United Nations Commission for Ruanda-Urundi (UNCRU)

International Operation Name: United Nations Commission for Ruanda-Urundi (UNCRU)

International Operation Dates:  1962/02/23 – 1962/05/26

Mandating Organization: United Nations

Region Name:  Africa

Location:  Rwanda and Burundi

Canadian Operation Name: United Nations Commission for Ruanda-Urundi (UNCRU)

Canadian Operation Dates: 1962/03/21 – 1962/05/26

Mission Mandate: The Commission was mandated to:  reconcile the various political factions, return and resettle refugees, guarantee human rights, maintain law and order, and arrange for training of indigenous forces and the withdrawal of Belgian forces.

Mission Notes: 

Ruanda-Urundi had been under Belgian trusteeship since the end of the First World War, having been given the former German colonies in trust by the League of Nations. This trusteeship was confirmed by the United Nations International Trusteeship System in 1946. As African colonies began to gain independence in the 1950s, there was increasing pressure on European nations to grant their trustees full independence. In November 1959, disturbances began between members of the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups in Ruanda. At the same time, Belgium announced its policy on the eventual dissolution of its trusteeship.

After a three-person United Nations Commission for Ruanda-Urundi had presented its report on the conditions in the trust territories to the General Assembly in June 1962, the General Assembly created a five-person United Nations Commission for Ruanda-Urundi to oversee the implementation of the transfer of power from Belgium to the two emerging nations. To assist the Commission, technical experts were requested to provide specialist advice in economics, finance, the judiciary, police and military matters. The commission presented its report on 26 May1962, after which it was dissolved.

Canada provided specialist assistance to the Commission in two areas: military and police. Two RCMP officers evaluated the capabilities of the police forces in Ruanda and Urundi, while one Canadian army officer provided advice on the local military forces and on the scheduled Belgian military withdrawal. The Canadian Major was borrowed from the United Nations Organization in Congo on 23 March. With the completion of the Commission, he remained in Ruanda-Urundi to start work for the Secretary-General's Special Representative. 

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