SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- The 1994 genocide killed up to 20 percent of Rwanda's population, and displaced two million of its people. The violent episode took a heavy toll on the economy, and the health service.
But nearly two decades on from Rwanda’s darkest hour, the country is being hailed as a model for recovery and reinvention and praised as a spectacular public health success story.
A study by health experts in the US says Rwanda has improved the quality of life in almost all walks of life. One year after the genocide life expectancy stood at 30 years; latest figures show it has now almost doubled to 59.
By comparison, Ethiopia has an average life expectancy of 54 and in the conflict-stricken Democratic Republic of Congo, it is 49.
In 1994, 78 percent of the population in Rwanda lived below the poverty line. By 2010 that figure had dropped to 45 percent, and in the five years up to 2010, one million Rwandans were lifted out of poverty.
Rwanda is also winning the fight against infectious diseases.
Deaths from HIV, TB and malaria have each dropped by around 80 percent over the past 10 years.
For tuberculosis, Rwanda has a rate of around 128 sufferers per 100,000 people. In Ethiopia it is close to 400 people, and in the DRC it is well over 500 for every 100,000 people.
But a contrasting picture is painted about healthcare in Rwanda in another report which was published by the foundation set up by Paul Rusesabagina. He was the real life hero of the acclaimed film Hotel Rwanda who saved the lives of more than 1,200 people during the Rwandan genocide.
That report points to limited health care for people living in the countryside, with the vast majority of health professionals based in urban areas.
It accuses President Paul Kagame of planning to introduce a sterilisation programme to reduce the number of poor Hutus. And it talks of widespread torture, starvation and suffocation in prisons, with little medical attention.
The African nation has emerged from a failed state, to break the cycle of poverty, dispair and disease. But is the success story down to government planning or foreign aid and guilty consciences? And can Rwanda's story be a model for another country in Africa?
Inside Story, with presenter Dareen Abughaida, is joined by Agnes Binagwaho, the Rwandan health minister; Selam Hailemichael, the programme coordinator for Care International in Norway; Patrick Noack, the co-editor of the book, Rwanda Fast Forward, which is looking at the country's prospects in the coming years; and Danielle Beswick, a lecturer and specialist on Rwanda at the University of Birmingham.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - The British government will withhold aid to Rwanda following allegations that the country has been financing rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
In a defining moment for UK aid policy to Rwanda, the international development secretary, Justine Greening, announced on Friday that £21m of budget support – money that goes directly to the Kigali government – due to be handed over next month will not now be released.
In July, Britain withheld £16m in aid after an interim UN report alleged Rwanda's involvement in neighbouring DRC, but the money wascontroversially restored by Greening's predecessor Andrew Mitchell in September on his last day at DfID.
Greening's decision is perhaps no surprise. Last week, she and the foreign secretary, William Hague, said a subsequent report by the UN expert group (pdf) into the fighting in the DRC provided "credible and compelling" evidence of Rwandan support for the M23 rebels who are fighting government troops. The violence has led to the displacement of almost half a million people in eastern Congo, raising fears of a humanitarian crisis.
Rwanda's president, Paul Kagame, denies the allegations.
The EU, US, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden have already suspended aid to Rwanda.
Greening said on Friday that the evidence DfID had gathered "constitutes a breach of the partnership principles set out in the memorandum of understanding [between Britain and Rwanda], and as a result I have decided not to release the next payment of budget support to Rwanda".
She added: "We are committed to finding lasting solutions to the conflict in this region and will work with the governments of Rwanda and DRC to secure a peaceful resolution to the situation in eastern DRC."
The UK international development select committee backed Greening's decision, but in a report published on Friday it said DfID should consider the alternative channels to deliver its aid and the wider implications for its programmes if unrest in the region continues. The committee also questioned how Mitchell could have concluded in September that Rwanda's support for the M23 rebels had ended.
Britain is Rwanda's largest bilateral donor, and planned to increase its aid from around £75m in 2012-13 to £90m by 2015. The UK has praised the east African state for making progress on poverty alleviation and meeting the millennium development goals.
Human Rights Watch's UK director, David Mepham, said withholding aid to Rwanda sent an "unequivocal message" to Kigali to stop supporting the "abusive M23 rebels in eastern Congo". A HRW report in September said the Rwandan army had deployed troops in eastern Congo to support M23's military operations.
Mepham added: "The UK is also rightly calling on Rwanda to respect basic human rights … For years, these principles have been breached by Rwanda without triggering any response from the UK government. We hope today's statement marks the beginning of a new era in which the UK government will uphold its principles on human rights and require its development partners to do the same."
The head of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka, this month urged donors to unfreeze aid to Rwanda to avoid causing long-term damage in the country. East African Business Week reported Kaberuka saying the consequences of withholding aid could be costly and take a long time to repair.
DfID will provide a further £18m of support for immediate humanitarian needs in DRC, it announced on Friday. Aid agencies have warned that thousands of people are seeking shelter in camps for internally displaced persons that are already beyond capacity, raising concerns of a cholera outbreak.
The DRC country director of Mercy Corps, Mark Dwyer, said: "Thousands of displaced people are in and around Goma now, searching for a safe place for their families. Many have moved from one camp to another and back again across the last week, fleeing the fighting.
"Preventing cholera is our absolute No 1 priority. In some areas right now there are over 200 people for every one latrine, and 700 people sharing a single hand-washing station. The combination of poor sanitation like this and a shortage of clean water makes water-borne disease a very real threat. Our engineers and staff are working around the clock to help bring water to more than 400,000 people here who need it, as well as building many more latrines and washing facilities, and training those living in camps on the importance of basic sanitation practices like hand-washing."
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Rwanda has accused UN-backed Congolese forces of shelling its territory during a battle with rebels near the border, but said it had no plans to respond militarily to what it called Kinshasa's "provocation".
Tension between the central African neighbours is reaching breaking point over an uprising in Congo's eastern hills that Kinshasa's government says is orchestrated by Rwanda with designs on the region's mineral riches.
"Rwanda does not intend to respond to provocation coming from the DRC," Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo told the Reuters news agency on Monday.
"Issues in [eastern Democratic Republic of Congo] are too serious to be subjected to game playing."
A Rwandan army spokesperson earlier said Congo's military had fired artillery, anti-aircraft and tank rounds into the Rwandan border town of Gisenyi, injuring three people, as fighting raged between Congo's army and advancing M23 rebels.
Guests at a Rwandan hotel near Congo's border ran for cover on Monday afternoon as heavy weapons fire hit nearby, a Reuters witness said.
Sustained gunfire could also be heard across the border from the direction of the airport in Goma, the capital of Congo's North Kivu province where Congolese troops, some manning tanks, took up positions in the city centre at nightfall.
The M23 halted their advance about 5km from Goma on Sunday.
Congo's government, which has repeatedly accused Rwanda of backing the eight-month M23 rebellion as a means of controlling mineral riches in North Kivu, said on Monday Kigali may have staged the shelling on its own territory.
"We have information that Rwanda has been firing into their own territory to justify a larger intervention," Congo
government spokesperson Lambert Mende said, without outright denying reports of Congolese shelling.
Call for calm
A local UN official said Congo's presidential guard unit had fired the heavy weapons into Rwandan territory, though a
spokesperson for the United Nations in New York said the reports could not be immediately confirmed.
M23 say they are fighting because Kinshasa broke the terms of a 2009 peace agreement that integrated them into the army as a solution to an earlier rebellion.
UN experts back the government contention that Rwanda, which has intervened in Congo repeatedly over the past 18 years, is behind the M23 revolt. Rwanda denies involvement.
Yoweri Museveni, president of Uganda, also accused by UN experts of arming M23, told UN chief Ban Ki-moon he had spoken to the rebels, in his capacity as head of a regional body, and called for calm, a UN peacekeeping spokesperson said on Monday.
Uganda denies supporting the rebels.
In a report to the UN Security Council released on Monday, Ban said he was disturbed by continued external support for M23 and called on "all those responsible to immediately and permanently end this destabilising assistance".
"The sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is inviolable and must be fully respected by all neighbouring countries," Ban said.
"Constructive dialogue and engagement between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its neighbours, especially Rwanda, is vital."
Analysts say Rwanda and Uganda have maintained extensive commercial and military networks in Congo's east since the two countries sent troops into Congo twice in the 1990s and 2000s.– www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Rwanda along with Australia, Argentina, South Korea and Luxembourg has won a seat on the UN Security Council, despite accusations by a UN expert panel that the Rwandan defence minister is commanding a rebellion in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Rwanda was unopposed in its bid for the African seat on the council that South Africa will vacate at the end of December, but still needed approval from two-thirds of the UN General Assembly members present to secure the two-year term by winning 148 votes.
A confidential UN report, seen by the Reuters news agency on Tuesday, had cast a shadow over Rwanda's election to the 15-member Security Council, which has the ability to impose sanctions and authorise military interventions.
The latest report by the body's Council's Group of Experts provides more details of Rwanda's alleged continued involvement.
It says M23 leaders "receive direct military orders" from Rwanda's chief of defence staff, General Charles Kayonga, "who in turn acts on instructions from the minister of defence", General James Kabarebe.
It also says Kigali has supplied the M23 with heavy weapons and stepped uprecruitment for the group.
Both Rwandan and Ugandan officials have strongly denied the accusations made in the report.
Before the vote, the DRC delegation told the General Assembly it objected to Rwanda joining the Security Council and accused it of harbouring "war criminals operating in the eastern part of the DRC and who are being sought by international justice".
Louise Mushiki-Wabo, Rwandan foreign affairs minister, told Al Jazeera her country welcomed the General Assembly's decision.
“We want as a country to move on and not deal with reports that have no value. ... Member nations of the UN have spoken, so we as Rwanda are happy to move on," she said.
Argentina also was elected on Thursday to the Security Council unopposed, winning 182 votes in the 193-nation General Assembly.
Australia and Luxembourg won over Finland to take the two seats available for the "Western European and Others" group.
South Korea beat Cambodia and Bhutan and secured the one Asia-Pacific seat.
The Security Council has five veto-holding permanent members of the council - the US, Britain, France, Russia and China - and 10 temporary members without vetoes.
Thursday's election was for the term from January 1, 2013, to December 31, 2014. www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association) - There is another genocide, other than the Bosnia and Herzegovina one, where Canada was guilty as seen: The one in Rwanda. Where over a period of some three and a half to four months an estimated eight hundred thousand people were murdered.
Canadian contingent was on the ground, military was on the ground, they knew genocide it was being committed. Canadian general, Robert Dallaire, who was leading that contingent, demanded action from the United Nations and Ottawa. Both United Nations in Ottawa turned deaf ear. General Dallaire who suffered as a result, as a consequence, suffered as he witnessed the genocide. There were breakdowns upon his return to Canada so that another thorn inside of Canada that it has been there, it has been on the ground with the Geneva Genocide Convention in their back pocket. They had the soldiers and they did nothing to prevent and punish the criminal genocide.
So Bosnia was not the only time that kind of failed Geneva Genocide Convention and kind of failed it in Rwanda and it will fail it again because what was done once and did not punished will be done again. Today we know that Serbia is preparing for another genocide against Bosnia and whoever doesn’t think that it will happen will be surprised.
So those are the things that we need to ask publicly; why Canada who promotes itself as a champion of human rights abroad, why Canada does not honor its commitments within international law? That’s a very simple question and it should be answered. Canadian politicians will give you all kinds of excuses and banalities instead of following the rules of law, that’s how Ottawa operates.
Fundamental changes did not, in politics, bring fundamental changes in policy; it had always stayed the same. Whoever runs Ottawa for one reason and one reason only: To serve the interest of specially interest groups and also to act as a puppet to the Zionist genocide of entity in Palestine. That’s how Ottawa makes business.