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 gennaio 2020 


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Rebels in castern Zaire are "hunting down refugees like wild game", the European Union's humanitarian affairs commissioner Emma Bonino said yesterday. Ms. Bonino, speaking at Geneva's Red Cross Museum, also accused the international community of "cowardice a lot of lies and an enormous dose of cynicism" in its attitude to the crises. In her hard hitting speech, Ms Bonino said it was a scandal that some 160,000 mainly Rwandan Hutu refugees had to flee the Tingi Tingi camp in castern Zaire last week. The mass exodus came about as the forces of rebel leader Laurent Kubila moved in on the camp. "Yet again hundreds of thousands of human beings, who have already paid a heavy price because of their wandering in the forest - hunger, illness and massacres without witness - are abandoned to the mercy of a uniformness flagless and lawless army which hunts them like wild game," she said. Cabalas rebel force is now advancing on the city of Kisangani. Five month ago the rebel leader launched an uprising led by Zairean Tutsis. The uprising was prompted when the Zaire government threatened to expel them. The rebels first seized areas on the border with Rwanda, where over a million Rwandan Hutus were living in squalid camps, amid fears of retribution for the genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994. At that stage, many Hutus decided it was safer to return home. However, many others, apparently led by former chiefs of the Hutu army and militias responsible for the genocide, fled west. A large contingent subsequently came together again at the camp in Tingi Tingi. Bonino, who visited the camp before the rebels advanced on it, was forceful in her condemnation of what she described as a "gigantic manhunt". She added that the manhunt, which was also "directed against children, women and old people," had been Justified on the grounds that people responsible for the 1994 genocide were among the refugees. The EU commissioner declared: "Let me say once and for all that I claim the right to nourish and care even for those who have committed genocide if they are in danger". In an impassioned plea for the international community to intervene in en effort to uphold justice, she added: I refuse to endorse a mass condemnation to death, handed down by no one knows who and which does not correspond to any acceptable criterion of justice in any state of law." Bonino, an Italian, condemned the lack of action and urged to world to reassess its handling of the crisis to date, saying. "I do not see much courage, transparency or emotion. Rather, I find cowardice, a lot of lies, and an enormous dose of cynicism."

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