French President Emmanuel Macron has said he recognised his country’s role in the Rwandan genocide and hoped for forgiveness.
This comes after years of Rwandan accusations that France was complicit in the 1994 atrocities.
Where is Rwanda?
Rwanda is a landlocked country in central Africa. Its Capital is Kigali.
Population composition: Hutus – majority, Tutsi –Minority.
What is Rwanda genocide?
The Rwandan genocide, also known as the genocide against the Tutsi, was a genocidal mass slaughter of Tutsi in Rwanda by members of the Hutu majority government. An estimated more than 800,000 Rwandans were killed during the 100-day period from April 7 to mid-July 1994.
After World War 1, Rwanda came under the League of Nations mandate of Belgium during which the ruling Belgians favored the minority Tutsis over the Hutu majority.
It led to widening communal rift between Tutsis and Hutus.
Rise in oppression of minority Tutsi by Hutu, creating a legacy of tension and violence even before Rwanda gained its independence.
The Hutu revolution in 1959 forced thousands of Tutsis to flee the country.
Ethnically motivated violence continued against Tutsi even after independence in 1962.
Immediate cause – signing of an Arusha agreement by Habyarimana and thereafter killing of moderate Hutu leader Habyarimana of the Rwandan government on Apr 6, 1994 in a plane crash.
France maintained close diplomatic ties with the Hutu dominated government, ever since they gained independence.
During 1994’s civil war, France sent forces only after it felt that Tutsi rebels would defeat the Hutu militia. France saved many Hutu plotters of Genocide, even gave them shelter/asylum in France.
Therefore, some people blame that France knew and helped Hutus to plot this genocide.
MP Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS)
MPs have written to Speaker Om Birla to restart the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS).
The Union government had resorted to Disaster Management Act to suspend the member of Parliament local area development (MPLAD) scheme in April 2020.
About MPLAD scheme:
The MPLADS is a Plan Scheme fully funded by the Government of India.
The annual MPLADS fund entitlement per MP constituency is Rs. 5 crore.
MPs are to recommend every year, works costing at least 15 percent of the MPLADS entitlement for the year for areas inhabited by Scheduled Caste population and 7.5 per cent for areas inhabited by S.T. population.
Release of Funds:
Funds are released in the form of grants in-aid directly to the district authorities.
The funds released under the scheme are non-lapsable.
The liability of funds not released in a particular year is carried forward to the subsequent years, subject to eligibility.
The MPs have a recommendatory role under the scheme.
The district authority is empowered to examine the eligibility of works, sanction funds and select the implementing agencies, prioritise works, supervise overall execution, and monitor the scheme at the ground level.
At least 10% of the projects under implementation in the district are to be inspected every year by the district authority.
Recommendation of works:
The Lok Sabha Members can recommend works in their respective constituencies.
The elected members of the Rajya Sabha can recommend works anywhere in the state from which they are elected.
Nominated members of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha may select works for implementation anywhere in the country.
China expanded influence in UN bodies over the past decade
China has taken numerous steps over the past decade to expand its influence in the United Nations (UN) and related bodies.
Various steps taken by China include:
Increase in funding: There has been a nearly 350% increase in voluntary donations to these organisations by China.
Dominant position: China increased its influence in crucial non-UN multilateral bodies and is now in a “dominant position” in several such organisations in terms of personnel and funding (Eg:ITU and UNIDO).
Focus groups: China’s focus has been on bodies that help set international standards in order to boost the fortunes of Chinese companies and to favour Beijing’s projects such as the Belt and Road Initiative.
Impacts of these measures:
China directly heads four of 15 principal agencies of the UN – ITU, UNIDO, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
Chinese deputies are present in nine of these agencies, including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), International Maritime Organisation (IMO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and World Health Organization (WHO).
How has China benefited from these positions?
ITU also has Chinese representatives serving two terms. This ensures that Chinese national champions like Huawei and its standards become embedded and implemented by UN agencies engaged in development work in sparsely penetrated markets like the African continent, the Pacific, and South and Southeast Asia (Eg: acceptance of blockchain standards for finance).
UNIDO: China has connected UNIDO to its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which UNIDO now endorses.
ICAO: China’s positioning at ICAO, which sets air navigation and safety standards, ensured that during the pandemic, Taiwan was excluded from all discussions – just as it was with the WHO, over which China has a disproportionate influence.
How are the other countries responding?
The US started renegotiating the Postal Treaty in 2019 to increase stamp costs on post and mail originating from China. This was done after it was found it was cheaper to send a package from China to the US than between two destinations within the US.
How can India counter such moves by China?