Until the late 19th century, which is to say, until European colonization, Tutsis (the minority) represented the aristocratic upper classes; Hutus were the peasant masses. The Europeans brought with them an idea of race science, by which they took this traditional structure and made it even more extreme and more polarized into an almost apartheid-like system. And ethnic identity cards were issued, and Tutsis were privileged for all things, and Hutus were really made into a very oppressed mass.
In the late '50s, early '60s, at the time that the rumblings towards independence were taking place across Africa, what happened in Rwanda for independence was a Hutu revolution, in the name of majority rule, that reversed the system. It remained an apartheid, polarised ethnic state, except the Hutu majority now was in charge. And you had a Hutu dictatorship running through the '60s, the '70s, the '80s, and into the mid-'90s. Throughout that period, there was systematic political violence used against Tutsi to maintain this Hutu power.
That violence generated a huge outflow since the late '60s of refugees into neighboring states, so that there were hundreds of thousands of Rwandan Tutsis living in exile, in one state or another, on the border of Rwanda, not naturalized in any other country, and wishing to come home. The government of Rwanda refused to re-admit those who'd fled.