Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 May 2016, 08:28 GMT

Rwanda: Current treatment of persons of Hutu/Tutsi parentage

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 29 May 2002
Citation / Document Symbol RWA38977.E
Reference 4
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Rwanda: Current treatment of persons of Hutu/Tutsi parentage, 29 May 2002, RWA38977.E, available at: [accessed 25 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Information on the current treatment of persons whose parents are of different ethnic groups (Hutu/Tutsi parentage) could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

However, in her testimony on Rwanda before the French National Assembly, the director of research at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), who is also specialist in Rwandan society, explained that while intermarriage between members of Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups is frequent, the ethnicity of the descendants is only determined by the ethnicity of the father (24 Mar. 1998).

Explaining how the identity card was introduced in Rwanda, Paul Magnarella noted the following:

During 1933-34, the Belgians conducted a census and introduced an identity card system that indicated the Tutsi, Hutu, or Twa "ethnicity" of each person. The identity card "ethnicity" of future generations was determined patrilineally; all persons were designed as having the "ethnicity" of their fathers, regardless of the "ethnicity" of their mothers (Winter 2002).

Also, it is stated in RWA28498.F of 19 January 1998 that [translation] « is Tutsi one whose father is Tutsi, and Hutu one whose father is Hutu. Women do not pass their ethnicity on to their children ».

For further information on intermarriage in Rwanda, please refer to Response to Information Request RWA00002.OGC of 21 March 2000 available on the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Website at:


This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


France. National Assembly. 24 March 1998. Mission d'information sur le Rwanda. "Extrait du compte rendu de l'audition de Mme Claudine Vidal, directeur de recherche au CNRS [et] specialiste de la société rwandaise." [Accessed 27 May 2002]

Magnarella, Paul Winter 2002. Human Rights & Human Welfare. "Explaining Rwanda's 1994 Genocide." [Accessed 28 May 2002]

United States, Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). 21 March 2000. "Rwanda: Response to Information Request RWA0002.OGC." [Accessed 27 May 2002]

Additional Sources Consulted

Africa Confidential. 2001-March 2002.

Amnesty International. Annual Report. 2002. Electronic Version.

L'Autre Afrique. January-May 2002.

IRB Databases.

Jeune Afrique/L'Intelligent. 2001-May 2002.


Resource Centre country file. Rwanda.

Websites including:

Amnesty International Online.

BBC Africa.


Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Immigration & Naturalisation Directorate (IND), UK.

International Crisis Group (ICG).

Minorities at Risk Project.


Observatoire de l'Afrique centrale.

Office fédéral des réfugiés (ODR), Switzerland.

Panafrican News Agency (PANA).


Le Soir.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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