Throughout October and November 1996, the attention of much of the world was riveted on eastern Zaire, as an enormous humanitarian tragedy unfolded. Long simmering violence in the area exploded into open warfare and massive human rights violations. Over one million refugees from Rwanda and Burundi, and several hundred thousand internally displaced Zairians, were caught in the crossfire and were themselves deliberately and arbitrarily targeted by parties to the conflict. While states debated and delayed, with plans for a Canadian-led intervention force on the table, thousands died. Thousands of other refugees were forced back to Rwanda and Burundi.