Zaire: Sources, NGO Statement, 11/5/96

Zaire: Sources, NGO Statement, 11/5/96

Zaire: Sources, NGO Statement
Date Distributed (ymd): 961105

Contains (1) Suggested on-line sources for updates, (2) Nov. 1 statement by Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response. The next posting contains the Nov. 4 statement by Oxfam International.
Africa Policy Information Center (APIC)

APIC will continue to redistribute occasional statements relevant to the crisis in Eastern Zaire and the Great Lakes Region. Given the fact that our distribution list is restricted to two or three items total in a week, however, and also covers other African issues, those wishing more frequent material and up-to-date news should also consult other sources. Among those we have found most useful:

On the Web:

1. The Africa News web site has a special section on the Great Lakes (, with current news updated several times daily plus links to other sites.

2. ReliefWeb (, with a mirror site for North American users at, has updates throughout the day, and includes Reuters, VOA, PANA, AFP, plus statements from United Nations agencies and other key international groups.

By E-mail:

3. The UN DHA Integrated Regional Information Network (irin), based in Nairobi, has two mailing lists available, a high- volume "wire" list and a lower-volume "digest" list with key weekly updates and at present twice-daily updates on Eastern Zaire. For more information, contact UN DHA IRIN, Tel: +254 2 622123,Fax: +254 2 622129, e-mail:

4. The Zaire-News listserv contains news in both English and French, including the well-informed reporting from Le Soir in Brussels (accents don't come through on French-language material). To subscribe, send email to: listserv@RS6000.CMP.ILSTU.EDU
Leave the Subject area blank. In the Message area put: sub zaire-news YourFirstName LastName Or send a request to: The list owner is Dr. Andre Kapanga, Illinois State University.

5. Info-Zaire, a periodical bulletin, is available on the conference on the Association of Progressive Communications networks (for information send a message to, and is also available by e-mail. For the original French version, contact Entraide Missionnaire, 15 de Castelnau St. West, Montreal, Quebec, H2R 2W3; Tel. (514) 270-6089; Fax (514) 270-6156; E-mail: The English version is translated by the United Church of Canada, and distributed electronically by the Inter-Church Coalition on Africa, 129 St. Clair Ave. W, Toronto, Ontario M4V 1N5 Canada, Phone: 416-927-2124, Fax: 416-927-7554, E-mail:

Additional earlier background can be found on the Africa Policy web site, in the archive of documents distributed in 1995 and 1996 (
International Humanitarian Coalition Launches Zaire Actions

Africa News Service - November 1, 1996

Geneva - Following is a statement issued by the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response, a coalition of seven of the largest International Non-Governmental Organisations which respond to humanitarian disasters.

The members include: Care International, Caritas Internationalis, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Save the Children Alliance, The Lutheran World Federation, Oxfam and the World Council of Churches. All of these organizations or their partners are providing humanitarian assistance during the present crisis in the Great Lakes region of Africa.


Once again the Great Lakes region of Africa is on the brink of a major humanitarian disaster. The present violence and ensuing population movements have further intensified an already grave situation, stretching the capacity of humanitarian organizations to meet human needs. Humanitarian efforts are also hampered by the lack of accurate information on refugee movements and by extremely limited access.

SCHR members are making preparations for different possible outcomes. For example,

* Oxfam staff have contingency stocks of water equipment and plans in place ready to respond as the situation develops. In response to the movement of refugees in North Kivu, Oxfam doubled its water supply capacity in Muganga to help provide clean water and sanitation for the 200,000 refugees fleeing from Kibumba.

* The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies supervised food distributions to these same refugees, and other Red Cross volunteers conducted distributions in Katale and Kahindo prior to the evacuation of those camps. The Federation is preparing transit facilities for Burundian returnees.

* Save the Children is preparing for the registration of increased numbers of unaccompanied refugee children returning to Rwanda and Burundi and will respond to the situation in Zaire in the areas of health, family reunification and the provision of non food items when the situation stabilises.

* Catholic Relief Services is supporting efforts of Caritas Goma to alleviate suffering of people in Eastern Zaire through the distribution of food and non food items.

* ACT/LWF is pre-positioning food and non food items in Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania, is preparing an assessment mission to the west of Bukavu, and has a stand-by team in Nairobi.

* CARE International has contingency stocks of food and non food distribution equipment and contingency plans in place to respond in North and South Kivu, Burundi and Rwanda. CARE is providing transportation and logisitics for food distribution in Magunga camp and CARE's Zairian and refugee staff are providing health care and supervision of distributions in Katale camp.

However, at the moment, much of the relief community's essential humanitarian response is disrupted.

The current crisis is the most serious regional conflict since the Rwanda genocide in 1994. Tensions between Zaire and Rwanda are escalating. Zaire has accused Rwanda of supporting the Banyamulenge with manpower and heavy weapons, while Rwanda has accused Zaire of instigating the conflict. The crisis is a symptom of a deeper instability in the region which must be tackled if the people of Central Africa are to prosper and know security again. It is possible that this crisis could escalate into full scale war within Zaire or between Rwanda and Zaire, leading to regional conflagration which spreads to other countries.

To prevent the situation from deteriorating further, the members of the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response urge regional factions, regional governments and the international community to:

1. Accelerate efforts to address the underlying causes of the conflict in the region through a regional political settlement The current crisis in Zaire is symptomatic of a wider regional crisis that has been simmering for years. It is part of the failure of regional governments, various factions and the international community to address the political, social and economic problems that underlie the region's tensions. The region will continue to lurch from crisis to crisis until a coordinated negotiations process addresses the two key aspects of the region's conflicts: the aftermath of genocide and poverty. Tackling these issues will include reforming the justice system, addressing citizenship and refugee return, generating economic rehabilitation, and establishing responsive and accountable government. The UN Security Council with the OAU should intensify efforts towards coordinated negotiations to reach a regional political settlement. Humanitarian aid saves lives, but can never substitute for the political will to reach solutions.

2. Intensify high-level diplomatic action to reduce tensions, bring about a political settlement and guarantee humanitarian access. The UN Security Council and other governments should immediately agree a strategy to increase diplomatic pressure to secure the protection of displaced peoples and refugees, ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and initiate immediate negotiations between Zaire and Rwanda. Ambassador Chretien should be given as much support as possible for his work.

3. Develop adequate contingency plans for a humanitarian response in the event of a widening war. Preparation should be intensified by DHA and the UN agencies to agree a contingency plan in the event of the further deterioration of the situation. Local, regional and international non- governmental organizations should be involved in these consultations.

Signed, CARE International, Catholic Relief Services (member of Caritas Internationalis), Oxfam, The Lutheran World Federation, Save the Children, World Council of Churches.

For further information contact: Karen Donovan, SCHR at 41 22 920 0971 in Geneva. Over the weekend contact: 31 20 620 4813.


[Via the UN DHA Integrated Regional Information Network "Wire" mailing list. The material contained in this communication may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. UN DHA IRIN Tel: +254 2 622123 Fax: +254 2 622129 e-mail: for more information. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer.]

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Message-Id: <> From: Date: Tue, 5 Nov 1996 09:12:56 -0500 Subject: Zaire: Sources, NGO Statement

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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