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Friday 31 October  
Demonstration in Brussels
Sophie van Leeuwen's picture
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Brussels, Belgium
Brussels, Belgium

Europe stays true to Rwanda

Published on : 7 December 2010 - 3:52pm | By Sophie van Leeuwen (Photo: RNW/Sophie van Leeuwen)
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“Kagame! Murderer! Kagame! Murderer!” Hundreds of Rwandans and Congolese demonstrated in Brussels the last few of days. They were angry that President Paul Kagame was invited to the European capital. But the demonstration was in vain – Brussels and Kigali remain close friends.

“The president of Rwanda is a criminal”, said Paul Rusesabagina, the famous manager of Hôtel des Mille Collines who was among the demonstrators gathered on Albertina square in Brussels.

Discussion

Opinion articles in this section of our website don't reflect the position of Radio Netherlands Worldwide. They are merely the view of a particular person, group or institution on an issue that is much debated. We invite our visitors to react on these opinions and give us their views. It's obvious that also their opinions are not reflecting Radio Netherland's stand on the topics presented.

“It is a disgrace that the European Union welcomes Kagame. The UN charge him with war crimes in Eastern Congo. We want to wake up the international community.”

Brussels is proud of the progress Rwanda has made since the 1994 genocide. During the European Development Days in a heavily secured congress centre, the Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luise Mushikiwabo, spoke of the equality of men and women in her country.

Buying influence
“In Brussels the idea exists that we wield influence if we support Rwanda”, said Dutch MP of the European Parliament, Hans van Baalen. “Even now, after the recent accusations stated in a UN report.”

Mr Van Baalen thinks this conviction will be proven false. And the Dutch government feels the same: The Netherlands will not send direct financial aid to Rwanda in 2011. “The government doesn’t want to donate money to a country in which human rights are being violated and where there is a lack of democracy.” Another cause of concern is the trial against Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire.

But according to British member of the European parliament, Michal Cashman the Netherlands is wrong. “Where is the evidence? We’ll have to be careful with accusing Rwanda,” he said.

Netherlands stands alone
“The word ‘genocide’ is being used far to easily in Eastern Congo. Rwanda has known a genocide and wants to prevent that it will happen ever again.” Therefore Brussels should keep on supporting Rwanda, is the opinion of most politicians in the European capital.

Mr Van Baalen admits that the Netherlands stands alone in its opinion: “The Netherlands has taken a clear stance. But it is hard to find support in Brussels. I’m going to talk about the issue with the commission of Foreign Affairs and European parliament.”

Related content

Meanwhile the demonstrators in the centre of Brussels leave the square full of disappointment as they are sent away by police. They take their boards and banners and go back home.

President Kagame did not hold his announced speech during the European conference. He left early to Rwanda for more pressing issues. His minister of Foreign Affairs replaced him and thanked Europe for all its support.

The minister told Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Rwanda "respects the decision of the Netherlands to stop direct aid for Rwanda. But our relationship with the European Union remains very friendly.” 

Discussion

V. Nyamara 8 December 2010 - 2:41pm

The Dutch government
"Rwanda will get no budgetsupport because freedom of expression and political space in the central African country are insufficiently guaranteed"
Thus sending a strong signal to other donors!
http://coloredopinions.blogspot.com/2010/12/victoire-ingabire-wins-first...

Michael Cashman, member of the EU Parliament for (Tony Blair's) Labour Party, said today that the Netherlands are wrong concerning human rights violations and lack of democracy in Rwanda:
“Where is the evidence? We’ll have to be careful with accusing Rwanda”, he says.“The word ‘genocide’ is being used far to easily in Eastern Congo. Rwanda has known a genocide and wants to prevent that it will happen ever again.”
However Michael Cashman carries a lot of luggage with him (see picture). As head of the EU Electoral Observation Mission to Rwanda's parliamentary election in 2008, Michael Cashman said:
"The process of democratisation in Rwanda since the end of the genocide is remarkable”
Filip Reyntjens, Professor at the University of Antwerpen explained in 2009 why this statement is contrary even to the content of the report of the EU observation mission itself.
http://www.fdu-rwanda.org/en/rwanda/news-detail/article/british-mep-mich...
Since 1994 several European and American politicians have kept very close relations with the regime in Kigali. Some even called Paul Kagame their personal friend. Obviously the findings in the Mapping Report won't do much good to the reputation of the likes of Michael Cashman. The mapping report http://www.scribd.com/doc/38542370/Drc-Mapping-Report-Eng-10-08-26-Final... confirms previous findings by a Spanish judge. We can now safely say that French anti-terrorist judge Jean-Louis Bruguière was right when he warned the US against closer ties to Rwanda.

Paul Kagame summarized the reasons for his liberation war in 1990 saying:
"the available options were either you had to choose to remain perpetualy a refugee and stateless, or you had to keep hoping that some day somebody in the international community would resolve the problem, or thirdly you had realy to face reality, since oppression is carried out by force, you had to deal with the matter using force."
Exactedly the same arguments that movements like the FDLR and CNDP and some Burundian rebels would use today to combine forces which according to Filip Reyntjens is happening right now. In the words of Senator and former US ambassador to Burundi and Botswana Robert Krueger:
"as long as this man (Paul Kagame) is the chief executive of the country, there will never be real democracy."
http://coloredopinions.blogspot.com/2010/12/victoire-ingabire-wins-first...

Cyitatire 8 December 2010 - 2:47am / Rwanda

I will try to be short on my comment:Kagame is a killer, a lie,... and I can't wait to see him taken to trial one day.

John Ruhinda 8 December 2010 - 8:32am / Canada

Kagame and the RPF courageously ended the genocidal regimes that had gripped our country for decades. A far more stable Rwanda now reins,where all Rwandans are working together united and proud, something that was unknown in the previous regimes that had relished artificial etnicity at the perils of sections of Rwandan populations.Those days are long gone, and anyone who would like to reverse Rwanda's strides will have to wait a very long time.

E. Rurema 7 December 2010 - 10:08pm / The Netherlands

It's a shame to see how the Netherlands stands alone in it's position against Rwanda and cancel the aid funds in 2011. They should review their decision, check the REAL facts and support Rwanda to track down genocidaires in Holland and avoid any historical mistake.

Truth hurts 7 December 2010 - 10:01pm

for all of you whom are blaming the Dutch gov for stopping the this aid I think you are just ignorant or I don't know what else to call you. remember The Dutches were the first to come to help Rwanda just after the genocide and now they find out that the Rwandan gov they have been supporting went on and committed atrocities that could also be a genocide...what do you really want them to do.
I think The Dutch gov is just being consequent, what Europa is not being "YET".
I suggest that all of you (especially Rwandans) blaming the Dutch to go and start asking Kagame and his army for some explanations, because in the end it is the population that pays the price.
It wont be a surprise to see many other countries in the coming days/months fallowing the Dutch example...THIS IS NOT A JOKE, WAKE UP PEOPLE!:
http://www.rnw.nl/international-justice/article/un-possible-acts-genocid...

Willy 7 December 2010 - 6:44pm / Rwanda

It's quite absurd that some politicians indeed fail to use their intellect, and go for emotions, which is very wrong if one is a person that the public should look up to for leadership and guidance! Some Dutch politicians should come back to their senses, and use their wisdom before making some sweeping statements. What should Dutch MPs have to do with the arrest of Ingabire anyway? Why haven't we heard them shouting about the arrest of Wikileaks boss in the UK? Couldn't be that Ingabire is human being that Assenge? come on, Rwanda will continues to thrive and develop not because its supported by the Dutch, but by Rwandans! Our dignity is our strength!

Anonymous 8 December 2010 - 8:35am

You are completely right Willy!!! I think that these colonialistic white guys are now starting to irritate. I wish we take rid off their misery of stupid aid!!!!

masasi 7 December 2010 - 6:38pm / belgium

thank you for the information.It's very sad for the humananity the way many countries in europe continue to support a "MASS MURDERER" like KAGAME who massacre over than 6 millions of Rwandans and congolese people.That british member of european parliament who says that there is no evidence of these massacre think that the 500 pages of the mapping report on the massacres carried by the army of Kagame
are false? the UN has made false investigations and false allegations for Kagame? Beacause of what? millions of people have been killed the day and not the night and the mass graves exist they have seen the rest of bodies! This kind of impunity must stop or rwandans and congolese will be forced tu use weapons to overthrow this killer and take him to justice! Bravo dutch parliament you are on the right side of the history!

Otto Issa 7 December 2010 - 4:32pm / Rwanda

The Dutch do not stand alone in Europe on Rwanda, some "Christian Domocrats" in the Netherlands do.
They were in Rwanda long before the genocide, they new the ethnic cleasings in 1960s, 1970s and 1990s but chose to keep quiet. Many of the current Christian Democrats may have been young then but the influence of genocidaires and their supporters in Europe has not gone away. Shame on you Van Ballen; you are on the wrong side of history, humanity and reason.

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