Top of the Morning: Going Rate for Child Soldiers in Mali: $600; UK Government Backed Restoration of Aid to Rwanda;

Top stories from DAWNS Digest.

UK Government Backed DfID Restoration of Aid to Rwanda

The controversial decision by outgoing international development secretary Andrew Mitchell to grant £16 million in aid to Rwanda had the backing of both the office of the Prime Minister and the Foreign Office. “The former international development secretary originally put a block on Britain’s annual £37m contribution to the Rwandan government in July after visiting the Kivus region of the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo. Kagame’s forces are facing accusations of arming the M23 rebels in the DRC and involvement in atrocities, including mass rape. Mitchell decided to unfreeze the aid to Rwanda last month, citing progress at the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region under the chairmanship of Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the president of Uganda. His decision was questioned by some FCO officials who felt that Kagame had not made enough progress.” A source told the Guardian that the decision was “the agreed policy of the government.” The funding is under review by new international development secretary Justine Greening and it is believed that she will decide to provide the money to only aid projects and not the government. (Guardian

Human Rights Situation Sharply Deteriorating in Mali. UN Report: Child Soldiers Going for $600

A Top UN Human Rights Official Briefed the Security Council on Monday on the deteriorating situation in Mali. “Extremists imposing Islamic law in Mali’s north are abusing human rights, particularly those of women, and paying families for children to become rebel fighters, a senior U.N. official said on Wednesday after returning from the country. U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic said rebel fighters, including Islamist extremists allied to al Qaeda, in northern Mali were “buying loyalty” by abolishing taxes and paying for fighters and wives in a country where more than half the people live on less than $1.25 a day…During the first phase we had violations that were related to rebels taking control, they included summary execution of the captured soldiers, instances of lootings, of rapes,” he told reporters at the United Nations in New York. “However, what is new now is that human rights violations are becoming more systematic, relating to the takeover of the radical Islamists,” he said. “They have now imposed an extremist version of sharia, so the population is suffering a number of human rights violations, particularly targeted at women”… Children are particularly vulnerable in the north,” Simonovic said. “There is an attempt to enlist them as child soldiers. There is reliable evidence of many children being enlisted; their families (are) paid about $600 or a little bit less.” (Reuters )