A proportion of the Dutch development aid budget is being set aside to fund military missions and to pay soldiers, the Volkskrant reports on Friday.
From 2014, €250m of the aid budget will go on peace and ‘crisis management’ missions. These include the police training project in Afghanistan, anti-piracy operations in Africa and ‘combating international terrorism and crime’, the Volkskrant says.
The paper bases its claims on a draft letter from the cabinet to parliament which is due to be discussed by ministers later on Friday. The contents have been agreed by the defence, aid, security and foreign affairs minster, the Volkskrant says.
The letter states the money is to be used to ‘protect the local population, prevent or manage humanitarian crises and ensure sustainable security and stability’. In many cases, civilian and military effort is demanded, the letter states.
Development organisations have already warned about the risk of ‘militarising aid’. Red Cross officials said during a recent hearing in parliament that using soldiers in aid missions could be potentially dangerous.
Not only can this be wrongly interpreted by rival factions but can lead to aid workers being targeted by rebels, they said.
Earlier this year, it emerged that €750m of the aid budget is to be used to strengthen local economies by helping small firms in developing countries and may also be used to help Dutch small companies which are being hit.
The coalition government is cutting the €4bn Dutch aid budget by €1bn, which will take it under the 0.7% standard set by the United Nations.
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