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Archive for the tag “Red Cross”

In rememberence of Patrice Lumumba with his letter to the U.N. Special Representative on 4.1.1961

Patrice Lumumba

The first president after independence from Belgium in Democratic Republic of Congo was assainated on this day in 1961. That is why I have this post on him today as  rememberence of him. Because we should not forget his contribution to equality and freedom in DRC.  That is why I will add on his last letter written on 4th January 1961 from Thysville prison, the letter was sent to Special Representive A.M. Dayal, here it is:

Mr. Special Representative,
On December 27 last, I had the pleasure of receiving a visit from the Red Cross, which occupied itself with my plight and with the plight of the other parliamentarians imprisoned together with me. I told them of the inhuman conditions we are living in.

Briefly, the situation is as follows. I am here with seven other parliamentarians. In addition there are with us Mr. Okito, President of the Senate, a Senate employee and a driver. Altogether there are ten of us. We have been locked up in damp cells since December 2, 1960 and at no time have we been permitted to leave them. The meals that we are brought twice a day are very bad. For three or four days 1 ate nothing but a banana. I told this to the Red Cross medical officer sent to me. I spoke to him in the presence of a colonel from Thysville. I demanded that fruit be bought on my own money because the food that I am given here is atrocious. Although the medical officer gave his permission, the military authorities guarding me turned down my request, stating that they were following orders from Kasavubu and Colonel Mobutu. The medical officer from Thysville prescribed a short walk every evening so that I could leave my cell for at least a little while. But the colonel and the district commissioner denied me this. The clothes that I wear have not been washed for thirty-five days. I am forbidden to wear shoes.

In a word, the conditions we are living in are absolutely intolerable and run counter to all rules. Moreover, I receive no news of my wife and I do not even know where she is. Normally I should have had regular visits from her as is provided for by the prison regulations in force in the Congo. On the other hand, the prison regulations clearly state that not later than a day after his arrest a prisoner must be brought before the investigator handling his case. Five days after this a prisoner must again be arraigned before a judge, who must decide whether to remand him in custody or not. In any case, a prisoner must have a lawyer.

The criminal code provides that a prisoner is released from prison if five days after he is taken into custody the judge takes no decision on remanding him. The same happens in cases when the first decision (which is taken five days after a person is arrested) is not reaffirmed within fifteen days. Since our arrest on December 1 and to this day we have not been arraigned before a judge or visited by a judge. No arrest warrant has been shown to us. We are kept simply in a military camp and have been here for thirty-four days. We are kept in military detention cells. The criminal code is ignored as are the prison rules. Ours is purely a case of arbitrary imprisonment. I must add that we possess parliamentary immunity.

Such is the situation and I ask you to inform the United Nations Secretary-General of it. I remain calm and hope the United Nations will help us out of this situation. I stand for reconciliation between all the children of this country.
I am writing this letter secretly on bad paper. I have the honour to be, etc.
Patrice LUMUMBA,
Prime Minister

Source: Patrice Lumumba, The Truth about a Monstrous Crime of the Colonialists, Moscow, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1961, pp. 68-69.

 

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Here are international statements on todays voting and Presidential elections in Burundi

BurundiNTVNews

You can see usual suspect Didier Reynders from Belgium speaking on the country again. U.S. has to speak and does say it softly. Canada’s foreign affairs also had an opinion on the election. Red Cross is concerned about the refugee situation concerning the violence in Burundi and how it affects the bordering countries and their refugee camps.

Kenyan TV report:  – This is from today and is a Youtube clip.

U.S. Response:

“The legitimacy of the electoral process in Burundi over the past few months has been tainted by the government’s harassment of opposition and civil society members, closing down of media outlets and political space, and intimidation of voters. Dozens have been killed, and as many as 167,000 Burundians are now refugees in neighboring nations” (…) “Attempts by the Government of Burundi to deny citizens the ability to choose their leadership freely, without intimidation and threat of violence, will force the United States to carefully review all aspects of our partnership not yet suspended, including the imposition of visa restrictions on those responsible for — or complicit in — promoting instability in Burundi through violence” (Kirby, 2015).

Belgium response:

“Didier Reynders deeply regrets the organisation of presidential elections in Burundi, today 21 July. These elections do not meet the minimal requirements of inclusiveness and transparency. They are not credible and will not contribute to a solution for the crisis in the country” (…) “Belgium calls on Burundi to revive the spirit of consensus and inclusiveness of the Arusha agreement, that is still the cornerstone for constitutional order and stability in Burundi” (Reynders, 2015).

Canada response:

MP for Foreign Affairs Rob Nicholson says: ““His bid has unleashed instability and violence characterized by the unrestrained use of force by militias acting with total impunity, exacerbating an already dire humanitarian crisis. Close to 170,000 Burundians—including prominent members of government and key democratic institutions as well as journalists—have fled to neighbouring countries fearing for their lives. Dozens of people have already died in violence related to the political unrest” (…) “Canada calls on President Nkurunziza and his government to protect the rights and interests of all Burundians and work with the East African Community and the African Union in accordance with the Arusha Peace Accords” (Quinney, 2015).

EAC response:

“he EAC Election Observer Mission started arriving in the Republic of Burundi on 17th July 2015 and underwent briefing on Election Observation Methodologies and from CENI” (…) “The EAC Election Observer Mission was deployed today, 20th July 2015 to various Provinces of Burundi to observe the polling and counting processes” (…) “The EAC has been involved in the Burundi Electoral process since January 2015 through the Panel of Eminent Persons (PEP), Pre-Election Expert Mission (PEMi), the Council of Ministers, and the Summit of the EAC Heads of State” (EAC, 2015).

Red Cross fears:

“In one day alone, more than 30 malnourished Burundian children were admitted and showing secondary complications including malaria, pneumonia, worms, anemia and diarrhea. At least four known deaths of malnourished infants have been recorded so far” (…) “Burundian Presidential elections, set to take placed on Tuesday, July 21st. An estimated 25,000 people have fled to the Tanzanian border camp in the last month alone, bringing the total number of Burundian refugees to around 78,000; a fifth of which are thought to be children under five” (…) “Tensions are running high between new arrivals and the long-established refugee population from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), most of whom arrived in 1996 following the Rwandan genocide and the subsequent regional instability” (Carrol, 2015).

Last thought: 

Hope you found this interesting while the voting and polling is coming. I can’t wait to see what the EAC report on the election says and we all know kind of already what result will be. The numbers is the thing we wonder about. But the winner and third term is happening because like for instans the opposition parties Agathon Rwasa FNL has pulled out and so has other parties done. So you can just see what happens and it sure will be the winner of Presidential Election of 2015. The third term of the CNDD-FDD… so many means is breaking with the Arusha Peace Agreement of 2006. Well, Pierre doesn’t agree and doesn’t care. He is on the Power Kool-Aid and can’t have enough. All of the people of Burundi don’t all agree with the President Nkurunziza. Peace.

Reference:

Carrol, Phil – ‘Child Malnutrition Levels Soar in Tanzanian Refugee Camp as Burundian Presidential Election Approaches’ (21.07.2015) link: http://www.savethechildren.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=8rKLIXMGIpI4E&b=9241315&ct=14743281

EAC – ‘EAC Election Observer Mission to the Presidential Elections in the Republic of Burundi’ (20.07.2015) link: http://eac.int/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1916:eac-election-observer-mission-to-the-presidential-elections-in-the-republic-of-burundi&catid=146:press-releases&Itemid=194&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Kirby, Jon – ‘Elections in Burundi Will Lack Credibility’ (21.07.2015) link: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2015/07/245104.htm

Reynders, Didier – ‘Didier Reynders regrets the organisation of presidential elections in Burundi today 21 July’ (21.07.2015) link: https://appablog.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/didier-reynders-regrets-the-organisation-of-presidential-elections-in-burundi-today-21-july/

Quinney, Johanna – ‘Canada Condemns Use of Violence for Political Goals in Burundi Ahead of Election (21.07.2015) Link: http://foreignaffairs.co.nz/2015/07/21/canada-condemns-use-of-violence-for-political-goals-in-burundi-ahead-of-election/#sthash.A17ljQ8C.dpuf

Press release: Red Cross responds to growing need for regional assistance following Burundi pre-election violence (23.05.2015)

StampBurundi

Nairobi/Geneva 23 May 2015 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is deeply concerned about the current situation in Burundi and its humanitarian consequences in the country and region.

Pre-election tension and violence have intensified in recent weeks in Burundi, resulting in a number of casualties in the capital of Bujumbura. More than 100,000 Burundians have fled across the country’s borders into neighbouring Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania.

The Rwandan Red Cross reports that 26,756 Burundians have crossed its border over the past three weeks, while UNHCR reports at least 76,520 Burundians have fled to Tanzania.

In Tanzania, the men, women and children, who fled their homes only with what they could carry, are also now facing a cholera outbreak. According to health officials, 33 people have died so far. The outbreak is feared to be worsening with more than 2,000 suspected cases now reported, increasing at the rate of 300 to 400 new cases per day, particularly in Kagunga and nearby areas. At least 15 suspected cases have been reported on the Burundi side of the border. Many cases of acute watery diarrhoea have also been reported.

“Over half of the refugees from Burundi who seek refuge in Tanzania are children who are particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases like cholera. Many of the families arriving are female-led which makes them even more vulnerable to violence and insecurity,” said Finn Jarle Rode, IFRC regional representative, East Africa. “There are urgent needs in water and sanitation, health, first aid and shelter.”

IFRC is supporting National Red Cross Societies in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania in responding to the urgent and rising humanitarian needs, especially those of woman and children who are the most affected in the current crisis, and to ensure close collaboration and coordination between the three National Societies.

On 20 May, IFRC launched an emergency appeal for 1 million Swiss francs to support the Tanzanian Red Cross Society in delivering assistance to 20,000 Burundian refugees with a focus on emergency health, water, sanitation, hygiene promotion, emergency shelter, and relief. Since the beginning of the crisis, staff and volunteers of the Tanzania Red Cross Society have been on the frontline of the response, providing people in need with immediate humanitarian assistance. A Field Assessment Coordination Team (FACT) has also been deployed to further evaluate the needs of the refugees and update the Red Cross response plan accordingly.

In Burundi, the Red Cross deployed three first aid mobile response teams in Bujumbura. They are offering onsite first aid treatment, evacuation of the injured to hospitals, and referrals of pregnant women caught up in the violence. Burundi Red Cross is monitoring the situation closely in all provinces and has pre-positioned stocks to be able to adapt its response to the fast changing context.

In Rwanda, the National Society has been supporting refugees at different entry points, in two transit camps and in one permanent camp with registration, first aid, psychosocial support, distribution of non-food items and helping separated family members regain contact with their loved ones.

“The Red Cross is on the front lines of this response, and currently, a lot remains unknown,” said Jarle Rode. “As the needs of those affected become clearer through our on-going assessments, we will undoubtedly have to seek significant additional resources to ensure affected people and families in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania receive the humanitarian support they deserve.”

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest volunteer-based humanitarian network, reaching 150 million people each year through its 189 member National Societies. Together, the IFRC acts before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. It does so with impartiality as to nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class and political opinions. For more information, please visit www.ifrc.org/africa. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

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