19 March 2013
In ‘Stand with Rwanda: Now is no time to cut aid’ , an article appearing on Foreign Policy.Com on 21
February 2013, Tony Blair and American billionaire Howard Buffet called on the international community not to freeze their financial support for Rwanda. Their plea, targetting in particular to their respective countries (Rwanda’s biggest donors) came after the UN Group of Experts Reports released in July and November 2012 which revealed that Rwanda was spending money intended for the promotion of social and economic projects on military meddling in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In addition to violating DRC territorial integrity, Rwanda has been found to support M23, a deadly rebel group opperating in eastern DRC which has displaced 900 000 people, left millions of others dead, and whose leaders are wanted by International Criminal Court. Blair and Buffet argue that because Rwanda has developed economically and has been paying the World Bank debts, the international community should continue to support President Kagame regardless of his implication by various UN Experts or Special Rapporteurs and human rights organisations reports in committing flagrant human rights violations in DRC as well as in Rwanda.
The Blair and Buffet article was met with dismay by the Rwandan Platform for Dialogue, Truth and Justice (RDTJ). RDTJ strongly stresses that economic development should not be applauded when it is known to be at the cost of political oppression of the majority of the population in Rwanda; war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Rwanda and DRC; and exploitation of mineral wealth in the DRC. What’s more, Rwanda has a large and growing disparity of wealth between a small elite and the majority who remain excessively poor.