MSF is leaving Bukavu


MSF quitte Bukavu - France 2 - 14 November 1994 - In French (en français)


TV presenter: The staff of Médecins sans Frontières have had enough. The organisation has decided to leave the Rwandan refugee camp in Bukavu, eastern Zaire. Médecins Sans Frontières states that security is not guaranteed, and voices its revolt at the indifference shown by the international community. Isabelle Baechler:

Commentary: Nearly one million Hutu Rwandan refugees in a camp in Zaire, where emergency is ‘under the thumb’. Here's the situation humanitarian workers are facing. A population, over-estimated in number, that doesn't receive food aid directly. All aid is filtered by the leaders, to the point where children still suffer from malnutrition despite the significant excess of distributed food. Using intimidation tactics, aid is diverted to the Rwandan administration, the very same administration that ordered and perpetrated the genocide this spring and which has re-built itself in the camps. Local officials and militia make the law.

- Dominique Martin, MSF: "The risk is that it prepares a new offensive against Rwanda and a new genocide. And as a humanitarian organisation, we cannot accept to be mixed up – from near or far - with such a risk, which seems increasingly real to us. There are times when you have to make choices and we think that today in Bukavu, the reasonable choice for us to make, where our responsibility lies, is to leave the camp."

Commentary: Just as they've left Cambodia, Ethiopia and Honduras in the past, MSF France humanitarian workers don't want to be manipulated by the former leaders of the massacre. Their 19 expatriates will have left Bukavu by tomorrow noon, with heavy hearts, needless to say. They're leaving behind them 150 jobless employees, but above all the very real distress of the refugees.