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Archive for July 23rd, 2008

HRW: Peace accord failing end killings of civilians in DRC

Posted by African Press International on July 23, 2008

Killings and raping of civilians in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) continues at a horrifying rate despite the signing of a peace accord six months ago, according to the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW).

In a report made available Monday in Nairobi, the HRW said the agreement was supposed to stop such attacks in the province of North Kivu but following human rights watchdog’s recent 10-day mission to the most affected territories of Masisi and Rutshuru in eastern Congo, the situation had not changed for the better.

The HRW said that its researchers documented more than 200 killings of civilians and the rape of hundreds of women and girls since January by all armed groups, including Congolese army soldiers.

\”Six months after the peace agreement was signed there has been no improvement in the human rights situation and in some areas it has actually deteriorated. While the parties to the peace agreement attend talks in Goma, their troops continue to kill, rape, and loot civilians,\” said Anneke van Woudenberg, senior Africa researcher at HRW.

On January 23, 2008, after weeks of talks, the Congolese government signed a peace agreement in Goma, North Kivu, with 22 armed groups committing all parties to an immediate ceasefire, disengagement of forces from frontline positions, and to abide by international human rights law.

Following the signing, the Congolese government set up a peace programme called the Amani Programme to coordinate peace efforts in eastern Congo but the government and international donors have provided limited funds to carry out that work, HRW




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Kenya leader warns against isolating Sudan

Posted by African Press International on July 23, 2008

Kenya President Mwai Kibaki on Monday said the international community must help the government of Sudan find an amicable solution to the Darfur crisis and warned that any isolationist policy against the current Sudanese government would be counter-productive.

Kibaki noted that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir should be assisted by the international bodies that were genuine in finding a lasting solution to the Darfur conflict and should not be subjected to legal recourse in courts that may not have an understanding of the conflict.

According to a presidential statement issued to the press in Nairobi, Kibaki said he had worked closely with the Sudanese government during the search of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement for Southern Sudan and encouraged the government of Sudan to borrow on the experience to resolve the Darfur crisis.

The CPA was signed between the government of Sudan and Sudan People\’s Liberation Movement in January 2005 in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

\”The international community must help the government of Sudan find an amicable solution to the Darfur crisis. What we need is a genuine peace process that brings together all the parties in the conflict, so as to end the conflict that has led to great suffering for many people,” said Kibaki.

He was speaking in his Nairobi office where he received Bonal Malual, a special envoy of President al-Bashir of Sudan.

Malual was accompanied by the Sudan ambassador to Kenya, Majok Guandong.

Kibaki called on the African Union and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development to work closely and proactively to resolve the Darfur conflict and ensure there is sustainable peace in Southern Sudan.

Last week, al-Bashir was accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur by the International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo.

Moreno-Ocampo said al-Bashir bore criminal responsibility for alleged atrocities committed over the past five years.



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US insists on “free, fair and open” elections in Zimbabwe

Posted by African Press International on July 23, 2008

US State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said on Monday that his government supported “a negotiation process that leads to resolve the expressed will of the Zimbabwean people\”.

Reacting to the agreement between President Robert Mugabe and the opposition to settle their differences, he said emphasized on an election that is “free, fair and open and which all parties can participate in without fear from aggressive acts against them.\”

\”Our understanding is that the memorandum of understanding that was signed by the leaders of the ZANU-PF party and both factions of the MPC is providing a vehicle for undertaking the talks but that they have not actually started the talks,\” he said.

\”We are obviously keeping an eye on what is happening there and we are continuing to watch it closely,\” he added.



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