News / Europe

Britain Criticized For Rwanda Aid Donation

Henry Ridgwell
Human rights groups have criticized Britain for handing the Rwandan government $26 million in aid, after most international donors had frozen payments because of allegations that Rwanda was supporting a rebellion in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The British donation has been caught up in a political scandal in London. 
 
Rebels from the March 23 Movement, known as the M23, in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
 
The Tutsi militia continues to fight DRC government troops - and staged a deadly attack on United Nations peacekeepers in July.
 
A United Nations report leaked earlier this month concluded that the Tutsi-led Rwandan government was supporting the M23 rebellion - and even sending its own soldiers to help.  The report states that 
Rwanda’s defense minister is the group's effective commander.
 
Carina Tertsakian is from the African division of Human Rights Watch.
 
“We’ve documented many serious abuses by the M23 against the civilian population in the areas they control.  These include deliberate killings of civilians, summary executions - particularly of people who have tried to escape.  There have also been numerous cases of rape of women and even young girls, as young as eight," she said. 
 
Rwanda and the M23 rebels both deny the militia is supported by Kigali.
 
But the accusations of involvement led many donors to suspend aid donations to Rwanda earlier this year. 
 
Then in early September, Britain decided to unfreeze $26 million of its aid.
 
“The reason it had been suspended was because of Rwandan support to the M23.  And in the intervening period that support had continued throughout August and early September . So it’s very difficult to understand the rationale for this resumption of aid," said Tertsakian. 
 
The then-British secretary of state for international development, Andrew Mitchell, moved to another government office the day after signing off the aid.  He has since been forced to resign from the government after swearing at a policeman.
 
The British parliament will now investigate the Rwanda donation.  Ivan Lewis is the opposition shadow secretary of state for international development.
 
“One has to reach the conclusion that the close friendships and links that exist between [British Prime Minister] David Cameron, Andrew Mitchell, the (ruling) Conservative party and the government of Rwanda, played a significant part in this decision," he said. 
 
In written evidence to parliament at the time, Andrew Mitchell said ”Rwanda has engaged constructively with the peace process.”
 
No one was available to interview from the Department of International Development, but they did give this statement:
 
"The International Development Secretary will be looking extremely closely at the issue of budget support to Rwanda before our next decision in December."
 
“Britain should not stand apart and make unilateral decisions from the international community.  We should send a united strong message to the government of Rwanda: we are serious, no more interference in DRC, otherwise there will be consequences," said opposition lawmaker Ivan Lewis. 
 
Britain is Rwanda’s biggest bilateral donor, allocating $130 million this year.  Last week, British Prime Minister David Cameron praised Rwanda as proof that the ‘cycle of poverty’ can be broken. 
 

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs