1 Introduction |
The context for the inquiry
1. In July 2012 the former Secretary of State for
International Development, the Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, delayed
the payment of £16 million of general budget support
to the Government of Rwanda as a result of "concerns about
what was happening in the Kivus in the DRC".
This followed allegations in the addendum to the interim report
of the UN Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo
(DRC) that the Rwandan Government had violated the UN arms embargo
and sanctions regime through its provision of both direct and
indirect assistance to the insurgent group known as the M23 in
2. The M23 group consists
of soldiers who participated in a mutiny from the Congolese national
army in April and May 2012. Fighting between the M23 and Government
forces has displaced 320,000 people in North Kivu, many of whom
have fled to neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda.
The ongoing violence, including mass rapes, murder and pillaging,
has led to an alarming humanitarian situation.
3. On 4 September 2012, as he left office, Mr Mitchell
announced that the delayed budget support would be partially restored,
and the remaining £8 million would be reallocated directly
to education and agricultural programmes. Because of new arrangements
to provide budget support in two tranches, there would be an opportunity
to take stock again before the next payment was due in December.
The decision prompted much media criticism about the process as
well as about the UK's relationship with the Government of Rwanda
in the light of the allegations.
4. We decided to undertake a short inquiry into this
series of events and the implications of it for future development
assistance to Rwanda with the intention to focus our recommendations
to the UK Government on the decision to be taken in December 2012.
We held two evidence sessions, the first with the former Secretary
of State Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, and the second with the current
Secretary of State Rt Hon Justine Greening MP. We received written
evidence from 15 individuals and organisations, some from Rwanda,
and some from Rwandans and Congolese living abroad. We are grateful
to all those who contributed to our inquiry.
5. In 2011 the Committee produced a report on Working
Effectively in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States: DRC and Rwanda.
As part of the inquiry process the Committee visited the region
and noted, among other things, the progress Rwanda had made in
reducing poverty. Our conclusions here reflect and build on that
6. Subsequent to our evidence sessions, on 20 November,
the M23 entered and took charge of the regional capital of North
Kivu, Goma. The UN Security
Council has passed a resolution condemning the takeover
and Rwanda, DRC and Uganda have had discussions, under the auspices
of the International Conference on the Great Lakes, to consider
how best to restore the government to Goma and produce a long-term
regional solution to the violence.
1 General budget support is aid which is channelled
directly to the Government of Rwanda's central budget. See para
Q 1 Back
The soldiers claimed their mutiny was to protest against the Congolese
government's failure to implement in full the March 23, 2009,
peace agreement (hence the name M23), which had integrated them
into the Congolese army. Many were previously members of the National
Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), a former Rwanda-backed
rebel group that integrated into the Congolese army in January
2009.The group's senior commanders have a history of serious abuses
against civilians.Ev w5. See also Ev w21 Back
UN Security Council, Statement by the President, 19 October 2012 Back
HC Deb, 23 October 2012, col 214 WH Back
Qqs 1, 40 Back
International Development Committee, Twelfth Report of Session
2010-12, Working Effectively in Fragile and Conflict-Affected
States: DRC and Rwanda, HC 1133 Back
DRC Rebels in streets of Goma, The Telegraph, 20 November
UN Security Council, Resolution 2076, 20 November 2012 Back