda expressed concern that Hutu members of Rassemblement Démocratique pour le Rwanda militias were carrying out cross-border raids from Zaire, planning an invasion of Rwanda; the militias Hutu, had entrenched themselves in refugee camps in eastern Zaire, where many had fled to escape the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide of 1994. The new Tutsi-dominated RPF government of Rwanda protested this violation of Rwandan territorial integrity, began to arm the ethnically Tutsi Banyamulenge of eastern Zaire; the Mobutu government of Zaire vigorously denounced this intervention, but possessed neither the military capability to halt it nor the political capital to attract international assistance. With active support from Uganda and Angola, the Tutsi forces of Laurent-Désiré Kabila moved methodically down the Congo River, encountering only light resistance from the poorly trained, ill-disciplined forces of Mobutu's crumbling regime.
The bulk of Kabila's fighters were Tutsis, many were veterans of various conflicts in the Great Lakes region of Africa. Kabila himself had credibility as a long-time political opponent of Mobutu, had been a follower of Patrice Lumumba, executed by a combination of internal and external forces in January 1961, was replaced by Mobutu in 1965. Kabila had declared himself an admirer of Mao Zedong, he had been waging armed rebellion in eastern Zaire for more than three decades, though Che Guevara in his account of the early years of the conflict portrayed him as an uncommitted and uninspiring leader. Kabila's army began a slow movement west in December 1996, near the end of the Great Lakes refugee crisis, taking control of border towns and mines and solidifying control. There were reports of massacres and of brutal repression by the rebel army. A UN human-rights investigator published statements from witnesses claiming that Kabila's ADFLC engaged in massacres, that the advancing army killed as many as 60,000 civilians, a claim the ADFLC strenuously denied.
Roberto Garreton stated that his investigation in the town of Goma turned up allegations of disappearances and killings. He quoted Moïse Nyarugabo, an aide to Mobutu, as saying that killings and disappearances should be expected in wartime. Kabila's forces launched an offensive in March 1997, demanded that the Kinshasa government surrender; the rebels took Kasenga on 27 March. The government denied the rebels' success, starting a long pattern of false statements from the Defense Minister on the progress and conduct of the war. Negotiations were proposed in late March, on 2 April a new Prime Minister of Zaire, Étienne Tshisekedi—a longtime rival of Mobutu—was installed. Kabila, by this point in control of one-quarter of the country, dismissed this as irrelevant and warned Tshisekedi that he would have no part in a new government if he accepted the post; the ADFLC made consistent progress in its advance from the east throughout April 1997, by May its troops had reached the outskirts of Kinshasa.
Mobutu fled Kinshasa on May 16, the "libérateurs" entered the capital without serious resistance. Mobutu died in exile in Morocco four months later. Kabila proclaimed himself president on May 17, 1997; when Kabila gained control of the capital in May 1997, he faced substantial obstacles to governing the country, which he renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo from Zaïre. Beyond political jostling among various groups to gain power and an enormous external debt, his foreign backers proved unwilling to leave when asked; the conspicuous Rwandan presence in the capital rankled many Congolese, who began to see Kabila as a pawn of foreign powers. Tensions reached new heights on 14 July 1998, when Kabila dismissed his Rwandan chief of staff James Kabarebe, replaced him with a native Congolese, Celestin Kifwa. Although the move chilled what was a troubled relationship with Rwanda, Kabila softened the blow by making Kabarebe the military adviser to his successor. Two weeks Kabila chose to abandon his previous decision.
He thanked Rwanda for its help, ordered all Rwandan a
Paul-Marie-Adolphe Costermans was a Belgian soldier and colonial civil servant. After a brief career in the Belgian Army, Costermans enlisted for service in the military of the Congo Free State, the Force Publique, in 1890 and served in the colony's administration. During several periods of service in the colony, Costermans rose through the ranks. Between 1904 and his death in 1905, he held the position of Vice Governor-General of the Congo. A native of Brussels, Costermans attended the Royal Military Academy and was commissioned a sub-lieutenant of artillery in the Belgian Army on 13 December 1880, he joined the armed forces of the Congo, the Force Publique, as a lieutenant on 3 October 1890, embarked for the Congo the same day at Vlissingen. He arrived in Boma on 2 November. After a short stint at Zobe, Costermans was appointed district commissioner of Stanley Pool, where he arrived on 26 May 1891. On 26 September, King Leopold II promoted him district commissioner 2nd class, he undertook major construction projects for the burgeoning colonial town.
On 24 February 1892, having fallen ill, he handed over his command and left Léopoldville for Boma, where he arrived on 10 March. He embarked for Europe on 16 April and arrived a month on 16 May. On 6 December 1892, just over six months after having arrived in Europe, Costermans left again for Africa, he was re-appointed district commissioner of Stanley Pool. His was a nervous personality, his habit of pacing his veranda at night led the locals to nickname him gondoko. In April 1894 he was ordered to return to Europe, he arrived on 24 June. Costermans' second convalescence in Europe lasted a little over a year, he was back in the Congo on 6 September 1895, again as district commissioner of Stanley Pool. On 1 June 1897 he was promoted to the rank of district commissioner general, he explored the territory of the Banfumu people along the Kasai river, neglected owing to the tribe's reported cannibalism. When his term had ended he returned to Belgium on 25 August 1898. On 1 March 1899, Costermans departed for Léopoldville for the third time, this time as inspector-general of the Congo Free State.
On 16 March 1901, he returned to Europe. That year he was given a special commission to explore lake Kivu, he departed from Antwerp for Naples, leaving Naples for Africa on 7 January 1902. This time he steamed down the eastern coast, he took the Zambezi into the interior before heading towards lake Kivu. Costermans returned to Europe in September 1903, but re-embarked for the Congo on 5 January 1904 with the title of Vice Governor-General to take over the reins from Félix Fuchs, his government coincided with the release of the Casement Report, a damning account of atrocities carried out in the Congo Free State. On 9 March 1905, in Banana, Costermans shot himself dead; this is thought to have been in response to renewed enquiries into Congo atrocities. His body was repatriated to Belgium. Costermans was an honorary captain commanding the artillery of the Fortress of Antwerp, a knight of the Order of Leopold, an officer of the Royal Order of the Lion and a knight of the Order of the African Star and of the French Légion d'honneur.
He wore the Service Star with four bars and the Military Cross 2nd class. In 1927, the village of Bukavu on the shore of lake Kivu was renamed Costermansville, it has since be restored to its original name. Costermans published two short essays during his lifetime: "Le district du Stanley-Pool". Bulletin de la Société d'Études vol. 1, 24–76. "Notice sur la tribu des Ba-Nfumus". Missions belges de la Compagnie de Jésus, p. 58
The Tutsi, or Abatutsi, are a social class or ethnic group of the African Great Lakes region. They were referred to as the Watutsi, Wahuma, Wahima or the Wahinda; the Tutsi form a subgroup of the Banyarwanda and the Barundi peoples, who reside in Rwanda and Burundi, but with significant populations found in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania.. Tutsis are nilotic and the second largest population division among the three largest groups in Rwanda and Burundi. Small numbers of Hema and Furiiru people live near the Tutsi in Rwanda; the Northern Tutsi who reside in Rwanda are called Ruguru, while southern Tutsi that live in Burundi are known as Hima, the Tutsis who resides in Masisi, in Kivu and they are known as Banyamasisi and the Tutsi that inhabit the Kivu plateau in the Congo go by Banyamulenge. The definitions of "Hutu" and "Tutsi" people may have changed through location. Social structures were not stable throughout Rwanda during colonial times under the Belgian rule.
The Tutsi aristocracy or elite was distinguished from Tutsi commoners, wealthy Hutu were indistinguishable from upper-class Tutsi. When the Belgian colonists conducted censuses, they wanted to identify the people throughout Rwanda-Burundi according to a simple classification scheme, they defined "Tutsi" as anyone owning more than ten cows or with the physical feature of a longer nose, or longer neck associated with the Tutsi. Tutsis were said to have arrived in the Great Lakes region from the Horn of Africa. Tutsis have lived in the areas where they are for 400–500 years, leading to considerable intermarriage with the Hutu, a Bantu people in the area. Due to the history of intermingling and intermarrying of Hutus and Tutsis and historians have come to agree that Hutu and Tutsis cannot be properly called distinct ethnic groups. Modern-day genetic studies of the Y-chromosome indicate that the Tutsi, like the Hutu, are of Bantu extraction. Paternal genetic influences associated with the Horn of Africa and North Africa are few, are ascribed to much earlier inhabitants who were assimilated.
However, the Tutsi have more haplogroup B paternal lineages than do the Hutu. Trombetta et al. found 22.2% of E1b1b in a small sample of Tutsis from Burundi, but no bearers of the haplogroup among the local Hutu and Twa populations. The subclade was of the M293 variety, which suggests that the ancestors of Tutsis in this area may have assimilated some Southern Cushitic-speaking pastoralists, its parental marker E-V1515 is thought to have originated in the northern part of the Horn of Africa around 12,000 to 14,000 years ago. There are no peer-reviewed genetic studies of the Tutsi's maternal lineages. However, Fornarino et al. report that unpublished data indicates that one Tutsi individual from Rwanda carries the India-associated mtDNA haplogroup R7. In general, the Tutsi appear to share a close genetic kinship with neighboring Bantu populations the Hutus. However, it is unclear whether this similarity is due to extensive genetic exchanges between these communities through intermarriage or whether it stems from common origins: generations of gene flow obliterated whatever clear-cut physical distinctions may have once existed between these two Bantu peoples – renowned to be height, body build, facial features.
With a spectrum of physical variation in the peoples, Belgian authorities mandated ethnic affiliation in the 1920s, based on economic criteria. Formal and discrete social divisions were imposed upon ambiguous biological distinctions. To some extent, the permeability of these categories in the intervening decades helped to reify the biological distinctions, generating a taller elite and a shorter underclass, but with little relation to the gene pools that had existed a few centuries ago; the social categories are thus real, but there is little if any detectable genetic differentiation between Hutu and Tutsi. Tishkoff et al. found their mixed Hutu and Tutsi samples from Rwanda to be predominately of Bantu origin, with minor gene flow from Afro-Asiatic communities. Their average height is 5 feet 9 inches, although individuals have been recorded as being taller than 7 feet. Prior to the arrival of colonists, Rwanda had been ruled by a Tutsi-dominated monarchy after mid-1600. Beginning in about 1880, Roman Catholic missionaries arrived in the Great Lakes region.
When German forces occupied the area during World War I, the conflict and efforts for Catholic conversion became more pronounced. As the Tutsi resisted conversion, missionaries found success only among the Hutu. In an effort to reward conversion, the colonial government confiscated traditionally Tutsi land and reassigned it to Hutu tribes. In Burundi, Tutsi domination was more entrenched. A ruling faction, the Ganwa, soon emerged from amongst the Tutsi and assumed effective control of the country's administration; the area was ruled as a colony by Belgium. Because the Tutsi had been the traditional governing elite, both colonial powers kept this system and allowed only the Tutsi to be educated and to participate in the colonial government; such discriminatory policies engendered resentment. When the Belgians took over, they believed it could be better governed if they continued to identify the different populations. In the 1920s, they required people to identi