<center>Africa: Conflict Watch, 2/22/97

Africa: Conflict Watch, 2/22/97

Africa: Conflict Watch, 1 Date distributed (ymd): 970221 Document reposted by APIC


Note: The pilot edition of Conflict Watch, as well as an archive of Inter Press Service Africa stories, is now available on the IPS Web site ( This introduction is at

For more information on the availability of Conflict Watch by e-mail or in print, please contact IPS Africa headquarters in Harare ( or

Introducing ... Conflict Watch

Conflict Watch is a joint initiative of the Africa Regional Office of Inter Press Service (IPS) and the Africa Secretariat of the Third World Network (TWN). The agenda is to contribute to early warning, conflict prevention and peace-building by disseminating information on potential and actual conflict situations in sub-Saharan Africa. The bulletin draws on the journalistic resources of IPS, a global news agency, and contributions from NGOs and civil society actors committed to the goals of peace and justice.

Conflict in Africa is all too often portrayed as sudden and mindless explosions of violence. That assessment fails to appreciate that conflict is a process with a logic -- however warped -- of its own. It has its roots in the political, economic and social structures of individual countries.

Conflict, however, does not occur in a domestic vacuum. Africa is buffeted by a global economic system that has compounded its poverty, exacerbated the consequences of its leaders' mistakes, and made the competition for power and wealth all the more acute. An international dimension is also apparent as soon as frightened refugees flee across a border, or regional powers are drawn into the crisis in a neighbouring state.

What is frequently overlooked in the depiction of Africa's strife is the role, often an heroic one, played by local and transnational NGOs in building peace and promoting reconciliation. They have a wealth of expertise and experience that is undervalued and marginalised in traditional state-centred approaches to conflict settlement.

By contrast, Conflict Watch harnesses that input. It provides a platform for a sharing of ideas and initiatives generated by NGOs, particularly grassroots organisations, who are at the sharp end of peace and justice concerns.

In offering a forum for discussion, the bulletin seeks to be at the forefront of the dialogue on human security and development in Africa, from which we can all learn and be enriched.

In the post-Cold War world, the saliency of the traditional concept of state sovereignty has been eroded. The right of humanitarian intervention by the international community is being increasingly more broadly defined. If there is greater acceptance among states for preventive diplomacy and peace-keeping, then the challenge is to ensure the effectiveness of those interventions.

It is generally assumed that the faster the local or diplomatic reaction is to brewing trouble, the easier it is to effect a positive settlement. A speedy response is however predicated on clear and timely information. An early warning system seeks to provide both the raw data in quantity, to overcome the background noise of competing agendas, and qualitatively in terms of the accuracy of its analysis.

But information is not all. However insistent the early warning signals are and compelling the case for intervention, the political will must be mustered to act.

That action, though, must take note of the local context. It should also be informed by an awareness of the role that grassroots organisations can play in resolving their local problems, and work with that indigenous resource, democratising the peace initiative and deepening the character of civil society.

Africa Early Warning Bulletin provides both a comprehensive source of early warning data and an extra channel to lobby for sound and enduring remedies to actual or potential conflict situations.

African civil society is maturing in strength and importance. The bulletin represents that growth and Africa's struggle to build positive peace and security for its people.


- Focus: Eastern Zaire - Eyewitness: Kenya - Livestock, Land and Ethnic Clashes - Features: Zambia, Liberia, Rwanda - And much more...

WE NEED YOU! 'Conflict Watch' is a networking tool to both link and provide a platform for organisations working in Africa. So please let us have your contributions, whether they be letters to the editorial committee, articles, opinion pieces, reports, networking information for our 'Noticeboard' section, or just ideas about issues for our editorial team to follow up. Reports and opinion pieces should be no longer than 800 - 1,000 words, and networking information should have full contact details. Senders should clearly identify themselves and include their contact details. E-mailed submissions for consideration for publication should preferably be sent in plain ASCII text form to Lynette Matimba at Inter Press Service.

Editorial Board

Peter da Costa Inter Press Service (Zimbabwe)

Yao Graham Third World Network (Ghana)

Napoleon Abdulai International Alert (U.K)

Laurie Nathan Centre for Conflict Resolution (South Africa)

Mercy Wambui Econews Africa (Kenya)

Hassan Ba Synergies Afrique (Switzerland)

Ebrima Sall Codesria (Senegal)

Comfort Lamptey UNIFEM (New York, USA)

Editorial Consultant Obinna Anyadike

Design & Layout Lynette Matimba

This bulletin is produced by Inter Press Service (Africa) in collaboration with Third World Network (Ghana). Articles carried in this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without prior consent of the publisher, only on condition that credit is given. The bulletin may however not be reprinted or resold.

Inter Press Service, Africa Headquarters, 127 Union Ave. Box 6050, Harare, Zimbabwe. Tel: 263-4-790104/5 Fax: 263-4-728415 E-mail: or

Inter Press Service is the world's leading alternative news agency, with a regional presence in Africa Asia, Latin America, North America, the Caribbean and Europe. It has correspondents in more than 100 countries and reaches in excess of 1,000 media outlets worldwide.

IPS specialises in in-depth and contextualised coverage of international processes, events and issues that affect the Third World with particular emphasis on grassroots actors in development.

IPS recognises the negative role of inadequate and biased 'event orientated' information and as such seeks to provide an accurate, balanced picture of the issues behind the news.

In the Africa region IPS operations are co-ordinated from Harare, Zimbabwe. The IPS Africa region is firmly commited to the strengthening of a truly independent African voice in the international flow of information.

Third World Network , Africa Regional Secretariat, 4th Sakumo Link Larterbiokoshie, P.O Box 8604, Accra-North, Ghana. Tel: 233-21-301064/224069/231688 Fax: 233-21-231687/773857

Third World Network is an international network of groups and individuals who seek great articulation of the needs and rights of the peoples of the Third World, especially marginalised social groups; a fair distribution of the world's resources, and forms of development which are ecologically sustainable and fulfil human needs. TWN is co-ordinated by an international Committee with membership drawn from Africa, Asia and South America.


Africa: Conflict Watch, 2 Date distributed (ymd): 970221 Document reposted by APIC


Note: The pilot edition of Conflict Watch, as well as an archive of Inter Press Service Africa stories, is now available on the IPS Web site ( The table of contents is at

Further Conflict Watch articles are contained in files from through

For more information on the availability of Conflict Watch by e-mail or in print, please contact IPS Africa headquarters in Harare ( or

Selected excerpts in this posting include a report on a November conference in Addis Ababa, and a variety of other announcements on NGO initiatives.


Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 18-20 November 1996

In the midst of dramatic developments in eastern Zaire, the return of hundreds of thousands of refugees to Rwanda, and other critical events in the continent, representatives of the OAU member states and secretariat, UN agencies, regional and sub-regional institutions, international and African non-governmental organisations met at the Africa Hall, UNECA, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 18 to 20 November 1996.


Planned as a follow-up to previous gatherings in the continent co-sponsored by International Alert, in particular, the 1994 "Challenge for Peacemaking in Africa," and the 1995 Focal Points Workshop, "Regional Mechanisms for Early Warning and Preventive Diplomacy in Africa," and benefiting from the insights of other relevant gatherings in the continent, this conference had as its theme: "Creating an Effective Interface Between Civil Society, the OAU and Governments in Africa".

Its focus was to reflect on the practice of peace, bringing together people engaged on constructive programmes on the ground, willing to share their experience and insights, and ready to collaborate on common action urgently required by historic developments taking place in the continent.

Given the OAU's efforts to work with NGOs on conflict prevention and peace-building programmes in Africa, as well as the stress on supportive collaboration conveyed by the UN Secretary-General's Special Initiative on Africa, the conference spelled out ways to enhance complementarity of efforts as well as forge lasting partnerships to meet the challenge of peace in troubled conflict areas.

In this spirit, the conference organisers, namely, the OAU, the Inter-Africa Group (IAG), ACCORD-South Africa, and International Alert (IA) identified the following overall conference objectives:

- to identify mechanisms for building and extending the level of co-operation and interaction between civil society organisations and the OAU as well as governments in Africa; - to provide an opportunity for a review and analysis of past and ongoing measures for collaboration between governmental and non-governmental actors, in order to forge healthy partnerships for the future; - to develop and enhance, through the process of dialogue, creative and participatory approaches to the task of strengthening conflict resolution capabilities in Africa; - to strengthen existing networks and build new coalitions for peace in Africa.


I OAU/NGO Consultative Mechanism

1. To work towards the creation of regular consultative mechanisms between non-governmental organisations and the OAU and member states so as to better collaborate in the pursuit of sustainable peace in areas of armed conflict;

With this end in view, and in order to advance the relationship and co-operation between peace-related non-governmental organisations and the OAU through its Conflict Management Division by means of regular consultations;

An interim consultative committee of NGOs, working provisionally for a period of between 18 months and 24 months, will be formed to build this co-operative relationship, recognising different competencies as well as the importance of complementarity and mutual respect;

To serve temporarily as its focal point in Addis Ababa where the OAU is based, the IAG will provide the secretariat which will be entrusted with the day-to-day activities of the consortium in the interim. Meanwhile consultations will be held in each sub-region of Africa to initiate a more representative consultative group. The existing steering committee will be entrusted with the responsibility of expanding the consultative group to between 11 and 15 members;

During this interim period, efforts will be made to incorporate approaches regarding mutually-beneficial access to information and documentation on peace issues, and participation in working groups based on well-established international procedures and practices;

II Strategic Peace Partnerships, Network-Building and Support

Participants identified related peace issues that could be advanced by both NGOs and the OAU, further developed by the consortium of NGOs collectively and singly, and proposed for support by the OAU and member states where applicable. This resulted in the following proposals:

1. Share experiences of community-based peacemaking and encourage community efforts that develop spaces for dialogue;

2. Support people-initiated "zones of peace" in areas of conflict, in schools and places of worship to generate public pressure for peace, to create peace constituencies and to provide social spaces for dialogue and non-violent action;

3. Support, in addition, "corridors of tranquility" and freedom of movement in areas of conflict to ensure the safety and security of civilian populations, especially the most vulnerable;

4. Explore multi-track approaches in peacemaking, incorporating the contribution of indigenous facilitators/mediators, elders and eminent persons, as well as traditional African approaches/resources to enhance negotiated efforts for peace in the continent;

5. Employ expertise and skills in Africa to develop peace-related or conflict resolution capacities of potential peace advocates and communities, representatives of parties involved in conflict, and representatives of the OAU central organ or the Conflict Management Division;

6. Develop consultative mechanisms between regional inter-governmental groups/institutions and NGOs relevant to peace efforts on the regional and sub-regional levels;

7. Support early warning/action networks to more effectively respond to conflict situations, in a timely and collaborative manner;

8. Recognise the importance of women as witnesses, bridges and advocates for peace, inviting their vital contribution wherever peace efforts are required in critical areas of conflict;

9. Devise accelerated youth programmes leading to peace, involving young people in socio-economic and joint reconstruction efforts, in peace campaigns, in the rehabilitation of former child soldiers, and in meaningful participation in school, work and community life;

10. Harness the potential of children in creating and advancing peace in homes, communities and schools, recognising that peace begins in the hearts and minds of children who will build a peaceful future different from the past;

11. Reclaim the culture of peace which has been lost in areas of protracted conflict, and develop common strategies for peace through joint efforts between civil society, NGOs and the OAU and member states, as well as UNESCO's Culture of Peace programme;

12. Ensure respect for the human person and, in particular, underscore the principles of human rights and international humanitarian law that should be upheld by all, including combatant parties to internal armed conflicts;

13. Recognise the impact of war on the environment and encourage common efforts to prevent its degradation for the sake of future generations;

14. Encourage peace education programmes in communities, in schools, in the mass media, and recognise the role of academics and the religious, among others, to sensitise people to their right to peace and their responsibilities to sustain it;

15. Urge NGOs and Governments to commit themselves to provide correct and sufficient information to media in order to prevent incorrect information and analysis for action;

16. Invoke the African Charter on Human and People's Rights more frequently to bolster joint preventive diplomacy initiatives;

17. Support calls by the NGO community for an African Human Rights Court/Tribunal to address the issue of impunity;

18. Support the call for the total ban on anti-personnel mines and the relevant OAU resolution, and work towards the declaration of Africa as an "anti-personnel mines-free zone."

For full text of the report please contact Ed Garcia, International Alert, 1 Glyn Street, London SE11 5HT, UK. Tel: +44 171 793 8383 Fax: +44 171 793 7975 E-Mail:


Noticeboard (excerpts)

Events & Contacts

- The Centre for Conflict Resolution (Cencor) in Accra held a workshop on Capacity Building for Traditional Rulers on Conflict Resolution in Kumasi Ghana. 32 paramount chiefs attended, they issued the Kumasi Declaration, which among other things calls for more resources to be provided for traditional rulers to play an effective role in conflict resolution. A conflict map of Ghana link to an Early Warning network is to be instituted at the Cencor in Accra.

Details contact: General (Rtd) Arnold Quianoo, Centre for Conflict Resolution, Tel: 00-233-21-773049

- Following a 3-day workshop in the Rwandese capital, Kigali, in October. East and Central African NGOs set up a Working Party to discuss the current political crisis in the region.

Details Contact: Dr Tajudeen Abdul Raheem, Pan African Movement, Kampala, Tel: 00-2546-41-266 012.

- A Pan-African conference on 'Peace, Gender and Development' is to be held in Kigali, Rwanda from 1-3 March 1997. It plans to bring together women from all over the continent to focus on ways of promoting peace in the Great Lakes region, Africa, and the rest of the world.

Details contact: Christine Nyakamwe, Conference Secretary-General, BP 969 Kigali, Rwanda. Tel: +250-75113 Fax: +250-75719.

- Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA) will from Feb 21st-Mar 14th 1997 convene the first African Women's Leadership Institute In Kampala, Uganda. The goal is to encourage and train significant numbers of young women for leadership positions that will ultimately promote a progressive African women's development agenda.

Details contact: Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, Director, Akina Mama wa Afrika, 4 Wild Court, London WC2B 4AU, Tel: 171-405-0678 Fax: 171-831-3947,

- The European Union has produced a paper entitled The European Union and the issue of conflicts in Africa: Peace-building, Conflict prevention, and beyond. It was subjected to discussion in Brussels in October by European-based NGOs. For a copy of the paper contact: North-South Centre, Lisbon, Portugal. Tel: 351-1-1-352-4954 Fax: 351-1-353 1329/352 4966 -Mail: Or Hassan Ba, Synergies Afrique, Geneva, Tel: 41-22-788-8586 E-Mail:

- The Institute of Economic Affairs in Ghana organised a workshop on Conflict Management in Sub-Saharan Africa in September.

For a copy of the workshop report contact: Dr Agyeman Badu, IEA, Accra, Tel: 44-233-21-779568.

Recent Publications

- The Conflict in Sierra Leone by the United Kingdom. Parliamentary Human Rights Group (Sept. 1996). It documents human rights abuses in the 5 year old civil war. For copies contact: Lord Eric Avebury, Chair PHRG, House of Lords, London SW1A - 0AA. Tel: 44-171-274-4617 Fax: 44-171-738-7864. E-mail:

- Africa: A Handbook on Conflicts, edited by Napoleon Abdulai and Thomas Jaye. It will contain the A-Z on conflict terminology, a short history of conflicts in Africa; a list of Africa-based NGOs and inter-governmental organisations working on conflicts, and a section on what is an early warning system. For details contact: Thomas Jaye, Dept. of International Politics, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, Penglais, Cerelgian, SY23-3DA, England or Napoleon Abdulai, International Alert.

- African World Review, a London based pan-african journal is calling for papers on education, SAP, health, transition to democracy and conflicts and women for its 1997 editions. Contact: Ama Biney, 5 Westminister Bridge Road, London SE1-7XW, Tel: 44-171-620-1430/Fax: 620-1431


From: Message-Id: <> Date: Fri, 21 Feb 1997 09:06:53 -0500 Subject: Africa: Conflict Watch, 1/2

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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