The Humanitarian Times

January 27, 2000

 

- ZAMBIA & NAMIBIA INCREASINGLY ENGAGED IN ANGOLAN CRISIS; Thousands of Angolan refugees have been unable to receive aid in a remote & insecure border area in SW Zambia. In Namibia, adolescents have been conscripted, fearful & unpaid, into fighting with the Angolan army (reports the Washington Post).

- 8M ETHIOPIANS WILL NEED OUTSIDE FOOD AID, THE FAO (UN FOOD ORG) PROJECTS, due to low, drought-related maize & sorghum yields plus 400,000 displaced in war with Eritrea. 800,000 MT grain is needed in 2000.

- MILITARY JUNTA OUSTED DEM. GOVT IN ECUADOR LAST WEEKEND after ~10,000 indigenous highlanders marched peacefully on Quito, the capital, to protest govt economic policies that have been ineffective in addressing hyperinflation & high unemployment. This week the same protestors were disappointed that the new Junta-appointed President still favors the former govt's plan to replace the national currency, the sucre, with the US dollar.

- RUSSIAN MILITARY INCREASINGLY CONDEMNED FOR WAR CRIMES IN CHECHNYA, including by Human Rights Watch, whose monitors documented" several incidents of indiscriminate and disproportionate bombing of civilian targets by Russian forces" in violation of the Geneva Conventions, to which Russia is a signatory. Intl. experts surveyed by the Crimes of War Project concur the Geneva Conventions apply to the Chechnya conflict (www.crimesofwar.org/chechnya). The Russian military recently released its estimates that almost 10,000 Chechens have been killed in the fighting that began last summer. Russia's campaign is now shifting to destroy (& depopulate) new highland villages where rebels have retreated. This week, Russia declared that humanitarian aid will not be provided to refugees who fled those areas that it has now captured, as a measure to compel their return. This week the European Union suspended its economic & technical aid to Russia in protest of the military campaign against Chechnya.

- "STATE OF THE WORLD'S CHILDREN 2000" REPORT, BY UNICEF, NOW RELEASED (2000 NY: UNICEF) arguing that universal health, peace & education can be achieved at low costs, yet finds that more children live in poverty today than ever before. It also observes that 130M children are not attending school but who should be; & "the proliferation of light, inexpensive weapons has contributed to the increased use of children as soldiers & has been responsible for the vast majority of casualties in modern warfare." Constructive solutions are described, such as the children's Seeds of Peace movement in Colombia that engaged 3M children in national reconciliation. One unique addition in this year's report is a by-country list of important child-rights leaders such as the UK's Nigel Cantwell who led the NGO effort to draft the 1990 Convention on the Rights of the Child.

- PARIS CONF. ON NORTH KOREA FINDS HOLOCAUST-LIKE CONDITIONS & STARVATION deaths in 10 DPRK concentration camps. The French report is circulated to ~700 delegates of Euro. govts at this week's 3-day holocaust remembrance forum in Sweden which includes 20 presidents & prime ministers, & is convened to reflect on the failures to prevent the deaths of 6M Jews during WWII, as well as millions of others, since then, in crises Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia & Chechnya.

- MAURITANIA, UGANDA & BOLIVIA MAY ACHIEVE DEBT RELIEF IN COMING WEEKS under the HIPC (Highly Indebted Poor Countries) program, in meeting eligibility requirements (IMF). Separately, last week Indonesia received pledges of up to $10B from the IMF, the US & other donors as the next tranche in its emergency financial assistance.

- KAREN SOLDIERS BRIEFLY OCCUPIED A LARGE THAI HOSPITAL, TAKING HOSTAGES to advocate for Thai attention to the needs of refugees & freedom fighters from Burma too often denied asylum & medical care. Since then, this week, Burma junta forces have stepped up attacks against Karen villagers, forcing another 1,000 Karen to flee to Thailand. Yesterday, the US Govt said it would allow another 2,000 Burmese refugees, students now in Thailand, to come to the US.

- INTER-PRESS SERVICE GAVE 'SPECIAL HUMANITARIAN AWARD' TO EMMA BONINO, this week. The former member of the European Comm. (from Italy) in charge of humanitarian aid, she urged govts to more forthrightly base foreign policies on humanitarian goals as the only hope to prevent 100,000s of civilian deaths.

- NEW WEBSITE OF INTL CHILDREN-IN-WAR PHOTO-JOURNALISM by Marty Lueders: http://www.digitaljournalist.org/contents.html, added to other features including Albania, Cuba, Tibet.

- NEW REPORT ON PREVENTIVE ACTION, "CALMING THE FERGHANA VALLEY" by the Council on Foreign Relations (Lubin, Martin & Rubin, 1999 NY: Century Foundation Press), finds potential for escalating violence in the Ferghana region that spans 3 countries: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan (Central Asia) & where assassinations in 1997 were "followed by massive police repression in the Uzbekistan part of the Valley, the brief Nov 1998 uprising in the Tajikistan parts, & the well-coordinated bomb explosions in Tashkent on Feb. 16 1999 allegedly by Islamic militants." The authors examines the fractured development under the 3 separate national reform paths: "For the Ferghana Valley's highly integrated regional economy, the policies implemented by the 3 national govts have had a detrimental impact. Customs controls, establishment of separate currencies & differences in rates & means of economic liberalization "tear at the fabric that has woven the Valley together over centuries." The report recommends new cross-border & regional conflict monitoring, enhanced foreign aid & foreign direct investment as conflict prevention measures.

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UPCOMING TRAINING IN HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

 

There exist more training & educational programs about humanitarian action than at any previous time. Many training programs are described on the website: http://www.reliefweb.int/training/ which includes mostly UN-focused trainings such as INCORE's "Initiative on Conflict Resolution & Ethnicity," the UN Staff College Project, the UN Inst. for Training and Research, & peacekeeping education at the Austrian Study Center for Peace & Conflict Resolution (contact asprataspr.ac.at).

Related, a new internet clearinghouse on foreign aid positions is available for health professionals at: www.globalhealth.org/jobs/.

Following are some training programs more oriented to the skills needs of non-governmental aid workers:

 

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TRAINING RELATED TO HEALTH PROGRAMS

 

- PUBLIC HEALTH IN COMPLEX EMERGENCIES: 4 TRAINING COURSES IN 2000 as 2-week intensive courses co-developed by NGOs & sponsored by the govt's Off. US Foreign Disaster Assistance: Thailand (March 19-April 1); Bosnia (June 4-17; New York (Aug 13-26), and Uganda (November). Among the topics covered are epidemiology, communicable disease, environmental health, psychosocial trauma, & NGO coordination. Email: shortcourseatintrescom.org.

- HEALTH CARE IN EMERGENCIES (FEB 21-25) & COURSES IN RISK, NUTRITION & Humanitarian Principles, a modular certificate program by the Intl. Health Exchange, London; see: www.ihe.org.uk.

- LONDON SCHOOL COURSE ON POLICY, HEALTH & CONFLICT BEGINS MARCH 23 & runs for 5 weeks; London Sch Hygiene Trop Med; contact: Anthony.Zwiatlshtm.ac.uk.

- CASE WESTERN UNIV, OHIO, COURSE: "MANAGEMENT OF COMPLEX HUMANITARIAN Emergencies: Focus on Children & Families" June 19-23 in Cleveland. Contact: Joan.Farmeratuhhs.com.

- "PUBLIC HEALTH & HUMANITARIAN AID" SUMMER COURSE IN BRUSSELS from July 17-28 at the Cent. for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters: caroline.michellieratepid.ucl.ac.be

- NUMEROUS MASTERS DEG'S IN COMPLEX EMERGENCY PUBLIC HEALTH AT UNIV's available, including Schools of Public Health at Columbia, Tulane & Johns Hopkins. The Tulane (Louisiana) program also includes disaster management training with the Payson Center for Technology Transfer; contact: mockatmailhost.tcs.tulane.edu. Columbia's concentration in Forced Migration & Health is explained at: http://cpmcnet.columbia.edu/dept/sph/popfam/teach/mph_migrate.html.

 

GENERAL:

 

- SECURITY POLICY & PRACTICE TRAINING SEMINAR IN LONDON, UK, FEB. 1 by RED-R to allow interagency sharing of approaches, put on by Red-R: kirstienatredr.demon.co.uk. RED-R will offer further NGO security trainings under a 2-year program, in addition to its regular courses on electricity (next week), logistics, communications, environmental health & construction. Also see: www.redr.org.

- FEINSTEIN INTL FAMINE CENTER AT TUFTS UNIV OFFERS ADVANCED TRAINING including a Master of Arts in Humanitarian Assistance, as well as an 8-week "Expert Practitioner" training program, collaboration between the School of Nutrition & Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy; contact: ggamba01attufts.edu

- BIOFORCE TRAINS & COUNSELS AID WORKERS IN FRANCE: infoatbioforce.asso.fr

- OXFORD UNIV. INTL. SUMMER SCHOOL IN FORCED MIGRATION, JULY 17- AUG4 is put on by the Refugee Studies Program, which also offers a 5-day course on refugee psychosocial programs in Sept; a weekend workshop on "Rights of Refugees" May 20-21. See: http://www.qeh.ox.ac.uk/rsp/

- SUMMER INSTITUTE ON CONFLICT TRANSFORMATION ACROSS CULTURES, IN VERMONT at World Learning's School for Intl. Training; also, the Intl. Policy Advocacy course (May 18-June15). See: cspidatsit.edu.

- SPHERE HUMANITARIAN STANDARDS PROJECT RAMPING UP NUMEROUS TRAININGS this year, most in collaboration with NGOs; contact SPHERE's training unit in London: lowrieatuk.care.org.

- JOINT TRAINING IN DISASTER/EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT BY INTERWORKS is being developed in concert with NGOs: contact: Thompsonatinterworksmadison.com ; see www.interworksmadison.com.

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The Humanitarian Times