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Rwanda pledged $400 million in aid by United Nations - in spite of criticism

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
July 26th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The United Nations has pledged $400 million over five years to help Rwanda reduce poverty, hunger and disease. Some have spoken out against the funding. While Rwanda has enjoyed relative peace and stability following horrific tribal genocide in 1994, the country has maintained a strong relationship with neighboring nation, the Democratic Republic of Congo, or DRC, which has a host of humanitarian issues.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The nation of Rwanda relies on external funding for about 40 percent of its operating budget, which stands at $2.6 billion for the fiscal year which begun this month.

Some $276 million will go towards development, which will include health, nutrition, education and the environment. According to a government statement, the remainder will go to economic and governance projects.

This aid comes with several complaints attached. Several international donors cut or held back aid to Rwanda last year over its alleged backing of rebels in the DRC.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame won international praise for progress since the end of the 1994 genocide in order to transform Rwanda into a middle-income country by 2020. Critics have accused Kagame of being authoritarian and trampling on media and political freedoms.

In addition, the problems posed by the eastern provinces of the DRC, Rwanda's close ally have remained a thorn in the side of the international community for many years.

The perpetual conflict there has led to 5.4 million people losing their lives, 2.2 million displaced civilians and a permanent humanitarian crisis. The DRC's culture of impunity has meant levels of sexual violence in Eastern DRC are among the worse in the world and such violence is systematically used as a weapon of war.

Weak governance and the exploitation of the enormous mineral wealth the region holds have led to the emergence of a multitude of militia groups.

After a three-year period of relative stability and closer security cooperation between both the DRC and Rwanda, the political and security situation in Eastern DRC has once again worsened during the past year, precipitated by an armed rebellion by a breakaway militia from the DRC army, the M23 group which has close links to Rwanda and seized the regional capital of Goma.

This conflict has raged in spite of the presence of MONUSCO, the largest United Nations peacekeeping force anywhere in the world, consisting of 17,000 troops.

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