Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Belgium: The 5th EDD edition as a golden opportunity for Rwanda's peace

By Jérôme Nayigiziki
General Secretary,
PDR-Ihumure
December 5, 2010

Open Letter to European Development Days Organizers


Your Excellency Yves Leterme,
Your Excellency José Manuel Barroso,

The 5th edition of the European Development Days will kick off tomorrow in Brussels, Belgium, under your dual leadership as an international forum organized jointly by the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the European Commission. It is in your capacity as organizers of this event that I come before you to express my unreserved support for EDD's mission of worldwide poverty reduction and cooperation initiatives in the key areas of peace, security, democracy, good governance, the economic crisis, international finance, free and fair trade, food security, resources, the media, human rights, culture, etc.

Excellencies, there is no doubt that developing countries in general, and Rwanda in particular, will benefit greatly from a sustained effort to reach the goals put forth by the present andprevious editions of this forum. In the case of Rwanda, however, the continuing problems offreedom of the press, human rights violations, inadequate governance and lack of democracy and political space will need to be properly addressed for these EDD goals to have any significant impact. Economically, the millions of dollars granted to Rwanda in development aidshould be wisely invested in a way that spurs growth and uplifts the general population not only in urban areas where business, especially the building industry, is booming but also deep in thecountry where abject poverty remains. By way of an example, the Hotel Rwanda RusesabaginaFoundation published in April 2009 a report entitled "Rwanda Today: When Foreign Aid Hurts More Than It Helps”, which is a keen analysis of the bleak economic situation in Rwandaexposing the glaring socio-economic inequalities in all sectors of national life, so deep andshocking that they could lead to violent social upheavals in the years ahead if left uncorrected.

A copy of that report is attached for your careful review and appreciation.

Regarding the Great Lakes region as a whole, the problem of insecurity remains a thorny issuethat is aggravated by systemic impunity that has set in. International judicial instruments havelargely failed to prosecute widespread crime, and when they have tried to do it as in the case ofthe International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania, they have delivered unsatisfactory, one-sided justice that cannot lead to genuine peace and reconciliation amongdifferent social and ethnic groups. Specifically, there is a general failure by the internationalcommunity to get to the root cause of unending conflict and violence.

Because of this precarious situation, many Rwandan political opposition parties and civil society organizations have united under one banner to push for a Highly Inclusive Inter-RwandanDialogue (HIIRD) among all Rwandans across the entire political spectrum in order to find anegotiated and mutually agreeable solution to our national problems. Other countries such as South Africa and others have used this kind of national dialogue platform to successfully solve similarly intractable problems, and we feel we can achieve the same positive results. But we willneed as much help as we can get from you and other partners of Rwanda.

In my capacity as General Secretary of the Party for Democracy in Rwanda (PDR-Ihumure), Iask that you use your authority to pressure President Kagame to free detained political leaders without conditions, open up the Rwandan political space, and sit down with the entire Rwandanopposition so we can find a peaceful and negotiated solution to our national problems and forgetogether our collective destiny. If that is not done, Rwanda is headed for more violence andbloodshed in the coming years.

Sincerely,

Jérôme Nayigiziki

Enclosure:

“Rwanda Today: When Foreign Aid Hurts More Than It Helps” available at:
http://hrrfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/RwandaTodayFoerignAid.pdf

CC:

-U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
-E.U. President Herman van Rompuy
-U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron
-France President Nicolas Sarkozy
-Spain Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero
-E.U. High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton
-E.U. Commissioner for International Cooperation Kristalina Georgieva
-E.U. Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs
-Steven Vanackere, Belgium Foreign Affairs Minister
-Charles Michel, Belgium State Secretary for Cooperation and Development

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