AROUND AFRICA
November/December 2000


Table of Contents
Farewell to Ezekiel Pajibo
U.S. Africa Relations in 2000
Burundian Refugees Threatened in Tanzania
AFJN Annual Meeting
AFJN/USCMA Joint Resolution on Africa Debt Cancellation
Congress Passes Kaiser Resolution
HIV/AIDS Prayer


Dear AFJN Members and Friends
Farewell to Ezekiel Pajibo
Over the years, many of you have had the good fortune to meet Ezekiel Pajibo, AFJN's hard-working, talented policy analyst, and invariably you've come away impressed. If you haven't met him, you have at least come to know him through his articles in our newsletter, or perhaps even heard or seen him interviewed on radio or television. Well, it is with a heap of mixed feelings that I tell you Ezekiel is leaving AFJN at the end of the year and moving on to new challenges. After eleven years of extraordinarily fine service to the cause of social justice advocacy for Africa, Ezekiel has been offered an opportunity to relocate to Africa and continue his work there. It was just too good to pass up. His contributions to AFJN and the advocacy community here in Washington, DC have always been of the highest quality and deeply appreciated. We're going to miss him a lot, even as we cheer him on in the pursuit of his next steps.

Please join us in sending Ezekiel to Africa with blessings and prayers for continued success in his work and mission. He has shaped AFJN in innumerable ways, and he leaves behind him a solid legacy of passion for justice. On behalf of the AFJN board, Caroline Obonyo and myself as staff, and all our members and friends, we say: Thank You, Ezekiel! God be with you.

Larry J. Goodwin                            Caroline Obonyo
AFJN Executive Director               Organizational Advancement Manager

 

Rays of Hope Amid Deepening Uncertainties
Highlights of Political Developments in Africa
The much-heralded dawn of the new millennium has come and the doomsayers are proven wrong. The sky has not fallen and the world has not come to an end. In Africa, political gyrations continue but hopeful signs emerge. This brief analysis will look at the continent regionally.

West Africa
Among the most riveting news from West Africa were the Ivory Coast Elections in October. Military strongman Robert Guei was forced to flee Abidjan after Ivorians took to the streets protesting his manipulation of the election in order to make himself president. The protest, marred by violence, perhaps signaled the beginning of an end to constitutional shenanigans by West African military leaders. Prior to the elections, nine of 14 candidates were disbarred. Alassane Ouattara, the most prominent opposition candidate, was excluded because his parents were alleged not to be Ivorian nationals. Long time veteran opposition leader Laurent Gbagbo was ultimately declared the winner of the elections. Immediately after his victory, Mr. Gbagbo extended the olive branch to his rivals and said that he would assemble a government of national unity. Ouattara has so far given a cold shoulder to Gbagbo's overture. In December, voters again will cast their ballots to elect a parliament. Ivorian watchers see the parliamentary elections as a litmus test of Gbagbo's popularity, and even of his legitimacy. Either way, the fact that Ivory Coast avoided an implosion in an unstable is remarkable.

In Senegal, the March election of Abdoulaye Wade ended the Socialist Party's four-decade rule. The gracious acceptance of defeat by Abdul Diouf, only Senegal's second president since independence from France, cemented the Senegalese people's adherence to civilian rule and their determination to maintain the ballot box as the mechanism for popular choice.

After more than 20 years of rule by Jerry Rawlings, Ghana's longest serving president, Ghanaians will go to the polls in December to choose a new government. The elections are being carefully watched. Absent any recourse to violence, they are expected to seal Ghana's path towards peaceful transition based on a popular mandate by the people through electoral politics.

In other parts of West Africa the picture is less bright. In July, Liberia returned to low-level warfare in the northern part of the country, close to its borders with Guinea. Both countries have traded accusations of blame for the fighting. Indications are that the war is escalating as Liberian rebels open a new front in Nimba County, an erstwhile stronghold of President Charles Taylor. Two new rebel groups have announced their intention to violently overthrow the Liberian Government. In Guinea, meanwhile, a new rebel group has been formed, which seeks to oust the military dictatorship of Alpha Conde. The United States has deployed U.S. marines to Guinea to assist in the training of Guinean soldiers, apparently in a bid to prevent the fall of the Conde Government.

At the same time, the war in Sierra Leone continues to limp on, preventing the country from recovering from nine years of devastating civil conflict. In early November, the Sierra Leone Government reached yet another agreement with the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). The new accord, signed in Abuja, Nigeria, calls for a 30 day cease-fire, full deployment of United Nations troops, and the return of all weapons, ammunition and other equipment captured from peacekeeping troops by the RUF. A few days following the signing of the accord, Liberian President Charles Taylor and the RUF called for the withdrawal of British troops from the country. Their demand was condemned by the Sierra Leone Government and by peace activists in the country. On November 24, more than 20,000 Sierra Leoneans marched in Freetown in support of keeping British troops in the country. The British now have in excess of 500 troops there. According to London, this is a demonstration of British commitment to "assisting the government of Sierra Leone in their quest for a lasting and peaceful settlement."

Central Africa
Peace continues to elude the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Burundi. In late November, former South Africa President Nelson Mandela met with the contending Burundian parties to revisit the accord reached in Arusha, Tanzania last August. The meeting stalemated around the implementation phase of the accord, especially in relation to the transitional instruments needed for the country to move toward a durable peace. Reports have it that President Pierre Buyoya has refused to allow any deployment of UN troops to monitor the transitional period, including the reintegration of rebels into the Burundian national army.

In late November, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa convened a meeting of seven African heads of state in Maputo, Mozambique in a fresh bid to get the Congolese peace process back on track. Presidents from Rwanda, Uganda, DRC, Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Mozambique and South Africa were all in attendance but none of the various DRC rebel groups were were represented. According to reports, the Maputo meeting sought to disarm Ugandan and Rwandan rebel groups in the DRC and to enforce the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the country. Speaking in Maputo, DRC President Laurent Kabila said that he would allow "greater freedom of movement to United Nations observers" who are mandated to monitor a cease-fire agreement, which all sides have violated repeatedly.

Horn of Africa
Ethiopia and Eritrea failed to make progress on the June Algiers Agreement at a recent meeting, which was also held in Algeria. In lieu of any forward movement, the United Nations has urged both countries to adopt a five point confidence-building measure. These include immediate release of all prisoners of war and interned civilians, exchange of maps of landmine areas, and opening land and air corridors for the UN deployment of 4,000 troops to monitor the cessation of hostilities. The Security Council noted that the deployment of UN troops could not substitute for genuine peace. The Netherlands and Canada are to contribute more than 1,000 troops for peacekeeping duties. They are expected to arrive in the region in mid-December.

Somalia appears to be putting its house back in order. In late September, following more than six months of negotiations, a transitional government was selected in Arta, Djibouti. More than 2000 Somalis, representing a cross section of the population, participated in the deliberations. Abdiqasim Salad Hasan was named the Interim President and a Transitional National Assembly was established with Abdullahi Abdulla Derow as Speaker of Parliament. President Hasan named Ali Khalif Galeyr as Prime Minister. However, two members of the government have been assassinated and various warlords, as well as the breakaway Northern Somaliland, are opposed to the new government.

In early November, the UN unveiled a plan to support the transitional Somalia Government, stating that "Somalis have now moved from the struggle for survival to the struggle for peace." Against this backdrop, the world body is proposing a program called "First Steps: An Operational Plan to Support Governance and Peace-building in Somalia." The UN hopes the plan will provide an incentive to consolidate peace through local initiatives that would access vulnerable members of the population, especially children, and lead to a reestablishment of law and order in the country.

So far donors have not come forward in support of the UN plan or the new transitional government. The new government has been reaching out primarily to its neighbors in East Africa. Officials so far have visited Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda. Somalia was recently seated as a member of the Intergovernmental Association for Development (IGAD), a regional peace and development consortium of East African countries.

Southern Africa
Economic malaise and street protests have gripped Zimbabwe, RENAMO has threatened a return to War in Mozambique, trade unionists in Swaziland are challenging the monarchy and UNITA has rebuffed a government's clemency offer to its fighters.

In Zimbabwe, protesters took to the streets in mid-October to vent their anger at a 30 % increase in the price of bread. The general state of the economy is dismal. Unemployment is a whopping 56 percent while inflation hovers near 60 percent. With a minimum wage of Z$1,500 (about US $27), Zimbabweans spend close to 88 percent of their daily income for two loaves of bread. In 1983, the Zim-dollar was exchanged for US $1.03 but today one Zim-dollar equals three U.S. cents. The continued dispute over land settlement, serious fuel shortages, and Zimbabwe's role in the DRC war also serve to undermine the government's ability to rein in the economy.

RENAMO, the largest opposition group in Mozambique and a former guerilla group created by Apartheid South Africa, recently threatened a return to war following a protest against the December 1999 elections. The elections, which resulted in the ruling FRELIMO party maintaining power after capturing 52.2% of the votes, were judged free and fair by international monitors. However, RENAMO continues to protest the results and has boycotted parliament for the last seven months. Supporters took to the streets in early November, almost one year after the elections were held. The protests turned violent with at least 38 persons killed, including seven police officers. The Government has launched an investigation into the violence. Human rights groups have said that the Mozambican police are to blame for the deaths. In late November, the situation worsened when more than 80 inmates died under mysterious circumstances in the north of the country, which is a major support base for RENAMO and was the scene of the demonstrations. According to preliminary investigations, the inmates' deaths may have been caused by conditions of over-crowding. RENAMO contends it has the right to appoint governors in six central and northern provinces, where it won a majority of the votes. However, according to the constitution, RENAMO's majority is not enough to give it the authority to appoint governors.

On the 25th Anniversary of Angola's independence from Portugal, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos called on his compatriots to be reconciled and to join his government's efforts at nation building. He told Jonas Savimbi, the leader of the rebel UNITA movement, to seek peace, promising to present a law to the National Assembly that would "grant amnesty to individuals, who have committed crimes against humanity in armed conflict, if they renounce the war." Dos Santos claimed that the war has de-intensified and cannot hinder the country's reconstruction and development.

UNITA has rebuffed the government's amnesty pledge and has been blamed for recent attacks in the northern part of the country, including the recapture of Quiculungo, which some analysts feel could shift the balance of power away from the government in the Kwanza-Norte Province.

In late October, a three-person delegation led by Dom Zacarias Kamwenyo, Catholic Archbishop of Lubango and president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Angola and Sao Tome, visited Washington, DC and New York City. The delegation met with U.S. government officials, aides to members of Congress and the U.S. mission at the United Nations to appraise them of civil society efforts in Angola to promote peace and ensure a role for civil society in building a durable peace in the country. In meetings with various U.S. based non-governmental organizations, the delegation called for solidarity from their American colleagues in the daunting task of bringing peace to Angola. They argued that Angola needs the same kind of support accorded to the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, and they noted that much of Angola's current dilemma is a result of Apartheid South Africa's former destabilization campaign in the region.

Finally, trade unionists in Swaziland have been protesting monarchic rule and calling for democratic liberties. Their protests, which at times were violently put down by the government, have created political tension in the country. The union leaders have threatened to blockade the border with South Africa, thereby preventing the import of goods. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has said that they will support their cousins across the border. King Mswati III, who rules by decree, exacerbated the situation in early November when he banned trade union meetings, re-introduced a sixty-day detention law and closed the University of Swaziland for two weeks. Political parties are not legal in the southern Africa kingdom.
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U.S. Africa Relations in 2000
Among the more important developments in U.S. Africa relations during the past year were President Clinton's visit to Africa, the White House Declaration that AIDS is a national security threat to the United States and Congress’ relief package for poor indebted countries.

Clinton Trip to Africa
President Clinton’s August visit to Africa gave a boost to Nigeria's image as it clambered out of international isolation following its democratic elections. The President’s trip also honored an invitation from former South Africa president Nelson Mandela to attend a ceremony in Arusha, Tanzania, where a peace agreement between Burundian warring factions was to be signed. In spite of the historic nature of Clinton’s visit, conditions in Nigeria and Burundi have not changed significantly.

The relationship between the U.S. and Nigeria continues to be driven more by military interests than assisting the country to consolidate its democracy. Witness the absence in U.S. policy of a commitment to cancel Nigeria's debt as advocated by AFJN and others, or the lack of U.S. support for repatriating funds stolen by former military dictators and stashed away in foreign banks. Nigeria's difficulties, whether they involve the emergence of Islamic Law in the North or restiveness in the oil-rich Delta Region, are related to issues of economic justice. If Nigeria’s economy could be organized to improve the living standard of its people, the country’s difficulties would be much more manageable.

In the case of Burundi, the country is no closer to a peaceful resolution of its conflict than it was in August, and Nelson Mandela is beginning to show signs of frustration with the situation. Vigorous and concerted diplomacy by the U.S. could help move the peace process forward. More importantly, public statements by the U.S. condemning arms suppliers to the region would go a long way toward establishing the basis for more dialogue. At a recent meeting on Burundi, a researcher noted that during a visit to the country a few years ago, guerrillas operating in the region did not have enough supplies of arms. Now, they have more arms than they have men willing to fight.

U.S. Assessment of AIDS in Africa
The White House announcement that AIDS in Africa poses a national security threat to the United States was not matched by a corresponding policy to eliminate the danger. The administration only managed to come up with a mere one billion dollars in loans that African governments could use to buy expensive drugs produced by American pharmaceutical companies. There was little surprise that Nigeria, South Africa, Namibia and Malawi said "no thanks." As observers in the battle against AIDS in Africa have noted, access to drugs is but a small fraction of the response needed to deal with the epidemic. Even if patients can afford the drugs, they often die from conditions exacerbated by lack of food or safe drinking water. As it is, the U.S. loan offer promised little more than deeper debt for minimal public health returns.

Congress Funds Debt Relief
Passage of congressional legislation this year, which allowed the administration to spend some $435 million to pay down the debt of poor countries, was a welcome move. AFJN has worked closely with the Jubilee 2000/USA campaign to obtain this funding. It is an important step forward. Even so, it remains far from meeting the need to cancel Africa's debt. While the U.S. acknowledges that debt burdens prevent poor countries from investing in the health and development of their people, the billion-dollar measure will not put a significant dent in Africa’s overall debt burden. Only outright cancellation will head off economically related violence and help ensure stability on the continent. The incoming Congress and the new administration will have to come to grips with that reality.

AFJN and others, who advocate for justice and peace in Africa, will continue trying to convince public officials and the general public that Africa matters. An important way to achieve that aim is to pursue a credible campaign, which assists Africa to emerge from its impoverishment through just international and domestic policies.
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Burundian Refugees Threatened in Tanzania
AFJN has learned that over half a million Burundian refugees residing in Tanzania may be threatened with forced, premature repatriation. Once a cease-fire has been agreed upon by warring factions in Burundi and a decision reached on an interim government, there will be significant pressure for the refugees to return to Burundi, whether or not peace prevails.

Signs are already moving in that direction. The Tanzanian government's patience has worn thin. Animosity between the refugees and their Tanzanian hosts has increased in the face of rising insecurity in the region. The fatigue of the international community with the impasse in the Burundian peace negotiations and a desire for a quick resolution to the conflict has led to signing an accord that

  • has still not gained the agreement of the Hutu armed opposition
  • was accepted with reservations by the Burundian government and the predominantly Tutsi parties
  • was signed prior to agreeing on a cease-fire and an interim government

Food rations in the camps have been cut by 40 percent. The World Food Program has officially stated that the fault lies in insufficient funding.

However, on previous occasions, like that of the forced repatriation of Rwandan refugees from Tanzania in 1996, cutting food rations has been used by the international community to create a "push factor" to get refugees to return home. It is reported that a statement to this effect was recently made by a UNHCR official in Dar es Salaam. The UNHCR has set up camps in Burundi to receive refugees returning from Tanzania. In a recent BBC broadcast, the UNHCR spokesperson expressed regret that no one had returned yet. The UNHCR repatriation contingency plan has apparently not included the participation of the wider NGO community.

Burundian members of Parliament have recently visited the camps, and Nelson Mandela is also expected to visit sometime soon. This has led a number of people familiar with the situation to suspect that a repatriation plan is already unfolding.

Meanwhile, fighting in Burundi continues and has even intensified, while more than 4,000 additional refugees fled the country into Tanzania last fall. As of mid-September, over 300,000 people were still internally displaced in Burundi itself. The present agreement cannot guarantee that hostilities will cease and that security will prevail. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a sober reminder of that fact.

All concerned parties must proceed with caution. The governments involved and the international community must assure that any repatriation takes place in safety, with dignity, and that each refugee must be given the chance to make her/his own decision to return or not.

North American and European leaders must persuade those responsible for implementing a peace accord to avoid the temptation of seeking an expedient solution, which is not rooted in the hearts and well-being of the Burundian people. A hasty move with respect to repatriation could lead to increased hostilities, risking the lives of innocent people and defeating efforts to seek a lasting peace for Burundi.
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AFJN Annual Meeting
On 30 September, AFJN held its Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL during the course of the Mission Congress 2000. Due to the pace of events at the congress, we had an abbreviated time in which to transact our business. Nonetheless we managed to get through an ambitious agenda.

Attendance was at an all time high of nearly 100 people as we settled a range of issues from electing board members to approving a joint AFJN/USCMA resolution on the debt crisis in developing countries. Herein are some of the main items approved by the membership at this year's Annual Meeting.

AFJN Board: October 2000-October 2001
Rev. Séamus Finn, OMI -- Chair
Sr. Durstyne Farnan, OP -- Vice Chair
Rev. Pasquino Panato, MCCJ -- Secretary/Treasurer
Rev. Brendan Darcy, SMA
Bro. Philip Armstrong, CSC
Rev. Tony Gittins, CSSp
Sr. Anne Louise Von Hoene, MMS
Rev. Mike Snyder, MM
Sr. Jo'Ann De Quattro, SNJM
Rev. Augustine Wall, SVD
Rev. Phil Reed, M.Afr.
Rev. Rick Ryscavage, SJ

AFJN Operational Plan 2001-2002
Every two years, AFJN members approve an operational plan to guide the main aspects of the organization's work and witness. This year's Annual Meeting authorized priorities and strategies, which acknowledge the heightened attention, both positive and negative, given to Africa by the U.S. The operational plan constitutes AFJN's blueprint for education and advocacy during the term of the 107th U.S. Congress (2001-2002).

The plan lifts up the centrality of economic justice for Africa. Trade and investment policies, key mechanisms of globalization, profoundly affect food security, poverty, agriculture and bio-diversity in Africa. AFJN will address those issues primarily through its Africa Grassroots Response Initiative (GRI). The on-going debt crisis continues to be a top AFJN priority.

In the area of peace and human rights, AFJN will continue to push the U.S. to support peaceful solutions to the conflicts plaguing sub-Saharan Africa. This will include adequately funding international peace initiatives, banning land mines, curbing the flow of small arms to the continent and demobilizing African child soldiers, helping to reintegrate them into society. At the same time, AFJN will maintain its efforts to have the U.S. be unequivocal in upholding high standards of human rights in its Africa policies. HIV/AIDS has also become a key AFJN priority.

One of the main challenges and needs for the future is to increase the level of effective activism among AFJN's individual and organizational members. Expanding activism is one of the most essential elements required for increasing AFJN's impact. In the next two years, AFJN wants to consult more closely with its organizational supporters and generate more contact between AFJN members and key policy makers in the U.S. government, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization.

The full operational plan is available from the national office. You can also obtain it from AFJN's web site if you click on "AFJN Information" at the bottom of the page.

Financial Report
AFJN reported to its members that the organization is making strides in securing its financial resource base. For the last two years we have maintained our income, especially with the help of certain grants. The longer-term picture will require us to deepen and expand our membership, while we identify other sources on which we can rely for funding our mission. Meeting the budget is a constant concern, and we continue to urge our members to commit themselves and their resources as fully as possible to the solid work that AFJN does on behalf of justice for Africa.

Of particular note this year was the production of AFJN's first-ever Annual Report, compiled from the 1999 audit that AFJN commissioned, and which will be undertaken on a yearly basis from this point onward. The audit and Annual Report provide us with a way to be more accountable to our membership and funders than has been possible before. The Annual Report is available upon request from the national office.

AFJN Annual Award
AFJN presented its second Annual Award, intended to honor "persons of faith, collaboration and instruments of education and advocacy on behalf of justice for Africa," to Rev. William Headley, CSSp. Fr. Headley, who now leads the policy division of Catholic Relief Services in Baltimore, MD, was a key mover in founding both AFJN and our cousin organization, the Africa-Europe Faith and Justice Network. In his acceptance remarks, Fr. Headley gratefully cited his own congregation, AFJN and Maryknoll as important inspirations for his missionary commitment.

Staff Office Report
Staff reported on the wide variety of happenings at AFJN and on the host of issues covered this past year. Internally, AFJN created the position of Organizational Advancement Manager and significantly improved its computer and membership data capabilities. On the issues front, AFJN maintained its involvement in Africa focused coalitions, hosted a number of African delegations to Washington, and continued its work on country specific situations such as Angola, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Sudan. AFJN increased its focus on the way international trade impacts poor people and communities in Africa, and it placed a considerable amount of energy on the "conflict diamond" problem. In the past year, AFJN has given much more prominence to HIV/AIDS.

The full office report is available from the national office. You can also obtain it from AFJN's web site if you click on "AFJN Information" at the bottom of the page, then go to the "Annual Meeting 2000" heading.
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Joint Resolution on Africa Debt Cancellation
The following joint Africa Faith & Justice Network/U.S. Catholic Mission Association resolution was unanimously adopted at their respective Annual General Meetings on 30 September 2000 in Chicago, IL.

Whereas the Africa Faith & Justice Network (AFJN) and the United States Catholic Mission Association (USCMA) affirm that adequate nutrition, shelter, health and education, environmental sustainability and a secure livelihood are basic requirements for a dignified human existence; and

Whereas Africans are striving to create accountable and transparent governments, social institutions that respect human rights and mechanisms to resolve armed conflict and establish durable conditions for peace; and

Whereas Africa is the only continent where most social indices are negative, including the fact that life expectancy is falling, fewer Africans have access to education and health, and a growing number of Africans are exposed to armed conflict; and

Whereas wealthy industrial nations, the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) profess concern about poverty in Africa but, together with African governments, have failed to take adequate measures to improve the material conditions of Africa’s poor majority; and

Whereas responsibility for Africa's debt crisis lies with both lenders and borrowers; and

Whereas many of Africa's poorest countries must shift scare resources away from schools, health services, agriculture, roads and other essential investments in order to service their debts, thereby unjustly impeding their abilities to meet basic human needs; and

Whereas the Highly Indebted Poor Country Initiative and its derivatives deliver debt reduction too slowly, exact conditions that prevent Africans from attaining a dignified way of life and fall far short of canceling Africa’s debt; and

Whereas the process of economic globalization is marginalizing Africa’s poor majority, placing them in a subservient role within the global economy; and

Whereas Africa’s armed conflicts and impoverishment are often a function of Africa’s economic realities;

Therefore now be it resolved that
Catholic principles of economic and social justice demand that Africa's crushing debt of some $300 billion should be cancelled and mechanisms devised to ensure that the resources made available are invested fully in priorities determined by African citizens, including food security, health care, education, and secure livelihoods.

AFJN and USCMA will persist in rousing their members to persuade the U.S. to champion the cancellation of Africa’s bilateral and multilateral debt.

AFJN and USCMA members will strongly urge their members of Congress to support the administration's request of $810 million through 2003 for debt reduction for poor countries. Further, we oppose any policy reforms, such as those mandated in structural adjustment programs, imposed from the outside. Policy changes must be democratically derived within the debtor countries, be plainly consistent with eradicating poverty, and protect the natural environment.
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Congress Passes Kaiser Resolution
In the August/September issue of Around Africa, we reported on the death of Fr. John Kaiser, a Mill Hill missionary from Minnesota, who was murdered in Kenya because of his human rights work. In the wake of his killing, the Catholic Task Force on Africa (CTFA), of which AFJN is an active member, immediately approached the U.S. Congress calling for a full, independent investigation. Together with the strong collaboration of the Mission Office of St. Cloud, MN, the CTFA convinced the House and Senate to pass a Joint Resolution on this matter in October. The resolution condemns the violent deaths of Father John Kaiser, and others who have worked to promote human rights and justice in the Republic of Kenya, and expresses outrage at those deaths. It calls for a thorough investigation by other than the Kenyan authorities. It calls on the U.S. Secretary of State to prepare and submit to Congress, by December 15, 2000, a report on the progress of the investigation into those killings. It calls on the U.S. president to support the investigation through all diplomatic means, and it calls for the final report of the investigation to be made public.

Write or call your members of Congress, expressing your thanks for the passage of the Kaiser Resolution. Tell them that you are interested in the pursuit of this case. Ask them to follow up on it diligently by insisting on the publication and distribution of the investigation's final report.

Below is a sample letter for you to use

Senator ……………             Representative ……………
United States Senate          U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20510        Washington, DC 20515

Dear ……………

I am writing to express my gratitude to Congress for passing the Joint Resolution condemning the death of Fr. John Kaiser, MHM, who was murdered in Kenya on 24 August 2000. The resolution also denounces the killings of many others besides him, who have worked to promote human rights and justice in the Republic of Kenya. I can assure you that U.S. missionary groups remain very interested in the outcome of this case.

Father John Kaiser became a human rights defender while working among people displaced by the brutal ethnic clashes prior to Kenya's 1992 multi-party election. He testified that high officials in the Kenyan ruling party were involved in fomenting this violence which killed 1,500 and displaced more than 300,000 people. He also helped alleged rape victims bring their cases to the Kenyan branch of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA). Kenyan members of FIDA have received anonymous death threats, following the filing of rape charges against a Minister of State in the Office of the President.

Solidarity with Kenyans and missionaries like Father John Kaiser prompted the Catholic Task Force on Africa to send a statement, signed by 205 missionaries, to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in October. I urge you to continue pressing for the full disclosure of all the circumstances of his murder.

Thank you again for your concern for the plight of the Kenyan people.

Sincerely, 
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HIV/AIDS Prayer
GOD
of all compassion,
comfort Your sons and daughters
who live with AIDS.
Spread over us all Your quilt of mercy,
love and peace

OPEN our eyes to Your presence
reflected in their faces.
Open our ears to Your truth
echoing in their hearts.

GOD of life, help us find the cure now
and help us build a world in which
no one dies alone and where
everyone lives accepted,
wanted and loved.

Prayer from Maryknoll, in solidarity with people living with HIV/AIDS throughout the world, and with missionaries who minister to them
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