Friday, December 10, 2010

EurAc calls for a constructive but critical dialogue with President Kagame during the European Development Days

By EURAC
December 6, 2010

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, December 6, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The European network for Central Africa takes note of the fact that the Rwandan president, Paul Kagame, has been invited to the European Development Days in Brussels.

Rwanda has achieved remarkable progress in terms of economy, infrastructure, good administrative governance, and social sectors such as health care. However, we observe that this economic performance does not necessarily lead to a decline in inequality in the country.

The months prior to the presidential elections of 9 August 2010 have demonstrated that this same lack of inclusion is also present in the political sphere. To us, the verbal, physical and political intimidation of opposition leaders resulting in their neutralization, and the increase in insecurity and acts of violence around the elections are indications of a real democratic deficit in Rwanda, which continues to exist after the electoral period.

EurAc is convinced that it is important to support the Rwandan society in its reconciliation and democratization process. This partnership requires an explicit political dialogue between the European Union and the Rwandan government (as stipulated in the Cotonou Agreement). This dialogue should be based on a balance between the willingness to genuinely contribute to the development of the country (with funding and expertise) and a sustained pressure in favor of a more inclusive democracy, a more independent civil society, and respect of human rights.

We consider dialogue to be essential towards attaining stability and sustainable development, not only in Rwanda but in the wider region of Central Africa.

We encourage the European Union and its Member States to work with Rwanda, in close cooperation with the country’s other international partners, to ensure that democratic space and political development remain at the center of these bilateral and multilateral discussions. It is our belief that sustainable development, in Rwanda and elsewhere, needs more participation of an involved population and a civil society which is constructive, critical, and above all, autonomous. We recommend the European Union and its Member States to invest in their development.

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