|Law in Humanitarian Crises, Volume II : Access to Victims: Right to Intervene or Right to Receive Humanitarian Assistance? (ECHO)|
UN Doc. S/1995/297,9 April 1995
1. The present report is submitted in response to Security Council resolution 965 (1994) of 30 November 1994, by which the Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mion for Rwanda (UNAMIR) for a period of six months, until 9 June 1995. Under that resolution, the Council requested me to report by 9 February and 9 April 1995 on the implementation of UNAMIR's mandate, the safety of populations at risk, the humanitarian situation and progress towards the repatriation of refugees. The present report covers developments since my report of 6 February (S/1995/107).
2. During the reporting period, a mission of Security Council members visited Rwanda on 12 and 13 February 1995 and submitted its findings to the Council in a report of 28 February (S/1995/164). The Mission stressed that, as long as 2 million Rwandese remained in camps in or outside their country, the situation in Rwanda would remain inherently unstable. In this connection, it underlined the interrelated issues facing the Government: repatriation, reconciliation, reconstruction and the need for justice. It called on the Government to intensify its efforts to create favourable conditions and an auspicious climate inside the country to encourage and facilitate repatriation.
II. POLITICAL ASPECTS
3. It has been a year since Rwanda was engulfed in a genocide that left at least 500,000 people dead. In the message I sent to the Government and people of Rwanda on the first anniversary of those horrors, I conveyed my deepest sympathy and stressed that never again should the perpetrators of such crimes be permitted to get away with impunity. I also pledged the continued support of the United Nations to the building of a new Rwandese society based on tolerance, harmony and justice.
4. In the nine months since the new Government of Rwanda assumed office, the overall situation in the country has improved considerably. The private sector has revived in an atmosphere of relative security; markets, shops and small businesses have sprung up, agricultural activities have restarted and schools have reopened.
5. Radio UNAMIR commenced broadcasting on 16 February and is on the air seven days a week in three languages, in an effort to present objective information to the Rwandese people at home and in refugee camps abroad. Plans are in hand to increase Radio UNAMIR's broadcast time.
6. In my report of 6 February, I noted that, while Rwanda continued to face problems in regard to repatriation, reconciliation and rebuilding its administrative structures, the overall situation was evolving positively. Over the past two months, however, tensions and frustrations have surfaced and the security situation in the country has deteriorated. The Prefect of Butare was murdered in an ambush on 4 March; armed saboteurs have reportedly entered Rwanda; and more and more people are being detained by the Government.
7. These developments have contributed to a considerable decline in the repatriation of Rwandese refugees from Zaire, the United Republic of Tanzania and Burundi. In addition, over 200,000 internally displaced persons remain in camps because they fear insecure conditions in their home communes or because of intimidation by extremist elements in the camps.
8. There are reports that the armed forces of the former Rwandese Government are training and rearming. Over the past two months, soldiers of the forces of the former Government have reportedly been apprehended in Rwanda, carrying arms, grenades and anti-personnel mines. As a result, the Rwandese Patriotic Army has tightened security and strengthened its border patrols.
9. These measures against possible infiltrators have also led to incidents involving United Nations and international staff. United Nations vehicles and staff have been searched and supplies of goods and equipment have been stopped at Kigali airport. In addition, government authorities at the middle and lower levels are often uncooperative. Last month, Radio Rwanda initiated a propaganda campaign of surprising virulence and broadcast unfounded allegations of misconduct by UNAMIR personnel. After a protest by my Special Representative, however, Radio Rwanda has reverted to a more balanced attitude towards UNAMIR.
10. The relationship between UNAMIR and the Rwandese Patriotic Army has been discussed by my Special Representative with the President of Rwanda, Mr. Pasteur Bizimungu, and with the Vice-President and Minister of Defence, Major-General Paul Kagame. Both the President and the Vice-President reaffirmed their Government's support for UNAMIR and said minor incidents should be cleared up at fortnightly joint staff meetings. The Vice-President added that some of the frustrations, especially at the lower level, were the result of the perception that the Government could not exercise complete sovereign authority in Rwanda as long as there was a large UNAMIR military presence in the country. In this connection, both the President and the Vice-President felt that, at an appropriate time, UNAMIR's mandate and its possible phase-out from Rwanda should be discussed.
III. LEGAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS ASPECTS
11. In response to the rise in tension in parts of the country, the Human Rights Field Operation in Rwanda strengthened its monitoring activities during the reporting period. As of 1 April 1995, the Field Operation was composed of 113 staff in 11 field offices, including 55 short-term staff; 30 United Nations Volunteers (UNVs); 12 human rights officers from the European Union and 8 experts provided by the Governments of the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland. It is expected that a further contingent of some 28 human rights officers contributed by the European Union, as well as additional UNVs, will be deployed on 19 April.
12. The human rights officers work directly with the population, as well as with government officials and civic leaders throughout the country. They seek to promote respect for the rights of individual citizens and a sense of confidence and stability.
13. The establishment of an effective judicial system is one of the most pressing problems facing the Government. Although efforts are often made by the Government and its security forces to follow correct procedures, arrests are sometimes arbitrary. Many individuals are held without hope of timely trial proceedings. There are approximately 27,000 people in Rwanda's desperately overcrowded prisons. Kigali prison, for example, built to accommodate 1,500 detainees, currently houses over 7,000. On 16 March, 24 people died in a police detention cell.
14. The Technical Co-operation Unit of the Field Operation
recently issued a comprehensive programme addressing the needs of the Government
in establishing a civil society based on respect for human rights. This
programme, which was developed in close consultation with the relevant
government ministries, includes recommendations on measures to facilitate the
prosecution of suspects accused of serious human rights violations. It also
proposes a strategy for introducing human rights education in Rwandese schools
15. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Jose Ayala-Lasso, has launched an international appeal with a view to assisting the Government of Rwanda to re-establish the judicial system. He has also appealed for funds to recruit more human rights monitors who, as part of their duties, would work closely with the judiciary. During his visit to Rwanda from 1 to 3 April, the High Commissioner had the opportunity to discuss many of the above issues with government officials.
IV. INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL
16. By its resolution 977 (1995) of 22 February 1995, the Security Council decided that the International Tribunal for Rwanda would have its seat at Arusha (United Republic of Tanzania). A team composed of experts from the United Nations Secretariat and the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia will visit the United Republic of Tanzania shortly to secure premises for the International Tribunal for Rwanda and to negotiate the necessary agreements with the Tanzanian authorities.
17. On 7 March, I addressed a letter to all States Members of the United Nations, as well as to non-member States maintaining permanent observer missions at United Nations Headquarters, inviting them to nominate judges for the Tribunal. I requested that these nominations be made by 7 April 1995.
18. The Office of the Prosecutor for the International Tribunal was established in Kigali in January 1995 and the Deputy Prosecutor, Mr. Rakotomanana, took office on 20 March. In a statement issued by the Chief Prosecutor, Judge Goldstone, on 5 April, it was announced that the Tribunal was processing about 400 cases and that the first case for trial was expected in the second half of the year. Since January, Tribunal staff have been gathering information and evidence in Rwanda and other countries. In view of the importance and volume of the work involved, more expert personnel are required and efforts to secure the necessary staff are under way. I welcome the voluntary contributions pledged by some Member States to support the activities of the Tribunal and I appeal for more such assistance to enable the Tribunal to carry out its tasks.
V. MILITARY ASPECTS
19. As at 1 April, UNAMIR's force strength stood at 5,529 troops and 297 military observers (see annex). Since my report of 6 February, an Indian signals company has been deployed, the inter-African battalion has been replaced by a Senegalese battalion of 241 all ranks, the Malawi company of 181 and the Australian medical support group of 293 have both been rotated and the Canadian logistics support group of 95 has been fully deployed.
20. UNAMIR has been working under additional pressure as a result of the recent deterioration in security. Instances of harassment and intimidation directed at UNAMIR and other United Nations personnel, property and installations have, as noted earlier, increased during the reporting period.
21. On 15 February, UNAMIR headquarters at Mutura, east of Gisenyi, where the Tunisian battalion is located, was hit by grenades and small arms fire in a deliberate and unprovoked attack against a UNAMIR signals installation. The following day, while investigating the circumstances surrounding the attack, eight members of a UNAMIR patrol were injured by a land-mine probably planted by the attackers. On 5 March, three grenades were thrown at the Nigerian contingent's guardpost at Byumba, injuring two soldiers, one of them seriously.
22. These are the first incidents since the end of the civil war in which United Nations troops appear to have been deliberately targeted. My Special Representative and the Force Commander have informed the authorities of their serious concern and members of the Government have expressed regret for these attacks, indicating that they were isolated acts. Investigations are under way to determine the circumstances and the identities of those involved.
23. Mechanisms have been put in place to enable UNAMIR and the Rwandese Patriotic Army to liaise and exchange views at both the command and the staff officer levels. These arrangements facilitate the resolution of complaints and enhance co-operation and co-ordination. However, the worsening security situation has strained relations between UNAMIR and the Rwandese Patriotic Army. Indeed, the Rwandese Patriotic Army has frequently restricted the movement of UNAMIR personnel and denied it access to certain areas. This has affected UNAMIR's ability to discharge its mandated tasks fully and effectively.
24. Difficulties have also been encountered on the occasion of troop rotations, when UNAMIR personnel have been held up or denied entry at Kigali airport. It should be recalled, in this connection, that the Model Status of Forces Agreement (A/45/594), which reflects the customary principles and practices of United Nations peace-keeping operations, contains provisions regulating the entry, residence and departure of personnel of peace-keeping operations. The agreement on the status of UNAMIR and its personnel, concluded on 5 November 1993, contains identical provisions. Following the modification of UNAMIR's mandate under Security Council resolution 918 (1994) of 17 May 1994 and the installation of the present Government in July 1994, an exchange of letters to constitute an agreement between the United Nations and the Government of Rwanda was initiated. The purpose of this was not to reaffirm the applicability of the agreement concluded on 5 November 1993, which in accordance with well-established principles of international law is not in doubt, but to supplement it by reflecting the changes in UNAMIR's mandate. However, despite several reminders, the Government has not yet replied. It is my hope that this matter will be promptly resolved and that the Government will agree to honour its obligations under the agreement.
25. There is a pressing need for a comprehensive mine-clearance programme. However, the Government of Rwanda has not yet responded to the offers of the United Nations for assistance in mine clearance and minefield survey and marking. Such a programme would, among other things, open up many areas to returnees, including agricultural fields. A team of mine experts from the United States Department of Defense recently visited Rwanda and held discussions with UNAMIR concerning a possible plan of action in this area. In the meantime, UNAMIR explosives demolition teams continue to carry out limited mine-clearing operations, especially in urban areas.
VI. CIVILIAN POLICE
26. In my report of 6 February, I noted that UNAMIR was pursuing its efforts to assist the Government of Rwanda in training a new integrated national police force. The training of 300 gendarmes and 20 instructors, which started on 19 December 1994, is expected to conclude by the end of April. The Government has requested that UNAMIR train an additional 400 gendarmes before beginning the training programme for 100 instructors, which was scheduled to commence in June.
27. Following a request from the Government, a UNAMIR civilian police observer has been assigned to assist the Chief of Staff of the National Gendarmerie in determining operational requirements to ensure that, upon completion of their training, gendarmes are ready and properly equipped for deployment.
28. Owing to financial and material constraints, the training programme for communal police, which was scheduled to begin in February, has been delayed. The Government has informed UNAMIR that it is intensifying its efforts to obtain the necessary resources to permit training to begin at the earliest opportunity. Once funding is secured, UNAMIR will begin a training programme for approximately 1,500 communal police.
29. As part of its monitoring and investigatory activities, the UNAMIR civilian police component has teams of 3 to 4 observers in each of the 11 prefectures in the country. These observers work in close co-operation with local authorities, United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations, and assist human rights monitors and UNAMIR personnel in the performance of their respective duties.
30. UNAMIR continues to face an acute shortage of civilian police personnel, a situation which seriously impairs the discharge of its expanded tasks. While, in accordance with resolution 965 (1994), the strength of UNAMIR's civilian police component was increased to 120 police observers, only 58 are currently deployed. These observers are from Djibouti (7), Germany (9), Ghana (10), Guinea-Bissau (8), Mali (10), Nigeria (10) and Zambia (4).
31. As stressed in previous reports, there is a particularly urgent need for additional French-speaking civilian police observers. In this connection, on 22 February, I again approached Member States, including 13 French-speaking countries, to ascertain their interest in providing additional civilian police observers. I have not, so far, received any positive responses.
VII. HUMANITARIAN ASPECTS
32. At the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) round-table conference, held at Geneva on 18 and 19 January 1995, the international donor community pledged some $587 million to support the Government's rehabilitation and reconstruction programme. The slow process of turning donor pledges into actual support, however, has led to problems and growing frustration on the ground.
33. The humanitarian programme in Rwanda maintains its emphasis on the provision of emergency relief to the affected population, as well as on activities aimed at enabling the Government to function effectively. Progress in these areas, however, has been affected by the paucity of resources available. To date, a relatively small portion of the contributions pledged at the UNDP round-table conference has been converted into actual disbursements. This is also true of the response to the 1995 consolidated inter-agency humanitarian assistance appeal launched in January 1995. The Trust Fund for Rwanda totalled $4,710,857 as at 1 April, most of it being disbursed to support the national judicial system.
34. There are substantial food shortages within the country and the subregion. The recent Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)/World Food Programme (WFP) crop assessment indicates that the January 1995 harvest was significantly smaller than in previous years. If the threat of starvation and malnutrition is to be averted for some 3 million refugees and internally displaced persons from Rwanda and Burundi, rapid and substantial food aid from the international community is required. In the meantime, United Nations non-governmental organizations are distributing seeds and tools to the affected population. There is also a programme of seed and livestock protection for the benefit of vulnerable groups. The WFP food-for-work programmes seek to promote the rehabilitation of infrastructure and the strengthening of food security.
35. Problems affecting children continue to receive special attention. United Nations and non-governmental organizations are registering unaccompanied minors and attempting to reunite families. So far, approximately 3,000 children have been reunited with their families and psychosocial counselling and trauma recovery programmes are expected to be enlarged in the near future. Agreement has been reached with the Ministry of Justice to permit 400 children between the ages of 11 and 17, imprisoned for alleged involvement in the genocide, to be moved to a separate location for children only. As a result of consultations with the Ministry of Defence, some 4,000 "child soldiers" are expected to be demobilized shortly.
36. There have been some improvements in the health sector. Nearly half of the 280 vaccination centres which were operational before April 1994 have reopened and a programme to equip them has begun. Some 26 nutritional centres for unaccompanied children have reopened and receive supplementary food aid. It is planned to have 100 nutritional centres operational during 1995. Projects relating to family planning, maternal care and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) are being promoted vigorously.
37. The humanitarian agencies have intensified their efforts to ensure wider access to education. This has included the distribution of basic classroom resources and supplies and an emergency curriculum for over 140,000 primary schoolchildren. Teacher emergency packages have been distributed to over 7,000 teachers serving about 600,000 children in Rwanda. Moves are under way to adapt the packages for young people in prisons and for literacy and basic skill-training programmes, especially for youth and women. A pilot project for implementing teacher emergency packages in refugee camps was launched in February.
38. Activities are taking place, within the context of Operation Retour, to expedite the voluntary return of internally displaced persons. Six camps for internally displaced persons have been closed and some 40,000 people have been resettled in their home communities, where agencies are implementing rehabilitation projects. The remaining camps hold more than 200,000 displaced people. In certain quarters in Rwanda, these camps are viewed as breeding grounds for destabilization activities and the Government is anxious to close them as soon as possible.
39. The recent deterioration in the security situation, together with the lack of resources, has had a negative impact on the resettlement of returnees. The increased screening of them by the Rwandese authorities has also inhibited progress towards a faster rate of refugee repatriation. Recent arrangements made by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees with the Governments of the United Republic of Tanzania and Zaire, aimed at assuring security in Rwandese refugee camps in those countries, were expected to help reduce intimidation and thus permit a higher rate of repatriation. However, most of the estimated 60,000 refugees who returned to Rwanda during the first two months of the year were from the 1959 case-load. Most of the more recent refugees who have returned so far are women and children. United Nations organizations are facilitating their repatriation through reception and transport facilities.
40. Returnees from the 1959 case-load are currently estimated at over 600,000. Their resettlement has become a major problem for the authorities, since many of them have illegally occupied the homes and land of recently departed refugees, some of whom have also begun to return home. The Government urgently needs resources to accommodate both groups of returnees in a manner that ensures justice and promotes reconciliation. To facilitate their reintegration, returnees will have to be provided with assistance in education, housing and job training. A grave concern associated with the returnees from the 1959 case-load is the large number of cattle (estimated at 500,000) that they have brought with them. Lack of adequate grazing areas and water for these herds, combined with livestock diseases, threaten an ecological disaster.
41. Solutions to the humanitarian challenges faced by Rwanda are a vital element in international efforts to contribute to national reconciliation and economic recovery. Continued assistance is indispensable if progress is to be achieved, particularly in view of the disastrous consequences of the war and the continuing lack of resources available to the Government.
VIII. ADMINISTRATIVE AND FINANCIAL ASPECTS
42. The General Assembly, by its resolution 49/20 of 29 November 1994, authorized me to enter into commitments for a four-month period from 10 December 1994 to 9 April 1995, at a monthly rate not to exceed $15 million gross, in connection with the maintenance of UNAMIR. This amount was based on the then authorized strength of 320 military observers, 5,500 troops, 90 civilian police and 398 civilian personnel. Subsequently, the Security Council authorized an increase in the strength of the civilian police component from 90 to 120 police observers. My report on the financing of UNAMIR for the period from 10 December 1994 to 9 June 1995 and for the maintenance of the mission on a monthly basis after 9 June 1995 (A/49/375/Add.2) has been submitted to the General Assembly for consideration at its current session.
43. As at March 1995, unpaid assessments to the UNAMIR Special Account amounted to $46.5 million, and the total amount of outstanding assessed contributions for all peace-keeping operations was $1,662.8 million.
44. The progress achieved in Rwanda over the past nine months is threatened by renewed tensions. It is incumbent on the Government and the international community to take the steps necessary to put Rwanda back on the road to stability, national reconciliation and reconstruction.
45. These goals are likely to remain elusive, however, as long as 2 million Rwandese remain in camps outside their country. The indignation and deep sense of injustice felt by many Rwandese after the genoc is certainly understandable, but it cannot be allowed to frustrate the healing process that must take place if Rwanda is to be restored to peace and harmony. The Government is therefore urged to make more determined efforts to foster a climate of trust and confidence and to create conditions that will encourage refugees and displaced persons not suspected of involvement in the genocide to believe that they can return to their homes in safety. At the same time, steps must be taken to bring to trial, at the earliest opportunity, those who are guilty of genocide.
46. I therefore welcome the adoption by the Security Council on 27 February of resolution 978 (1995), in which it called on Member States to arrest persons against whom sufficient evidence existed of criminal responsibility for genocide. It is my hope that Member States will take the necessary follow-up action and help ensure that the International Tribunal for Rwanda becomes operational as soon as possible. The need for such steps is underlined by the recent disturbing reports of military training and an arms build-up by elements of the armed forces of the former Government of Rwanda in neighbouring countries. The Governments on whose territory such activities may be taking place must ensure that their countries do not become bases for incursions into Rwanda.
47. Rwanda's needs with regard to the rehabilitation of its administrative structures and social and economic reconstruction are great. It is clear that limited resources mean that the Government cannot by itself address all the problems facing the country. It needs the assistance and co-operation of its neighbours and the international community. I therefore urge donors to do all they can to accelerate the flow of aid to Rwanda. In this connection, Member States may wish to consider channelling funds through the Trust Fund for Rwanda, which can disburse assistance quickly and effectively.
48. The increasing harassment of United Nations and international staff serving in Rwanda is another source of serious concern. UNAMIR remains an essential confidence-building mechanism and its presence adds an important dimension to the Government's efforts to promote a climate of stability, trust and security. UNAMIR's presence also helps to create conditions conducive to the resettlement of refugees and displaced persons and to the provision of reconstruction assistance. I therefore urge the Government to extend to UNAMIR the necessary co-operation without which the Mission will not be able to carry out its mandate and the international community will find it more difficult to respond to Rwanda's rehabilitation needs. I should also like to remind the Government of its responsibility for the safety and security of all UNAMIR personnel, as well as for ensuring that their freedom of movement and access throughout the country is respected.
49. UNAMIR's present mandate, as defined under Security Council resolutions 918 (1994) and 965 (1994), will expire on 9 June. Senior Rwandese officials have pointed out that the situation in the country has changed since last July and that, at the appropriate time, the mandate and role of UNAMIR should be reviewed. I have, accordingly, requested my Special Representative to consider, in consultation with the Government, adjustments which could be made to the Mission's mandate. On the basis of his advice, I will, in my next report, submit to the Security Council recommendations on the role which UNAMIR could play in Rwanda after 9 June 1995.
50. The Council has emphasized the need for an international conference on security, stability and peace in the region. In accordance with the Council's most recent call for States of the region to organize such a conference, I intend to carry out necessary consultations with those States with a view to determining the type of assistance they may require in this regard.
51. In closing, I should like to thank my Special Representative, Mr. Shaharyar M. Khan, the Force Commander, Major-General Guy Tousignant, and all UNAMIR civilian, military and civilian police personnel, for their contribution to peace and stability in Rwanda under very trying circumstances.