Pambazuka News 280: The war on HIV/AIDS
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Featured This Week
FEATURE: Uganda has a reputation of having controlled its HIV/AIDS problem. With World Aids Day coming up, however, Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon argues that the extent of the virus in Northern Uganda is perhaps more severe than figures indicate.
COMMENT AND ANALYSIS:
- Salma Maoulidi writes that For an HIV/AIDS breakthrough to happen in Tanzania, a radical approach to tackling HIV/AIDS is needed.
- In Uganda the government has proposed a traditional form of justice, Mato Oput, to replace the International Criminal Court indictments. Dieu-Donné WEDI DJAMBA explores the implications such a move will have for the post-conflict Democratic Republic of Congo, where the national judicial system is in collapse, and the only alternative left for victims of war to seek justice from is the ICC.
- Peluola Adewale argues that to avoid a serious post run-off election crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, foreign diplomats convinced both the presidential contestants to agree to grant a measure of personal, financial and legal protection to whoever loses
PAN AFRICAN POSTCARD: Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem says France should be in the dock, not Kagame.
BLOGGING AFRICA: Sokari Ekine focuses on blogs by African women.
BOOKS & ARTS: The study of Africa
WORLD SOCIAL FORUM: We are Feminists and proud of it
AFRICAN UNION MONITOR: Unite behind protection for Darfur
CONFLICT AND EMERGENCIES: Links to news on Sudan, Somalia, Chad, CAR and the DRC.
HUMAN RIGHTS: Judge allows Madonna adoption challenge
WOMEN AND GENDER: Rape, the silent weapon
REFUGEES AND FORCED MIGRATION: Darfur survivors face uncertain future in Chad
ELECTIONS AND GOVERNANCE: Bemba ready to lead opposition
DEVELOPMENT: African countries should diversify exports to meet MDGs
CORRUPTION: South African police chief under suspicion of corruption
HEALTH AND HIV/AIDS: World AIDS day 2006
EDUCATION: New students’ loan scheme
ENVIRONMENT: The need for green revolution in Africa
LAND AND LAND RIGHTS: Rethinking land policy
MEDIA AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: MISA takes issue with state house press officer
NEWS FROM THE DIASPORA: Police brutality
INTERNET AND TECHNOLOGY: Africans told to revive science culture
PLUS: e-Newsletters and Mailings Lists; Fundraising and Useful Resources; Courses, Seminars and Workshops
HIV/AIDS in Northern Uganda: ‘A New War’
Uganda has a reputation of having controlled its HIV/AIDS problem. Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon writes that the extent of the virus in Northern Uganda is perhaps more severe than figures indicate, “as the expansion of combination antiretroviral therapy – the treatment which can suppress the replication of the human immunodeficiency virus - to the camps has been severely limited due to dangerous access routes and impoverished resources.”
In Northern Uganda World Aids Day on December 1st comes at a time of uncertainty; in the fragile peace that has come to the region, HIV and AIDS is emerging as a problem of significant magnitude for communities who have suffered two decades of war and displacement.
At present talks between the Lords Resistance Army – the religiously inspired rebel group, who have woven together themes of Acholi and Christian mysticism as a legitimation to inflict a supposedly purgatory violence on the population – and the Ugandan government haltingly continue in Juba, Southern Sudan. Communities in Northern Uganda are coming to terms with years of neglect and violence, in which an estimated 1.6 million people have been displaced, most of whom live in congested camps, or ‘protected villages’ with little access to agriculture, income or health services. Yet, the spectre of AIDS haunts the calm that has come to the region.
Says Odoi Charles, counseling coordinator of The AIDS Support Organsation (TASO) in Gulu Town: “We are using World Aids Day to sensitize people and to commemorate the gallant fallen ones. It’s a day to remember those who have died because of AIDS”
AIDS is the second highest reported reason for death after malaria in the region according to the World Health Organisation. In spite of Uganda’s reputation of having controlled its HIV/AIDS problem, a 2004/2005 Uganda National Sero-Behavioural Survey indicates the prevalence rate for the North Central Region is 8%, significantly above the national rate of 6.4%. Antenatal data at St Mary’s Lacor Hospital – a Catholic hospital near Gulu Town – indicate a prevalence rate of 11.9%, though local organizations believe the rates may be far higher in some camps. No reliable data exists for many of the camps in the region.
The extent of the impact of HIV in the region may be more severe than figures indicate, as the expansion of combination antiretroviral therapy – the treatment which can suppress the replication of the human immunodeficiency virus - to the camps has been severely limited due to dangerous access routes and impoverished resources. However, the past two years have shown a significant scaling up of treatment access in the region through a combination of government and non-governmental programmes, the latter predominantly funded by the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a United States government fund. Certain Catholic programs under this funding can’t actively promote or distribute condoms, which places a bar on strong coordination between treatment organisations in the region with differing views on the use of contraceptives. The government programs are being funded in part by the World Health Organisation after the withdrawal of funds to Uganda by the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in late 2005 as a response to financial mismanagement. This caused temporary supply-line stockouts in Gulu National Hospital.
The treatment in the region has already had its successes in areas where it has been available. Ilama Charles is a counselor with Comboni Samaritan a local Catholic HIV/AIDS care organization providing support to clients of St Mary’s Lacor, which was one of the frontier treatment providers in the region starting a treatment program in 2004 and which now provides over 1500 treatment slots in the Gulu district. Ilama has witnessed the changes it has brought in the area: “You saw people who were brought on wheelchair, starting riding bicycles, lifting Jerry cans of water on their head. If you are to go to the medical ward you would find the hospital filled with patients, even some are sleeping on the floors. Medical staff were really stressed. With the advent of ARVs there were many changes. Before patients were coming with three, four opportunistic infections, but others would have ten, eleven. Now these have disappeared, they now go once a month for the ARV for their drugs”. The program which has many clients from surrounding camps has shown high rates of drug adherence, a key concern for antiretroviral treatment programs, as low adherence rates effect both the efficacy of treatment and risk the spread of drug resistant viral strains.
The inception of treatment in the region has also led to a dramatic rise in numbers seeking testing HIV and news has spread quickly about the drugs. Numerous clients have returned to strength and been able to cultivate what land is available around outskirts of the camps; the return to digging is symbolic of both health and peace.
Yet, for many treatment is still out of reach. Even where antiretroviral treatment may be available, many cannot afford to get to treatment sites or even to be tested. In Pabbo, the largest camp in the North with an estimated population of 60 000 people, there is still no access to antiretrovirals other than for the few who can afford the 90km monthly trip to Gulu Town. The route is one in which, until this year, ambushes were common. In Pabbo a vast dusty field outside the health centre has become a nursery and playground – boys kicking balls made from plastic bags, children following and peering through the windows of aid vehicles, desperate for entertainment. It is places like these where the destitution of war is most apparent. In seems that here there are two worlds and times: one in which children live and die, with their own daily rhythms, cycles and wanderings - often ended by malaria, fire, or diarrhea - and the world of adults which requires a fierce resilience and patience to survive. Child morbidity rates in the area are, according to the WHO, of ‘emergency proportions’.
Treatment for children provides a particular difficulty: they are often left unattended or with elderly caregivers, who cannot monitor their adherence properly. Health Alert is a local NGO trying to expand care and treatment follow up for children and pregnant mothers in the Gulu district. Says Achero Joyce Stella, a counselor at Health Alert: “In the camps, the issue of child neglect is a problem. For instance in Awach, the father had neglected the child. The child died, from opportunistic infections. Because of lack of money, distance from the treatment centre, the child died.” In some camps, the return to health of parents and the peace has been a mixed blessing: the parents go to garden during the days, leaving their children alone to wander unattended. For other young men and women a return to health is an opportunity to marry and have children, which raises concerns about mother to child transmission and the spread of drug resistance.
In spite of the fragile peace, the toll of violence and daily suffering on the population has been remains severe. Almost everybody has suffered direct violence on themselves or their families. Alcoholism is rife. Disillusionment with the prospect of peace is widespread; many believe that the army has no interest in ending the war and have benefited from it through stealing cattle and land. A thirty five year old women in the St Thomas camp near Gulu Town, was left looking after seven children after her husband, who was a soldier, was killed by the LRA. She says: “I hear people talking about peace talks, but I am never interested because I know it may happen the way it has been happening since they tried to talk peace; it never succeeds, no change ever occurs” She began taking antiretroviral in 2005. The treatment process has helped not only her physical but mental health. “When I started using the medicine, it brought about change in my life, in terms of health, because before I started using the medicine I was almost running mad. There is my last born whom I wanted to kill because I knew I was going to die so she could not remain to suffer on earth, but when I started using this drug all the bad thoughts went out of my mind…the problem has affected everyone, but for us women it is very painful, because you will be the house head, responsible for everything in the home.” With many men dead from the war and disease, the burden for household and community cohesion is increasingly being placed on widows, and it is predominantly widows who are enrolled in treatment programmes. This places an adverse burden on women in supporting their families with meager resources. Many men still fear the shame and perceived guilt of being tested for HIV and seeking treatment, though the situation is improving.
Yet, the peace is creating new possibilities for the expansion of treatment into areas that were previously inaccessible. TASO are presently adding a further 600 antiretroviral slots to their present 500 introduced in 2005. They are celebrating World Aids in Awach, one of the camps to which antiretroviral treatment has become available in recent months.
“The whole region has been very calm. We have very high hopes,” says Odoi Charles, counseling coordinator at The Aids Support Organisation (TASO), Gulu. Comboni Samaritan are presently expanding their services from a 40km radius from St Mary’s Lacor Hospital to 70km because of the peace in the area.
The material and logistical obstacles to scaling up treatment in the region remain, however, daunting. There are major shortages of medical staff and diagnostic equipment, particularly at government health facilities. At some of these health facilities there is poor treatment follow up which could lead to poor adherence. This raises the possibility of the spread of drug resistant strains of the virus – a threat which could undermine the treatment effort in years to come. The problem of transportation for many in the North is huge; many simply cannot afford to get to treatment and testing facilities or they arrive when it is too late to be helped.
At present, the camps are being ‘decongested’: residents of the larger camps are being allowed by the army to move to smaller camps closer to their land. Patients are becoming more increasingly scattered, making monitoring more difficult. If the peace talks fail, renewed conflict could undermine attempts at treatment expansion. Yet, there is hope among caregivers and patients that these obstacles are not impassable and community based strategies are being developed to overcome them. In uncertain times, the healing of those suffering from HIV/AIDS could be an analogue for social healing. World Aids Day provides a moment to recollect past losses and look forward towards the prospect of a difficult peace.
Odoi Charles of TASO claims “We are now going to begin another war: the HIV/AIDS war.”
* Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon is a South African Rhodes Scholar and MPhil Candidate in Development Studies at Oxford University. He is also a committee member of Student Stop Aids at Oxford University, and ahas worked as a freelance journalist in South Africa while studying Political Science at the University of Witwatersrand publishing mainly in the Mail & Guardian.
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What breakthrough is needed to combat HIV/AIDS?
For an HIV/AIDS breakthrough to happen in Tanzania, a radical approach to tackling HIV/AIDS and its impact is needed, writes Salma Maoulidi, who asks “How can any progress be made in the HIV/AIDS battle if current strategies are superficial and isolated?"
It is over two decades since the first AIDS patient was diagnosed in Tanzania. In response, a number of measures were devised and adopted by the government to respond to the pandemic. These measures reflect the progress in official understanding and attitudes about the disease. Initial responses were comprised mainly of health measures designed to address curative aspects of the disease. Then, denial about HIV/AIDS, even in official quarters, hampered more effective responses to the disease.
The rise of associations of people with or affected by HIV/AIDS, parallel to existing responses, spearheaded psycho-social and policy responses. This brought about two major benefits in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Foremost, it “outed” the disease enabling HIV/AIDS activists to focus more deliberately on addressing stigma, a major barrier in addressing the pandemic at the personal and institutional level. Similarly, concerted advocacy by HIV/AIDS activists brought the disease out of a medical isolation where it was viewed purely in health terms, to the level of considering non-medical dimensions.
The progression from National AIDS Programmes to an AIDS Commission in the late nineties heralded the multi-sectoral approach currently adopted.
For the most part, HIV/AIDS associations have confined their responses to the impact on the individual and community. Overwhelmingly, their response is service oriented e.g. provision of home based care; nutrition programmes; provision of legal services; widow or orphan care; and HIV/AIDS support groups something that hinders their ability to focus on more strategic concerns related to HIV/AIDS. Only a small number of associations mix advocacy with service provision. Accordingly, while Tanzania in the mid nineties declared HIV/AIDS a national calamity, few organizations have built upon this opportunity to advance HIV/AIDS advocacy efforts in a meaningful manner.
Instead, what is new in existing and upcoming HIV/AIDS initiatives is the location; or the gender and youth focus.
HIV/AIDS organizations, mainly veteran associations that have introduced policy advocacy initiatives in their programming, require capacity in translating this in practical policy results and interventions. For example, some HIV/AIDS organizations are pressurizing the government to make ARVs accessible to People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). While the government receives due attention in taking measures to make this a reality, little attention is given to the role of pharmaceuticals in facilitating treatment options. Surely, other than an official commitment in principle to facilitate treatment, there is very little the government can do, in practical terms, to provide ARVs on a mass scale.
This, however, is something local pharmaceuticals can and should be obliged to do. And a few have risen to the challenge, leading discussions with the government under various trade agreements like the East African Community Treaty on Common Markets. Local pharmaceutical companies like the Tanzania Pharmaceutical Industries (TPI), not HIV/AIDS associations, are challenging the monopoly of foreign companies in the production and distribution of ARVs. They capitalize on their geographical location to build a case for ARV production more suited to local populations and at more affordable rates. An added benefit to their proposal is the prospect of creating jobs for local the population. Certainly this development presents an opportunity for partnership between the HIV/AIDS community and the business community that includes aspects of HIV/AIDS advocacy and corporate social responsibility yet to be explored. However, it is a sector HIV/AIDS activist are noticeably absent and silent from.
Equally important is the need for more strategic responses vis á vis the HIV/AIDS pandemic, not only by the government but also by community institutions. The policy and legal framework focuses on “formalized” aspects of discrimination against PLWHA or those affected by HIV/AIDS. Thus due attention is given to the employer-employee relationships; access to health care; and to a smaller extent the question of legal services to PLWHA and their families. These measures, however, fall short of infusing the radical spice to significantly impact PLWHA or their families since they fail to address the primary cause of unhindered HIV/AIDS transmission: the traditional interpretation of the family institution and the unequal relationship between parties in the family union.
Indeed, transmission patterns in Africa, Tanzania included, are largely heterosexual.The majority of those affected or infected with the HIV/AIDS virus are married men and women - not sex workers and not single women or homosexuals. This is important to consider as it dispels a major stereotype of HIV/AIDS victims and transmission of the virus.
It was this breakthrough that enabled HIV/AIDS researchers in the west to begin expanding their investigation of the disease and its transmission beyond the homosexual community or intravenous drug users. The fact that HIV/AIDS in Africa and Asia is transmitted mainly through heterosexual contact debunked the Sodom and Gomorrah theory which confined the problem to a particular group in the society considered immoral to be dispelled.
What is interesting is that in spite of this knowledge, most institutions representative of patriarchal authority lack the will to redress this situation. For example, they fail to focus on the unequal relationship between man and wife that allows the man unfettered sexual access, thereby compromising the health and life of his spouse. Many times this is done with the full endorsement of public and legal institutions under the rubric of preserving the religious or cultural order. In effect, the interest is rather in preserving the status quo rather than guaranteeing equal protection and treatment to both spouses even when this is required by the constitutional order.
Indeed, women the world over, and particularly in Africa, are vulnerable to HIV transmission not only from their partners but also when performing reproductive functions e.g. during childbirth or taking care of family members infected with the disease. Yet, we are yet to have legal mechanisms that address this aspect of their vulnerability. If anything, there is resistance and denial about what is at issue in empowering women in exercising greater control over their bodies and lives.
Additionally, whereas the individual is sanctified under most religions, and cultures recognize ungendered interpretations impose limits to the exercise of individual authority when it relates to the female sex, confirming the continued discrimination against women in public and private spheres: Under the constitutional and civil orders, men and women have equal rights by virtue of their citizenship. In practice, however, women continue to be considered second-class citizens and consistently denied the protection of the law due to any citizen of a nation state. Widows with HIV/AIDS are doubly punished: they are recklessly infected with the virus and then dispossessed of jointly acquired property from the investments made to their families. In most cases, the law requires that they be looked after by their children or in-laws, even those they brought up!
This is a moral aspect that is yet to be addressed.A recent High Court decision on the inheritance status of widows raises serious questions about the willingness of key public sectors to transform our thinking beyond the cultural rubric, one that is parochial and unsuitable to present realities. In the case of Elizabeth Stephen and another vs. the Attorney General (Miscellaneous Civil Cause no. 82 of 2005) High Court Justice Mihayo dismissed an application lodged by the applicants, two widows, requesting the court to uphold their constitutional and civic rights by declaring discriminatory customary laws and provisions that continue to deny women property rights as unconstitutional. The judges declined to do so, fearing opening up a Pandora’s Box of legal challenges to the practices of about 120 tribes following the same path. Interestingly, while Tanzania gained her independence four decades ago, the legal fraternity represented by these justices seems oblivious to this fact. They choose instead to invoke and apply a reasoning based on a colonial reference, one that reflects a narrow appreciation of African culture as being homogenous and static not dynamic.
In my long legal and activist carrier I know of very few families, affected or not with HI/AIDS, being provided for by the “guardian” as required by courts or some religious orders. In fact, cases of maladministration of family property, whether by self appointed guardians or those appointed by the court or clan, abound with many families being impoverished by greedy relatives with no effective recourse to oblige performance or restitution of the plundered property. Importantly, in this day and age, what is the logic of requiring a blood relation who may be a stranger to the family to assume responsibility of family affairs he has little competence in or will to execute? Does the experience of the female spouse who for years looked after the family count for nothing? This is a clear case of de facto discrimination and should be termed as such.
Undeniably, significant progress has been made with in responses to the pandemic. In this respect, the introduction of a policy and legal framework on HIV/AIDS in Tanzania provides a wider focus on addressing existing and potential challenges related to HIV/AIDS, though presently more attention is given to issues of labour discrimination and treatment options reflecting present, not strategic concerns. Until now the war against HIV/AIDS is defined in militaristic terms: strategies to combat HIV/AIDS; bracing for a national calamity; fighting the scourge etc. We are yet to define it in human terms not only in so far as the health or economic implications but also in so far as the political implications to a class that is vulnerable to the infection.
How can concerted efforts against HIV/AIDS succeed if, at its outset and at the most fundamental level, the effort is not collective? How can transmission be curbed when one party is unsuspecting and not empowered to suppress transmission? How can any progress be made in the HIV/AIDS battle if, current strategies are superficial and isolated? Recognizing women’s bodily integrity and full agency in the family are important ingredients in transforming the HIV/AIDS menace. It is in this regard that I call for a radical response in tackling HIV/AIDS and its impact. I believe rather than viewing HIV/AIDS solely in a negative light, it offers us immense possibilities to re-define social relations and values a new, in ways that are more suited to our present realities and experiences.
• Salma Maoulidi, Executive Director of SahibaSisters Foundation, a women’s development network based in Tanzania.
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The Implications of the Ugandan peace process for the DRC
Dieu-Donné Wedi Djamba
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has indicted LRA leader Joseph Kony and four of his lieutenants for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during their 20-year-old rebellion. The government has proposed a traditional form of justice, Mato Oput, to replace the ICC indictments. Dieu-Donné WEDI DJAMBA explores the implications such a move will have for the post-conflict Democratic Republic of Congo, where the national judicial system is in collapse, and the only alternative left for victims of war to seek justice from is the ICC. This article is the last installment of a two-part series. The first article, entitled “The Ugandan Peace Process in Perspective” www.pambazuka.org/en/category/comment/38526 was published last week.
The ICC determines whether a State’s criminal procedure, including non-party States’ criminal procedures, conforms with the principles of “due process” or not. The standard adopted by the ICC for its determination is “the minimum guarantees” provided by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). And, Mato Oput may not conform to this principle of “due processes”.
Furthermore, there is need to improve Mato Oput for it to be suitable as an alternative to the ICC. This raises the question whether still it remains a possibility to see Kony and his senior commanders standing trial under Mato Oput, because the ICC’s Rome Statute provision article 17(admissibility principle)  provides that a case being investigated or prosecuted by a State member can be admissible to ICC(art.17,(1)a and b) but not reversed.
Indeed, there is jurisprudence for the ICC to prosecute Kony and his senior commanders because the Ugandan government itself referred the case to the international criminal court.
It must be noted that in order for the ICC to drop a case already at the investigation, prosecution or trial phase, and for a State to continue with the same case, this will create an judicial unsafe (delay of process). It would also be important to find out what happens if once again the same case became admissible to the ICC under articles 17(1)a and b after being handed over to a concerned State by ICC under the Complementarity principle.
Therefore, if Mato Oput will apply the international law standard, it will be helpful for the future case. Secondly, Acholi people are asking for Kony and his senior commanders to be prosecuted through Mato Oput.  But do they (Kony and other) ask for any prosecution by Mato Oput applying an international law standard? The possibility is they may ask for amnesty in order to avoid prosecutions. I am also of the argument that even if the Mato Oput has an international law standard it would not be the best option for Kony and his senior commanders.
The withdrawal of the warrants of arrest
Another threat faced by the ICC in the Ugandan peace process is the demand to withdraw warrants of arrest against the LRA leaders, which could set an unfortunate precedent for other ICC cases.
The wanted LRA leaders want the warrants of arrest withdrawn before they will emerge from the bush to sign the peace agreement. “The ICC warrants of arrest against the LRA leaders should be dropped, so that a peaceful conclusion to talk can be reach”, said the LRA spokesman Obonyo Olweny.  Otti Vincent, one of the wanted LRA leaders, said in a call to a Gulu-based radio station that “Kony and I can not attend the peace talks although they wanted one of the top leaders of the LRA to attend. We are afraid of the ICC indictment on us. If you can convince the Uganda government to withdraw the case at the ICC, we are ready to come out of the bush freely”. And he warned “there will be no peace deal unless international indictment for the top rebels are dropped”.
Uganda has offered the five rebels leaders a blanket amnesty if they agree to a peace deal, and hinted at a possible negotiation with the ICC over the indictment.  The Uganda peace talks mediator, Dr Riek Machar, has taken a middle position to the LRA’s demand that warrants of arrest be withdrawn, saying “we are not telling the ICC to stop what they are doing….We are just asking them to give the peace process a chance.”
Contrary to Machar’s view, the ICC’s Prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo urged that the best way to finally stop the conflict is to arrest the top leaders. And he added that “Kony will eventually face the trial.”
The ICC involvement in northern Uganda is viewed as a complication by all sides. While the ICC prosecutions have been an important factor in bringing the LRA and the government to the table, they now limit the options available to mediation because they and the broad international community are unlikely to accept a deal providing a broad amnesty and lacking strong justice and accountability mechanisms. At the same time, the commanders indicted by the ICC will not be interested in any deal that fails to protect them from ICC prosecution and fails to guarantee their personal safety.
If the warrants of arrest are withdrawn, the question remains: who shall be blamed? Interviewed in February, senior ICC official Phakiso Mochockoko said that “The situation in northern Uganda was referred to the ICC prosecutor (Argentina lawyer Luis Moreno Ocampo) by the government of Uganda. And as a result of that, the ICC is obliged to exercise its mandate in accordance with the statute”. As such it seems that cracks in the Rome Statute would need to be found before any warrants of arrest could be withdrawn.
Under article 53 of the Rome Statute, the prosecutor has the discretion to stop prosecutions that no longer serve ‘the interest of justice’. Article 53 can only be used to end, not suspend, a case. An option of last resort subject to serious constraints, it calls for the prosecutor to consider the ‘interest of justice’, not peace. This is in line with the ICC’s stated purpose articulated in the statute’s preamble, which is to end impunity and ensure prosecution of those most responsible for the gravest crimes. As such, any decision to stop a case prior to prosecution, except on the most compelling grounds, is contrary to the court’s core principles.
Therefore, if for some Ugandan people (including Kony and his senior commanders) the ICC is an obstacle towards peace, the way “to give peace a chance” as Machar says, is to leave any decision to put the prosecutions on hold to the Security Council, as provided by article 16 of the Rome Statute.
This article permits the Security Council to determine that an agreement would be in the interest of peace and to require the ICC by a chapter VII resolution to defer action for renewable one-year periods, thereby suspending and not halting prosecutions.
The time limitation of one year placed on the Security Council by the Rome Statute was both a recognition that article 16 should not become a back door to impunity, and a realization that the threat of not renewing a deferral gives the Security Council a tool for ensuring compliance with an agreement. Thus, even if the Council does intervene, the LRA may not be satisfied.
But the Crisis Group argues that in theory, the Security Council could give de facto amnesty by promising to renew the yearly deferrals for the lives of the indicted, though such a pledge should at least be accompanied by a clear understanding that any violations by the LRA would mean a resumption of prosecutions.
Article 16 of the Rome Statute does not provide any limit in terms of how many times the Security Council should renew a deferral action. This omission is a threat for the ICC as an anti impunity symbol. And any unlimited renewal one-year period in LRA leaders’ case will set a precedent for the future ICC case and for international justice.
The Blanket Amnesty
Tina Rosenberg argues that a country’s decisions about how to deal with its past should depend on many things: the type of dictatorship or war endured, the type of crimes committed, the level of societal complicity, the national political culture and history, the conditions necessary for dictatorship to occur, the abruptness of the transition, and the new democratic government’s power and resources. She added that different countries have chosen widely different strategies to deal with the past.
Among these strategies, is the granting of amnesty. This strategy is used by different countries in order to end conflict or dictatorship regimes. Samuel P. Huntington  distinguishes three types of democratization transitions: transformations, replacements and transplacements.
In transformations, those in power in the authoritarian regime take the lead and play the decisive role in ending that regime and changing it into a democratic system. In replacements however, democratization results from the opposition gaining strength and the government losing strength until the government collapses or is overthrown. In transplacements, democratization is produced by the combined actions of government and opposition.
In recent past, many dictatorship regimes used the amnesty strategy during transition to democracy to grant themselves a blanket amnesty such as in Chile with the Pinochet regime. Others used the National Conference Forum such as in Togo with the Etienne Gnassingbé Eyadéma regime  , and in the DRC (former Zaire) with the Mobutu regime.
However, in transplacements, the granting of amnesty has also been chosen in many countries. This amnesty could be a broader one, such in Sierra Leone  or conditional such as in South Africa.
Thus in order to end a war conflict or a dictatorship and to establish a real democracy, many countries have chosen to grant a amnesty. Uganda is among them.
Indeed, the Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has offered a blanket amnesty to LRA leaders in order the end the over 19 year long deadly civil war in his country. As noticed the BBC News: “Mr. Museveni clearly feels that for now, the most important thing to achieve is peace. And, in the interest of that peace, the widespread crimes of Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army should be put to one side.’’
The ICC at The Hague may disagree. The court was founded on the basis that there can be no durable peace without justice, which to some extent satisfies victims that wrong have been addressed.
At a 2002 meeting to mark the fourth anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute, Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nation, said “The date of 17 July 1998 will long be remembered as the world finally united to bring an end to the culture of impunity”. But challenging impunity does not only mean ferreting out former dictators from wherever they may be hiding in order to have them stand trial for the crimes they committed. It also means not extending amnesties to people accused of committing crimes against humanity.
However, this point of view is not shared by all Ugandan people. Indeed, as noted IRIN, Ugandans are “…tired of war, most people want the rebels forgiven”. According to them, maintaining a tough stance against the rebels and fighting them has only prolonged their suffering. “We are in a mood of forgiveness. Let the International Criminal Court not spoil our party preparations”, some Ugandans have said.
The ICC’s aim to close “the gap of impunity” is felt by some Ugandan people to be a threat to the peace in Uganda. Some of them do not hesitate to criticize the presence of the ICC in the Uganda peace process. An internally displaced person, Nikson Owinyi, told Jan Egeland that “The international community should tell the ICC that the Acholi people don’t like ICC in these affairs because it is holding back the peace process.”
Again Peter Onega, has claimed that the decision by the international court has left their work in “total confusion”. He stated further, that “the statute establishing the ICC overrides the national laws and the court may decide to issue other warrants of arrest for people they have even issued amnesty to. …..The warrant would scare away willing rebels and frustrate the commission’s effort to negotiate for ex-rebels return”, he added.
Indeed, in a bid to bring about a cessation of violence, the UAC was set up to offer a blanket amnesty to militia and soldiers. It was hoped that this amnesty would encourage them to lay down their weapons without fear of reprisal. Then in October, 2005, the ICC issued warrants of arrest against five members of the LRA in Uganda and this move effectively undid the work of the UAC.
But Luis Moreno Ocampo, the Chief Prosecutor for the ICC, made himself clear on this issue when he told IRIN, “Domestic amnesties are strictly a matter for national authorities and do not act as bar to an investigation by the ICC”. Thus, the message was that at a national level, amnesties may be granted, but they will not be guaranteed at an international level.
The rejection of amnesty for perpetrators of human rights abuses on the basis that such amnesties are incompatible with the principle of international law has been steadily involving the whole world. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia observed in 1998 that amnesties covering certain crimes’ “would not be accorded international legal recognition” despite having legal force in that country. Spanish and French courts have also lent their backing to this interpretation, and the inter-American court of Human Rights in 2001 stated “All amnesty provisions are inadmissible, because they are intended to prevent the investigation and punishment of those responsible for serious human rights violations, which are non-derogable rights recognized by international human rights law.”
The UN holds the understanding that the amnesty provisions of the agreement shall not apply to the “international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other serious violations of international humanitarian law.”
Indeed, the amnesty issue facing the ICC in the Ugandan peace process is an opportunity for the international justice system to show the international community as a whole that the impunity gap is closed.
Far from spoiling the peace process in Uganda, the ICC could boost it. Its deterrent effect is one of the main explanations for the sudden willingness for the LRA leaders to negotiate. They no longer have anywhere to hide. They have lost support - the southern Sudan is no longer a threat for the government of Khartoum, and they are wanted in DRC by the MONUC, the UN mission in DRC after killing eight Guatemalan peacekeepers in Eastern DRC.
Often, people like Kony and other LRA leaders need to be backed against the wall before one can expect any agreement from them for a negotiated solution. Mobutu, the DRC former president accepted negotiations with Laurant Desiré Kabila, the other former DRC President, (then rebel leader) when almost ¾ of the country was controlled by the rebel group in 1997 . ‘The rebels Lords Resistance Army has called for the resumption of peace talks with the Ugandan government’ noted IRIN.
As noted by the Citizens for Global solutions (CGS), Kony is exactly the type of person for whom the ICC was created.  Therefore, the blanket amnesty through a peace agreement becomes the last chance for a way out.
The implications of the Ugandan peace process in the Ituri District
As has been said before, DRC is affected by a deadly war which has resulted in over three million deaths and widespread displacement. The killing and other atrocities committed against the population by the national army, foreigners armies, rebel groups, and militias raises the issue of accountability of the perpetrators and reparation for the victims.
But in the DRC, the national judicial system is in collapse. According to Human Rights Watch, the DRC’s national justice system is in a state of disarray. It will likely take years to establish a functioning, independent, impartial and fair judiciary. And the Commission Vérité Reconciliation (CVR) - the Congolese truth commission - established by the Pretoria Agreement with the mandate to address reparation has failed to do its work.
Therefore, the ICC becomes the alternative for the thousands of victims wanting to see justice done by holding their perpetrator accountable and getting reparations owed to them.
Among the most affected by the war is the population of Ituri District in northeast DRC bordering with Uganda. This population expects prosecution of the likes of Combra Matata, leader of the Ituri Patriotic Resistence Front (FRPI), one of the active militia groups and responsible for several atrocities including rape, burning houses and killing.
The Ituri people also expect prosecution of Kawa Mandro of PUSIC, an Ituri militia , Peter Karim of Front des nationalistes et Integrationnistes (FNI) and Mathieu Ngudjolo of Mouvement des Révolutionnaires Congolais (MRC) . Already there is a concern among the population in Ituri after the government appointed two ex-militia leaders, Peter Karim (FNI) and Mathieu Ngudjolo (MRC) as colonels in the national army , in the name of peace.
But for the victims of war in the DRC, especially in Ituri, ‘peace’ means positive peace, one in which justice is addressed, human rights are respected and people live without any fear (as opposed to a negative peace such as a ceasefire, which is negative because it stops the war but does not address other issues).  And this ‘peace’ has to be based on the concept of justice. There is no peace without justice. But this justice has to be taken into the transitional justice perspective.
Indeed, transitional justice offers a deeper, richer and broader vision which seeks to confront perpetrators, address the need of victims and assists in the start of a process of reconciliation and transformation. Therefore, the Uganda peace process is very important for the people of that country.
The ongoing peace process in Uganda is being followed with interest by both the victims and perpetrators in Ituri District. The success or failure of the ICC in the LRA leaders case will have many implications. Successful prosecution will create an expectation for several victims of similar atrocities in Ituri to see their own perpetrators held accountable for their crimes and to expect reparations. It will produce a deterrent effect to other militias who are still active in the same area.  Indeed, the arrest of Thomas Lubanga, one of the militia leaders in Ituri by the ICC in April this year produced a strong deterrent effect. “Many here in the East are afraid the court will come…we all now are thinking twice . We do not what this court can and will do”, confessed Xavier Ciribanya, former rebel leader of the RCD-goma and suspected of a range of crimes against civilians in both Kivus and Ituri. Therefore, the ICC remains key in ending the violence and the last hope for the victims to see their perpetrators prosecuted, and to receive reparation after the complete failure of the CVR to address the issue. 
But, on other hand, failure will encourage the culture of impunity in Ituri District.
Indeed, the three conditions raised in the Ugandan peace process can be used by the different perpetrators in Ituri: firstly the Mato Oput option will gives people like Combra Matata who still has weapons the opportunity to escape a real trial. Secondly, the withdrawal of the warrants of arrest will give future perpetrators the chance to claim the Ugandan ICC case as jurisprudence. Finally, the blanket amnesty will be an opportunity for those prosecutable in Ituri District to extend the content of the law adopted by the DRC National Assembly which gives the CVR the power to propose amnesty for acts of war, political crimes and crimes of opinion.
The ongoing peace process in Uganda is critical for the Ugandan people. This peace process can finally end the 19 year long deadly war which deeply affected the northern Ugandan people. But at the same time, the peace process in Uganda is critical for the ICC which faces its first test as the symbol to impunity. Furthermore the Ugandan peace process has implications for the Ituri District.
As a symbol for the ending of impunity or the closing of the impunity gap, the ICC has to stand behind its warrants of arrests. Justice has to be done. Not only for the victims in northern Uganda, but for others, including the Ituri.
The ICC is established not only for Uganda and its future will depend on what decision it takes today in order to secure tomorrow in its fight against the impunity. ‘Justice for today’s crimes supplies the legal foundation needed to deter tomorrow’s atrocities. Without justice, there is no peace’.
• Dieu-Donné WEDI DJAMBA is a lawyer (Advocate)at the Lubumbashi Bar association/DRC; Consultant; Assistant lecturer in the College of Law in Lubumbashi/ DRC; Human Rights Activist and Writer. Tel:+243812485222;+27738362921 ; Fax:+18016727206 Email: email@example.com;firstname.lastname@example.org
• Please send comments to email@example.com or comment online at www.pambazuka.org
 Lijun Yang, “On the Principle of Complementarity in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court”,Chinese Journal of International Law (2005),vol 4,Nº1 <http://chinesejil.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/4/1/121.pdf > (accessed 11October 2006)
 Rome Statute,< http://www.un.org/law/icc/statute/99_corr/preamble.htm> (accessed,10 September2006)
 BBC News.op.cit
 IRIN op.cit.
 BBC News.op.cit.
 International Crisis Group.op.cit
 Internatinal Crisis Group,op.cit
 International crisis Group.op.cit
 Tina Rosenberg “After word: Confronting the Painful Past”, in: Martin MEREDITH,COMING TERMS: South Africa for Truth,1999,pp328
 Samuel P. Huntington,“The Third Wave: Democractization in the late Twentieth Century”, ed,Nail.J.Kurty, Transition Justice,vol 1, 1995,pp65
 BBC News, “Pinochet profile: Saviour or Tyrant”, <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/special_report <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Togo#The_third_republic /1998/10/98/the_pinochet_file/198145.stm>,(accessed 1 November 2006)
 Wikipedia: The Historic of Togo <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Togo#The_third_republic > 6 November 2006)
 Tyrone Savage,“The democratic Republic of Congo: Inchoate Transition, Interlocking Conflicts”,in: Erik Doxtader abd Charles Villa-Vicencio ,op.cit pp142
 The Lome Peace Accord.< http://www.sierra-leone.org/lomeaccord.html>(accessed 23 Octoberd 2006)
 Alex Boraine, “A COUNTRY UNMASKED”, Oxford University Press,2000,pp270.
 BBC News “Afrca’s mixed amnesty
 BBC News,op.cit
 Joseph Yav Katshung, op.cit
 William W.Burke-White, “International Criminal Court, Complementarity in practice:The International Criminal Court as Part of a System of Multi-level Global Governance in the Democratic Republic of Congo”,Leiden Journal of international Law 18( 2005),pp576
 William W.Burke-White,op.cit
 IRIN : “DRC: Recently Demobilised militiamen re-arming in volatile Ituri Distict” <http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2006/09/mil-060917-irin02.htm>(accessed 20 September 2006)
 Radio Okapi, “George Bush ordonne le blocage des avoirs des seigneurs de guerre de la RD Congo” <http://www.radiookapi.net/article.php?id=5807>,(accessed 1November 2006)
 The DRC Defence Minister has publicly stated that the government is determined to work with the ICC to help bring war criminal to book ,after appointing the two ex-mititia, colonel in national army, in IRIN,DRC:Two militia leaders appointed army colonels,<http://www.irinnews,org/report?ReportID=55907&SelectRegion=Great_Lakes>(accessed,13 October 2006)
 Dieu-Donné Wedi Djamba,“Congo-Kinshasa:A strategy for Peace And Reconciliation in the DRC?”,in Pambazuka News.< http://allafrica.com/stories/200610260875.html >( accessed 26 October 2006)
 Professor Jannie Malan used the terms “negative and positive peace” during the course session for the fellowship in Transitional Justice(2006) in Cape town/South Africa
 Dieu-Donné Wedi Djamba,op.cit,
 Alex Boraine, in: Alex Boraine and Sue Valentine, op.cit,pp25
 Alert.net, “More than three million Congolese dead and no one notice,say Is IRC”<http://www.alertnet.org/thefacts/reliefresources/IRCDRCview.htm >(accessed 2November 2006)
 William W. Burke-White,op.cit.pp588
 William W.Burke-White ,op.cit
 William W.Burke-White,op.cit
 Kathryn Schiele “U.S RATIFICATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT”,in Journal of International Relations, James Madison University, Spring 2004,pp59
Congo Presidential election: Not Yet Uhuru
The Supreme Court of the Democratic Republic of Congo has declared Joseph Kabila the winner of a controversial presidential run-off election held on 29 October. After the elections, Jean-Pierre Bemba filed an electoral fraud petition with the Supreme Court and asked it to nullify the vote. After reviewing the petition, the court rejected Bemba's objections, on grounds of insufficient evidence. Peluola Adewale argues that “to avoid a serious post run-off election crisis, foreign diplomats were reportedly trying to persuade both presidential contestants to agree to grant a measure of personal, financial and legal protection to whoever loses. This is to assure the would-be loser and perhaps, his backers, that their share of the looted mineral wealth of the Congo will not be lost.”
Voters in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) went back to the polls on 29 October 2006 for the run-off presidential election. The contest was between Joseph Kabila, the incumbent, installed in 2001 after his father Laurent was murdered by a presidential security aide, and Jean-Pierre Bemba, a former warlord and one of four vice presidents in a power-sharing government that was set up to end a five year war. The 30 July election did not produce a clear winner out of 33 presidential candidates. Kabila got 45%, while Bemba got 20% of the votes on a 70% turnout.
‘The Economist’ magazine (London, October 26, 2006), described the choice the Congo’s voters had to make in the run-off election as choosing between “cholera and the plague”.
The provisional results for the second round of elections, released on 15 November, suggest Kabila has won the election. Kabila won 58.05% and Bemba got 41.95%. Bemba however, alleged there was fraud, with more than one million fake votes for Kabila and filed a complaint at the Supreme Court of Justice. This means that the final results will not be ready until November 30 when the court is expected to give its verdict on the election.
The results, like those in the first round, reflect the sharp division along ethnic lines, between the East of the country, where Kabila has the upper hand, and the West, including the capital, Kinshasa, where Bemba has a big following. This is ominous for the post-election situation.
Many Bemba supporters believe the UN and Western powers financed and organised the elections to establish Kabila as president and to have a ‘legitimate government’. The powers hope this will allow giant corporations to fully exploit the Congo’s natural wealth, as well as allowing EU States a pretext to stop refugees fleeing the Congo from entering Europe.
After the first round of elections in August, 30 people were killed in gun battles. For the second round, UN and EU troops tried to gather weapons in Kinshasa, and used armoured vehicles and helicopters to patrol the city’s streets.
However, the people of the Congo apparently expect the electoral process, the first in more than four decades, to provide relief for a country whose only history is that of rapacious and ruthless colonialism, parasitic dictatorship, official corruption and brutal war. The country, which is two-thirds the size of Western Europe, has only 300 miles of paved roads! Yet, the Congo is potentially one of the richest countries in Africa, due to its enormous natural resources and mineral wealth.
For 32 years (1965 - 1997) the country (formerly known as Zaire) was ruled and ruined by a staunch ally of the West in the Cold War era, Mobutu Sese Seko, who plundered the economy and repressed the people.
Mobutu so personified corruption that it was for his government the term ‘kleptocracy’ – a combination of kleptomaniac (compulsive thief) and autocracy - was originally coined. Mobutu was installed with the support of the US and Western European powers, which earlier supervised the overthrow and killing of Patrice Lumumba, the left-leaning first prime minister of post-colonial Congo after winning independence from Belgium in 1960. As was the practice in the Cold War era, the Western imperialist powers enthroned Mobutu to secure Congo for continued imperialist exploitation and to act as a launching site against “communism” in the region, particularly Angola. The USA provided more than $300 million in arms and $100 million in military training for the dictatorship. Western imperialism also provided Mobutu with loans that plunged the country into a serious debt burden, even when they knew that Mobutu accumulated money for self-enrichment. The dictator amassed a personal fortune estimated at $4 billion and ran up a $12 billion external debt.
The removal of Mobutu from power, in 1997, by Laurent Kabila-led guerrilla insurgents, not only failed to provide a solution to the terrible poverty facing most people in the Congo, but, in reality, set the stage for worse disaster. The 1998 insurrection by rebels linked to Rwanda and Uganda triggered a war involving six other nations. Between 1998 and 2003, the Congo was plunged into what was described as the bloodiest conflict since the Second World War. Over four million people were killed in the conflict, which was termed “Africa’s world war” because it involved six other African countries; Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Kabila has had his own army since the 1990s, while Bemba has had an armed force since the early 2000s, when he ruled parts of northeast Congo.
The war led to the United Nations’ (UN) biggest and most expensive mission, involving an 18,000-strong peace-keeping force and expenditure of $1.1 billion a year. However, a journalist, Aidan Hartley, described ‘Monuc’ (as the UN force in Congo is known), as an ill-equipped ‘Third World’ army, which had to make do with old American and Soviet aircraft dating back to the Vietnam era. He also queried the morality of the UN using contingents from a military dictatorship (Pakistan) and from monarchies (Nepal and Morocco) to ‘help’ Congo become democratic. Hartley wrote that the UN’s approach in the Congo was similar to the disastrous US-led mission in Somalia, in 1993. During that conflict, the imperialist powers sub-contracted the task of stabilising the crises to their allies in African and other developing nations while ensuring their continued exploitation of Africa.
The Congo war was fuelled by the country’s vast mineral wealth with all sides, including multinational corporations from the West, taking advantage of the anarchy to plunder the natural resources. The resources were also used to finance the conflict. The country is rich in diamonds, water, coltan, copper, timber and other natural resources. A 2001 UN Security Council report on the illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Congo, estimated that Rwanda, alone, might have gained at least $250 million over a period of 18 months from the pillage of coltan. This was said to be substantive enough to finance the war. Burundi and Uganda were also seriously indicted by the report. Coltan is used in high-tech industries as a key component in the manufacture of mobile phones, computers, stereos and VCRs. Its price soared substantially in 1999 and 2000 when the world supply was decreasing and demand was increasing, thereby leading to a large increase in production of coltan in the Congo.
The US, Belgium, Britain and France are also implicated in the Congo conflict. They manipulated the conflict for their economic interests and supplied millions of dollars of weapons to different sides in the conflict. Large quantities of arms were transferred by US and Britain to the Congo, via Eastern European countries.
Perhaps more than any other country in Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) deserves peace, having known only exploitation and crisis - economic, social and political – since its inception as a state.
The ‘Independent’ newspaper (London, 28 July 2006) described the country as “the most blighted nation on the earth”. But the November election will not bring the peace so yearned for by working people in the Congo, if events since the first election round are anything to go by. The results of the first round elections in August, were greeted by three days of fighting between the armies of Kabila and Bemba. Less than a week before the 29 October election, violent clashes took place daily. Between August and late October over 30 people were killed in street battles. Fighting, which left two people dead, broke out on 13 November, after the second round provisional results put Kabila ahead.
To avoid a serious post run-off election crisis, foreign diplomats were reportedly trying to persuade both presidential contestants to agree to grant a measure of personal, financial and legal protection to whoever loses. This is to assure the would-be loser and perhaps, his backers, that their share of the looted mineral wealth of the Congo will not be lost.
The long-suffering masses of the Congo desperately yearn for an end to war. But ‘peace’ established under the auspices of former warlords and imperialist powers will not end poverty, joblessness and all the other abundant social ills facing working people. Only a policy of transforming the devastated economy, including building adequate infrastructure, and fundamentally improving living standards, could allow the poor masses to expect to see light at the end of the tunnel. But this will not happen as long as the Congo is run on the basis of anti-poor, neo-liberal policies, as dictated by the IMF/World Bank, and for as long as the Congo’s huge mineral wealth is plundered by the multinationals.
To free up resources to guarantee basic needs, like education, health, water, electricity and proper roads, the huge natural resources of the Congo have to be taken into public ownership, under the democratic management and control of working people. Disastrous neo-liberal economic policies have to end.
Transforming the lives of the mass of people in the Congo is impossible under capitalism, which sees it remaining a neo-colonial country under the stranglehold of imperialism.
Whether the presidential election ends conflict or not, and irrespective of whether Kabila or Bemba is in power, under capitalism workers and the poor of the Congo will discover that their living standards cannot be meaningfully improved, despite the enormous resources of the country. This can open up possibilities for the ideas of mass struggle in opposition to the local rulers and imperialism, and the growing support for a socialist alternative. Of course, workers’ organisations are weak, due to years of dictatorship and devastating war, but only by building independent organisations of workers and the poor can the grip of the local looters and imperialists be broken in the DR Congo.
• Peluola Adewale is the editor of the Socialist Democracy, Lagos Nigeria.
• Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment online at www.pambazuka.org
France should be in the dock, not Kagame!
Tajudeen Abdul Raheem
The first time I heard of Rwanda it was not as a separate country. It was as hyphenation: Ruanda-Urundi. That knowledge came from a Sociology class taught by a German Lecturer, in a pre-degree class at Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria’. In those days Sociology was heavily dominated by Anthropology and its preoccupations with ‘the tribe’, ‘the clan’ and ‘the native’. Sociology was a discipline introduced out of protest at the uses and abuses of anthropology.
Anthropology has always had a bad name because of its close association with the colonial enterprise. European colonialists captured Africa through an unholy trinity: Christianity, the Maxim Guns and the Trade. The Anthropologists acted as the civilian contingent of the imperialist enterprise by providing what intelligence officers today provide for the modern state.
This is the same kind of far-reaching specialized local knowledge that ubiquitous Western NGOs can still provide (though a lot of information and knowledge are easily available today) to their sponsors today. The anthropologists were not necessarily ( like many of the missionaries) conscious agents but their knowledge, studies, ‘participatory research’ and activities among ‘the native’ directly and indirectly helped the colonialist project.
For Ruanda-Urundi what we know was that these were countries divided between ‘two tribes’, Hutu and Tutsi. The former looked more like us: Negroid, broad nose, short and stocky while the latter does not look like us: they are lighter skinned, taller, with long noses. With that, our racist focus on Rwanda and Burundi was constructed and the template put in place.
When you then consider the colonial imprint of indirect Tutsi rule in cahoots with the colonial rulers as the traditional aristocratic overlords, the anti-Tutsi prejudice became complete and got given a kind of respectable ideological justification.
Later in Political Science classes one was presented with another set of truisms that did not square with the tribal angle. Rwanda and Burundi, this time joined together with Somalia, we were taught, were the only countries in Africa where ‘tribalism’ was not an issue as in many post colonial African states, because the people of those countries were the same ‘tribe’, same faith. In the case of Rwanda and Burundi they did not even have significant dialect differences.
So if the people of those countries are not of different tribes how come they are killing each other? The answer lies in politics and power, not in ‘tribe’.
It took me moving to Uganda in the early 1990s to complete my education about Rwanda. Most Africans’ understanding or misunderstanding of Rwanda and Burundi was shaped by racist anthropological understandings. The ambiguities of some of the most radial scholars on this continent about the 1994 Genocide, and in understanding Rwanda since then, are rooted in this.
Many Africans believe themselves to be Hutus and by definition are apologetic about Hutu extremism. People who are usually critical of colonial constructs of ‘tribalism’ and ‘ethnicity’ in Africa, lose their critical faculties when it comes to Rwanda and Burundi. Because Genocide was carried out in the name of the majority, against a minority, does not make it ‘democratic’ or excusable. One’s opposition to minority rule should not condone genocide or atrocities against ethnic or racial minorities or minorities’ of any kinds.
The role of past colonial and neocolonial powers, especially Belgium and later France, in manufacturing these tribes and playing them against each other in order to perpetrate foreign domination in that part of Africa, cannot be separated from the successive Genocide that has engulfed the two countries (though with different victims and villains) since the late 1950s.
Without France and Belgium, the Genocidiare regime of Habyarimana and MRND could not have held on to power for so long. Without France and its ‘operation turquoise’ after the defeat of genocide in 1994 the Genocidiare regime, its army and clergy could not have forced genuine refugees behind fugitives in camps in Goma and other parts of Eastern Congo that eventually led to forceful closure of those camps, prolonged wars in the Congo and instability that continues until today.
It is therefore very rich, insulting and most mischievous and mendacious that a French judge sitting in some obscure province, and an even more obscure kangaroo court, can start issuing indictments against the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame and nine of his officers.
Was the Genocide really caused by the shooting down of the plane of Habyarimana? If it had not been planned well in advance, with weapons being put into place how could it have been carried out and executed so swiftly and with such clinical precision?
Africans too readily accept Westerners sitting in judgment over us, without us doing the same for their many atrocities against us. Very often we allow our disagreements or opposition to particular regimes or leaders to cloud our better judgment and this gets non-Africans off the hook and even inflates their pomposity towards us. For many of us, as long as we are opposed to the person, people or governments being attacked, we think it is alright regardless of the principles that may be at stake.
How many African judges have issued indictments against Western leaders for their complicities in the many tragedies that continue to take place on this continent? Why can’t our judges, governments or institutions and even our human rights organizations who are quick to accept donor funds to campaign (rightly in many cases) against abuses by our governments also put some energy into prosecuting and campaigning against non-African excesses against Africa?
France and Belgium in particular and their successive leaders, ministers, corporations, diplomats, bureaucrats are guilty of aiding and abetting Genocide and should hang their heads in shame instead of looking for Africans -leaders or the led - to prosecute. They are only trying to ease the burden on their own consciences about their moral, political and legal complicity in murdering the innocent in Rwanda. 1994 may be the worst expression of these excesses but there are too many similar cases across this continent. Where do we even start when counting these cases? Is it Genocide by the Germans against the Hereros in Namibia? Or King Leopold’s Genocide in the Congo? Is it the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, coordinated by the Belgians and the CIA? Is it the overthrow of patriotic regimes including that of Nkrumah, Ben Bella, and so many more by agents of the West? Or do we cite the testing of nuclear weapons on innocent people of the Cameroon by the British in the 1960s?
We do not have to look far back in history to find evidence of Western conspiracies and wrongs against Africa. Most western countries will stand indicted without too much research. France will be in a special class of its own as both a brutal colonial power and neocolonialist on this continent.
There is more than enough for many western countries, and their leaders - political, religious and corporate -to be hauled before the ICC. That they are not is because they are the ones making the rules and then breaking them. That they get away with it is because we let them. International law should not only be for the poorer countries to obey, used to threaten current leaders, or enforce on leaders who have fallen out of favour (like Taylor, Milosevic, and others). It should apply equally. In a just world, how many western leaders, current and past, would be sitting comfortably in their mansions?
The responsibility for Genocide is not about who shot Habyarimana, it is about those who aided and abetted Genocide in that country ending with the delivery of their final script in April 1994. That responsibility, Monsieur Judge, is on France and their Belgian cousins.
• Dr Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem is General-Secretary of the Pan African Movement, Kampala (Uganda) and Co-Director of Justice Africa
• Please send comments to email@example.com or comment online at www.pambazuka.org
Global: 16 Days of Activism
Domestic violence happens everywhere. It affects someone near you. At least 1 in 3 women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Usually, the abuser is a member of her own family or someone known to her. Get active against domestic violence as part of the 16 Days of Activism.
Global: Bushman case
Judges in Botswana’s High Court will rule on 13 December on the landmark case brought by the Kalahari Bushmen against the Botswana government. The court will be open to journalists and members of the public. The Bushmen are fighting for their right to live on their land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and to hunt and gather freely there.
Global: Call to end female circumcision
At a conference on the subject in the Egyptian capital Cairo, the scholars said governments should enforce existing laws against the practice. Earlier, the top religious authorities in Egypt said religion offered no justification for the procedure.
Global: Commission on the Status of Women
The fifty-first session of the Commission on the Status of Women will take place from 26 February to 9 March 2007. In accordance with its multi-year programme of work for 2007-2009, the Commission will consider “The elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child” as its priority theme.
Global: Take back the tech!
How many hours a day do you spend using some kind of ICT tool? Have you ever wondered how it connects with violence against women? Can things like mobile phones, webcams, blogs and videogames transform power relations between women and men?
Sex is too vital!
I have not had time to read the article, ‘The Stigmatisation of Sex Workers’ (www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/38524) in full. However consideration needs to be given to why, in a society, certain activities are stigmatised and some outlawed. We have lived among each other for thousands of years and some things eventually become clear from either a moral or social point of view. Sexual intercourse is too vital to be regarded as trivial as you appear to regard it.
Society creates its own kind of criminals
The article, ‘The Stigmatisation of Sex Workers’ (www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/38524) is a voice from a deep hole for the attention of all of us. When I was studying criminology in Law, I learnt that a society creates its own kind of criminals. Before we stigmatise, let us ask ourselves, what have I done for society to make it better for someone else to live in? Have we given sex workers proper teachings on family life? What other options do we offer as a society? I look forward to other good articles.
Report on the impact of anti-terror legislation
CHRI is currently preparing a report on the impact of anti-terror legislation on policing in Commonwealth countries, from a human rights perspective. This report will be presented at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) next year in Kampala.
CHRI’s research team is trying to gather data primarily from the internet and also from CHRI’s contacts.I am part of the research team for the report. We are currently in the research phase of the project and are in the process of identifying the relevant security and anti-terror legislation in each Commonwealth country.
We have been experiencing difficulty identifying material in some of the African countries like Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland, Cameroon, Ghana, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Kenya, Nigeria ad Zambia.
We would greatly appreciate it if you could assist us in looking for the legislation or help us in guiding us to the organisation/university/or persons who may help us with our research.
We are particularly looking for the following:
- The names or copies of anti-terror or security legislation, ordinances or directives that impact on policing.
- Practical examples of abuses committed by the police under anti-terror legislation or in the “fight against terror”.
Additionally, we would appreciate you putting us in touch or providing the details of any of your contacts working in the field of security and human rights in your country.
Would really be grateful to you if you could help us and provide us with some information on the subject.
Media and Communications Officer
ommonwealth Human Rights Initiative
Democracy in Zimbabwe
It is a fact that Morgan Tsvangarai, former president of the Movement For Democratic Change (MDC), asked the west (Britain and the United States) to institute sanctions against Zimbabwe. This fact is not a propaganda initiative by the ZANU-PF. It is the truth - unadulterated fact. There are MDC elected officials in the Zimbabwean parliament. It is another fact that overwhelmingly, the people in Zimbabwe support ZANU-PF. The empirical evidence again says that democracy is a fact of life in Zimbabwe. Democracy is not a propaganda tool of ZANU-PF. The government of Zimbabwe was duly elected by the people of Zimbabwe even though Britain financed the MDC to try and taint the will of the people. People must learn to separate fact from fiction.
I thought the article, ‘Community rights and foreign direct investment’ (http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/comment/34803) was well written and informative. I am indeed impressed by the way the author brings out his point. However, recently, I met a very senior member, as in authority; of the Yala community and he had a totally different viewpoint to yours. The gist of his argument was that for once, the communities around Yala Swamp will earn income, either from employment at Dominion or those spinning from the support tree trickling down from Dominion.
In fact he was positive that many members of the community would have not changed from their current economic activities 100 years from now - several generations hence. This man is about 67 years old and he asserts that nothing has changed for the better since his childhood!
Well, I have not been able to visit the Yala Swamp. Judging from the two arguments, I have a feeling that somebody, somewhere, is letting the Yala community down.
What is your comment when one looks at the bigger picture in respect of Yala? I believe each international project has unique features and alternative approaches.
Africa: The Study of Africa Volume 1
The collection offers perhaps the most comprehensive analysis yet undertaken on how Africa has been studied in different disciplines (the major social science and humanities disciplines), interdisciplines (from gender studies, development studies, and art studies to religious studies, cultural studies, postcolonial studies, etc.), and in different world regions including Asia-Pacific (India, China, Japan and Australia), Europe (Britain, France, Germany, Sweden, and Russia), and the Americas (the United States, Brazil, and the Caribbean).
Review of Blogs by African Women
This week in the review of African blogs, I am going to focus solely on blogs by African women. The number of women blogging has quadrupled over the past year and each week more and more African women in the homeland and the Diaspora are blogging. The majority could be described as journals – postings on thoughts and daily experiences - but there are also a number of blogs that, for example, specifically deal with politics, social justice, sexuality and literature.
'Adaure' - Adaure *href="http://according2adaure.blogspot.com/2006/11/celebrating-nigerian-women-writers.html) guest posts on Bella Naija - Bella Naija (http://bellanaija.blogspot.com/2006/11/pen-ladies-by-adaure.html) in which she “celebrates Nigerian women writers” from Flora Nwapa through to today’s gifted writers such as Sefi Atta.
“Nigerian women have proven themselves to be great story tellers. You see and hear them in action every day. From the kitchen to the office and school, the market place to the river bank, the beer parlor-canteen to the hair and nail salon. They are telling all sorts of stories be it about love, money, sex, religion or tradition. It is no wonder there are more Nigerian women blogging, and that number keeps growing daily. We have even coined a distinctly Nigerian hobby called gisting, not to be confused with gossiping. While men have dominated the literary and publishing field, some women have certainly made their mark, both in the past and present. The 21 century has also seen a new wave of Nigerian women writers many of whom are young, possess a freshness that had been lacking and are fearless in the approach.”
This is an excellent post. The only disappointment is that Diane Evans who wrote 26a was not included and in that respect a particular comment stood out.
“Diane is half Nigerian so she might be worth adding to your list”. I take issue with the statement as I don’t see people as being half this or half that. Particularly offensive is the “she MIGHT BE WORTH adding to the list” – or maybe she might not! Who is to decide? I do not know Ms Evans but I do know she has visited Nigeria recently and has arranged with Nigerian publishers to have her book published locally. Her father is Nigerian so as far as I am concerned there is no problem about her being included in a list of Nigerian women writers. She is one.
'Kameelah Writes' Kameelah Writes (http://kameelahwrites.blogspot.com/2006/11/mugabe-and-ahmadinejad-oh-my-mugabes.html) comments on the emerging alliance between Robert Mugabe and his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Kameelah, although definitely no apologist for Mugabe, sees the economic sanctions on Zimbabwe by the West as influencing Mugabe’s search for alternative alliances such as China and now Iran.
“Mugabe’s land reform program (seizing white-owned farms for redistribution to new black farmers), matched with allegations of election fraud in 2000 & 2002 (which without being an apologist for Mugabe, America has no moral upper hand in critiquing) and political repression have earned Zimbabwe coveted membership in Condoleezza rice’s illustrious ‘outpost of the tyranny’ club.
Joining such stars as Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Belarus and Myanmar, Zimbabwe became officially ‘evil’ and has been subject to a the host of diplomatic pressures to surgically remove Mugabe from office. It seems as if this club has the ability to bring together kindred spirits as Zimbabwe and Iran are joining forces to challenge Western hegemony. During Mugabe’s four day visit to Iran this week, Iran and Zimbabwe signed five memoranda of understanding to boost agricultural, energy, development aid, economic, technical and education cooperation.”
The truth is that Mugabe has lost all credibility and whilst he looks to the East for economic and moral support whilst condemning the West, he is destroying the lives of his own people and his country.
'Kenyan blogger and poet Mshairi' - Mshairi - (http://www.mshairi.com/blog/2006/11/26/a-change-is-gonna-come/) pays tribute to her sister, Dr. Wanjiru Kihoro who passed away on October 12th after nearly 4 years in a coma.
“A distinguished economist, Dr. Wanjiru Kihoro graduated from Columbia University and went on to earn an MA in Development Studies and a PhD at Leeds University. Over the years she gained the respect and admiration of many for her dedication to matters of gender, equality, justice and democracy.
“A long time London resident, Dr. Kihoro was one of the founders of the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners in Kenya formed in 1982. The Committee fought to highlight the plight of university lecturers, students and other so-called “dissidents” incarcerated in various Kenyan maximum security prisons. Largely as a result of the Committee’s pressure, most of the prisoners were adopted by Amnesty International and other international human rights organisations as prisoners of conscience.”
'Rosemary Ekosso' - Rosemary Ekosso (http://www.ekosso.com/2006/11/dr_george_ayitt.html) points to an article by Dr George Ayittey on China (France) and Africa. Ayittey discusses what China wants in Africa and how Africans should view this new pragmatic "friendship".
"The real problem was the retinue of clueless African clods, who attended Chopsticks Conference at Beijing in October. ‘Clueless’ because that was no Berlin Conference for sure. No European powers were present; only one Asian power, China. And no Maxim gun was needed. But lying prostrate at China's feet were 40 African heads of state, offering themselves for voluntary economic enslavement. Disgusting.
“Elementary principles of demand and supply suggest that that was a buyer's market. When 40 desperate suppliers are competing for one buyer's attention, the buyer calls the shots. With chopsticks dexterity, China can pick platinum from Zimbabwe; oil from Angola, Nigeria and Sudan; cocoa from Ghana; diamonds from Sierra Leone; etc. – all on its own terms because of its strong bargaining position. Few radical intellectuals and African heads of state see nothing wrong with this huge imbalance because China is perceived to be a ‘friend of Africa’ since it is ‘anti-West.’
"'The enemy of my enemy is my friend' has been the seductive fallacy. Those who don't learn from history are bound to repeat it."
What a breath of fresh air to hear someone actually look both East and West in the face and speak the truth of their interest in Africa in the past, now and in the future.
'Nigerian blogger', Reflections 2 - Reflections 2 (http://bettyboopu.blogspot.com/2006/11/repost-made-in-nigeria.html) has a hilarious post commenting on the Nigerian government’s drive to improve exports. The blog renames a host of Nigeria’s favourite foods so we end up with these (just a selection and am sorry the names just don’t hold up for me):
“Kilishi - Beef Crackers; Roasted Corn - Corn Aflame; Ogi/Akamu - Corn Caramel; Garri - Grain O Fibers; Ikokore -Continental Yam Casserole; Kunnu - Grain Alive.”
'Freedom for Egyptians' - Freedom For Egyptians (http://freedomforegyptians.blogspot.com/2006/11/cairo-international-film-festival.html) comments on the Cairo International Film Festival where this year’s guests of honour are Latin American films.
“Believe it or not, Cairo Film Festival is hosting for the first time movies from Saudi Arabia and Oman. Yes, Saudi Arabia... It is the first movie production for Oman. And, the Saudi movie is starring Saudi actors and actresses and is written by Egyptian script writer Belal Fadel…Late Egyptian Writer Naguib Mahfouz will be honored in the 30th round for the festival. Mahfouz passed away this year at the age of 95.”
'Black Looks' - Black Looks (http://www.blacklooks.org/2006/11/1189.html) has expanded by inviting three African women to contribute to Black Looks as often as possible, a move she hopes will broaden the base of the blog. This week, she comments on the response from various African governments and media to the passing of the “Same Sex Marriage Bill” in South Africa earlier this month. A number of countries that had never previously discussed the issue of homosexuality in public are now doing so, such as Burkina Faso and Mozambique. The Kenyan Times came out publicly stating that:
“I am not sure that homosexuality has a European lineage otherwise the holy book would not have mentioned and discussed about it. I think it is very true and probably so that homosexuality is practiced (but not spoken openly about) in Africa by African peoples. I stand to be corrected to the contrary with empirical evidence.”
Other countries such as Nigeria and Uganda remain intransigent in their views, refusing even to discuss the matter as a human rights issue.
• Sokari Ekine produces the blog Black Looks, www.blacklooks.org
• Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment online at www.pambazuka.org
Africa: African rights treaties just coloured paper?
The Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR), Salimata Sawadogo, has used the ongoing 40th extra-ordinary session of the commission to grill African governments for their lack of commitment to human rights obligations.
Africa: Unite Behind Protection for Darfur
The African Union’s Peace and Security Council should unanimously support a robust international protection force with the capacity to protect civilians in Darfur and along the Sudan-Chad border, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to council members before they gather on Wednesday in the Nigerian capital Abuja to discuss Darfur.
Global:Open Letter to the AU
I am writing to you in advance of the meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) on 29 November in Nigeria, to urge the AUPSC to do the utmost to protect civilians in Darfur. As negotiations proceed along the possibility of establishing a “hybrid operation” of United Nations (UN) and AU peacekeepers in Darfur, Amnesty International urges member states to ensure that the effective protection and human rights of the civilian population are at the centre of any peacekeeping operation in Darfur.
OPEN LETTER TO THE CHAIR OF THE ASSEMBLY OF THE AFRICAN UNION REGARDING PEACE KEEPING IN DARFUR -
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL Ref.: TG AFR 22/2006.007
His Excellency Denis Sassou Nguesso
President of the Republic of Congo
Chairperson of the Assembly of the African Union B.P. 2006 Brazzaville Republic of Congo
22 November 2006
I am writing to you in advance of the meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) on 29 November in Nigeria, to urge the AUPSC to do the utmost to protect civilians in Darfur. As negotiations proceed along the possibility of establishing a “hybrid operation” of United Nations (UN) and AU peacekeepers in Darfur, Amnesty International urges member states to ensure that the effective protection and human rights of the civilian population are at the centre of any peacekeeping operation in Darfur. Until this time, it is most important to ensure that there is no peacekeeping gap when the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) mandate ends on 31 December and that the weaknesses that currently characterise AMIS are effectively addressed.
The Government of Sudan has consistently failed to protect civilians. Its forces, together with the Janjawid militia, are currently carrying out further abuses against civilians.
Over the past months, despite the presence of AMIS and the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement in May 2006, attacks on civilians by government forces and governmentsupported militias, as well as by armed groups opposed to the government of Sudan, have intensified; killings and rapes have increased; and tens of thousands of civilians have been recently displaced in the region.
The AMIS forces have not been able to halt major killings and displacement. The failures of AMIS stem from several factors. Firstly, there is inadequate funding, leading to unpaid salaries, and lack of vital equipment, such as means of transport and communication facilities. Secondly, obstacles posed by the government of Sudan to AMIS operations, including the need to obtain authorization from Khartoum for air-flights, which makes it almost impossible to respond speedily to any call for help, and the frequent harassment of AMIS personnel for ‘breaking’ a curfew which does not apply to them. Thirdly, the fact that AMIS personnel apparently interprets and applies its protection mandate narrowly, despite the new Concept of Operations (CONPS) mandate approved by the Military Staff Committee which prioritizes the protection of civilians and the prevention of human rights abuses.
Given the shortcomings of AMIS, Amnesty International has been supporting the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force to ensure protection as decided by the AUPSC. The UN is best equipped to carry out a long-term engagement with the mandate, resources, logistical support and personnel to protect the population and eventually support and protect displaced and refugees to return voluntarily and in safety.
For a hybrid UN/AU force to guarantee effective protection of civilians it must remedy the difficulties which have weakened AMIS. An effective peacekeeping force
2 requires sufficient human and material resources and a strong mandate to protect civilians by all necessary means in accordance with international humanitarian and human rights law. In
addition, the Sudanese government must be fully committed to the implementation of the mandate of the peacekeeping mission. Furthermore, accountability needs to be ensured through clearly defined and transparent command and control structures.
Knowing the AUPSC’s expressed commitment to the protection of the people of Darfur, I look forward to further strong and decisive measures taken by the AUPSC to ensure the protection of civilians in the region.
Africa: Fight Violence Against Women
Twenty-two African countries have recommitted themselves to ending violence against women and children as part of a United Nations-backed 16-day-long campaign against the scourge. Some 170 participants at a colloquium in Benoni, South Africa, pledged to take up the challenge issued by UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Country Representative Macharia Kamau "to work together to build partnerships, establish a common vision and take common action" to end violence against women and children in their respective countries.
Nigeria: Nigerian prostitute returns broke
Gloria left Nigeria hoping to make enough money in Europe to lift her family out of poverty. Three years later, she came home a penniless ex-prostitute. The nightmare began when a family friend offered to help her get from Benin City to Italy.
Nigeria: Rape by Nigerian forces 'endemic'
Amnesty International, the human rights group, has accused Nigerian police and soldiers of raping women and committing acts of sexual violence with near impunity. In a scathing report on Nigeria issued on Tuesday (28 November 2006), it also criticised the Nigerian government for failing to bring the attackers to justice.
Zambia: More than 10 girls raped every week
Zambian nongovernmental organisation (NGO) revealed this week that it records eight cases of rape of young girls every week at its centre in the capital, Lusaka. The statistics were released by the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) of Zambia to mark the start of the global campaign, '16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence', which runs from 25 November - International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - until International Human Rights Day on 10 December.
Zimbabwe: Filmmaker Takes First Prize in Film Festival
Zimbabwean filmmaker Tawanda Gunda-Mupengo took home the $1,000 first prize in the continent’s largest Pan African Film Festival devoted to Gender Based Violence (GBV). The film, 'Spell My Name', is the moving story of a young teacher who uncovers the sexual abuse of one of her students by the school’s headmaster.
Africa: Ethiopia and Eritrea border warning
A UN-appointed panel has told Eritrea and Ethiopia to resolve a six-year border dispute within a year or accept a boundary map drawn up by other parties. The two countries have already rejected plans by the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission to demarcate their frontier on paper.
Africa: Judge allows Madonna adoption challenge
A judge in Malawi on Wednesday (29 November 2006) allowed a coalition of human rights groups to proceed with a legal challenge to United States pop star Madonna's adoption of an African baby boy. Judge Andrew Nyirenda ruled that the coalition of 67 rights groups could be regarded as "friends of the court".
Chad: Chadian Government Should Mediate
Several hundred people were killed and at least 10,000 displaced in recent militia attacks on approximately 60 Chadian villages, primarily in and around Kerfi, Koloy and Bandikao, in October and November. Many of the attacks were carried out by Chadian Arab militia against non-Arab communities.
Côte d’Ivoire: Gbagbo makes show of power
Armed troops were out in force on the streets of Cote d’Ivoire’s largest city, Abidjan, on Tuesday (28 November 2006) as already tense relations between President Laurent Gbagbo and Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny deteriorated. Since Sunday (26 November 2006), Gbagbo has signed eight decrees and reinstated three senior civil servants suspended by Banny last month for their part in the dumping of toxic waste around Abidjan in September.
Mauritius: Foreign Workers Demand Rights
Fifteen years after they first came to Mauritius, "guest workers" from China, India and Bangladesh still face resistance to their efforts to improve the difficult conditions they live and work under. Some 30,000 foreign workers, more than half of them women, are working in Mauritius.
Rwanda: Rwanda cuts ties with France
Rwanda has cut diplomatic ties with France and given France's ambassador to Rwanda 24 hours to leave the country. On Thursday (23 November 2006), thousands of Rwandans had held protests after a French judge said that Paul Kagame, the country's president, should stand trial for a 1994 plane crash which killed the country's then leader.
Sudan: Darfur war crimes charges prepared
Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor, has said that the ICC has identified "those who could be considered to be the most criminally responsible" for crimes in Darfur. Thousands of people have been killed and about 2.5 million forced from their homes in three years of conflict in Darfur.
Zimbabwe: More than 60 activists held
More than 60 protesting Zimbabweans, some carrying babies, were arrested and at least another 40 were allegedly assaulted by the police in the country's second city, Bulawayo, on Wednesday (29 November 2006). "The level of police brutality was shocking," said Annie Sibanda, of the activist organisation Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), which had organised a peaceful march to mark the launch of a 'People's Charter', a declaration on political and economic rights, and the '16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence', an international campaign running until International Human Rights Day on 10 December.
Africa: Trans-Saharan migration to North Africa and the EU
Southern Europe is all-too familiar with irregular migration from North African countries such as Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. But, as the migration crises in Morocco's Spanish enclaves in 2005 and Spain's Canary Islands in 2006 made clear, sub-Saharan Africans are increasingly migrating to North African countries, with some using the region as a point of transit to Europe and some remaining in North Africa.
Botswana: Caprivians reluctant to return home
Eight years after a failed secessionist bid in the Caprivi Strip of northern Namibia, many refugees who fled the short-lived conflict are still in the Dukwi refugee camp in Botswana, fearing poverty and persecution if they return to their homeland. About 3,000 Namibians fled into Botswana during skirmishes between the separatist Caprivi Liberation Army (CLA) and the national army in late 1999.
Chad: Darfur survivors face uncertain future in Chad
Over the past 10 days, UNHCR has moved more than 670 of these refugees away from the border to the Kounoungou camp, located about 65 kilometres inland and currently home to some 13,000 refugees from Darfur. But while they are probably safer in Kounoungou, one of a dozen camps for Sudanese refugees in eastern Chad, the security situation is volatile and could impact on what humanitarian agencies can do in the east, where UNHCR is helping some 215,000 refugees and some 90,000 displaced Chadians.
Global: Clamp down on teenage asylum seekers
A clampdown on lone children who come to Britain seeking asylum is being drawn up by the Home Office, which will argue that a large proportion are economic migrants seeking a better life. The move has alarmed refugee groups, who say the thousands of unaccompanied teenagers arriving in the UK every year should be treated as children first and suspects second.
Africa: Opposition gains in Mauritania elections
Provisional results from historic legislative and municipal elections in Mauritania indicated on Thursday (23 November 2006) that opposition parties that had defied the country's previous military regime had made a strong showing. The Rally of Democratic Forces (RDF), which struggled against former military ruler Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed Taya, won 12 of 43 National Assembly seats in the 19 November polls.
DRC: Bemba Ready to Lead Opposition
The loser in Congo's presidential election, Jean-Pierre Bemba, said on Tuesday (28 November 2006) that while he disagreed with the Supreme Court's endorsement of rival Joseph Kabila as winner, he would lead the opposition. "In the greater national interest and to preserve peace and to save the country from chaos and violence, today I, before God, the nation and history, in permanent communion with you all, vow to lead this fight for change within the framework of a strong opposition," he said on his radio and television stations.
DRC: UN mission pledges support for Kabila
The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has pledged its support for President Joseph Kabila after his confirmation by the Supreme Court as winner of the recent elections aimed at consolidating the vast country’s democratic transition from years of civil war and factional fighting.
Nigeria: Nigerian VP set for presidential elections
Nigerians are waiting to know which political platform the country's Vice President, Atiku Abubakar will be contesting for the country's Presidential elections scheduled for 21 April 2007. Atiku has already revealed that he is set to announce his candidacy on Saturday (25 November 2006) but he is yet to disclose under which party's platform, as he was sacked from the ruling party last month.
Senegal: President tightens election strategy
With only three months before the Presidential and legislative elections in Senegal, 80-year-old President Abdoulaye Wade is implementing strategies geared towards re-election to power. One such move is to incorporate four opposition members into his cabinet line-up. President Wade, who had earlier reshuffled his cabinet after some ministers decided to declare their candidacy to run for President, named the new cabinet on Thursday (23 November 2006).
Uganda: LRA withdraws from peace talks
Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) on Wednesday (29 November 2006) suspended participation in peace talks with the government to end a brutal two-decade conflict, claiming the army had killed three rebel fighters. Rebel spokesperson Obonyo Olweny said they withdrew from the peace process after the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) attacked a rebel unit headed to one of two neutral camps in southern Sudan in line with the truce.
DRC-Guinea: Corruption is focus of case at World Court
Corruption in the oil trade is the focus of hearings beginning Monday at the International Court of Justice in a dispute between two African nations. The case between Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo, raising allegations of massive bribery versus the exploitation of a nation's wealth, will help define the liability of a successor government for the corrupt practices of its ousted predecessor.
Kenya: New Law to Tame Oil Companies
Legislation to ensure that oil exploration companies do not shortchange Kenyans is on the way, the ministry of Energy announced yesterday (27 November 2006). It seeks to, among other things, fix the percentage such companies should remit to the Government for the oil found and sold, said the ministry's chief geologist and director of geo-exploration, Mr Don Riaroh.
South Africa: Police chief, under suspicion of corruption
South Africa's national police commissioner, Jackie Selebi, is under investigation after it was revealed that he maintained a close friendship with an organised crime boss recently arrested over the murder of a corrupt mining magnate. The revelation follows a damning series of accusations against the commissioner, who is also president of Interpol.
Uganda: Govt Adopts Global Fund Report
On November 22 Cabinet met in Kampala to discuss the White Paper on the findings and recommendations of the Ogoola Commission of Inquiry into allegations of mismanagement of the Global Fund to fight Aids, tuberculosis and malaria in Uganda. Cabinet adopted the paper and assigned roles to various sub committees for further investigations.
Africa: Countries Should Diversify Exports to Meet MDGs
The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has advised African countries to diversify their exports in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). "The ability of African countries to make significant progress towards achieving the MDGs, especially with regard to eradicating extreme poverty and hunger by 2015, largely depends on the extent to which African economies are able to diversify their exports and integrate into appropriate marketing and global production networks," said Stefano Bologna, Head of the UNIDO Southern African Regional Office.
Angola: Government Defends South-South Co-Operation Strengthening
The reinforcement of South-South co-operation ties, based on their diversification is part of the Angolan Government's plans to be presented during the Africa-South America Summit in Abuja, Nigeria, from November 30 to December 01. This information was revealed this Wednesday (29 November 2006) to the press at Luanda's "4 de Fevereiro" International Airport by the Prime Minister's Assistant Minister, Aguinaldo Jaime, who will represent the Angolan Head of State, José Eduardo dos Santos, in this forum.
Botswana: Chinese Projects Create Over 2000 Jobs
The government has spent about P451 million in six construction projects supported by the Chinese government in the last three financial years creating 2,171 jobs for locals.The projects employed 143 expatriates, Finance Minister, Baledzi Gaolathe told Parliament. He said the projects included the construction of 104 BHC houses in Gaborone awarded to Complant Botswana in 2001.
West Africa: Ghana to Benefit From Gas Pipeline
The Executive Secretary of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas has disclosed that work on the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP), is at the completion point and would start discharging natural gas from Nigeria's Niger Delta as an alternative source of fuel to Togo, Benin and Ghana by the first quarter of 2007.
Africa: Drug-resistant typhoid
Scientists say a drug-resistant strain of the bacterium that causes typhoid fever may be heading from Asia for Africa, suggesting the need for a shake-up in ways of combating the lethal disease. The research, published in the journal Science today (24 November), examined the genetic diversity of over 100 strains of the bacterium Salmonella enterica Typhi, revealing its evolutionary history.
Africa: Healthcare Improvements in Africa
The World Health Organization (WHO) has this week released a groundbreaking report highlighting the health problems affecting Africa, and says that without a serious improvement in the healthcare system, African societies will not advance. "African countries will not develop economically and socially without substantial improvements in the health of their people," the report says.
Africa: People Not Getting Treatment
AIDS treatment in the developing world will not be sustainable unless international institutions get serious about the high cost of newer medicines, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned today (29 November 2006).
Global: For Good Health, Think eHealth
The 11th conference of the International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth (ISfTeH) kicked off Monday (27 November 2006) at the International Convention Centre in Cape Town, South Africa, where delegates from around the globe gathered to discuss the benefits and challenges that eHealth (electronic health) offers to both the developed and developing world.
Global: World AIDS Day 2006
Twenty-five years after AIDS was first identified, programs to fight the disease continue to be undermined by conservative ideologies and moralistic approaches, Human Rights Watch said ahead of World AIDS Day. “The most effective approaches for preventing HIV/AIDS are not being used,” said Joe Amon, director of the HIV/AIDS program at Human Rights Watch.
Guinea: Malnutrition cases double in children’s hospital
Children are sometimes being packed in two to a bed in the dark, airless wards of Conakry’s only children’s hospital as the facility copes with double the number of starving children now than three years ago. There were 623 malnourished children admitted to the Donka Hospital Institute of Nutrition and Child Health between January and the end of September, the last time the quarterly records were compiled.
South Africa: Aids-cure claim
The South African Council of Churches (SACC) is "deeply disturbed" by a traditional healer's claim that 500 HIV-positive people have been cured with African herbs, the SACC said on Wednesday (29 November 2006). "Herbs may play an important role in treating opportunistic infections, but to make claims of curing Aids without hard scientific evidence is irresponsible, misleading and mischievous," said SACC general secretary Eddie Makue.
Africa: Global Computer Grid Links african Scientists
Universities in five African countries are set to gain from a new computer grid. African scientists will be able to connect up with fellow researchers who have moved overseas through a 'grid computing' project. Launched by UNESCO this week (20 November) and co-sponsored by the information technology company Hewlett-Packard (HP), the initiative aims to tackle the brain drain that plagues Africa's scientific sector.
Africa: Life & Art - Youth Empowerment
"To endow African youth with material resources, skills, and international synergies which would enable them contribute maximally to the democratic, gender equal, peaceful and rights based development of Africa," is the vision statement of the Fifth African Development Forum (ADFV), which is drawing to a close its three-day meeting in Addis at the United Nations Conference Center under the theme "Youth and leadership in the 21st century."
Ghana: New Students' Loan Scheme
The Students Loan Trust Fund, which is expected to replace the SSNIT loan scheme, would begin its operations in the next academic year. According to the trustees, the fund intends to issue loans amounting to ¢875.6 billion to students within the next three years. It will be financed through the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund).
Nigeria: Unity Schools Strike suspended
The Federal Government and the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JPSNC) yesterday, reached an agreement to suspend the over one month old strike in the 102 Unity Schools with immediate effect and the teachers asked to return to their duty post.
Africa: Continent's Leaking Roof
Mount Kilimanjaro, known as "The roof of Africa," faces the threat of losing its beautiful icecap unless efforts are made to reverse environmental degradation and global warming. Environmentalists say Africa could lose the ice cover and glaciers on mountain peaks between 2018 and 2020 unless global campaigns to save the mountain's ecology are mounted.
Africa: The Need for Green Revolution in Africa
The letter by Jeffrey Sachs, Mmegi Nov.1, "The environment fights back" contains several problems that most of the world is concerned about. When Prof. Sachs was to give a talk at the Royal Swedish Agriculture Academy in Stockholm at the end of January this year I sent him an email informing him that we are aware of "The need for a Green Revolution in Africa", as his title was in Stockholm.
DRC: Goma Safe After Volcanic Eruption
Vulcanologist Celestin Kasereka Mahhinda said on Tuesday (28 November 2006) there was no immediate danger to the eastern Congolese city of Goma after the eruption of Mount Nyamulagira in the Democratic Republic of Congo. "There was no loss of life and no immediate threat to Goma because Nyamulagira lies 32 km to the north and has Mount Nyirangongo acting as a barrier against lava reaching the city," Kasereka, who is director of the Goma Volcano Observatory, said.
Global: FAO-Run Project
It is the world's most sought-after seafood commodity: some 3.5 million tons of the many-legged delicacy are pulled from the ocean's waters each year, with another 2.4 million tons raised on aquatic farms. The popular seafood is a gold mine for poor countries feeding avid consumers in northern markets.
Tanzania: Rethinking land policy
For many years there have been complaints that the land sector was an impediment to private sector investment and efficiency. Ten years ago in 1996, a report titled The Investors’ Road Map of Tanzania, outlined the many problems that a would-be investor faced, and access to land was cited as a critical one.
Uganda: Illegal land allocation
The biggest land grab in Uganda’s recent history has been going on in and around Kampala for the past two years. Government leaders have been allocating land on which state-owned schools, dilapidated public buildings, parks, and even churches, are sited, to developers in fishy midnight deals.
Africa: CNN Multichoice Africa Journalist Awards
Here is a man who thought of putting African journalists on the global map by awarding them for exemplary performance. Mr Edward Boateng talked to Lillian Aluanga on his mission to appreciate the efforts made by African journalists to tell Africa's stories. It is one of Africa's most sought after journalism awards.
Burundi: Journalists Summoned in Case of Alleged Coup Plot
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today (28 November 2006) condemned the jailing and harassment of journalists by the Burundi government in an apparent reaction to broadcasts that suggested a failed coup attempt was actually staged by the government.
Chad: state of emergency extended
Reporters Without Borders has voiced dismay over the decision by the Chadian National Assembly to extend a 10-day-old state of emergency for six months, thereby maintaining prior censorship of the print media and permanent monitoring of independent radio stations.
Malawi: MISA vs State House Press Officer
The National Media Institute of Southern Africa (Namisa) - also known as MISA Malawi - petitioned Malawi's President Bingu wa Mutharika on the conduct of the State House Press Officer, Chikumbutso Mtumodzi. The petition is in response to a letter that Mtumodzi wrote to Blantyre Newspapers Limited (BNL) on November 13, 2006, barring its reporter Maxwell Ng'ambi from interviewing the President or attending any State function because, according to Mtumodzi, he is a convict.
Somalia: Journalist Held By Pro-Government Militias
Reporters Without Borders has condemned the arrest and mistreatment of Abdullahi Yasin Jama of privately-owned Radio Warsan by militiamen loyal to the federal transition government in the western city of Baidoa. They held him for three days and abused him physically after luring him to the presidential palace on 24 November 2006 with an invitation to a fake news conference.
Swaziland: Newspaper sued again
The "Times of Swaziland" newspaper has been sued for E75,000 (approx. US$10,000) by a man accused of recently bombing government structures and who is facing high treason charges at the High Court of Swaziland. Vusi Shongwe states in court papers that on February 8, 2006, the "Times" published his picture on the front page next to a headline saying "Bomber" in bold typeface.
Global: Police Brutality
Early Saturday morning, five New York police officers fired 50 shots at a car carrying Sean Bell, who had just left his bachelors party on the eve of his wedding with two friends. On Monday Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the shooting of the unarmed men was "unacceptable" and "inexplicable."
CAR: Army recaptures Birao
Government troops backed by the French army have retaken the northern town of Birao a month after it was captured by forces of the Union des forces démocratiques pour le rassemblement (UFDR), presidential press director Lord Esaie Nganamokoi said on Tuesday (28 November 2006).
Chad: Fighting reported in eastern Chad
Rebels fighting Chadian government troops say they have entered the city of Abeche, as fighting continues. A government official also confirmed that the rebels had entered Abeche, 700km east of the capital N'Djamena.
Darfur: Janjawid re-arming
Minni Arcua Minnawi, the leader of the only rebel group in Sudan's Darfur province to sign a peace deal with the government, has accused Khartoum of violating the truce. He said on Monday (27 November 2006) that Sudan's government was re-arming the Janjawid, an Arab militia accused of killing over 200,000 civilians in Sudan's western province of Darfur.
DRC: Civilians flee fighting in Congo
Fighters loyal to a dissident general have attacked army positions in the east, killing two soldiers and sending thousands of people fleeing into the bush, UN officials say. Saturday's (25 November 2006) attack came amid tensions in the capital where supporters of a former rebel chief are protesting against Joseph Kabila's victory in October's presidential runoff.
Global: Gender and Armed Conflict
This study tries to challenge the stereotypes of men, women, boys and girls in times of war. The first part brings up the questions of "men" and "women", in a perspective of both victims and perpertrators in the different phases of violent conflict. The second part exemplifies development efforts in the area of gender and armed conflict.
Somalia: Conflict Risk Alert
The draft resolution the U.S. intends to present to the UN Security Council on 29 November could trigger all-out war in Somalia and destabilise the entire Horn of Africa region by escalating the proxy conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea to dangerous new levels.
Sudan: Atrocities daily in Darfur
Atrocities are occurring daily in Sudan's Darfur region and rape and pillage directed against civilians are at "a horrific level," United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said on Wednesday (29 November 2006).
Africa: Africans Told to Revive Science Culture
Africa has been relegated to the background in the world affairs largely because of her low level of industrial and technological development, the Director General of African International Foundation for Science and Technology, Dr Yakubu Haruna Ugwolawo has said.
Africa: For Good Health, Think Ehealth
The 11th conference of the International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth (ISfTeH) kicked off Monday (27 November 2006) at the International Convention Centre in Cape Town, South Africa, where delegates from around the globe gathered to discuss the benefits and challenges that eHealth (electronic health) offers to both the developed and developing world.
Africa: It's not all good news
Thanks to the mobile phone, telecommunications is the leading area of infrastructure in Africa, but the mobile's success has caused other problems. Between 2000 and 2005, the number of mobile phone lines in Africa rose from 15.6 to 135 million, according to the Geneva-based International Telecommunication Union.
Global: Here comes Microsoft's Vista
Microsoft will announce availability of business versions of its long-awaited Vista operating system on Thursday (30 November 2006), according to analysts invited to a release event in New York City. The final version of Microsoft's Office 2007 business applications software is to be available along with Vista.
Africa: Spotlight on R&D in sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa must improve its scientific and technological capacity if it is to boost social and economic development. According to UNESCO, there is less than one scientist or engineer for every ten thousand people in Africa — compared with two to five per thousand in Europe and the United States. But experts disagree on how to improve this capacity.
Global: ABA Human Rights Committee weekly newsletter
Global: Directory of Grants and Fellowships
Since 1988, the Fogarty International Center, part of the National Institutes of Health, has published the Directory of International Grants and Fellowships in the Health Sciences. This current volume (NIH Publication 06-3027, February 2006), a comprehensive compilation of international funding opportunities in biomedical and behavioral research prepared by Ms. Hannah Leslie, should serve the individual or institution who seeks financial support.
Global: Ideas Changing History
The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else.’ (Keynes) As the famous quote by Keynes reflects, breakthrough ideas in economics and political philosophy can change history, but what are the processes that shape their spread?
Global: MA Science, Society and Development
What will future health and agricultural systems look like? Who will benefit from genetically modified crops or new vaccines? With climate change, will there be enough water for people to survive the 21st century? What are the implications of global pandemics of HIV/AIDS or bird flu? What does a global knowledge economy and society mean?
Global: New Investigators in Global Health
The NIGH program is a competitive abstract submission and selection program designed to highlight exemplary research, policy and advocacy initiatives of new and future leaders in global health, and empower participants with global health advocacy skills.
Global: Oxford Nigeria Scholarship in African Studies
The African Studies Centre, University of Oxford, is offering an Oxford Nigeria Scholarship in African Studies for the academic year 2006-7. This scholarship is sponsored by Oxford and Cambridge society of Nigeria. The award is available only for study on the MSc in African Studies, and is open to citizens of Nigeria.
Kenya: Litfest with Summer Literary Seminars
Interactive Workshops Saturday 23rd - Thursday 28th December Lamu, Kenya.
Litfest with Summer Literary Seminars(SLS) - Kenya Training Seminars Friday 15th - Wednesday 20th December Nairobi, Kenya Limited Spaces are available for the following five-day training sessions:
* Advanced Fiction
* Beginners' Fiction
* Written Poetry
* Performance Poetry
* Non-fiction Fees KSh 5,000 (includes training, materials, lunch and two teas daily for the five days)
Very limited spaces are available for:
Interactive Workshops Saturday 23rd - Thursday 28th December Lamu, Kenya This is a separate independent section - you can attend either Nairobi or Lamu or both. However, your attendance is subject to approval of manuscripts.
Information on transport, accommodation and subsistence packages will be communicated. Those costs are all to be met fully by the participants.
For more information on registration please get in touch with us at the following address:
email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> Kwani Trust Suite 1S, 1st Floor Madonna House Westlands Road off Mpaka Road
P. O. Box 2895 Nairobi 00100 KENYA
TEL: +254 20 4451383 FAX: +254 20 4450490 CELL: +254 723 657835
kwani? is on sale in all leading bookshops.
Join the kwani? (e)mailing list by sending an email with the subject "Subscribe" to email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>.
kwani? Open Mic is held every first Tuesday of the month. Send your poems to email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> for consideration.
Africa: We’re feminists and proud of it
The World Social Forum will be here in January next year. Kenya has no idea what is about to hit it — thousands upon thousands of activists from different social movements all around the world. This is a good time to reflect on the nature of contemporary social movements in Africa. We live in the age of externally funded non-governmental organisations.
Global: WSF 2007 Newsletter No. 2
The WSF 2007 Secretariat proudly presents the second edition of the WSF 2007 Newsletter - now ready for download. The Secretariat of the Organising Committee of the World Social Forum 2007 is very happy to share with you the second edition of our Newsletter from Nairobi.
Africa: Internship Programme For Young Women
EASSI is specifically seeking for four young women aged 20 - 30 years from Burundi, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda to join the 2007 Internship Programme. The Internship Programme is an innovative and exciting Programme for young women from the Eastern Africa Sub-region held every year from April to December.
Africa: Programme Director - Education for Social Justice
Fahamu, Networks for Social Justice, is seeking a dynamic, entrepreneurial and socially committed educator to join us as Programme Director of Fahamu’s Education for Social Justice programme. Based in Nairobi, you will have national, continental and international responsibilities for developing, managing and expanding distance-learning and other capacity building initiatives
Global: Debt Policy and Advocacy Officer
The European Network on Debt and Development (EURODAD) is looking for a full-time Policy and Advocacy Officer on debt issues to join its team in Brussels. Working with one other staff member they will be responsible for monitoring developments, briefing network members and other stakeholders, and both facilitating and conducting advocacy to further Eurodad’s objectives to reform the international financial architecture, challenge and overturn illegitimate debts and track and influence a range of debt cancellation initiatives.
Sierra Leone: Program Coordinator
The International Rescue Committee currently seeks a Program Coordinator for its Sierra Leone program, based in Freetown with frequent travel to the field, Freetown including the Kenema, Kailahun and Kono field sites.
Zimbabwe: Medical Coordinator
Zimbabwe is particularly affected by the AIDS problem: out of a total of 12 million people, NGO’s estimate that 33.7% are infected with the AIDS virus, approximately 4 million people. The overall objective of the project is to keep people living with HIV alive and to decrease the vulnerability of children and youth affected by HIV and AIDS through VCT, PMTCT activities and HAART treatments.
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