Weekly anb06286.txt #7

WEEKLY NEWS ISSUE of: 28-06-2001      PART #6/7

* Somalie. Leaders à Addis-Abeba - Les principaux leaders de factions somaliennes opposés au Gouvernement national de transition (GNT), se trouvent actuellement à Addis-Abeba pour une série de réunions avec les autorités éthiopiennes concernant le processus de paix dans leur pays. La visite de ce groupe intervient une semaine après que les autorités éthiopiennes ont annoncé qu'elles avaient convaincu une délégation de haut niveau du GNT de convoquer une autre conférence de réconciliation nationale sans conditions préalables. Mais les leaders des factions exigent que le président Salat Hassen renonce d'abord au GNT avant qu'ils puissent accepter des négociations directes. (PANA, Sénégal, 26 juin 2001)

* Somalia. Police patrol Mogadishu streets - On 27 June, Mogadishu residents woke up to the sight of hundreds of armed, uniformed policemen patrolling their war-ravaged city's streets for the first time in more than 10 years. In the first major police operation since President Barre was ousted in january 1991, more than 2,000 police officers and 45 pickup trucks fitted with anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns began taking charge of key strategic junctions in the capital. However, security remains a major problem in the capital, pockets of which are controlled by faction leaders who oppose President Abdiqassim Salad Hassan. (CNN, USA, 27 June 2001)

* South Africa. Mines offer AIDS help - The South African mining industry has plans to make special payments to miners suffering from HIV/AIDS, on condition they take voluntary retirement. Rick Menell, the president of the chamber of mines, said mining companies had plans to launch a two-year pension as part of a voluntary ill-health retirement package for workers suffering from AIDS within the next two months. Companies and employees would contribute to an AIDS fund that would cover the last months of sufferers' lives and a death benefit payment. "We would create a financial pool between employees and employers that could offer additional benefits to people that were previously not available. It has been under negotiation with stakeholders over the last couple of months," said Mr Menell. South Africa has one of the highest infection rates of HIV/AIDS with 11.8 per cent of its 40m population infected. Within industry, mining is one of the worst hit sectors with an estimated 30 per cent of its 500,000 miners infected. Some 73 per cent of miners live in single-sex hostels and 25 per cent of them come from neighbouring countries. Mining companies, as part of a broader private sector initiative, are also considering the supply of generic anti-retroviral drugs to employees. Research by Anglo American and Old Mutual, the country's largest financial services company, has shown that treatment of employees with anti-retrovirals can be cheaper than the costs incurred by leaving them untreated. (Financial Times, UK, 23 June 2001)

* South Africa. Spurned Winnie rounds on Mbeki - The growing rancour between Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and President Thabo Mbeki has been brought into the open by the disgraced but still popular "mother of the nation" accusing his government of lacking democracy, betraying the ideals of the liberation movement and neglecting the poor. The verbal assault follows Mr Mbeki's humiliation of Nelson Mandela's former wife a week ago when he pushed her away as she tried to kiss and hug him at a rally to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Soweto uprising. After the incident, the African National Congress accused her of "tomfoolery" and the president said she showed "disrespect" for the nature of the commemoration. At the weekend she responded with an attack on his government's record. (The Guardian, UK, 25 June 2001)

* South Africa. Bush meets with Mbeki
26 June: Aiming for a stronger relationship with South Africa, US President George W. Bush says at the start of his two-day meeting with South African leader Thabo Mbeki in Washington that trade and bilateral ties would be on the agenda. Mbeki meets with Bush at the White House's Oval Office and later the two leaders continue their talks over lunch in the private residence. When asked if the AIDS pandemic will figure in his talks with Mbeki, Bush said "it's an incredibly important part of our dialogue." It is the first time that Mbeki had met with Bush since the US leader took office. The two met in Texas in May, 2000, while Bush was the state's governor. Mbeki has upset UN officials by not speaking in New York this week at a special session of the General Assembly on the topic of AIDS, although South Africa has a delegation at the conference. (CNN, USA, 27 June 2001)

* Swaziland. Liberté d'expression muselée - Le roi Mswati III a définitivement muselé l'opposition politique et la presse indépendante par un décret extraordinaire. Le souverain s'est en effet accordé le droit d'interdire sans délai et sans condition toute publication contraire à son gré. Par ailleurs, quiconque critiquera son activité ou fera de la satire à son insu pourra être incarcéré et contraint de payer une lourde amende. Le décret prévoit enfin l'abolition de toute garantie légale aux personnes accusées de délits de vol ou de viol, voire même de manifestation non autorisée. L'initiative de Mswati III a outrepassé la magistrature, qui a récemment établi que l'absence de garanties aux personnes accusées de certains types de crimes était inconstitutionnelle. Des sources de l'opposition, réunies au sein du "Swaziland Solidarity Network", ont commenté que ce geste renforçait "le règne de la terreur politique institutionalisée dans un pays soumis à une autorité tyrannique". (Misna, Italie, 26 juin 2001)

* Sudan. Bombing raid on Raga - Six people were killed and several others injured when a government bomber hit the southern Sudanese town of Raga on 24 June. Speaking on the (satellite) telephone from Tonj (about 1,000 km south of Khartoum) on the morning of 27 June, Bishop Caesar Mazzalori of the Catholic Diocese of Rumbek, said the six included a mother and her baby whom she was holding at the time of the incident. The mother also lost her elder son in the some tragedy. The Bishop who made a quick visit to Raga on 26 June said: "This is really diabolical considering that so far the government has continued to deny humanitarian agencies access to Raga". He said that the 24 June air strike took place in the afternoon and involved between seven and nine bombs, which were dropped along a straight line on a strictly civilian section of the town. Earlier, the bomber aircraft had hovered over the town without dropping any bombs. It is suspected to have been trying to identify its intended target. (Sudan Catholic Information Office, 27 June 2001)

* Tchad. Financement pétrolier contesté - La Banque européenne d'investissement (BEI) a annoncé le 22 juin un prêt de 144 millions d'euros pour la construction d'un oléoduc entre le Tchad et le Cameroun. Ce crédit s'ajoute à celui de 700 millions d'euros annoncé le 15 juin par un groupe bancaire comprenant le Crédit agricole indosuez. Ces prêts ont été enclenchés par le feu vert donné en juin 2000 par la Banque mondiale qui avait accordé aux gouvernements du Tchad et du Cameroun 100 millions d'euros pour leur permettre de participer au consortium réalisant le projet pétrolier de la région de Doba. Les décisions des institutions financières interviennent alors que de nombreuses ONG dénoncent l'appui au gouvernement tchadien; en effet, les atteintes aux droits de l'homme se multiplient au Tchad depuis les élections du 20 mai favorables au président Déby, marquées par une fraude massive. (Le Monde, France, 23 juin 2001)

* Togo/West Africa. "Refugee" ship flounders off Togo - 22 June: A Swedish-registered ship carrying more than 150 Liberians is reported to be in trouble off the West African coast. Its propeller is believed to have been fouled by fishing nets and the ship is running out of fuel and water. "The situation is desperate," said Eva Furberg, wife of the ship's captain, Henning Kielberg. "It has got a net in its propellers. It doesn't have any more fuel and there is no more food or water aboard. People's lives are in danger." Togolese port authorities told the BBC that it had sent divers out to the ship to help disentangle the nets. According to the authorities the captain did not ask for help with fuel, water or food. The ship, the Alnar Stockholm, left the Liberian capital of Monrovia on 1 June. Its passengers were due to enter Ghana but were refused. The ship was last seen on 18 June off the coast of Benin, where officials also denied it permission to dock. Shipping officials say the ship's plight is partly a result of a recent criticism of West African countries over labour-trafficking. In April a Nigerian registered ship, the Etireno, triggered international concern when it was reported to be carrying child slaves, although these were not found. 24 June: The Liberians are now hoping to disembark in Lagos on 25 June. President Olusegun Obasanjo had ordered last week that the ship be permitted to dock in Nigerian waters. But Lagos port officials said that they were waiting to "receive a clear instruction from the federal government on 25 June." 25 June: The ship is now expected to dock in Lagos tomorrow. 26 June: The vessel docks in Lagos after nearly a month drifting off the West African coast. (ANB-BIA, Brussels, 27 June 2001)

* Tunisie. Ligue des droits de l'homme - Le 21 juin, la cour d'appel de Tunis a rendu public son verdict sur l'affaire qui oppose le comité directeur de la Ligue tunisienne de défense des droits de l'homme (LTDH) à quatre de ses membres. Confirmant un jugement en première instance du 12 février, le juge a décidé l'annulation du 5e congrès de la LTDH, des décisions et des comités qui en sont issus. Mais la mission de l'administrateur judiciaire imposé est terminée, et le nouveau comité directeur est tenu d'organiser un nouveau congrès dans un délai d'un an. Le vice-président de la ligue, Me Anouar Kousri, continue à affirmer que c'est "une affaire strictement politique qui vise à mettre au pas notre association". Tout porte à croire que le comité directeur ira se pourvoir en cassastion pour contester ce verdict. (Le Soir, Belgique, 22 juin 2001)

* Tunisie. Prisonniers d'opinion - La militante tunisienne des droits de l'homme Sihem Bensedrine, interpellée le 26 juin à l'aéroport de Tunis, a été emprisonnée, ont annoncé ses avocats. Mme Bensedrine, 47 ans, porte-parole du Conseil national pour les libertés en Tunisie (non reconnu), a été inculpée pour diffamation du corps judiciaire, diffusion de fausses nouvelles de nature à troubler l'ordre public dans des propos tenus sur la chaîne de télévision Al-Mustaquilla, dirigée par un opposant depuis Londres. - D'autre part, le 26 juin, Mohamed Hédi Béjaoui, ancien prisonnier d'opinion, au 51e jour de sa grève de la faim, était dans un état qualifié de désespéré. Ce père de sept enfants est privé de tous ses droits depuis sa sortie de prison en septembre 1999, au terme de 9 ans de détention pour appartenance supposée au mouvement islamiste interdit Ennahda. M. Béjaoui tente par son action d'attirer l'attention sur la situation de milliers d'anciens prisonniers tunisiens, condamnés comme lui à la misère à leur sortie de prison. (Le Soir et Le Monde, 27 juin 2001)

Weekly anb0628.txt - Part 6/7