Aid diverted to eliminate refugees - JH Bradol MSF - La Marche du siecle- France 3- 4 June 1997- in French


Aide detournee pour eliminer les refugies - JH Bradol MSF - La Marche du siecle- France 3- 4 juin 1997- en francais


- Jean-Marie Cavada: Mr. Jean-Herve Bradol, a doctor with Médecins sans Frontières, you were in the field recently. In its report of 20th May, MSF accuses the Alliance of pursuing what you call a strategy of extermination. That's a violent term to employ. What proof do you have, and what exactly are you trying to say?
- Jean-Herve Bradol: What we're trying to say is that for around the last seven months, in the areas controlled by the Alliance, almost all the efforts have been focused on getting rid of the maximum number of refugees, including using aid organisations as a bait to draw them out.
- Jean-Marie Cavada: In what way?
- Jean-Herve Bradol: You know that to help refugees leave the forest, we've set up what we call first aid posts.
- Jean-Marie Cavada: Along the tracks and roads.
- Jean-Herve Bradol: Right. First aid posts where medicines, drinking water and high protein biscuits are available. And we've noticed that the Alliance soldiers don't hesitate to publicise the whereabouts of these first aid posts among the Zairean villages so that word reaches the refugees that they can leave the forest. When they do, the soldiers intercept and massacre them. So even our work....
- Jean-Marie Cavada: But along the roadsides or in the forests?
- Jean-Herve Bradol: In the forests, before they reach the road.
- Jean-Marie Cavada: In the forest, but near the roads.
- Jean-Herve Bradol: Yes, while they're travelling, before they reach the road and the first aid posts.
- Jean-Marie Cavada: You have formal proof, you've witnessed these things?
- Jean-Herve Bradol: We haven't witnessed massacres, but we've received information from the Zairean village chiefs, the rural Zairean who live in the region, who are letting us know that our work is now part of this push to liquidate the refugees.
- Jean-Marie Cavada: Mr. Bradol, why are you keeping your humanitarian teams on the ground to build up testimonies rather than prioritising their safety? Because at some point they're also going to be highly exposed. You're already experiencing accidents, difficulties.
- Jean-Herve Bradol: It's more than a risk. For the last four years that we've been working in the region, we must pay tribute to the Zairean, Rwandan and Burundian staff of Médecins sans Frontières, among whom there's been a number of deaths. We cannot forget that the care and commitment of over 100 Rwandans to the genocide victims in April 1994 cost them their lives.
- Jean-Marie Cavada: Why do you call it a genocide? You're talking about 1994?
- Jean-Herve Bradol: I'm talking about 1994, which was completely different.
- Jean-Marie Cavada: And here I'd say that whatever the security risks might be, you’ve chosen to keep your teams in place so they can bear witness and ensure that a cloak of silence doesn't cover this up?
- Jean-Herve Bradol: That's the main point. If there's silence.... Silence is a pre-requisite for the massacres to continue, it really conditions things. If we can't get word out about these massacres, the chances are high that they'll continue in a climate of complete indifference.
- Jean-Marie Cavada: Stephen Smith?
- Stephen Smith: How many Europeans have died since the genocide in Rwanda over these last three years?
- Jean-Marie Cavada: You mean in both Rwanda and eastern Zaire?
- Stephen Smith: Rwanda, Burundi, the Great Lakes area in Africa...
- Jean-Marie Cavada: All regions combined.
- Jean-Herve Bradol: If we include those working on behalf of international aid and all other categories, and we include Rwanda and Burundi, 26 people have been killed for their humanitarian work since August 1994. But that's nothing, at least, of course it's terrible and the figure's too high, but there are several hundred aid workers from Burundi, Rwanda and Zaire who've lost their lives in providing assistance and choosing to be at the sides of the sick and wounded.
- Jean-Marie Cavada: Thank you Mr. Bradol.