Minister must review aid to Burundi

28 November 2008

Minister must review aid to Burundi

On Friday, SP Member of Parliament Ewout Irrgang asked development minister Bert Koenders to review the Netherlands' aid to Burundi. In Irrgang's opinion, too many human rights abuses are taking place in Burundi for the country to continue to be given millions of euros in unconditional budgetary support.

The Netherlands gives the Burundian government over ten million euros annually in development aid. In many developing countries in which the government is judged not to be functioning sufficiently well, conditions are attached to any aid, such as a demand that the money is spent on education or health care. Dutch aid to Burundi is, however, given with no such conditions, via what is known as 'general budgetary support'. Ewout IrrgangIrrgang finds this astonishing, because, he says, “In Burundi during the last few months dozens of opposition members of parliament have been arrested and imprisoned. Torture of civilians by the police is widespread and fraud has been detected involving the committee charged with the task of demobilising, disarming and reintegrating former soldiers. At the same time, the aid given by the Netherlands is, according to Koenders, directed precisely at bringing these abuses to an end."

The SP fully supports development aid, but as Irrgang explains, in the case of Burundi this should be extended in a different manner, and under conditions. "It must be clear that the aid is effective and not used to finance human rights abuses," says the SP development spokesman.

You are here