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This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published
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Angola: Peace Monitor, V, 10
Angola: Peace Monitor, V, 10
Date Distributed (ymd): 990701
Document reposted by APIC
Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +security/peace+
Summary Contents: This issue of the Angolan Peace Monitor
highlights the escalating humanitarian crisis in Angola, and
also contains notes on proposals to strengthen the UN
sanctions against UNITA.
Also posted today - statement from Angolan Group of
Reflection for Peace (GARP)
Angola Peace Monitor
Published by ACTSA on behalf of the Angola Emergency Campaign
Issue no. 10, Vol. V 30th June 1999
[Note: the version of this issue distributed via the Africa
Policy Distribution List is slightly condensed from the full
version (available at http://www.anc.org.za/angola).]
United Nations pleas for funds to halt starvation
The United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, warned on 7
June that unless funds are immediately made available, the
entire humanitarian effort in Angola will stop and "hundreds
of thousands of Angolans will face severe malnutrition,
disease and death". The call for urgent funds comes as a
survey found that child malnutrition is at its highest level
in twenty five years.
The United Nations estimates that 1.7 million people out of
Angola's 13 million population have fled their homes as
fighting has spread through the country - 800,000 since
December 1998. Almost all of these people rely on donated food
for their survival.
At the same time the UN's World Food Programme, which delivers
Angola's food aid, has been forced to run an expensive airlift
as the rebel movement UNITA lays siege to several provincial
capitals. To compound the problems, international donors have
failed to live up to promises, leaving the people of Angola
facing a humanitarian disaster.
The WFP has found itself rapidly running out of food stocks
and funds. Sources state that there have already been major
cuts in all provinces in the amount of food available for
distribution. Reuters reported on 22 June that emergency
stocks had dropped to just eight weeks worth as international
attention has turned away to Kosovo.
The UN is seeking $100 to $115 million for the humanitarian
relief programme. Of $105 million promised by the
international community, only $45.15 million had been
Survey shows size of problem
The sheer scale of the unfolding tragedy has been highlighted
by a nutritional survey in Huambo city. It shows a dramatic
increase in the levels of malnutrition, and underscores the
danger that if something is not done very soon to reverse the
situation, starvation and deaths associated with hunger will
The survey, carried out by the Angolan Ministry of Health
along with Save the Children Fund-UK and Concern found that
16.7 per cent of children under the age of five were suffering
from malnutrition, of whom 3.5 per cent are in a severe state.
SCF predicts that "this will probably lead to increasing child
deaths and a rise in the incidence of disease. It is feared
that the situation may be even worse in other cities where the
supply of aid has been disrupted, such as Malanje."
There are currently 70,000 children under five in Huambo,
giving an estimate of 12,000 malnourished youngsters. SCF
plans to increase its feeding programme for children in Huambo
from 2,000 to 3,500. The report warns that there was only
sufficient food at present to feed 2,850 children daily.
Previous nutritional surveys in Huambo show how the situation
can improve or deteriorate rapidly. In 1994, before the Lusaka
Protocol was signed, 8.5 per cent of children were
malnourished. By September that year, the level had dropped to
7.9 per cent. Seven months later, when peace was established,
the level had dropped to 3.7 per cent.
The survey also found that malnutrition among the residents of
Huambo was "on a par" with malnutrition amongst those fleeing
to the city. This is significant for two reasons. Firstly,
residents would normally be expected to have their own stores
of food or access to funds to buy stocks in the market.
Secondly, many of the humanitarian programmes have been
targeted at the internally displaced people, excluding the
local residents. There have been numerous reports of residents
claiming to be displaced people in order to get food aid, and
some aid agencies are now turning their minds to how they can
alter their programmes to meet all in need.
Unfortunately the situation in Huambo is not unique. For
example, in Cuito Medecins Sans Frontieres - Belgium also
reports a dramatic increase in the number of severely
Whilst the UN has made assisting the hungry in Angola a high
priority, the donor nations view aid to refugees and
internally displaced people in Kosovo as the political
imperative. Francesco Strippoli, the UN humanitarian
coordinator and WFP representative in Angola, told the UN news
agency IRIN that he was concerned that the Kosovo crisis,
while every bit as dire, was diverting attention away from
Transport costs soar
A WFP/FAO mission to Angola in May 1999 has reported that the
cost of internal transport, storage and handling increased
from $219 a tonne last year to $330 a tonne.
The WFP budget for distributing food in 1999 was originally
based on delivery by road. However, UNITA attacks on aid
convoys have forced the WFP to fly the aid directly to the
provincial capitals. The key provincial capitals, Huambo,
Cuito, Luena and Malanje, are under siege by UNITA. Malanje
has at times been accessible by road, although only at great
risk. Poor harvest predicted
Despite better weather conditions than last year, the Food and
Agriculture Organisation has predicted that this year's
harvest will fall by around eleven per cent as farmers have
fled their fields for the relative safety of government-held
towns and as crops have been stolen.
The report estimated that Angola needed international
emergency assistance of 180,000 tonnes of maize for the
agricultural year 1999/2000. Of this, under a third - 56,000
tonnes - had been pledged. The report estimates that Angola
will need to import 505,000 tonnes of cereals over the next
year, compared with 420,000 last year.
The report was based on a field visit in May 1999.
Angola faces worst polio outbreak in Africa
The WHO has reported that Angola is experiencing the worst
outbreak of polio that Africa has seen in the last four years.
Polio is a highly infections virus mainly affecting young
children, causing paralysis or death.
There have been almost a thousand reported cases of the
disease with 84 deaths. Luanda has borne the brunt of the
disease, although cases have been reported in Bengo, Malanje
An emergency vaccination campaign has been launched, aiming to
cover two million children before the end of August. So far
400,000 children have been vaccinated in Luanda. The
internationally renowned photographer, Lord Snowdon, visited
Angola in May as a WHO Special Envoy, and has photographed the
The multinational corporation De Beers is funding a quarter of
the cost of the National Immunisation Days in Angola in 1999
and 2000. This is the first time that the WHO has joined
forces with a private sector company at the global level for
However, even the campaign to save children from polio has not
escaped the effects of war. On 12 June two Angolan aid workers
with the Portuguese NGO Instituto Portugues de Medicina
Preventiva were murdered and another two seriously wounded
when UNITA troops attacked their vehicle on the road from
Catete to Maria Teresa in Bengo province. The polio vaccines,
along with personal belongings - including the shoes on their
feet - were stolen during the attack, and their vehicle was
The UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs,
Sergio Vieira de Mello condemned the attack as a "barbaric
act" happening "at a time when the humanitarian community is
seeking unhindered access to assist populations in need
throughout the Angolan territory". ...
Cities remain under fire
The humanitarian situation in the city of Huambo remains dire,
with UNITA continuing sporadically to shell the city.
On 20 June the WFP was forced to suspend flights to the city
after a new round of shelling. The WFP announced on 24 June
that it only had 15 days worth of stocks in Huambo. Recipients
receive food to cover thirty days.
However, on 28 June the Minister of Defence, Kundi Payhama,
stated that UNITA had been pushed back following a large
attack on the city and it was hoped that aid flights could
resume. Heavy fighting took place at Caala and Tchidinji, and
it seems as if the government army managed to hold their
positions and repulse UNITA.
Malanje has continued to suffer from shelling. According to
the South African Press Association, a heavy bombardment on
22-24 June left at least 40 people dead and 60 injured.
Aid organisation closes down Angolan operation
The US-based International Medical Corps has announced that
largely due to a lack of funding it is closing its operations
in Huambo, Lunda Norte, Moxico and Uige.
Plan to tighten sanctions on UNITA unveiled
The Chairman of the UN Sanctions Committee set up to implement
sanctions against UNITA has presented recommendations to the
UN Security Council on how to tighten existing sanctions which
have been flouted by UNITA.
There are to be two expert panels looking into UNITA's
sanctions busting. The first of these will look at how UNITA
funds its war machine - in particular diamond smuggling, and
how it gets petroleum products. The banking structures of
UNITA are also to be investigated. The other expert panel will
look at military support for UNITA, including where the rebels
get their weapons from, and whether they use mercenaries.
Following his visit to seven Southern African countries in May
(see APM no.9 vol. V), Ambassador Fowler of Canada placed
fourteen recommendations before the Security Council. The
report was broken down into four sections:
Enforcement and monitoring
Ambassador Fowler suggests that the Secretary General should
provide recommendations to the Security Council within three
months on the feasibility of deploying a small number of UN
civilian sanctions monitors possessing expertise relating to
customs inspection. He gave as examples of possible points to
be monitored the following: Ouagadougou, in Burkina Faso;
Abidjan, in Cote d'Ivoire; Tshikapa, Dilolo, Kolweizi and
Lumbumbashi, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Nampula,
in Mozambique; Rundu, in Namibia; Kigali, in Rwanda; Durban
and airfields in the northern portion of South Africa; Dar es
Salaam, in the United Republic of Tanzania; Lome, in Togo;
Kyiv, in Ukraine; Entebbe and Kampala, in Uganda; Mansa,
Mongu, Ndola, Livingstone and Zambezi, in Zambia; as well as
in Luanda and other Angolan ports.
He encouraged countries, particularly those with a significant
capacity for intelligence-gathering, to make information on
sanctions violations available to the Sanctions Committee and
the SADC ad hoc committee on Angola sanctions.
He also called on the UN to provide support for air
surveillance and even for the interdiction of UNITA supply
flights. He stressed that there should be collaboration
between the Sanctions Committee and the SADC entities
concerned with Angola sanctions, as well as with Intepol.
Ambassador Fowler said that "diamond revenues constitute the
essential component of UNITA's capacity to wage war". He
pointed out that UNITA is alleged to have earned $200 million
in 1999 alone, and as much as $4 billion since 1992. To put
this amount in perspective, Angola's foreign debt stands at
around $12 billion.
The Chairman recommended that licensed foreign diamond buyers
and major diamond mining companies in Angola, and industry
councils in the major diamond-cutting centres, should work
with the Committee and its expert panels in devising practical
measures to limit UNITA's access to legitimate diamond
markets. This is intended to lead to standardised and credible
certificates of origin.
Robert Fowler suggested that his expert panels should provide
recommendations on the feasibility of the UN appointing a
small number of expert monitors at the major diamond
exchanges, with the task of identifying and confiscating UNITA
Application of sanctions
The report urges all member states to implement legislation to
make it a criminal offence to violate sanctions against UNITA.
It also suggests that a meeting should be convened by the UN
on the application of sanctions, to outline the obligations of
member states and to provide advice on how that obligation can
best be met. The importance of applying sanctions should be
highlighted at summit and major ministerial meetings. Industry
associations should be encouraged to sensitise their corporate
members on the measures.
The report states that the expert panels should be able to
commission background studies, and to identify "best
practices" with regard to the application of sanctions. The
Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the
question of the use of mercenaries should be invited to
contribute to the work of the expert panels.
Ambassador Fowler's report has been strongly welcomed by both
the United States and South Africa. However, analysts have
raised serious concerns about the practicalities of
implementing the recommendations. In particular, it has been
questioned whether his report will hamper the work of the
expert panels, who have not yet met. Questions have also been
raised about the cost of the operation, although the total
cost would be insignificant in comparison with the cost of the
failed UN mission in Angola.
Even if the recommendations were met in full, there is a large
question mark over whether the sanctions will be effective.
The mixture of corrupt government officials and the vested
interests of the arms and diamond trade will try to obstruct
The multinational corporation De Beers has met with Ambassador
Fowler and formally stated that it does comply with the letter
and spirit of diamond sanctions. However, the NGO Global
Witness has called on De Beers to publicly clarify how it has
changed its buying operations to ensure that it no longer buys
The great significance of the report should not be lost in the
argument of practicalities. The report is calling for the
United Nations to take proactive action to create
international mechanisms for ensuring that member states abide
by ethical and legal obligations in one aspect of the arms and
diamond trade. If successful these mechanisms could provide a
model for international action on conflicts, and this in
itself could prove to be an obstacle to their realisation.
Army reorganising to reverse military situation
President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has announced that the armed
forces are reorganising themselves and getting ready for a
The official comment on 7 June in Harare comes as new recruits
conscripted into the Angolan army are undergoing basic
training. It is understood from well-placed sources that the
much heralded government offensive will not take place until
at least August 1999 as the government is awaiting key
UN approves small mission to Angola
The Angolan government has agreed in principle to allow the UN
to increase its presence in Luanda, following a meeting in the
capital between the Foreign Minister, Joao Miranda and the UN
Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping, Bernard Miyet. Also
at the meeting was Issa Diallo, who has been largely sidelined
since the Angolan government demanded that he be based in New
The proposed mission would include political, information and
humanitarian components, but there has been no agreement on
The Angola Peace Monitor is produced every month by ACTSA -
Action for Southern Africa, the successor organisation to the
British Anti-Apartheid Movement. It is produced as our
contribution towards the work of the Angola Emergency
Campaign, which seeks to highlight the need for international
action in support of peace and democracy in Angola.
ACTSA, 28 Penton Street, London N1 9SA,
fax +44 171 837 3001, telephone +44 171 833 3133.
Back issues of the Angola Peace Monitor are available on the
World Wide Web at: http://www.anc.org.za/angola
This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the
Africa Policy Information Center (APIC). APIC's primary
objective is to widen the policy debate in the United States
around African issues and the U.S. role in Africa, by
concentrating on providing accessible policy-relevant
information and analysis usable by a wide range of groups and