AfricaFocus Bulletins with Peace and Security - 2003-2004
Nov 12, 2003 Liberia: Peace Process Implementation
Implementation of the latest peace agreement in Liberia is now at
a critical stage. While the nation's capital Monrovia is generally
calm, insecurity continues in much of the countryside. The chances
of further enhancing stability and of advancing rapidly in
reconstruction depend not only on Liberians, but also on regional
and international commitments.
Nov 20, 2003 Africa: Humanitarian Double Standard
"But let me be clear: the aid we give them is not charity, it is
their right. ... donors and citizens who can help have not only a
moral responsibility to provide emergency and life-sustaining
assistance, but an obligation to do so under international
humanitarian and human rights law." - UN Secretary-General Kofi
Nov 28, 2003 Sudan: Oil and Rights Abuses
While diplomats say there are good chances of achieving a peace
settlement in Sudan by the end of the year, fighting nevertheless
continues in western Sudan, and the United Nations has appealed for
$450 million to support some 3.5 million displaced Sudanese. Human
Rights Watch has just released an extensive new report documenting
the complicity of oil companies with human rights abuses in Sudan,
and warning that disputes over oil revenue have the potential to
further prolong the conflict.
Dec 7, 2003 Zimbabwe: Civil Society Voices
A six-nation panel including Australia, Canada, India, Jamaica,
Mozambique, and South Africa today recommended continued suspension
of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth, until the government of Zimbabwe
meets minimal conditions indicating willingness to dialogue with
internal opponents. News coverage of this issue has
focused on the divergent views of governments, particularly the
reluctance of some African states to maintain the suspension of
Zimbabwe. The simplistic image of a split between Europe and
Africa, however, ignores the widespread consensus in civil society
in Zimbabwe and the region in favor of continued pressure.
Dec 18, 2003 Nigeria: Oil and Violence
Delta State produces 40 percent of Nigeria's two million barrels a
day of crude oil and is supposed to receive 13 percent of the
revenue from production in the state, notes Human Rights Watch in
a new report. Conflict over oil revenue lies at the root of ongoing
violence, particularly in the key city of Warri. "Efforts to halt
the violence and end the civilian suffering that has accompanied it
must therefore include steps both to improve government
accountability and to end the theft of oil."
Jan 11, 2004 Congo (Kinshasa): Peace & Transition
"While significant progress has been achieved in the Democratic
Republic of the Congo ... the tangible benefits of peace have not
yet filtered down to the war-weary Congolese population.
Socioeconomic conditions remain dire throughout the country ... A
key condition for success in national reconciliation will be a true
partnership between the former belligerents in managing the
Jan 22, 2004 Africa: Davos Report Card
In his New Year's message for 2004, United Nations Secretary
General Kofi Annan, referring to HIV/AIDS, poverty, and other
global issues, concluded: "We don't need any more promises. We need
to start keeping the promises we already made." A report card
prepared for the World Economic Forum now meeting in Davos,
Switzerland has concluded that the international community is
putting in barely one-third of the effort needed to achieve
internationally agreed goals.
Jan 27, 2004 Horn of Africa: No War, No Peace
Implementation of the peace process that was to resolve the border
conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea remains stalled. The failure
to move forward, as governments in both countries use the conflict
for political advantage, is increasing the risk of return to war.
Such a development would not only be a disaster for the two
countries, but also a major setback to the peacemaking momentum in
the region and other conflict zones on the continent.
Jan 31, 2004 Africa: Peacekeeping Trends, 1
"The rising demand for UN peace operations risks overstretching not
only our capacity to manage such missions, but also the resources
that Member States are able or willing to make available. ... there
is a manifest imbalance between the 30,000 NATO peacekeepers
deployed in tiny Kosovo and the 10,000 UN peacekeepers deployed in
Congo, which is the size of Western Europe."
- UN Deputry Secretary-General Louise Frechette.
Jan 31, 2004 Africa: Peacekeeping Trends, 2
"After so many years of destruction, something new is happening, at
last. The killing has largely stopped. ... One point to note in all
this: the peace processes are mostly home-grown" - Jean-Marie
Guehenno, UN Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations.
Mar 6, 2004 Sudan: Peace, No Peace
As peace talks continue in Kenya between the Sudanese government
and its principal opponent, the SPLM/A, the prospects of securing
a sustainable peace are increasingly threatened by other issues not
on the table in this process. These include intense fighting in
Darfur in western Sudan and unresolved questions of democratic
participation throughout the country. The humanitarian crisis of as
many as one million people displaced in Darfur and across the
border in Chad, is currently rated among the worst in the world.
Mar 31, 2004 Rwanda/UN: Acknowledging Failure
"Some 2,000 personnel from several countries, including France,
United Kingdom, United States and Italy, had come to evacuate their
expatriates and though they were stumbling on corpses, they
remained firm in totally ignoring the catastrophe." - retired
General Romeo Dallaire, former commander, UN mission in Rwanda.
Mar 31, 2004 Rwanda/USA: "The System Worked"
"In a sense, the system worked: Diplomats, intelligence agencies,
defense and military officials--even aid workers--provided timely
information up the chain to President Clinton and his top advisors.
That the Clinton Administration decided against intervention at any
level was not for lack of knowledge of what was happening in
Rwanda." - William Ferroggiaro, National Security Archive Fellow
Apr 7, 2004 Sudan: Action on Darfur?
"American officials should not focus on whether the killings [in
Darfur, Sudan] meet the definition of genocide ... they should
focus instead on trying to stop them" - Samantha Powers, New York
Times, April 6, 2004. Despite increasing attention from the media
and international community, however, there are so far few
indications that this will be sufficient to spark a meaningful
Apr 30, 2004 Africa: Tragedy and Hope
"Africa eludes us; it is so clearly outlined on the map, and yet so
difficult to define. From afar, Westerners have long fancied it to
be divided into 'black' and 'white,' in the image of their own
societies, and yet observant visitors are more likely to be struck
by Africa's diversity, and by the absence of any sharp dividing
May 10, 2004 Sudan: More Reports, Little Action
The United Nations Security Council met on Friday in private
session and heard a report from the UN Commissioner for Human
Rights documenting a "scorched earth policy" and "repeated crimes
against humanity" by Sudanese militia and troops in Darfur, western
Sudan. But they failed to take any collective action other than
pledging to "monitor developments."
May 27, 2004 Eritrea: Human Rights
Releasing its annual human rights report this week, Amnesty
International charged that the U.S.-led "war on terror" has
contributed to sacrificing human rights and turning a blind eye to
abuses, without enhancing security. Among the African governments
that has most enthusiastically embraced the anti-terror rationale
is Eritrea, the subject of a new Amnesty International report
released to coincide with the country's 13th anniversary of
independence on May 24.
Jun 4, 2004 Sudan: Late Response, Limited Focus
"We admit we are late - some agencies have been so slow, some
donors have been so slow, the government restrictions have been so
many." - Jan Egeland UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian
Jun 10, 2004 USA/Africa: Peacekeeping Repackaged
The United Nations last week approved a $2.8 billion budget for 11
peacekeeping missions for 2004-2005. New peacekeeping missions,
including in Sudan, could increase this figure to as much as $4.5
billion. As of the end of April, however, member states owed $1.3
billion in arrears on their peacekeeping assessments. This included
$480 million in arrears owed by the United States. The U.S. supplies just
over one percent of the 53,000 military personnel involved in UN
Jun 18, 2004 Sudan: Justice Africa Analysis
As overwhelming evidence of atrocities in Sudan continues to
emerge, there are new calls for action to stop the genocide. This
issue of AfricaFocus Bulletin contains excerpts from a mid-May
briefing by Justice Africa focusing on key elements needed to
inform such action. These include identifying the political forces
within the Sudanese government responsible for directing the
Jul 22, 2004 Sudan: Questions of Responsibility
"There has been a great deal of tough talk since the visits of Mr.
Powell, Mr. Annan and others, but the UN Security Council so far
has failed to act decisively [on Darfur]. It is time to move
directly against regime officials who are responsible for the
killing." - John Prendergast, New York Times, July 15, 2004
Aug 5, 2004 Côte d'Ivoire: Peacekeeping Continued
West African leaders and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a late
July summit in Accra, Ghana, won an unexpected new agreement from
Ivorian leaders for a timetable to implement the peace settlement
signed in January 2003. Some 3,500 UN peacekeeping troops, out of
an authorized strength of 6,240, are in the country, with the
largest contingents from Bangladesh, Benin, Ghana, Morocco, Niger,
Senegal, and Togo. But the country is still divided, and it is
clear that meeting the new timetable for disarmament and new
election procedures will depend on continuing pressure on Ivorian
Aug 14, 2004 Zimbabwe: Test for African Responsibility
"The Zimbabwean situation of starvation and malnutrition, willful
political violence and intimidation, and the immoral use of food
aid by the Zimbabwean government demands stronger and transparent
intervention by African governments through the AU [African Union]"
- Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC)
Sep 12, 2004 Sudan: Darfur and Beyond
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's statement last week that the
Sudanese government and its proxy militias have indeed committed
genocide in Darfur caught media attention and incrementally
increased the pressure on the Khartoum regime to rein in the
violence. However, the Secretary of State also noted that the
determination in itself dictated no new action by Washington. The
political will of the international community to increase pressure
remains in doubt. How best to focus such pressure is also under
Sep 30, 2004 Uganda: Children, War, and Peace
Optimism about prospects for peace in northern Uganda is growing.
Recent news reports cite increased desertions from the rebel Lord's
Resistance Army and some reduction in the number of displaced
people. Nevertheless, making peace is no simple task. The
population is traumatized by continuing violence, and HIV/AIDS
rates in the conflict areas are almost double the national average.
Oct 21, 2004 Angola: From War to Social Justice?
"Negative peace (cessation of hostilities) is far preferable to no
peace at all but it ... leaves deficits and injustices in the
social, political and economic structures, institutions and
cultures largely unresolved. It fails to promote political
negotiation and democratic processes." - Conciliation Resources
Oct 24, 2004 Sudan: Peacekeeping without Peace?
Last week's decision to expand the contingent of Africa Union
peacekeepers in Sudan's Darfur region to more than 3,000 is the
most substantial step yet towards an international presence that
could deter continuing violence against civilians by government-sponsored
militia. This measure is seen by almost all commentators
as a necessary if not sufficient response to the crisis. Like the
increased international humanitarian aid that has arrived in Darfur
in recent months, however, it is unlikely to have more than a
modest impact without simultaneous new advances on stalled peace
Oct 31, 2004 Sierra Leone: Truth and Reconciliation Report
The Sierra Leone and Reconciliation Commission issued its final
report last week at the United Nations, culminating over two years
of hearings of testimony from witnesses including large numbers of
children who had been victimized by the 11 years of conflict
between 1991 and 2002. The launch gave special prominence to a
"child-friendly" edition of the report, the result of a process in
which children themselves participated not only in providing
testimony but also in the writing and editing process.
Nov 16, 2004 West Africa: Humanitarian Appeal
The United Nations last week launched its humanitarian appeal for
2005, stressing "forgotten crises" and warning of the consequences
of a global downturn in humanitarian funding. UN Under-Secretary-General
for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland mentioned particularly
Northern Uganda, because of the scale of the crisis, and Cote
d'Ivoire, for which by this month the UN had received only 18% of
its 2004 appeal.
Nov 16, 2004 Côte d'Ivoire: Containing the Crisis?
The UN Security Council on November 15 voted to impose an arms
embargo on all parties in Cote d'Ivoire. The measure was strongly
supported by African leaders who fear not only new violence in the
West African country, but also setbacks for peace in the
surrounding region. Few observers have any confidence in the
potential for France to promote reconciliation in its former
colony. But even fewer believe that Ivorian President Laurent
Gbagbo is willing to abandon the effort to crush his opponents by
force, including recourse to hate appeals targeting not only the
French but also the rebels and other West Africans.
Nov 22, 2004 Sudan: Credibility Gap
At a high-profile United Nations Security Council meeting in Nairobi last week,
the Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation
Movement/Army pledged to complete their agreement for peace in
southern Sudan by December 31. If successful, diplomats claimed,
the agreement could provide a model for ending the violence in
Darfur as well. But the Council failed to impose any sanctions on
the Sudanese government for blatant continuing violence in Darfur,
despite the presence of monitors from the Africa Union.
Dec 9, 2004 Africa: Laying Landmines to Rest?
At the Nairobi Summit on a Mine-Free World, held in the Kenyan
capital from November 27 to December 3 to review the Ottawa
Convention to Ban Landmines, Ethiopia became
the 144th country to ratify the treaty. In addition to the
signatories, the summit was also attended by 23 states that have
not signed the treaty, including China, Cuba, India, and Egypt. The
United States did not attend.
Dec 12, 2004 Liberia-Sierra Leone: Consolidating Peace?
"The [multilateral] interventions in Liberia and Sierra Leone are
failing to produce states that will be stable and capable of
exercising the full range of sovereign responsibilities on behalf
of their long-suffering populations. This is essentially because
they treat peacebuilding as implementing an operational checklist,
involving [quick] fixes to various institutions and processes" -
International Crisis Group
Dec 19, 2004 Congo (Kinshasa): Back to the Brink
"In Iraq ...the 2003 aid budget was $3.5 billion or $138 per
person. ... In spite of [the Democratic Republic of] Congo's rank
as the deadliest recorded conflict since World War II, the world's
humanitarian response in 2004 was a total of $188 million in aid or
a scant $3.23 per person." - International Rescue Committee