KABISSA-FAHAMU NEWSLETTER NO 16

The Senior Inter-Agency Network on Internal Displacement, led by the UN Special Coordinator on Internal Displacement, together with representatives of FAO, the Office of the Representative of the Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons (RSG on IDPs), UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP and the NGO community, undertook a mission to Angola from 12 to 17 March 2001. The report of the mission is now available.

Guinean President Lansana Conte has refused to meet Liberian counterpart Charles Taylor over rebel attacks on Guinea which Conte says are backed by Liberia.

Thousands of refugees fleeing fighting in the west African state of Guinea have reported random murders, rapes, torture and other widespread rights abuses by Guinean civilians and the military.

The U.N. Security Council demanded on Friday that Sierra Leone's rebels allow U.N. peacekeepers into diamond mine areas they control and authorized an increase of U.N. troops to 17,500 from 10,350.

Two correspondents, a radio journalist and a cameraman have been intimidated by the government of president Pierre Buyoya. Other reporters have been menaced by the dreaded Documentation Nationale, the shadow police force. The actions come at a time of increasing criticism about Buyoya's stalling over the Arusha agreement - a three-year transitional government.

Three million people face disaster in Sudan unless food assistance reaches them, the World Food Programme (WFP) has warned. As war- and drought-induced hunger sweeps across the country, WFP will run out of food by mid-April unless immediate action is taken, WFP said on 29 March. More than 600,000 people are affected by drought in the north and south of the country, and another 2.4 million people are affected by the ongoing civil war.

One of the major issues discussed at the international AIDS conference in Durban last year was the question of making anti-AIDS drugs available at a more affordable price to people living with HIV/AIDS - the majority of whom are in sub-Saharan Africa. But even before the conference there was a realisation among activists that bold new steps had to be taken to not only make the life-saving drugs more available, but also to develop a more coordinated response to ensure they are accessible to the poor.

The European Union will send a high level delegation to Washington next week in a bid to "clarify" the USA's position on the Kyoto climate protocol. The move was announced by Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom as European condemnations of the Bush administration's apparent rejection of the Kyoto Protocol multiplied.

Tobacco-related deaths in the developing world will outstrip the toll due to HIV and become the single largest preventable cause of death by 2020, according to new research.

A journalist with Malawi's state-run news agency is under police protection after reporting critically on an opposition party visit to flood victims, prompting a string a threats against him.

When the world's least developed countries (LDCs) - described as the poorest of the poor - gather at a key international conference in Brussels in May, their numbers may once again rise: from the current 48 to 49. The country with the dubious honour of having its failing economy downgraded would be Senegal - although the Republic of Congo and Ghana are not far behind.

The Group of 77, a coalition of 133 developing nations, is reiterating its demand for a new investigation into charges of racial discrimination in the recruitment and promotion of staffers in the 13,000-strong UN Secretariat.

Four Liberian journalists from an independent Monrovia daily newspaper are due to go on trial today charged with espionage following an article that accused the government of profligate spending on helicopter repairs and Christmas cards.

The congress is organized around the main theme "Gendered Worlds: Gains and Challenges". This theme provides an opportunity for a broad reflection on the state of women and gender issues from a gendered perspective within the context of change. It enables discussions focused on both differences and similarities and offers positive pointers for future action for gender equity and equality. The Women's Worlds 2002 special focus areas will be the African perspective, young voices, gendering women and men, celebrating multiculturality and diversity and North - South perspectives. These focus areas will be reflected in the congress program themes.

Female Zambian politicians this week are holding a conference in Lusaka to define a strategy on how to rise the percentage of women candidates in the forthcoming Zambian legislative and presidential elections. Hurdles for women candidates are observed as being high.

At a conference held in Paris this week, several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and UN agencies appealed for the "total abolition" of the female genital mutilation (FGM) practice, of which an estimated 130 million African women are victims. Experiences show that anti-FGM legislation is a necessary basis for campaigning against the practice.

Please keep me in touch with this letter you intend sending to the Bank re GDG and open information.

I have been doing some work on "knowledge-based aid" and one dimension of this must be to look critically at the Gateway and other initiatives concerned with the globalisation of devt knowledge.

I attach a paper above which I did on this some months back.

At the upcoming LinuxAfrica 2001 conference I'll be presenting a paper entitled "Opensource in Africa---An Overview."

I'm trying to do some preparatory research right now. I would like to present as objective and comprehensive an overview as possible. Would you be able to assist me with answers to some of the following?

  1. Who is doing what in Africa?
  2. Which Linux and Opensource user groups are out there?
  3. Where are the focal points?
  4. Where might I be able to find more info?, and who else should I speak to?
  5. What still needs to be done to spread the Opensource message in Africa?
  6. What are the non-commercial opportunities for Opensource in Africa?
  7. What are the commercial opportunities for SEs and LEs?
  8. Importantly, how do we mobilise and support African Opensource protagonists and enthusiasts?

Being South African, I can speak with confidence on the South African scene. But to only do that would be very narrow and unfair. I'd be grateful if you could assist me in this regard.

I look forward to seeing you at LinuxAfrica!

DATE: Wednesdays 6:30-8:30 pm: April 18th -June 27th 2001
LOCATION: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine,
Keppel St, London, WC1 United Kingdom
FEE: Conference Fee - £100. Individual session fees - £20 each
APPLICATION CLOSING DATE: Thursday 12 April, 2001
A Health and Human Rights Course over 10 weeks
organised by Physicians for Human Rights-UK
(CME approved by the Royal College of Physicians.
PGEA approval being sought)
The course will provide students with a good understanding of some
of the most important health and human rights issues of the day.

ORGANISATION: Alliances for Africa
DATE: June
LOCATION: Nigeria

DATE: May 20-24, 2001
LOCATION: Orlando, Florida

EVENT: 22nd Annual Meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC)
DATE: November 11 - 15, 2001
LOCATION: Baltimore, MD
DUE DATE FOR ABSTRACTS: May 1, 2001

KABISSA-FAHAMU NEWSLETTER NO 15

Rwanda has accused its opponents in the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo of not withdrawing in line with a U.N. disengagement plan, dismissing U.N. statements that withdrawals are on schedule.

Ethiopian troops have been found inside a buffer zone intended to keep apart the once-warring armies of Horn of Africa neighbors Ethiopia and Eritrea, the United Nations said on Thursday.

Joseph Kabila is making a good impression in western capitals. But the issues at the heart of Congo's war remain unresolved.

Egypt has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. Speaking at the UN, an Egyptian representative stated that the treaty "did not take into consideration the legitimate right of States for self-defense, including the use of landmines in certain conditions."

President Bush said yesterday he intends to nominate an ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues, after weeks of speculation that his administration might reduce the Clinton administration's commitment to international institutions of justice.

On 26 June 2001, individuals and organizations worldwide will join the international campaign to commemorate the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. This year, the IRCT is coordinating the fourth consecutive global campaign to support these events in every region of the world. We hope that you will also be a part of this special day.

The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) - a member of the Martin Ennals Foundation - is pleased to announce that: Peace Brigades International wins 2001 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders.

Claudio Schuftan's paper "Elements For A Human Rights Activists Course And Curriculum" can be downloaded as WORD f. WINDOWS file (44 kB).

In a report published today, Amnesty International appealed to all parties in Burundi's civil war to immediately halt deliberate killings of unarmed civilians and to act responsibly to prevent a slide into human rights catastrophe.

A daily update on human rights and democratic development of the Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law based in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

This is the WEST AFRICA NEWSLETTER, a new source of reporting on human rights, democracy and development news and networking.

One of the world's most powerful international financial institutions is violating international standards on freedom of information. The World Bank's review of its own information disclosure policy singularly fails to guarantee the public's right to know and allows individual countries the right to veto disclosure of information. ARTICLE 19, the Global Campaign for Free Expression, demands that the institution substantially revise its proposals.

The following contains a bibliography on international human rights and criminal law, including the ICC and issues related to the ratification and implementation, that could be useful to academics, delegations, and groups working in these fields. Please also note that the Coalition website has a link to an extensive ICC bibliography.

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), based in Accra, Ghana, is sending a team of human rights lawyers from Ghana and Nigeria to Liberia to assist in the defense of the four journalists detained on the charge of espionage.

The UK ICC Bill passed in the Lords last night, 20th March and has been passed to the House of Commons. We have no idea of the timetable but can expect the 1st reading very soon. This is a procedural point only when the Commons notes that the Bill has been passed to it from the Lords.

Egypt's legal, political and social climate encourages the use of torture during detention and leaves victims without adequate means of redress, an Egyptian human rights group said on Monday.

HURIDOCS gladly announces a new series of brief, practical manuals aimed to help build the capacity of human rights organisations with regard to monitoring and documentation.

This manual is being used in basic courses at police academies in Denmark. It offers a course framework and various useful overheads and handouts. The course consists of two parts: "Life, Freedom, and Liberty and Security of Person" (freedom of assembly, use of force, right to life) and "Equal Rights" (rights of refugees, protection against discrimination). The manual includes overheads and handouts on the European and UN systems, methods of investigation, questions concerning detainees' rights, and the "Rockerloven" and "Jersild" cases in Denmark.

Attached is a memo and copies of reports from the Coalition regarding the election of judges for the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY).

The Socio-Economic Rights contained in the South African Constitution are the result of a long struggle against many years of apartheid poverty, discrimination and inequality. But what do these hardwon rights, such as land and health care rights, mean for people in their everyday lives? What laws and institutions are available to assist people in protecting and advancing these rights?

The following is our petition to the National Assembly, the Attorney General and the Presidency. Please read and join us as signatories to the letter. Please forward your response to [email][email protected].

When Nigeria threw off military rule and restored democracy in 1999, the country's newly elected leaders immediately set their sights on eliminating the worst aspects of the old regime. They ended long lines at gasoline stations. They set about shoring up the country's crumbling infrastructure. They went to war on corruption and tried to balance the books.

Some fear that Carlos Cardoso's murder might never be fully investigated as 'many more crimes' would be uncovered. It has been more than three months since the assassination of Mozambique's leading investigative journalist, Carlos Cardoso.

The Public Service Accountability Monitor (an independent research and monitoring unit based at Rhodes University) has criticized the Eastern Cape department of Transport for failing to take effective disciplinary action over a five year period against a senior state accountant who was arrested for allegedly attempting to defraud the department of R950000 in 1996.

In a statement by its Primate Peter Akinola and Secretary, Samuel Akinola, the church regarded as the second largest in Nigeria noted that public office holders brazenly display "conspicuous affluence" in contrast to the level of poverty in the country. It said: "Political office holders at federal, state and local government over-provide for themselves, a mass wealth and live in affluence out of public funds".

Top cop accused of extortion quits. One of Durban's top policemen resigned this week after allegedly being caught attempting to extort R10 000 from a city doctor.

President Daniel Arap Moi of Kenya has said African states must work together to meet the challenges posed by globalisation.

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary Susan Sikaneta on Friday tried in vain to deny the existence of rampant corruption in government.

Several newspaper editorials this week have addressed the price reductions and patent relaxations on AIDS drugs by Merck & Co. and Bristol-Myers Squibb, as well as the need for developed nations of the world to offer more humanitarian aid to African nations in order to assure the purchase, distribution andmonitoring of such drugs.

The 8th edition of the EANMAT newsletter can be viewed on the Kenya
Malaria Information Service site at: .

The WHO has recently published the Global TB Control Report 2001, showing that only 23% of the world's TB cases are treated in DOTS programmes. The report can be downloaded from our website and is also available in hard copy.

The March 2001 issue of Immunization Focus, an "e-published" quarterly from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) is now available on the GAVI website.

March 21 headlines include:
* One in Nine South Africans Living With HIV, Government Survey Shows
* Some Catholic Priests Sexually Abuse Nuns, Sometimes to Avoid HIV
Infection, Reports Say
* TAC 'Demands' HIV/AIDS Treatment Plan from South African Government

THEME: Donation and distribution of physical health information materials: books, journals, newsletters, CD-ROMs...

The School of Human Genetics and Population Health (SOHGAPH) Kolkata along with Gana Unnayan Parshad (GUP) Kolkata, India is coming up with a new manual called 'Guidelines for Facilitators and Grass Root Workers in Reproductive/Sexual Health Projects of the Third World'.

On 31st January, the New York Times writer Eric Nagourney wrote to 'HIF-net at WHO' for input on how the internet is affecting access to medical journals in developing countries. The resulting article is now available online.

DATELINE HEALTH NIGERIA is a health communication initiative of the Centre for Health Policy and Strategic Studies (CHPSS), Lagos, Nigeria. Critical comments on format, quality and content are welcome.

The Access Campaign is implementing an initiative consisting in gathering as many signatures as possible to protest the lawsuit lodged by 39 pharmaceutical companies against the Government of South Africa's recently approved legislation to render essential drugs affordable.

Willie Koen, head of the transplant unit and the 'Berlin Heart' Surgeons at a Cape Town hospital implanted an artificial heart into the chest of a man who was rushed into their unit after cardiac failure last night.

On 4th January this year, Peter Singer posted an article on 'HIF-net at WHO' on the subject of 'Global Alliance for Health Information'. The following letter is from this week's BMJ (17 March) under the title 'Vision is needed to address problem of global health information'.

COSATU welcomes the launch of the South African Democracy Education Trust. We believe that this initiative is an important step toward recording the history of our people's history struggle for freedom. It must form part of an urgent process to ensure that our country's real history is taught in the schools.

Tagged under: 15, Contributor, Education, Resources

The prospects for resolution of the humanitarian and political crisis in Burundi continue to look very bleak. There is an opportunity, however, at this moment for the international community to help save lives in the Northeastern provinces - the most populous region in Burundi. But the Government of Burundi, the United Nations, and international NGOs must act in concert immediately to avert further suffering of the Burundian people.

Cows are central to the lives of the nomadic herdsmen who have been deeply disturbed by news that hundreds of thousands of livestock have been killed in faraway Britain in a bid to stamp out an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

Concrete efforts are necessary to provide clean drinking water and improve health as well as to increase awareness world-wide of the problems and of the solutions. 22 March is a unique occasion to remind everybody that solutions are possible. Use the resources on this WHO site to help turn words into political commitment and action.

Governments should be directly responsible for the conservation of the natural and cultural heritage of their respective countries and people. Nevertheless, what frequently happens in the South is that the authorities act in collusion with powerful internal and external interests, and to the detriment of the country's biodiversity, and thus against the welfare of the population they are supposed to protect. This is what is going on in Kenya.

In recent years, interest in integrated water resource management (IWRM) has risen significantly throughout the world due to the increasing demands placed on such a limited natural resource. Integrated Water Resource Management Workshop October 15-19, 2001 Denver, Colorado, USA

The Save the Kenyan forests Petition to The Kenyan Government was created by The Nile Basin Society and written by Nabil El-Khodari. The petition is hosted at www.PetitionOnline.com as a public service.

Surveyors were busy demarcating Hombe Forest in Mt Kenya despite a ruling by the High Court stopping the government from excising 167,000 acres of forest land.

Of note in the week is the extent to which the Zimbabwe Independent (March 16) relied on unconfirmed reports for its front-page stories. Although it is generally accepted that the privately owned media is severely handicapped when trying to access information from government and the public due to the politically intolerant climate, in the interests of the public, of fairness and of its own credibility, the media have an obligation to seek and publish comment from opposing sides. In The Zimbabwe Independent's stories however, there was no indication that the reporters had tried to access comment from
the government, Zanu PF, Department of Information or the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

Find newspapers and news sites worldwide with quick links to over 600 news sources sorted by region and country.

MSI Cellular has taken management control of the Tanzania Telecommunications Company after a first payment of $60 million for a stake in the company. The deal may leave four other operators, including Vodacom, out in the cold. [15 March 2001]

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) asks to support South Africa's efforts to make essential medicines more accessible to its people by signing a global petition by April 15. Under the following page you will find the example of banner to add to your web-site along with corresponding HTML code:

African American nonprofit will team up with global US teleconferencing firm to bring the 6th African African American Summit to the world via Internet Rev. Leon H. Sullivan will convene the 6th African African American Summit in Abuja, Nigeria on May 21 - 25, 2001. The 'Summit of Hope' hosted by the President Olusegun Obasanjo: Federal Republic of Nigeria will bring together ten thousand delegates from across the United States, Africa, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean in the spirit of purpose to help forge a new Africa. In partnership with executive Conference, Inc., (ECI) a leader in providing global teleconferencing services and International Black Student Alliance, Inc. (IBSA) an international nonprofit organization, the 'Summit of Hope' will finally be bought to the world stage using the advanced technology of 'Web Streaming' donated by ECI as friends of Africa.

With regard to the current work of the DOT Force and the related debate on bridging the digital divide, the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC) and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) have made the following observations.

Followers of the Linux and Opensource movements will not want to miss the appearance of the legendary John 'Maddog' Hall at the Linux Africa 2001 conference, hosted by AITEC and the Linux Professional's Association of South Africa, from 24 to 26 April 2001 at the Kyalami Exhibition and Conference Centre, Johannesburg.

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