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Press Release From The Danish Minister For Development Cooperation

24 Nov 2011


Immigration News

A number of Indian newspapers have recently brought articles referring to a quote in a Danish newspaper, which in an unauthorized English translation supposedly states that Christian Friis Bach, the Minister for Development Cooperation, wish to create ”popular unrest” in India with Danish development aid.

It is a highly distorted use of both the quotation and the example used in the newspaper. The minister wish to put on record that the purpose of the interview was actually to pay tribute to the strong Indian democracy and to the results achieved in social protection and in the protection of human rights.

”I used the Indian examples to inspire other countries to move in a similar direction. The popular debate in India, including the Right to Food campaign, has inspired both the Mid-Day School Meal programme and National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in India – programmes that I believe are both inspiring and effective in securing food for school children and in tackling unemployment and poverty”, Christian Friis Bach says and adds: “My intention was to pay tribute to the popular debate and democracy in India”.

The minister considers the popular debate in India as a shining example of how popular movements can inspire politicians to take important decisions.

“I myself become a better politician by being inspired and challenged by the popular debate in Denmark. This I believe is the case for all democratic governments, and this is what I describe as a rights-based approach to development. In Denmark we fund Danish popular movements who often critisize us and keep us accountable. This is necessary to keep our democracy alive and kicking”.


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