When ethnic tensions in Rwanda turned violent in 1994, a large contingent of Australian service men and women were deployed to assist in peacekeeping efforts.

This is the story of Operation TAMAR.

In 1994 ethnic tensions in Rwanda erupted into violence as members of Rwanda’s majority Hutu ethnic group began murdering members of the country’s other main ethnic group, the Tutsi, throughout the country.  Some half a million people died, including ten UN personnel. Strict rules of engagement prevented UN troops from intervening and many members of the peacekeeping force then in the country, UNAMIR (United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda), were withdrawn.

In response to a UN call to contribute personnel to a reinforced peacekeeping deployment, Australia sent two contingents of medical and support units to Rwanda beginning in August 1994.  Australian peacekeepers worked in the capital, Kigali, and travelled throughout the country, providing medical help to civilians, including those in internment and refugee camps.  Australian personnel remained in Rwanda until August 1995.  Members of both contingents were confronted with scenes of violence and brutality the like of which few other Australian peacekeepers had experienced.  Many have suffered from PTSD since their return.

A national service to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda, Operation TAMAR was held by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The Meritorious Unit Citation was presented to veterans of both contingents at that service.

Veterans who could not attend or have not applied for their MUC and served in the Operation can apply to receive their individual Meritorious Unit Citation from the link below.

Australia says #ThankYouForYourService. For more information and eligibility, visit:

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