UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
Statement of Humanitarian Agencies on the Kivu Crisis in Zaire
Nairobi, 29 October, 1996
The following statement reflects the views of participants from UN agencies and NGOs present at a meeting in Nairobi on 28 and 29 October 1996 which convened in order to agree on actions required in North and South Kivu, Zaire. The UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA) called the meeting to review the present crisis and share information on humanitarian strategies, operational plans and constraints.
As the UN Secretary-General noted in his 24 October letter to the Security Council, the situation in North and South Kivu is already a grave political and humanitarian crisis for both Zaireans and refugee populations in the area, as well as for the stability of the region. During the last week, military activity in border areas has escalated, and an estimated 500,000 people are on the move throughout the Kivu sub-region.
The major effects of the conflict have been to disperse refugee populations, as well as to displace large numbers of Zaireans from their homes. At present it appears that the majority of refugees are remaining within Zaire, as large return movements to Rwanda and Burundi have not occurred.
Certain areas of North and South Kivu are war zones, and conflict and insecurity make the delivery of humanitarian assistance virtually impossible. Humanitarian personnel seeking to work in the area have been subjected to death threats, have experienced acts of violence against their staff, had their vehicles stolen and property taken. Humanitarian organizations have had no positive responses to their demands for guarantees of security and access to vulnerable populations.
Despite these constraints, humanitarian organizations are ready to return to the region as soon as practically possible. The major constraints of lack of security and access must be addressed by discussions with the authorities in Kinshasa as well as local leaders. In order for humanitarian organizations to recommence work in Uvira, negotiations with local leaders will be necessary, while at the national level it must be made clear that these are for the purposes of humanitarian access only, and do not amount to political recognition of any local forces or put into question the territorial integrity of Zaire.
It may also be necessary to undertake negotiations in areas held by rebel forces to allow safe passage for those refugees seeking to return to their country of origin. Discussions with other regional governments will also be needed to allow aid to be transported to these affected areas in Zaire, when that becomes possible. Humanitarian agencies will do all they can to impartially assist members of all vulnerable groups. Humanitarian organizations will also send the unequivocal message to the international community that a lasting political solution is vital, and will only be achieved once the nationality question, and other underlying issues including the presence of refugees, are addressed.
The following agencies attended the meeting. Those in brackets were not present when this document was finalized:
(NORWEGIAN CHURCH AID)
(OXFAM UK AND IRELAND)
SAVE THE CHILDREN UK
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Date: Tue, 29 Oct 1996 18:27:21 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Zaire: Statement of Humanitarian Agencies on the Kivu Crisis 96.10.29 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.91.961029182457.13890Pemail@example.com>
Editor: Ali Dinar, firstname.lastname@example.org