Rwandan President Paul Kagame has refuted human rights groups allegations that Rwanda supports M23, a rebel group causing havoc in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Kagame denied the allegation in an interview with Metro, a New York based news paper. Kagame blamed human rights groups for giving false information in order to get donor support.
"I understand that human rights groups are locked in a fierce competition for big checks from wealthy donors and they need to generate big headlines. We do not like to be lectured to by unaccountable advocacy groups acting for their financiers about how to protect the rights of our citizens," said Kagame.
"Human rights are not the preserve of Western activists: The definition must extend to encompass the right to the dignified life; the right to send your kids to school, for that child to get health care, for access for greater prosperity for generations to come and to have a say in the destiny of your community and country. Under that definition, Rwanda has nothing to learn from advocacy groups who think they own the copyright on what constitutes human rights under all conditions in every corner of the world," he added.
President Kagame described accusations about Rwanda having economic interests in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo as a 'persistent myth.' Not even for mineral interests could Rwanda involve in Eastern DRC.
"Rwanda leads the region in stamping out illegal trade in minerals. We have a functioning mineral certification process. We play by the rules. Recently we handed back to the DRC 80 tons of minerals that had been smuggled into Rwanda. Our geographic position dictates that our economic interests are best served by a stable and prosperous DRC, because under such conditions, Rwanda would benefit greatly from increased trade and legitimate transit of Congolese minerals," explained the Rwandan President.
Kagame said Rwanda's national priorities are towards development, and total healing from the horrors of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. He said that, on the basis of a policy of national reconciliation, more than 1 million Rwandans have been lifted out of poverty, over 90 per cent of Rwandans are covered by health insurance while the World Bank ranked Rwanda the third easiest place to do business in Africa, under conditions of low corruption, according to Transparency International.
Kagame said Rwanda has established wonderful partnerships with development partners.
Meanwhile, Kagame said Rwanda is confident about unfreezing of aid, once the donor countries get to know about Rwanda's side of the story.
Over claims, based on a U.N report that Rwanda supports the M23 rebel group, some Western governments temporarily froze aid to Rwanda. Since then, the Rwanda economy has continued to move forward and improvising means to supplement the budget, an example is the newly launched Agaciro fund where all Rwandans are called upon to donate towards development.