Pambazuka News 269: Ivory Coast: Dynamics of mediation

New buildings sprout like mushrooms across Kigali's skyline but this splash of modernity in a once rundown capital city belies a grimmer reality: thousands of poor have been pushed out to make way for these structures and still await resettlement.

The forest people of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), marginalised at the best of times, were easy targets for the marauding soldiers and militiamen that reduced the eastern provinces to one of the world's bloodiest war zones. Rape was a weapon of war in the decade-long conflict, with the local civilian population the overwhelming victims of the fighting and chaos that sucked in combatants from throughout the region.

Recent Zambian research into the antiretroviral (ARV) drug, nevirapine, has found that it does not compromise the long-term health of women, contradicting earlier studies conducted in Uganda. Nevirapine is widely used in Africa to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission. A single dose of nevirapine is given to the mother before birth and to her baby after birth.

For the first time in 50 years, Ethiopian authorities have granted amnesty to hundreds of convicted prisoners and commuted the sentences of several others. A total of 237 prisoners were freed and 26, including 11 death-row convicts, had their sentences reduced, the official news agency reported on Tuesday (September 12).

As the foul, eggy smell from toxic waste dumped last month in Cote d’Ivoire’s main city dissipates, thousands of people are still falling sick, and the United Nations has warned the pollution could seep into the food chain.