The Humanitarian Times

February 10, 1999


- FOOD AID AND NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES IN HUMANITARIAN CRISES will be subject of NGO workshop March 3-5, in WashDC (originally scheduled for March 3-5, but postponed). Field experience with enrichment & fortification of ration foods is sought by organizers: please forward to


- ETHIOPIA & ERITREA RESUMED WAR SATURDAY, AIRSTRIKES ONGOING, along two fronts, & millions at risk of displacement in armed dispute incited by disagreements over currencies, deportations, political institutions and access to Eritrea’s Red Sea ports.



Tensions mount in Zimbabwe, as troops fired teargas today against student rioters. Zimbabwe is troubled by high inflation, failure of land distributions promised in peace agreements, rising unemployment and current standoff between President Mugabe and the Supreme Court (siding with press). Guinea is seeing unrest and conflict potential spread from neighbors Sierra Leone and Liberia.


- EUROPEAN RELIEF NONPROFITS BEGIN NEW 'HSPN' PROGRAM ON SAFETY: the Humanitarian Safety and Protection Network Project, to collect NGO security information while ensuring confidentiality; this project is supported by ECHO and Dutch Gov.


- BOOK: WORLD HUNGER, TWELVE MYTHS DISPUTES CAPITALISM AND MALTHUS (1998, Oakland: Institute for Food and Development Policy) in 2nd & much-expanded edition of the 1986 text, merging material from the 1970s classic "Food First." The authors argue that equality of access to property is a more fundamental solution to poverty than yield increases, industrial agriculture, more pesticides, or privatization of property.


- PROGRESS IN AIDS CONTROL ACCOMPANIED BY NEWS OF HIV RESISTANCE: Mother-to-child (perinatal) transmission of HIV/AIDS can be greatly reduced with short course of 2 drugs, AZT and 3TC, the first such course that is reasonably affordable in poor countries. News from Chicago AIDS conference also finds that genetic evolution in the AIDS virus has led to strains resistant to multi-drug therapy and likely to spread as increasing proportion of HIV infections.


- ESCALATION OF KOSOVO CONFLICT WARNED (BY USG) LIKELY IN SPRING; as Serb & re-armed KLA forces will increase cycle of retaliation, including attacks on civilians; renewed mass displacement likely.


- BOSNIAN PROPERTY CLAIMS LEGISLATION PASSED BY SRPSKA ASSEMBLY in Dec.98 clarifying steps for return of real estate and housing to pre-war residents, and harmonizes statues with Muslim-Croat Fed.


- THAILAND REPORTS LOWEST REFUGEE COUNT IN DECADES while also releasing information on its most severe drought in decades, likely to lead to severe rural food insecurity by summer.


- SHIPBOARD MASSACRES AND VIOLENT SHIP HIJACKING ON UPSWING, particularly in Indonesia, Philippines, Bangladesh, Somalia, Ecuador and Brazil, reported Malaysia-based International Maritime Bureau last week in global survey of pirates (Reuters).


- CONFLICTS IN AFRICA DEBATED AT NORTH CAROLINA CONFERENCE Feb 5-6, at Triangle Institute for Security Studies. A formula to reduce ethnic and tribal violence in the Great Lakes was proposed by scholar Ali Mazrui: to federate the states of Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania. Rene Lemarchand argued that reconciliation and justice first require truth which means overcoming genocide denial.


- CHINA REMOVES 300,000 LANDMINES ALONG VIETNAM BORDER, out of 800,000 known mines, in a successful test of innovative techniques including anti-landmine 'boots' (Reuters).


- RECENT BOOK: ALLIES KNEW OF CIVILIAN MASSACRES IN 1941 "Official Secrets: What the Nazis Planned, What the British and Americans Knew" by Richard Breitman (NY: Hill and Wang) presents comprehensive findings about a case where crisis monitoring systems failed to provide actual alerts to policy-makers. Allies’ intelligence staff had knowledge of mass exterminations, indicating a growing Nazi pattern of ethnic cleansing, as early as 1941, though little of this information was used or circulated. "While British officials kept this irrefutable evidence secret, many (US) State Dept. officials chose not to believe or to act on what evidence they had." New information is also reviewed on the roles of specific Nazi officials and institutions, and plans to construct gas chambers demonstrate the early Nazi intent to deport Jews from the eastern front for extermination.


- CORRECTION: The last issue (Jan. 29, 1999) of The Humanitarian Times incorrectly cited the date as 1998 and should have identified Human Rights Watch Annual Survey as having 1999 in its title.