Weekly anb03271.txt #6

ANB-BIA - Av. Charles Woeste 184 - 1090 Bruxelles - Belg
TEL **.32.2/420 34 36 fax /420 05 49 E-Mail: editor at anb-bia.org
WEEKLY NEWS ISSUE of: 27-03-2003      PART #1/6

* Africa. "No" to war in Iraq - Amidst all the military and political movements building up toward a tragic war in Iraq, one voice has remained consistently loud, clear and courageous. This is the voice of religious leaders around the world, and in particular, the Catholic Church lead by Pope John Paul II. The religious leaders are saying very sharply NO to the legitimacy of war. Because a war in Iraq will mean great problems also for Zambia, we should be paying very close attention to the events unfolding these days in the United Nations, in Washington DC, London and Baghdad. How would Zambia be affected by the breakout of war? First, the price of oil would go up sharply. Then we would experience a decline in foreign aid, trade and investment. Hopes for debt cancellation would be postponed. And possible terrorist activities might occur within our boundaries. The Zambian government, along with the governments of other African states, has rejected war against Iraq as a way of settling the disputes with Saddam Hussein. Outstanding senior states leaders like Kenneth Kaunda and Nelson Mandela have spoken out against the war. (...) Catholic bishops in the United States of America, United Kingdom, Germany, France, South Africa, Nigeria, Indonesia and the Philippines have come out strongly against the war. Church theologians have presented the biblical and ethical arguments against the war, relying on the traditional moral teachings about a just war. And members of Christian churches have joined the millions around the world who have in recent months taken to the streets to demonstrate against the war. (...) (Peter Henriot S.J. The Sunday Times of Zambia, 16 March 2003)

* Africa. Third World Water Forum - A new United Nations body to help avoid possible "water wars" of the future, has been announced at Kyoto, Japan. The Water Co-operation Facility will be based in Paris at UNESCO's headquarters, and will mediate in disputes between countries which share a single river basin. It follows publication of a report identifying 17 basins which have the potential for disputes in the coming decade -- for example, where dams and big river diversion schemes are planned which could affect the flow of water across borders. This includes, in Africa, the Okavango and Limpopo rivers in southern Africa. Lake Chad, the Senegal River, the Zambezi River. Many feel that the real potential for conflict arises from the social disruption caused by growing competition for scarce freshwater supplies. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 21 March 2003)

* Afrique. Forum mondial de l'eau: échec - Le 23 mars, le Forum international de l'eau, qui réunissait 165 pays et quelque 10.000 participants à Kyoto au Japon, s'est clôturé sans aucune avancée concrète. Des projets, des belles déclarations, mais aucune action chiffrée. "On continue à tourner autour du pot, sans prendre de décisions", a regretté un responsable de la Banque mondiale. En fait, le forum a rappelé la détermination de la communauté internationale à réduire le nombre de personnes sans eau potable d'ici 2015, mais n'a pas expliqué comment. Une des causes de l'échec: le contexte international, la guerre dans le Golfe. Plusieurs hauts responsables n'étaient pas présents. Une seule avancée: elle a été obtenue par l'Unesco et consiste dans la création d'un organe de coopération pour régler les querelles sur l'eau entre pays, les fleuves-frontières étant souvent sources de conflits. Mais l'eau n'a pas été qualifiée de "droit de l'homme". Toutefois, le contre-forum de l'eau à Florence a accouché d'un programme d'action pour l'installation de l'eau potable dans 7 pays africains, financé par une vingtaine d'ONG italiennes. (ANB-BIA, de sources diverses, 24 mars 2003)

* Africa. Action against the Media - Congo RDC: On 20 March, Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) condemned the continued detention of Bamporiki Chamira, a journalist with the daily La Tempête des Tropiques. He has been held at an Intelligence Services detention centre for over one month. Côte d'Ivoire: On 20 March, The International Committee of the Red Cross said that the body of journalist Kloueu Gonzreu, a correspondent of the official Ivorian Press Agency, was found on 19 March in the area of Toulepleu. Senegal: On 22 March, the Senegalese Union of Media and Communications Professionals (Syndicat des Professionnels de l'Information et de la Communication du Sénégal (SYNPICS) and the West African Journalists Association (WAJA) have urged the Senegalese government to condemn the recent acts of police brutality committed against several journalists and to carry out "actions with the aim of informing, educating, engaging and sensitising police officers to the significance of press freedom." In separate letters addressed to General Mamadou Niang, the interior minister, and Culture and Communications Minister Abdou Fall, SYNPICS and WAJA Secretary-General Alpha Sall underlined that "police officers have attacked journalists in three separate incidents over the past three months." Sudan: On 24 March, RSF reported that on 22 March 2003, while covering a demonstration against the war in Iraq, Islam Salih, a journalist with the Qatar-based satellite television station Al-Jazeera, and his cameraman Mohammed el Hassan were struck by several police officers. "We call on the Khartoum authorities to allow the Sudanese and foreign press to freely cover demonstrations taking place in the capital. We are also concerned by the growing number of journalists being summoned for "overstepping limits"," said RSF Secretary-General Robert Ménard. Zimbabwe: On 20 March, RSF protested the arrest of Philimon Bulawayo, a photographer with the independent newspaper The Daily News. Bulawayo was arrested while covering a demonstration in Harare on 18 March. The paper's lawyer, Gugulethu Moyo, was also detained when she went to the Glen View police station in suburban Harare a few hours later to seek Bulawayo's release. Bulawayo and Moyo were beaten at the time of their respective arrests and were transferred to Harare Central police station on 19 March. The paper has had no news of them since. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 24 March 2003)

* Africa. African unease at war against Iraq - There have been various reactions across Africa to the start of the US-led war against Iraq. African Union Secretary General Amara Essy says the launch of the war has caused grief and deep regret among its members. Demonstrations are taking place in some cities across Africa, especially in countries where there are large Muslim communities. However, Nigeria, which has an election looming and a big Muslim population, has banned public demonstrations. Eritrea, one of two African countries to join Mr Bush's' "coalition of the willing", says in a statement that it supports the war but adds that it is not directly involved in actual conflict. The other coalition partner, Ethiopia, has said it has given the US the use of its airspace and also landing rights, as requested by the USA in relation to the Iraq war. Algeria and Morocco regret that military force had supplanted diplomacy as the means to defuse the standoff. Algeria's President Bouteflika says the Iraqi people are going through the agony of a war that defies international legality. In Egypt, President Mubarak says "Egypt did its utmost to avert the US-led war against Iraq". Kenya which suffered terror attacks in 1998 and 2002 is publicly critical of the attacks. Foreign Minister Kalonzo Musyoka says full scale war could have been avoided through dialogue. In Mauritania, a Muslim country, several hundred people including MPs, take to the streets of the capital in a march against the war. Mauritius describes the outbreak of hostilities as "a tragic day for Iraq and for the rest of the world". In Somalia, which has denied links to a terrorist network, people are glued to their television sets and businesses express concern that goods from the Gulf region could be interrupted by the war. President Thabo Mbeki, whose country South Africa has been a prominent opponent of attacks on Iraq, has expressed regret saying he would have preferred the matter to be dealt with by the United Nations. Zimbabwe sharply criticises the US-led war against Iraq, describing it as "barbaric and in contravention of international law". (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 25 March 2003)

* Algérie. Benflis plébiscité au FLN - Le 20 mars, Ali Benflis, le secrétaire général du FLN (ex-parti unique) et Premier ministre, a été plébiscité par acclamation à la tête du parti pour un nouveau mandat de cinq ans à l'issue de son 8ème congrès à Alger. Ses nouvelles prérogatives lui permettent de convoquer un congrès extraordinaire consacré à l'élection présidentielle prévue en 2004, réunion qui pourrait désigner un candidat du parti, en occurrence lui-même. Une candidature dont on dit beaucoup à Alger qu'elle pourrait être soutenue par l'appareil militaire contre le second mandat que brigue Abdelaziz Bouteflika. (Libération, France, 21 mars 2003)

* Algérie. Violences - Le dimanche 23 mars, sept personnes ont été tuées et sept autres blessées dans des violences impliquant des islamistes armés. Un policier a été assassiné à Réghaïa (est d'Alger) par deux islamistes armés. Un officier de l'armée a été tué et sept soldats blessés lors d'un accrochage avec un groupe armé dans la forêt de Hammam K'sana (sud-est d'Alger). Trois islamistes armés ont été abattus par les forces de sécurité lors de cet affrontement, ainsi que deux autres au centre de Tizi Ouzou (est d'Alger). (Le Figaro, France, 25 mars 2003)

* Burundi. Contacts entre FNL et armée - Depuis le 17 mars, des officiers supérieurs burundais séjournent en Suisse pour un premier contact direct avec des représentants de l'aile majoritaire du Front national de libération (FNL) qui refusait jusque-là un cessez-le-feu. Sur quatre groupes rebelles, trois ont signé des accords de cessez-le-feu avec le gouvernement. L'aile majoritaire du FNL, dirigée par Agathon Rwasa, serait représentée aux discussions en Suisse par son vice-président M. Jean Bosco Sindayigaya. D'autre personnalités burundaises y seraient également présentes, comme l'ex-président Sylvestre Ntibantunganya et Léonce Ngendakumana. Les discussions devraient prendre toute une semaine. (PANA, Sénégal, 20 mars 2003)

* Burundi. Secret peace talks - 20 March: Burundi's army have clashed with a rebel group east of the capital, Bujumbura, as it emerges they are locked in secret talks together in Switzerland. The army said they had killed 11 rebels in two days of fighting after army units were confronted in the Mubimbi hills. However a spokesman for the rebel National Liberation Forces (FNL) movement, Pasteur Habimana, said its fighters were ambushed. He admitted a senior officer had been killed. The rebel spokesman said it was regrettable that the fighting took place as talks were under way in Switzerland between the rebels and figures close to the government. The FNL is not part of the shaky ceasefire agreement signed by others, including Burundi's main rebel group -- the Forces for the Defence of Democracy (FDD). As part of the deal President Pierre Buyoya who is due to leave office in a power-sharing agreement had promised to take the war to the FNL rebels until they sign up to peace. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 20 March 2003)

* Burundi. Cri d'alarme des évêques - "La guerre continue à faire des ravages. Les Burundais, surtout les simples gens, continuent de mourir, leurs biens sont pillés ou détruits. On a l'impression que les acteurs politiques veulent gouverner un pays vidé de sa population et privé de ses resssources", constatent avec amertume les évêques catholiques du Burundi dans une déclaration commune. Les évêques sont inquiets et font état d'un constat dramatique. "Ceux qui ont signé l'accord d'Arusha (le 3 décembre) sont en train de se quereller. Ceux qui ont conclu des accords de cessez-le-feu ne les respectent pas (...). Les gens sont découragés, avec le sentiment d'avoir été abandonnés par ceux-là mêmes qui étaient chargés de veiller sur eux"'. Les évêques lancent un "cri d'alarme" aux acteurs politiques, les sommant de mettre "au premier plan de leurs préoccupations l'intérêt de la nation et des citoyens". (Misna, Italie, 22 mars 2003)

Wekly News anb0327.txt - 1/6