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Braving the Freeze

December 2, 2012

I was pleased to see that the UK government has decided to freeze the aid that it was due to give to Rwanda in a few days time. This appears to be based on the evidence that Rwanda may be supporting the rebels who had recently taken over Goma, in DR Congo.  The issues around violation of human rights, freedom of speech and free and fair elections (among others) in Rwanda were highlighted in a recent Channel 4 documentary about how UK aid is spent. The UK is one of the biggest donors to Rwanda, so what it does with this money is not only important to that country, but also sends a message to the rest of the world.

It seemed clear from the interviews with Rwandan government ministers that they were not interested in answering the specific claims of the UN, Human Rights Watch and other organisations about Rwanda’s increasingly authoritarian regime.

Rwanda needs to answer these accusations, based in part on the evidence of Rwandan politicians and activists seeking asylum and in fear of their lives, before UK aid can be granted with a clear conscience to that country again.

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