UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
AFRICA: Mercenary activity threatening political stability
NAIROBI, 26 March (IRIN) - A UN report has highlighted the "worsening activities" of mercenaries, especially in Africa, which it says is affecting the continent's political stability.
The report, by Enrique Bernales Ballesteros, the Human Rights Commission's Special Rapporteur on mercenaries, also notes the expanding activity of private security firms and warns of a "dangerous trend against the free determination of peoples and human rights in general".
"The activities of mercenaries have affected deeply the political stability of Africa," Bernales Ballesteros told a press briefing on Thursday. "The situation is very bad in Angola, the two Congos and Sierra Leone."
He dwelt in particular on Sierra Leone, where the humanitarian disaster was due in part to mercenary activity. All sides in the conflict - rebel factions as well as the government and the West African intervention force ECOMOG - had reportedly resorted to the use of mercenaries which had led to talk of "good and bad" mercenaries. Former Israeli colonel Yair Klein had recruited many mercenaries, paid them vast amounts of money and put them at the disposal of Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels, he said.
Bernales Ballesteros also said private security firms were "becoming private armies". He warned that their activities affected the sovereignty of states and contributed to state "impunity and irresponsibility".
Date: Fri, 26 Mar 1999 16:13:28 +0300 (EAT) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: AFRICA: Mercenary activity threatening political stability
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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