Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

Crisis for 1.6 million in Kenya due to conflict and drought – UN

December 3, 2010 Leave a comment

01 Dec 2010

Source: alertnet // Katy Migiro

KEcattle648Kenya Maasai Isaac Deka stands next to his exhausted cows near the Rift Valley town of Kajiado, March 25, 2009. REUTERS/Antony Njuguna 

NAIROBI (AlertNet) – Conflict and drought will leave at least 1.6 million people in Kenya in crisis in 2011, the United Nation’s humanitarian agency warned on Tuesday.

Civil war in Sudan and Somalia is likely to drive 248,000 refugees into Kenya while poor rains mean at least 1.2 million Kenyans will continue to need food aid, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Kenya said.

OCHA appealed for $526 million to respond to the needs in 2011. Support to refugees and hungry people accounts for 85 percent of the requested funds.

“The population of refugees in Kenya is expected to increase significantly in 2011 largely because of the situation in Somalia but possibly also because of the situation in Sudan, particularly if the referendum there turns violent and displaces a lot of people,” Aeneas Chuma, the U.N.’s humanitarian coordinator in Kenya said at the appeal launch.

OCHA Kenya expects 4,000 Somalis to arrive in Kenya each month. Tension surrounding the Jan. 9, 2011 referendum on independence for South Sudan is likely to push 20,000 Sudanese into Kenya each month between January and July and an additional 80,000 between July and December, the U.N. estimated.

In October, Kenya hosted 412,493 refugees, mostly in the overcrowded Dadaab camp on the Somali border.

Two good rainy seasons reduced the number of Kenyans dependent on food aid from 3.8 million in early 2010 to 1.2 million in November. But La Nina drought conditions are likely to reverse these gains.

La Nina is a meteorological phenomenon that results in drier than normal conditions in the Horn of Africa. It is the opposite weather anomaly of its more infamous cousin El Nino.

“This may further lead to increased resource-based conflict and high possibility of widespread cholera epidemic. It might also exacerbate the already high malnutrition rates,” Chuma said.

A nationwide assessment will be carried out in February and March to see whether more Kenyans will need food aid because of the poor short rains of October and November 2010.

Anne O’Mahoney of Concern Worldwide said that Kenya was suffering from a “deadly cocktail” of climate change, population growth and the government’s “policy of exclusion” of its most vulnerable people.

These are predominantly pastoralist communities in arid and semi-arid lands, many of whom have drifted to city slums because they can no longer survive as herders. The United Nations estimates that Kenya has 3.5 million “severely food insecure” poor people living in its towns and cities.

In Kenya’s arid and semi-arid lands, which make up 80 percent of the country, pastoralists are trapped in a chronic cycle of poverty. Climate change means that the frequency of droughts, followed by floods, is increasing and people do not have time to recover from crises before another one hits.

Pastoralists are now facing a failed rainy season, but their cattle stocks have not yet been replenished since a severe drought in 2009. Pastoralists depend on their cattle for both milk and income.

“Unless there is significant investment made not just by the humanitarian community but by the government in addressing these issues then we are going to be here year after year with the same sort of scenario presented,” O’Mahoney said.

O’Mahoney said donors and government need to build capacity continuously rather than switching the aid tap on and off each time there is a crisis.

This is the first time that OCHA Kenya has prepared a three-year emergency humanitarian response programme (2011 – 2013). However, the request for $526 million in funding is for 2011 alone.

Last year’s appeal was 64 percent funded.

BACK to margotbworldnews.com

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

DJIBOUTI: Drought appeal for 120,000 vulnerable pastoralists

November 16, 2010 Leave a comment


Photo: IRIN
Tens of thousands of pastoralists in Djibouti need food and nutrition assistance, says the UN (file photo)

NAIROBI, 12 November 2010 (IRIN) – A “forgotten emergency” has left tens of thousands of pastoralists in Djibouti needing food and nutrition assistance as well as longer-term coping mechanisms, according to the UN.

The tiny Horn of Africa state is the subject of a US$38.9 million appeal for food aid ($16.2 million), agriculture and livestock ($6.5 million), health and nutrition ($7.4 million), water and sanitation ($2.4 million), and emergency preparedness and sanitation ($6.4 million).

Pastoralists and other rural dwellers have been particularly affected by successive years of drought since 2005, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“Water reserves have been depleted, there has been a massive loss of livestock, and as a direct result many people are facing the destruction of their livelihoods and lost sources of income,” the agency said. “Increasing numbers of pastoralists have had to give up their traditional activities and are settling in urban areas.”

Djibouti’s food security situation is likely to further deteriorate due to the effects of La Niña events, expected to result in drier–than–normal conditions during the October–December rainy season, according to OCHA.

The country is also affected by the worsening violence and insecurity in neighbouring Somalia, OCHA said, with Djibouti hosting a refugee population of 14,500.

Launching the appeal in Geneva earlier this month, Valerie Amos, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said, “Due to high food prices and reduced purchasing power, too many people are unable to feed their families.

“While this appeal will help meet immediate humanitarian needs, like food and nutrition, it is important that we also address the root causes of recurrent food crises and improve the country’s capacity to respond to these emergencies,” she said.

Djibouti is considered a least developed low-income food deficit country and was ranked 147th out of 169 countries in the 2010 UN Human Development Index.

In an effort to mitigate the effects of drought, Djibouti abolished tax on food and some agricultural inputs and promoted the cultivation of unused arable land, according to Mohamed Siad Doualeh, the country’s ambassador to the UN.

js/am/mw

Theme(s): (PLUSNEWS) Health & Nutrition, (PLUSNEWS) Natural Disasters 

[ENDS]

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] 

 

BACK to margotbworldnews.com

Uganda, America’s Pit Bull, Wants to Lead a Larger War in Somalia

October 14, 2010 Leave a comment

 

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

13ugandan_paratroopers.jpg
America’s top hit man in Africa, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, is calling for a much larger air, sea and land war in Somalia – with Museveni’s forces on point. The saber-rattling follows on the heels of Uganda’s and Rwanda’s threats to withdraw from UN “peacekeeping” missions, such as in Somalia. What’s up?

October 13, 2010

 

Uganda also volunteers to head up a coalition of African nations for a renewed military campaign to save the U.S.-backed puppet regime.”

Uganda, long a military client of the United States, proposes that a no-fly zone be imposed on Somalia and that the nation’s ports be blockaded by aircraft carriers in order to starve out the Islamic Shabaab resistance. Uganda also volunteers to head up a coalition of African nations for a renewed military campaign to save the U.S.-backed puppet regime, which controls only a few neighborhoods of Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital. All of this would, of course, be paid for by what Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni calls “the international community” – meaning, the United States and Europe.

Museveni’s troops, along with soldiers from Burundi, another central African nation in Washington’s orbit, are all that keep the puppet Somali regime barely alive. It is commonly accepted that, if the Ugandans left, the puppet government would collapse in a matter of hours. The Shabaab resistance, it goes without saying, has no air force, and is not supplied by air from any outside source, so it is difficult to imagine whose planes President Museveni wants to keep out of the skies. His calls for a blockade by sea are also problematical. An informal international armada, including China, already operates off the Somali coast to curb piracy against cargo vessels.

The U.S. Indian Ocean fleet is always nearby. But Somalia’s pirates have not been allied with the Shabaab – at least not until quite recently – and the Americans had hoped to keep it that way. If the U.S. wanted to shut down every port on Somalia’s coast, it could easily bomb them out of existence. To do so, however, would turn every Somali irrevocably against the Americans. The possibilities of maintaining a viable puppet regime would evaporate, forever, requiring endless military occupation in the face of guerilla resistance.

The Ugandans and Rwandans are angry at the United States for failing to suppress a recent United Nations report on mass murders in Congo.”

It is also widely acknowledged that the Shabaab resistance eats what the Somali population eats, so starving them out would be an act of genocide – not that the United States has not considered such a solution. And the Shabaab appear to get all the weapons and ammunition they need from constant defections and weapons sales from the American-financed puppets in Mogadishu.

Museveni is already scheduled to get thousands of reinforcements and money for his troops in Somalia, paid for by the Americans and Europeans. There is plenty of military business for Uganda, which acts as a hit man and enforcer for neocolonialism in Africa.

So what is Uganda’s Museveni up to, with his saber-rattling?

Uganda was implicated, along with Rwanda, another American client, in the massacre of Hutus during the two countries’ invasion of the Democratic Republic of Congo – massacres that could lead to genocide charges. The Ugandans and Rwandans are angry at the United States for failing to suppress a recent United Nations report on the killings, as Washington had suppressed previous reports of mass murders in Congo. Both Uganda and Rwanda had threatened to withdraw their troops from so-called UN peacekeeping missions – such as in Somalia – but the UN called their bluff. Museveni is making big war talk in Somalia to call attention to his ongoing service to U.S. policy in Africa. He is telling the top gangsters in Washington that the hit man still has value; that the hired killer deserves his proper respect.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

:: Article nr. 70730 sent on 13-oct-2010 17:07 ECT
www.uruknet.info?p=70730

Link: blackagendareport.com/?q=content/uganda-america%E2%80%99s-pit-bull-wants-lead-la
rger-war-somalia

:: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.


BACK to margotbworldnews.com

Obama’s Congo moment: Genocide, the U.N. report and Senate Bill 2125

October 5, 2010 Leave a comment

Rwandan President Paul Kagame on the way into ...

Rwandan President Paul Kagame on the way into the Pentagon on March 5, 2003.

Ann GarrisonOctober 4, 2010 –

The official Oct. 1 release of the U.N. Report on Human Rights Abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 1993-2003, documenting the Rwandan and Ugandan armies’ massacres of Rwandan Hutu refugees and Congolese Hutus in the Democratic Republic of Congo, should be a defining moment for President Barack Obama.

How will the USA’s first African American president respond to the detailed and widely publicized U.N. documentation of genocide in the heart of Africa, committed by the USA’s longstanding military proxies, the armies of Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni?

Few Americans realize that the Rwandan and Ugandan armies are armed and trained by the U.S. or that the U.S. military uses both countries as staging grounds, but they may learn about it now…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: http://www.uruknet.de/?p=70449

BACK to margotbworldnews.com

The Rwandan Patriotic Front’s Bloody Record and the History of UN Cover-Ups

October 1, 2010 1 comment

Wanted poster for the International Criminal T...

Wanted poster for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

by Christopher Black

On August 26, the French newspaper Le Monde revealed the existence of a draft UN report on the most serious violations of human rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo over an eleven-year period (1993-2003).1 The massive draft report states that after the Rwandan Patriotic Front‘s takeover of Rwanda in 1994, it proceeded to carry out “systematic and widespread attacks” against Hutu refugees who had fled Rwanda to neighboring Zaire (now the DRC) as well as against the Hutu civilian population of the DRC in general. Crucially, it concludes that the pattern of these attacks “reveal[s] a number of damning elements that, if they were proven before a competent court, could be classified as crimes of genocide.”2

The draft report was leaked to Le Monde out of the plausible fear that its most damning facts and charges against the armed forces of the Rwandan Patriotic Front and President Paul Kagame would be expunged prior to its official release. Sure enough, one week later, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay announced that the official report’s release would be delayed until October 1 “to give concerned states a further month to comment on the draft,” and even “offered to publish any comments alongside the report itself.”3

Such an unprecedented offer by the UNHCHR follows from a number of factors, including the role that Rwandan troops play in UN peacekeeping operations, and the fact that earlier this year, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Kagame to serve along with Spain’s Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero as co-chairs of a new Millennium Development Goal Advisory Group. According to the New Yorker’s Philip Gourevitch — who, after Alison Des Forges, did as much as anyone to sell the official version of the 1994 “Rwanda genocide” to the West, and clearly remains on very friendly terms with the Kagame dictatorship — “top Rwandan officials [have been speaking] freely and on the record about their efforts to have the draft report quashed.” As Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo confided in Gourevitch, “If it is endorsed by the U.N. and it’s ever published, . . . if the U.N. releases it as a U.N. report, the moment it’s released, the next day all our troops are coming home. Not just Darfur, all the five countries where we have police.”4

A third, no doubt more decisive factor is that the Kagame dictatorship is a client of the United States and “acts as a mercenary for U.S. interests in Africa,” as Glen Ford observes; the current conflict between this dictatorship and the UN “threatens to reveal the United States’ role as enabler in the deaths of as many as six million people while Washington’s allies occupied and looted the eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo.”5 It is Washington’s ties to Kagame’ RPF, ultimately, as well as London’s and Brussels’, that public discussions of the draft UN report should turn the spotlight on.

But this is not the first such report to have been drafted by the UN — nor is it the first one to be covered up. As early as October 11, 1994, Robert Gersony, an employee of the U.S. Agency for International Development then attached to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, made an oral presentation to the UN Commission of Experts on Rwanda. Gersony had been dispatched to survey the situation inside Rwanda to determine if conditions were right for a return of the Hutu refugees who had fled the RPF. Instead he found that the RPF had been committing systematic massacres of the Hutu population in Rwanda starting in April 1994 and continuing through the date of his presentation.

On page 4 of the UN record of Gersony’s oral presentation, we read:

“Significant areas of Butare Prefecture, Kibungo Prefecture, and the southern and eastern areas of Kigali Prefecture have been — and in some cases were reported to remain as early as September — the scene of systematic and sustained killing and persecution of the civilian Hutu populations by the [Rwandan Patriotic Army]. These activities are reported to have begun, depending on location, between April and July 1994, immediately following the expulsion from each area of former Government military, militia and surrogate forces. These [Rwandan Patriotic Army] actions were consistently reported to be conducted in areas where opposition forces of any kind — armed or unarmed — or resistance of any kind — other than attempts by the victims of these actions to escape — were absent. Large scale indiscriminate killings of men, women and children, including the sick and elderly, were consistently reported.”

And on page 6 we also learn that “an unmistakable pattern of systematic [Rwandan Patriotic Army] conduct of such actions is the unavoidable conclusion of the team’s interviews.”

The Gersony report is identified in a cover letter dated October 11, 1994, from one Francois Fouinat to Mrs. B. Molina-Abram, the Secretary to the Commission of Experts on Rwanda. In this brief letter, Fouinat explains:

“We refer to the UNHCR’s briefing to the Commission of Experts on Monday, 11 October 1994.

“As requested by the Commission, we are forwarding herewith a written summary of Mr. Gersony’s oral presentation and copies of some field reports sent to UNHCR Headquarters by UNHCR Field Offices.

“We are confident that as agreed by the President of the Commission of Experts, these documents will be treated as confidential and only be made available to the members of the Commission.”

I possess copies of these two UN documents from October 1994 because they are part of the evidence-base at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, where I serve as the lead defense counsel for Hutu former General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, once the Chief of Staff of the Rwanda Gendarmerie. The documents were found by my legal assistant purely by chance while scanning the prosecution’s Electronic Disclosure System, which contains hundreds of thousands of documents that are not indexed in any order. My assistant came across them as part of a package of material organized by Robert Gersony himself while he was assigned to the UNHCR. It must be assumed that Mr. Gersony thought the documents relevant, as they affected the fate of the Hutu refugees.

At the ICTR, the brief cover letter by Francois Fouinat bears the index number “R0002906.” The next 14 pages of R0002906 contain the Gersony report and are numbered sequentially with an ‘R’ — prefix number used by the ICTR for documents contained in its Rwanda files.

Because I possess the series of ICTR documents beginning with R0002906, I also have in my possession an even more astonishing document the true historical significance of which has once again been underscored by the leaked UNHCHR report: Namely, the copy of a letter from Paul Kagame to his fellow Tutsi Jean-Baptiste Bagaza of Burundi, dated August 10, 1994.

Let me share with you an exchange that took place on November 18, 2008 in the Military II trial at the ICTR.6 What was said in court that particular day explains how these documents came to light. I was one of the speakers.

Mr. Black,7

“Mr. President, before I do that — that takes place, I have something which I would like to raise of great importance, I think.

“Yesterday my legal assistant found by accident, something, I think of grave importance for this Tribunal and for the world. It’s a letter from General Paul Kagame dated the 10th of August 1994 to Jean Baptiste Bagaza, . . . in Burundi. It’s marked ‘confidential’.

“I didn’t have time to make copies, so I want to read it to you. It has an ‘R’-number. R0002905. It’s in French, so please bear with me to make a loose translation. It says — it’s only one page and it is short:

‘Dear Brother Jean Baptiste Bagaza, we have the greatest honour to extend our sincere gratitude to you both for your financial and technical support in our struggle that has just ended with the taking of Kigali.

‘Rest assured that our plan to continue shall be pursued as we agreed at our last meeting in Kampala. Last week I communicated with our big brother Yoweri Museveni and decided to make some modifications to the plan. Indeed, as you have noted, the taking of Kigali quickly provoked a panic among the Hutus who fled to Goma and Bukavu. We have found that the presence of a large number of Rwandan refugees at Goma and the international community can cause our plan for Zaire to fail. We cannot occupy ourselves with Zaire until after the return of these Hutus. All means are being used for their return as rapidly as possible. In any case, our external intelligence services continue to crisscross the east of Zaire and our Belgian, British and American collaborators, the rest of Zaire. The action reports are expected in the next few days.

‘Concerning the Burundi plan, we are very content with your work to ensure the failure of the policies of FRODEBU. It is necessary to paralyze the power of FRODEBU until the total ruin of the situation in order to justify your action that must not miss its target. Our soldiers will be deployed, this time, not only in Bujumbura, but in the places you judge strategic. Our elements stationed at Bugesera are ready to intervene at any moment. The plan for Burundi must be executed as soon as possible before the Hutus of Rwanda can organize themselves.

‘In the hope of seeing you next time at Kigali, we ask you to accept, dear brother, our most respectful greetings’.

General Paul Kagame
Minister of Defence (signed by his assistant Mr. Rwego8)

“The importance of this letter if you have grasped it fully cannot be overstated. It means the attack on Rwanda from 1990 was not the prime objective of Kagame and his collaborators. Zaire was always the prime objective. That their excuse for the attack on Rwanda about establishing democracy and return of refugees, was completely false. That the invasion from Uganda had only one purpose: to clear the path through Rwanda to Zaire. That the return of refugees, as many witnesses have stated, was not for humanitarian reasons, but to clear the path for the invasion of Zaire. It means that the Americans, British, particularly with Kagame and Museveni, planned the invasion of Zaire [sic] in 1994, probably before that. It means that the excuse given for the invasions of Congo since this letter was written to clear the ‘Interahamwe’ or ‘genocidaires’ is completely false. No mention is made of ‘Interahamwe’. No mention is made of ‘genocide’. It means, since this was received, it looks like a date stamp of this tribunal, 8th December 1994, that the Prosecutor of this Tribunal has been hiding information indicating a conspiracy to commit a war of aggression against Congo-Zaire, Zaire and all of the war crimes have flowed from it since and the continuation of those wars in Congo now begun 14 years ago, if not longer. And that the principal parties are the principal parties stated in this letter. It indicates that the prime target, Hutus in Rwanda and Burundi, that they want to suppress the Hutu population in order to carry out their plan. Democracy was never their concern. And it indicates that the Prosecutor was in — had information in a territorial and temporal jurisdiction of this Tribunal under rule — under Statute-Article 1. That they are also concerned with war crimes committed in neighboring states.

“So, here you have the smoking gun, the letter, planning the invasion of Zaire with the Americans and British. And it confirms our theory all the way through this trial that the Belgians were involved with those other countries. And again, there must be — and this, as a colleague pointed out, is page 8 of 12. So where are the other eleven pages of — what other letters do they have in their hands? And again, it indicates that these men have been stitched up, falsely accused, in order to clear them out of the way so this plan can take place. If this is published in the New York Times or Washington Post, the whole picture of the war in Rwanda and the wars n Congo would change.

“So I ask the Prosecutor, once again, where is that file? And in fact I would like them to produce the indictment against Kagame9 because I want to see what he’s been charged with, exactly what crimes and where. So, again, I ask for this file to be produced and I ask why they have not acted. Mr. Jallow and Louise Arbour and everybody else have been protecting the RPF which has now resulted in millions of deaths in the Congo and continues up till today and what is going on in Congo now.

“And I state openly that the Prosecution office is complicit with this invasion of Congo and is responsible themselves for all those murders in Congo because they’ve hidden this for a long time and they could have exposed it many years ago and stopped the invasions.

“If the international community, that is, other than the United States and the Britain, had been aware of what was going on, it would never have taken place. But they sit there and they accuse us, my client, and the other officers here of committing crimes, they knew what they were doing in Zaire. I don’t think they can even shave and look in the mirror in the morning.”

Mr. President,10

“Counsel, having said all of that, why don’t you send this to the New York Times?”

Black,

“It will be sent . . . whether they publish it I do not know.”11

In the days after this letter was exposed the prosecution accused the defence of having fabricated the letter and raised questions about its authenticity.

I replied, first, that the letter bears a sequential ICTR index number with an ‘R’-prefix — the prefix used for Rwanda documents.

Second, as mentioned above, this letter was found among the package of material organized by Robert Gersony while assigned to the UNHCR.

Third, the letter was date-stamped “December 8, 1994” by the ICTR. Presumably, this was its date of receipt by the ICTR.

Fourth, it is also noteworthy that the letter that we know was created no later than December 8th 1994 speaks of moving the Hutus out of the way in Zaire and this is exactly what happened. First the UN tried to force them back into Rwanda and partly succeeded. But the mass of refugees refused to return, so in 1996 the attacks on the Hutu refugee camps began, forcing them to flee into the Congo forest. There is a lot of testimony by Hutus who were either forced at gunpoint to return to Rwanda or experienced the manhunt against them conducted by the RPF and its allies.

Fifth, the letter is further authenticated by noting that the addressee (the Burundian Tutsi Jean Baptiste Bagaza) did in fact carry out a coup d’état in Burundi against a more moderate Tutsi and turned against the Hutu political group called Front pour la Démocratie au Burundi (FRODEBU, or Front for Democracy in Burundi). Unquestionably, Bagaza and Kagame were allies. According to the testimony of expert witness Dr. Helmut Strizek before the ICTR:

Q. “Very well, doctor, let’s move toward the end. What clarification would you like to make on the relationship between Bagaza and Kagame when the president’s aeroplane was shot down?”

Strizek. “If my memory serves me right, Bagaza had left the country, and I think returned after or before the assassination of Ndadaye. Bagaza was a hardliner, a Tutsi hardliner, so there was an alliance between the two of them, and they wanted to prevent a Hutu president from being in charge of Burundi.”

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Strizek. “Jean-Baptiste Bagaza was a Hima or Tutsi president of Burundi who took power when he overthrew President Micombero, who had been responsible of anti-Hutu genocide in 1972. He was in power for some time. . . .
“In my opinion, it’s quite clear that Bagaza and Kagame follow the same line.”12

Sixth, the man whose signature appears on the letter on behalf of Paul Kagame, Mr. Rwego, confirmed to a member of the defence team that he did in fact sign it.

The accidental discovery of this August 10, 1994 letter from Paul Kagame to his “Dear Brother Jean Baptiste Bagaza” was met with an immediate reaction by the prosecution, who accused the defence of fabricating it, pointing out a typo in the letterhead. But this line of criticism failed, as it was shown that there are other letters in existence from the RPF on the same stationary, with the same typo in the letterhead, and these letters are regarded as authentic.

That someone regarded the letter as authentic and dangerous is highlighted the fact that I was followed by a Tanzanian police officer the night after I produced it in court and was forced to complain about this surveillance in court the next day. Yet the prosecution continued its attacks on the letter’s authenticity, even though the document came from the files of the prosecutor. And this important revelation during the Military II trial was never reported in the mass media — though I did send it to many journalists, including the New York Times.

Now that the draft UN report on the atrocities committed by the RPF in the Congo has been leaked, the findings of the very first UN report of RPF atrocities against the Hutus beginning in 1994 should also be recognized and addressed.

The UN must explain why the record of that 1994 presentation by Robert Gersony was marked “confidential” and why the latest draft UN report does not refer to it.

The prosecutors at the ICTR must explain why they hid these documents from the defence for nearly 15 years, and why, even though they have these documents in their possession, they have never once used these documents to bring charges against a single member of the RPF.

Last, Paul Kagame and his American, Belgian, and British collaborators must explain the meaning of the letter — and in particular, the meaning of the phrase, “plan for Zaire.”

Endnotes

1 Christophe Châtelot, “L’acte d’accusation de dix ans de crimes au Congo RDC,” Le Monde, August 26, 2010. For some additional news reports, see: “UN Uncovers Possible Genocide in Congo: Report,” Agence France Presse, August 26, 2010; David Lewis, “Rwandan Army May Have Committed Genocide — UN Report,” Reuters, August 26, 2010; Judi Rever, “UN Lawyer Says Congo Butchery Resembled Rwandan Genocide,” Agence France Presse, August 27, 2010; Michelle Faul, “UN Draft Report: Rwandan Army Attacks on Refugees in Congo in the 1990s Could Be Genocide,” Associated Press, August 27, 2010; “DR Congo Killings ‘May Be Genocide’ — UN Draft Report,” BBC, August 27, 2010; Max Delany, Rwanda Dismisses UN Report Detailing Possible Hutu Genocide in Congo Christian Science Monitor, August 27, 2010; Chris McGreal et al., “Leaked UN Report Accuses Rwanda of Possible Genocide in Congo,” The Guardian, August 27, 2010; Xan Rice, “Returning Refugees: Lush Land the Prize That Could Reignite Ethnic Conflict in DRC,” The Guardian, August 27, 2010; Howard French, “U.N. Report on Congo Offers New View of Genocide Era,” New York Times, August 28, 2010; Colum Lynch, “U.N. Says Rwandan Troops Carried Out Mass Killings in ’90s,” Washington Post, August 29, 2010.

2 See “Report of the Mapping Exercise documenting the most serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed within the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo between March 1993 and June 2003,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, draft report dated June, 2010, para. 517.

3 “UN Report on Rights Violations in DR Congo to Be Released Next Month,” UN News Center, September 2, 2010.

4 Philip Gourevitch, “Rwanda Pushes Back Against UN Genocide Charges,” New Yorker Blog, August 27, 2010.

5 Glen Ford, “Rwanda Crisis Could Expose U.S. Role in Congo Genocide,” Black Agenda Report, September 1, 2010.

6 The Military II trial concerns the joint trial of General Augustin Bizimungu, Chief of Staff of the Rwandan Army, General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, Chief of Staff of the Rwandan Gendarmerie, Major Nzwonyemeye, Commander of the Reconnaissance Battalion, and Captain Sagahutu , Commander, Squadron A of the Reconnaissance Battalion.

7 Let the record show that I have written here exactly what I said in court. The translation in the trial transcripts is a bit garbled, and I have corrected the text accordingly.

8 Reference ICTR document number R0002905, letter dated August 10th, 1994, date stamped by the ICTR 8th December, 1994. Marked as page 8 of 12.

9 Defence counsel had been informed by a member of the prosecution that an indictment exists against Paul Kagame for war crimes and is being held by the ICTR for the appropriate time. In order to determine whether this was correct information the defence counsel several times asked the prosecution to provide that indictment as it would affect the defense. The prosecution never denied its existence and the defence was advised to bring a motion to request it.

10 Judge Asoka Da Silva of Sri Lanka, Presiding Judge, Tria, Chamber III, ICTR.

11 Transcript, Military II Trial, November 18th, 2008, pages 1-3.

12 Transcript, Military II Trial, November 24th, 2008, page 62, lines 19-24; and page 63.
Christopher Black serves as Lead Counsel for the Hutu former General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, Chief of Staff, Rwanda Gendarmerie, in Military II trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. URL: mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2010/black120910.html
MR

Food riots erupt in Mozambique

September 4, 2010 2 comments

Rioting continued in Maputo, Mozambique’s capital city, for a third day on Friday in response to increased bread prices and the general rise in the cost of living. At least 10 people are dead, including a six-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy, and more than 400 wounded as police have opened fired on angry demonstrators. Hundreds of people have been arrested.

Protests have also occurred in Matola, a neighboring city to Maputo, and in Beira and Chimoio, urban centers in the central part of the southeast African country.

The riots and strikes, organized primarily by cellphone text messaging, are the popular response to sharp increases in water and electricity rates, and in particular to the government’s announcement that bread prices would climb by 25 percent on September 6.

Mozambique, a former Portuguese colony, is one of the most impoverished nations in the world, ranked 175th out of 179 countries on the UN Human Development Index. Seventy percent of the population of 23 million survives beneath the poverty line and an estimated 54 percent are unemployed; the statutory minimum wage is US$37 a month. Annual per capita income for the population as a whole is only $807.

Some 16 percent of the Mozambican people are infected with HIV, and more than 1 million of the country’s children do not attend school. According to the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, 44 percent of children “suffer from stunted growth and nearly 20 percent of those under 5 are underweight” (Associated Press).

Demonstrations began in Maputo Wednesday after several days of rumors of impending protests. According to news reports, thousands of people lined the streets of Bagamoyo, an impoverished neighborhood north of the capital city’s downtown.

Police declared the action illegal, on the grounds that no group had applied for a permit, and attempted to break up the protest. The primarily youthful crowd responded by burning tires, barricading streets and throwing stones at police. Shops, gas stations and buses were also damaged. Several wagonloads of corn near a railway station were seized by protesters.

The major highway connecting South Africa to the port of Maputo was reportedly blocked in several places, by tree trunks, utility poles, rocks, tires and other debris.

The police acted with brutality, opening fire on the crowds. The claim by spokesman Pedro Cossa that police used no live ammunition, but only rubber bullets, was belied by the death toll and the wounded who poured into Maputo hospitals. (A different police official asserted that units fired their weapons only “after they ran out of rubber bullets”!)

A report from AFP commented, “Doctors at Maputo Central hospital said victims of the protests streamed into the wards throughout the evening, most with gunshot wounds. ‘We have treated over 100 people since the violence started yesterday, many patients had gunshot wounds,’ said Antonio Assis da Costa. ‘The last patients came in around 1:00 a.m., most of them were young boys,’ added the doctor.”

On Thursday, the protests continued. A street vendor told AFP, “Yesterday I received an SMS [text message] saying the strike must continue for three more days.” The country’s public television meanwhile “showed images of running battles between police and residents of shantytowns outside Maputo.”

The army was also apparently called out in force. Police spokesman Cossa claimed Thursday that “the army was called on to carry out the clean-up in the streets and not to restore order. Since last night it has helped Maputo City Municipal Council to clean the city.” Other observers, however, maintained that the army was patrolling the streets of the capital.

Protesters, many of them youthful, have called on President Armando Guebuza, of the ruling Frelimo party, to resign. Frelimo, which has ruled Mozambique since independence from Portugal in 1975, is a corrupt, bourgeois outfit, which especially since the mid-1980s has opened the country up to foreign investors. The latter are especially interested in “Mozambique’s untapped oil and gas reserves, and titanium mining is a growing source of revenue,” according to the BBC.

Guebuza, also according to the BBC, is a former member of Frelimo’s armed wing during the independence struggle against Portugal and now “a millionaire businessman…who made his fortune in the energy, transport and port industries.”

The regime, insulated from the poverty and fury of broad layers of the population, reacted with predictable bluster and demagogy to the riots and strikes. Government spokesman Alberto Nkutumula told a press conference September 2 that, “The [bread] price increase is irreversible. Prices will only fall if all of us work hard.”

Guebuza, in a nationally televised address, said he understood the anger of the people over rising prices, but was upset about the violence of the protests. “It is sad that people used the right to demonstrate peacefully to turn it into violent protests…. The government is aware of the poverty of the people. Combating poverty is part of the government’s five year plan.”

Frelimo was returned to power, and Guebuza to a second term as president, in general elections held in October 2009, with approximately 75 percent of the vote. However, only 44 percent of the electorate cast ballots, and there were numerous claims of voting fraud.

The Mozambique News Agency (AIM), pushing the government line, slandered the protesters, claiming that television interviews with rioters showed that some “were clearly drunk.” The government news agency went on, “The rioters interviewed made no specific demands, but merely complained about the high cost of living. Implicit in this, perhaps, is a call for the government to subsidise basic foodstuffs.

“However, the government—which is already subsidizing fuel—has ruled out any further blanket subsidies. Several of the recent price rises are beyond the government’s control—the strength of the South African currency, the rand, has dictated a rise in prices denominated in the Mozambican currency, the metical, for all goods imported from South Africa.”

The government blamed the bread price increase on “the relative shortage of wheat on the world market,” produced in part by the drought and fires in Russia, which has led the Russian government to impose a ban on wheat exports.

Moreover, argued the news agency, with remarkable arrogance and indifference, the poverty of the Mozambican population, only about 14 percent of whom have access to electricity, makes the increases in the cost of electricity “a most unconvincing excuse for a riot.”

Behind the upheavals in Mozambique lie the ongoing global economic crisis and recent, painful increases in food prices, which threaten millions worldwide with hunger or even starvation.

As the government news agency reports, in 2009, “Mozambique exports fell by 19 percent compared to 2008, due to falling international demand and lower prices. In the face of these setbacks, Mozambique has seen increases in the price of fuel, energy, water and bread.”

A report issued by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme argued that due to a skewed rainfall pattern favoring Mozambique’s north and leaving its south dry, “250,000 people from low-income households in the semi-arid and arid areas of Tete, Gaza, Inhambane and Sofala provinces will require some 40,000 tons of emergency food assistance to meet their basic dietary requirements from August until the next harvest in March 2011.”

João Mosca, a Maputo-based economist, told the IRIN news service that in 2009, Frelimo “suppressed price rises to woo voters. Manipulating the economy during the electoral period has now led to generalized price increases, Mosca said, but [the] ‘government has to be conciliatory, otherwise the riots might continue.’”

Global food prices are rising, raising the specter of 2008’s widespread rioting. The FAO noted September 1 that the world food price index had risen by 5 percent from July to August, reaching its highest level in two years.

The agency also forecast the 2010 wheat crop would decline by 5 percent over last year, reflecting a cut in Russia’s harvest.

The Associated Press commented Friday that the street protests in Mozambique were only the most recent sign of popular unrest. “Countries from Asia, to the Middle East to Europe are feeling the strain.” In Egypt, “recent protests over rising food prices left at least one person dead.” Prices of many food items in flood-ravaged Pakistan have risen by 15 percent or more following the destruction of 20 percent of the country’s crop and agricultural infrastructure.

“In China,” writes AP, “officials are threatening to punish price gougers, while in Serbia, a 30-percent hike in the price of cooking oil reported for next week has led to warnings of demonstrations by trade unions.”

About the WSWS | Contact Us | Privacy Statement | Top of page

Copyright © 1998-2010 World Socialist Web Site – All rights reserved

By David Walsh
4 September 2010

BACK to margotbworldnews.com

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Uganda ready to send 10,000 troops to Somalia: army

September 3, 2010 Leave a comment

Thu Sep 2, 1:18 pm ET

KAMPALA (AFP) – Uganda said Thursday it can provide up to 10,000 troops for deployment to Somalia where it already has soldiers in the African Union mission protecting the country’s embattled government.

“We have the capacity, as the army leadership has indicated, to raise up to 10,000 soldiers to fill up the gap,” army spokesman Felix Kulayigye told AFP.

The African Union pledged to boost its forces in the Horn of Africa country in the wake of the July 11 deadly suicide bombings in the Ugandan capital which left 76 people dead and were claimed by Somalia’s Shebab rebels.

The AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) currently numbers around 6,000 Ugandan and Burundian soldiers, some 2,000 troops short of its intended full strength.

The forces are the only hurdle between the Al Qaeda-linked Shebab and their total takeover of Mogadishu, where they have waged relentless battles with the AU troops to oust the transitional government.

“All those that have pledged assistance to AMISOM, including America, should deliver as soon as possible so that we are able to carry out our mandate,” Kulayigye said.

But the he did not say the size of force the United States is ready to support for deployment.

“We have the capacity to raise a big force including calling up the reservists but the challenge is logistics which we hope America will look into. “Should the assistance come in time, I can assure the world we can raise 10,000 soldiers for deployment in Somalia in a short time,” said Kulayigye.

BACK to margotbworldnews.com

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: