InterAfrica Group NNS Newsletter Jan. 1996

InterAfrica Group NNS Newsletter Jan. 1996


M o n t h l y U p d a t e

Vol 4. No.1, January 1996

A monthly round-up of issues and events concerning NGOs in the Horn of Africa

A new assistant coordinator of NNS, Ms. Nunu (Megdelawit) Kidane, has been working at Inter-Africa Group as of January 8. She will be editing the Monthly Updates as for February and will eventually be the NNS coordinator in May 1996. All aspects of the Monthly Update and NNS services will continue as usual. For comments or suggestions, give us a call or send e-mail messages.

Thanks, Nunu Kidane


Conclusion to UNOSOM1 Drought in Somaliland1 Afar Report2 Early Warning System Seminar at OAU - 2 Ethiopian & Eritrean Refugees in Sudan - 2 Sudan Opposition Talks in Eritrea2 Sudan Focal Point3 Mekane Yesus New Offices3 World Bank Debt Reduction3 WTO's Multilateral Treaty4 Ethiopia 1995 Retrospect4 Demobilisation4 Explosion at Ghion in Addis 4 Adwa, An African Victory5 War-torn Societies, Update5 NGOs at Work: Participation as a factor in Policy Formulation 5 Rehabilitating Civil Society5

Conclusion to UNOSOM
A booklet "Comprehensive Report on Lessons Learned from UN Operations in Somalia, April 1992 - March 1995" has been prepared by the Fredrich Ebert Foundation, the Life and Peace Institute and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs in collaboration with the peace keeping operations of the United Nations (DPKO). The role played by NGOs in providing much needed humanitarian assistance was discussed in a comprehensive seminar on same issue organized by the Fredrich Ebert 13 to 15 of September 1995. Participating NGOs provided notes on their experiences in Somalia which will be used towards future efforts by the peace keeping operations of the UN in other countries. The report describes the full scope of UNOSOM operations and the lessons learned from it in about fifteen specific points and is available from NNS.

Drought in Somaliland
The Somali Development and Relief Agency (SDRA), and Yagleel Voluntary Organization (YVO) along with local authority groups and representatives of NGOs have announced that severe drought is threatening the lives of thousands of people and livestock in the southern regions of Sanaag and Sool. Inhabitants of Garadag in the west and Badhan in the east migrated southwest to the fertile region of Sool because of failed seasonal rains; the drought is a result of failed rains,over gazing and over-population. While UNHCR and other international sources are skeptical of the reports, the estimated number of livestock at risk is about 500,000 and SDRA is appealing to the international community to avert more human and livestock losses by responding to the needs in time. The SDRA report is available from NNS.

Afar Report
The Afar Relief Association has issued an "Afar Region Situational Report December 1995 - January 1996". The report deals with a variety of issues: on rainfall, it states that December was dry and the heavy rains are expected sometime in February. In Region 2 there was an outbreak of disease among camels which has spread to Ogaden. Health reports on humans alert a measles outbreak in central Djibouti areas but malaria seems contained due to the dry season. The report states the need to introduce health and literacy programs. The three and a half page report is available from NNS.

Early Warning System Seminar at OAU
Because of the growing need for conflict management in Africa, the Organization for African Unity established in 1993 a "Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution". In the July 1995 Ordinary Session, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government established the "Early Warning System on Conflict Situation in Africa" with the objective of predicting and preventing conflict situations in the continent.
A four day seminar by the OAU was held at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in Addis Ababa. The seminar, held 15-18 January, was on Early Warning System (EWS) on Conflict Situation in Africa. Participants were representatives of members states of the OAU, UN, representatives from NGOs Inter-governmental Organizations, journalists and scholars. The seminar discussed issues of conflict prevention in Africa and the need for inter-governmental organizations to work together to address issues of conflict management and resolution. The seminar passed 13 recommendations on various issues. Concerning NGOs a group of African and international NGOs agreed to set up a consortium and a steering committee with IAG as the focal point. This committee will hold regular meetings in Addis Ababa with the OAU Secretariat. The following documents were presented at the Seminar and may be available at NNS. %SUMMARY RECORD of the Seminar %Opening Remarks by Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, Sec. General of OAU %Opening Statement by Ato Dawit Yohannes, Speaker of CPR %OAU and Early Warning in Conflict Situations in Africa: Perceptions and Possibilities,by Dr. Chris J. Bakwesegha %Statement by K.Y.Amaoko, ECA %The concept of Early Warning: Early Warning Networks inAfrica %"Environmental Conflicts" by Meena Singh %Socio-Economic Conflicts in Africa, Towards a Conceptual Framework, by Ibbo Mandaza, Ex. Dir. of SARIPS %Some Practical proposals Regarding % Early Warning of Inter-State Conflicts in Africa (The Political Military
Dimensions) by Dr. Jakkie Cilliers,Director Inst. for Defense Policy

Ethiopian & Eritrean Refugees in Sudan
With mounting disagreements and allegations of border clashes between Ethiopia and Sudan, refugees in Sudan are repatriating into Ethiopia and Eritrea in increasing numbers. Last week, Sudan brought charges of cross-border aggression against Ethiopia to the UN Security Council, and relations between the two countries deteriorate by the day.
Thus far, UNHCR, working closely with the Ethiopian Relief Organization (ERO) has repatriated 8,900 refugees from Sudan since December 15. Some of the returnees accuse Sudanese authorities of harrasements, illegal imprisonments and general violations of human rights. The Ethiopian government has raised the issue of these violations with the UNHCR which has taken steps to follow up on the matter.
According to the UNHCR, if relations between the two countries do not improve, there will be increased difficulty in transporting additional refugees. At the present rate, it will take an additional six months before 50,000 to 60,000 more refugees are repatriated.

Sudan Opposition Talks in Eritrea
Meeting of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) took place in Asmara January 12 to 15 with NDA Chairman Elmirghani and Dr. Garang de Mabior, leader of SPLM/SPLA. NDA, which represents the main opposition groups to the government in Khartoum has also announced its' boycott of the legislative and presidential elections in March 1996.
The meeting has issued a final communiqu with resolutions and recommendations on political, military, regional and international and human rights issues. The communiqu states that the Leadership Council will make available all documents approved by the Asmara Conference on Fundamental Issues. NNS will try to get these documents and resently copies of the communiqu are available.

Sudan Focal Point Sudan Focal Point in Europe has compiled a report: "Sudan Memo January 1996". The points raised in the report are: UN's Security Council's input on the attempted assassination of Egyptian President, the death of SPLA Commander William Nyuon, and the recent meeting of Sudan opposition forces in Eritrea, among others.
An interesting issue raised on the report is the January 29 IMF Executive Board meeting to decide on Sudan's status with the IMF. The Fund is making elimination of Sudan's outstanding debts a priority and is expected to grant a debt management policy "Rights Accumulation Program" for a limited period. As a policy human rights violations and military expenditures are not taken into consideration, however SFP states that recent reports of civil war and gross violations of human rights cannot be ignored. Sudan Focal Point has made specific recommendations on a) cuts that must be made in Sudan's defense budgets b) that improvements of human rights situation in Sudan be linked to the IMF debt reduction program c) and that Sudan adhere to the OAU request in extraditing the three men involved in the attempted assassination of President Mubarak. The report by Sudan Focal Point is available from NNS.

New office at Mekane Yesus
The Ethiopian Evangelical Church - Mekane Yesus has established a new office for exchange of information on issues of peace, democracy and human rights: EECMY's "Peace, Justice Human Rights Office" is interested in contacting NGOs of similar agenda. Ms. Elleni Senbeta, EECMY PJHR-Office Coordinator, Tel: 55 32 80 P. O. Box 2087, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia MY's Inter-Faith Office
Many of the problems in the Horn of Africa are attributed to religious conflicts. Taking this into account, EECMY has been running an inter-faith office led by Ato Shemsudin Abdo. The objectives of this office are to create domains of discussions between Christians and Muslims.
The idea of inter-faith discussion groups started some 30 years back with the organization "Islam in Africa" which later evolved to "Project for Christian and Muslim Relations in Africa". There are no pamphlets or printed documents available from this office which performs its task with " as little publicity as possible" however, for additional information, contact Ato Shemsudin Abdo at EECMY, P. O. Box 2087, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Tel: 55 32 80

World Bank Debt Reduction for Ethiopia
Mr. Jim Adams, Director of the World Bank's East Africa Department, stated that Ethiopia is still one of the most severely indebted countries according to WB classifi-cations. A debt reduction program has eliminated $276 million through a commercial debt retirement plan. To date $250 has been eliminated at a rate of .08 cents to the dollar. The contributions toward payment of this debt have come from United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the rest from IDA's special grant made possible from profits realized by the Bank from 1995.

NGOs Statement on WTO's Multilateral Treaty
Some 56 International NGOs of various interests signed a statement regarding the World Trade Organization's (WTO) aim to establish multilateral treaty agreement on foreign investment. The treaty was initiated by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, a Paris-based rich nations' club which hopes to make the treaty "universal" through the WTO.
The treaty establishes the right of foreigners to invest in any country; how-ever, according to the statement signed by the NGOs on November 5 in Geneva, the treaty would, among other things: %abolish the power and legitimate right of developing countries to regulate the entry and operations of foreign companies in their country and %limits the capacity building of domestic sectors
The signatories suggested that "developing countries facing losses and problems should be assisted through concessions, exemptions and compensations" and such comprehensive issues of foreign investors should be an issue for United Nations and not the WTO. NNS has a copy of the statement & list of NGO signatories.

Ethiopia 1995 Retrospect The UNDP Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia (EUE) has published "Ethiopia 1995 - RETROSPECT, From Relief to Disaster Prevention and Preparedness". The report, dated January 1996, evaluates the agricultural outputs for 1995 as having been very encouraging and "the best in recent history". EUE is working closely with the government of Ethiopia to provide the appropriate level of food needed for 1996 through purchase of local grains. This report is available from NNS.

Demobilization: New initiatives and book
A new project was announced by the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo (PRIO). The project: Disarming Ethnic Guerrillas (DEG) Power-Sharing and Transition to Democracy in Africa, is a result of a two year collaborative study on managing global ethnic conflicts which is expected to lead to smooth transitions from war to peace.
An international workshop will be held in Oslo Norway on February 17 and 18 1996 to start off the project. For more information or to participate in the workshop contact Ethnic and Nationalist Conflicts Programme, International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) Oslo, Fuglehauggata 11, "DISMISSED - Demobilization and Reintegration of Former Combatants in Africa" a book recently published by the Institute for Defense Policy, in South Africa, edited by Dr. Jakkie Cilliers. The authors and articles in the volume include World Bank, IAG's NNS and several others. For additional information contact: The Institute for Defense Policy, P. O. Box 4167, Halfway House 1685 South Africa. A copy of the brochure on the book can be obtained from NNS.

Explosion at Ghion Hotel
At 8:00 PM on Thursday January 18 an explosion claimed the lives of three people and injured twenty others in a major government-owned hotel in Addis Ababa. The Ghion Hotel is one of the largest in the city and is frequented as a site of meetings by representatives of local and international organizations. Three of the twenty injured are foreign nationals. While the blast was deliberately placed at a strategic spot to cause wide damage it is not known who planted it and thus far no one has claimed responsibility.

ADWA, an African Victory !

Over the past few weeks events have been taking place in Addis Ababa and surrounding regions in Ethiopia in preparation for the centenary of the battle of Adwa. The historical significance of this event surpasses Ethiopia's geographical borders and has influenced foreign policy between Africa and the West. The celebration will be held in grand on site at the town of Adwa in northern Tigrai region. on March 2 1996. On February 7, there will be an exhibit of "Posters of Adwa" at the Alliance Ethio-Francaise in Addis Ababa. For information contact the National Committee for the Commemoration of the Centennial of the Battle of Adwa, P. O. Box 80013, Addis

War-torn Societies Project in Eritrea In last months Update, the workshop discussion on Country Note by the War-torn Societies was scheduled to be held in Asmara on January 31. The workshop has been postponed to February 7. NNS will attend and prepare a lengthy report on this for next month's Update.

NGOs at Work: Participation as factor in Policy Formulation
A joint collaboration between InterAfrica Group and Integrated Social Development Center (ISODEC) of Ghana is conducting a Third Africa NGO Consultation. The "IDA West African Sub-Regional Meeting" will be on the topic of "Participation as a Factor in Policy Formulation - Mainstreaming Stakeholder Participating in the Africa Region of the World Bank". The Consultations will cover three major areas 1. Participation 2. Country Assistance Strategies and 3. Micro Financing.
The consultation efforts are supported by Bread for the World Institute, a US based organization working on eliminating global hunger. The consultation takes place in Accra, Ghana beginning February 25. NNS will cover this in more detail in next Update.

NGOs at Work: Rehabilitating Civil Society
A project partially funded by IAG aims to study the relationship between local government institutions and NGOs in three countries. The six-weeks research is expected to cover three countries, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somaliland (NW Somalia) and conclude its report by May 1996. There will be a dialogue section to the project taking the form of three workshops. These workshops will raise a number of basic issues:
- the need for governance, the effectiveness of local government offices in addressing local problems
- the relevance of civil society groups (church/mosques and credit unions), their role in encouraging growth and how they can be used effectively,
- the relationship between local government and NGOs The participants of these workshops will be asked to share their ideas and give inputs on the workshop in general and on the specific ideas discussed. The areas thus far covered are Hargiesa in Somalia and Dire Dawa in Ethiopia. NNS will report on the development of the research as it becomes available. For additional information, you can contact Mr. Ali Adam who is the consultant conducting the research, he can be reached at Tel: 51 94 35 at IAG.

TEL: 251 1 514575 FAX: 251 1 517554

NNS is made possible thanks to contributions from: Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Community Aid Abroad, Dutch Interchurch Aid, Norwegian People's Aid, NOVIB, Oxfam Canada, Radda Barnen Ethiopia and Trocaire.


Date: Fri, 16 Feb 1996 11:40:17 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: Ben Parker <> Subject: InterAfrica Group NNS Newsletter Jan 1996 Message-Id: <Pine.LNX.3.91.960216113921.6678C->