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U N I T E D N A T I O N S Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Integrated Regional Information Network for Central and Eastern Africa
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IRIN Update No. 461 for Central and Eastern Africa (Friday 17 July 1998)
RWANDA: UN human rights chief regrets lack of deal on Rwandan presence
The UN's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement issued yesterday (Thursday) that it regretted no agreement had been reached during recent discussions with the government on the establishment of a new UN human rights presence in Rwanda. "Such a new operation could have built upon the work of the Human Rights Field Operation in Rwanda (HRFOR) on the basis of a joint strategy with the government of Rwanda designed to protect human rights by strengthening the rule of the law," the statement noted. Talks on a new mandate for HRFOR failed over the issue of monitoring which the government wanted dropped.
The UN said yesterday it was pulling out its human rights observers from the country because the government would not allow them to do their work. News reports said the mission was being forced to pull out by the end of July following the failure of last-minute talks led by Enrique der Host, deputy to Human Rights High Commissioner Mary Robinson.
The UN statement said monitoring was "an effective tool" to identify problems and said the UN must retain the mandate and means to monitor human rights in the country in addition to helping to build and strengthen national institutions. "As the parties were not able to agree to the inclusion of monitoring in the mandate, no follow-on presence to HRFOR, which concludes its work at the end of July, is envisaged at this time," the statement said.
AFP quoted Foreign Minister Anastase Gasana, who led the government side in the talks, as saying Rwanda remained open to more talks, but indicated he would not make concessions on the question of monitoring. "White men in big cars send the wrong message to the Rwandan people," he was quoted as saying.
The UN has criticised Rwanda for the public execution last May of genocide perpetrators and a recent UN human rights report said Rwandan army soldiers had taken part in the killing of civilian refugees in eastern DRC during last year's war to overthrow the late dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.
BURUNDI: New MPs appointed
Members of Burundi's new enlarged transitional assembly have been appointed, Burundi radio reported yesterday. The number of deputies now stands at 121, with extra members from previously unrepresented political parties and civil society, according to AFP.
Foreign Minister discusses sanctions with Ugandan counterpart
Burundi Foreign Minister Severin Ntahomviukiye, who is in Kampala, yesterday held talks with his Ugandan counterpart Eriya Kategaya and reiterated the call to lift sanctions. According to Ugandan radio, Kategaya said there had been positive steps after last month's Arusha meeting but he said any decision to lift the embargo would be taken collectively by the region. Uganda and Tanzania have previously adopted a hardline attitude towards the sanctions issue.
Heads of commissions named for Arusha talks
Meanwhile, the Agence burundaise de presse and diplomats named some of the provisional heads of committees that will deliberate in Arusha next week. Five committees were formed at the end of last month's talks to form a basis for discussion at the next round of talks. Diplomats told IRIN the list is not yet conclusive. Two names have been put foward to head the committee on peace and security: General Toumani Toure of Mali and General Romeo Dallaire of Canada. Professor Tasisi Kabwegere of Uganda has been named to chair the committee on the nature of the conflict, while Justice Richard Goldstone has been nominated to head the committee on democracy and good governance. A Canadian diplomat, Stephen Lewis, has been put foward as head of the committee on economic development and reconstruction. The head of the committee on guaranteeing implementation of agreements reached at Arusha has yet to be named.
UGANDA: Local NGO suspends operations after police raids
A Ugandan NGO, the Foundation for African Development (FAD), is to suspend its activities after police disrupted three of its political education seminars, AFP reported today. It quoted FAD's chief executive Anthony Ssekweyama as saying the organisation was seeking explanations from the Ugandan authorities following raids by riot police, armed with batons and assault rifles. According to AFP, the Ugandan authorities claim FAD's seminars, based on the theme 'Democracy and Human Rights', covered topics with political implications and could disrupt peace.
SUDAN: Plane to evacuate WFP workers
WFP said two of its workers were hiding in the bush in south Sudan's Western Upper Nile region last night after sending an emergency radio message asking to be evacuated from the Leer area. A WFP spokesperson said the employees, both Kenyans, had been distributing food. "They didn't have time to give details, they just said the had to run and asked for an evacuation plane to be sent in," she said. The plane left today and is due back in Nairobi this evening. The spokesperson told IRIN that WFP welcomed the ceasefires "but they are not enough to stop the fighting in all areas that are affected by the crisis".
WFP plans more food deliveries in Bahr al-Ghazal
WFP plans to deliver 15,000 mts of food per month for the next four months for an estimated 2.4 million beneficiaries in areas served by OLS, senior UN officials said yesterday. They said WFP would deliver the food to 89 locations, of which 37 are in the famine- and war-hit southern province of Bahr al-Ghazal. The agency will use a fleet of 13 cargo aircraft based at four locations; Khartoum, Al Obeid, Lokichoggio and Nairobi. In addition, OLS will double the number of feeding centres to 38 in order to cope with the "alarming increase" in malnutrition. The latest figures were made available during a joint press conference in Khartoum yesterday by Martin Griffiths and Tun Myat, respectively OCHA's Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator and WFP's Director of Resources and External Relations.
Nairobi, 17 July 1998, 14:00 gmt
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Date: Fri, 17 Jul 1998 16:56:34 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <email@example.com> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 461 for 17 July 1998.7.17 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.91.980717165529.9150Afirstname.lastname@example.org>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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