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Burundi

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what recent assessment the Department has made of the humanitarian situation in Burundi. [126397]

The DFID Country Representative returned to Bujumbura on 17 July to assess the situation. Recent fighting in the capital has left many civilians killed or injured, and many more have been displaced. The Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) medical centre (supported by DFID) treated 220 war wounded last week.The general humanitarian situation in the country remains poor, with very high levels of disease, high rates of malnutrition and, resulting from this, high levels of mortality. There are serious problems of access to some communities. Last financial year we provided about £1 million for humanitarian support. So far this financial year we have provided funding of £400,000 through MSF for medical support in Bujumbura Rural and nutrition programmes in Karuzi. We stand ready to make further responses to the humanitarian needs of those most vulnerable. Our humanitarian work focus on nutrition and health support, channelled through international relief organisations.The 2003 EC budget for humanitarian assistance to Burundi totals US$15 million (about £9.67 million), of which 19.38 per cent. is attributed to the UK.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what funds the Department placed with the Burundi Multidonor Debt Trust Fund in (a) 2000, (b) 2001, (c) 2002 and (d) 2003; how much of the pledges have been released; and what percentage of released funds have gone to the Africa Union Force. [126398]

DFID pledged an initial US$ 1 million to the World Bank Multidonor Debt Trust Fund (MDTF) at the Geneva Roundtable Meeting in December 2001. We agreed to make an additional contribution of US$1 million following the Geneva Donors Roundtable Meeting in November 2002. These funds were released in March 2003. We are encouraging other donors to contribute to the MDTF.The purpose of the MDTF is to help Burundi finance the servicing of its multilateral debt obligations, and so none of its funds will go to the African Mission in Burundi (AMIB). DFID has, however, contributed £3.9 million to AMIB from the Africa Conflict Prevention Pool, for equipment costs related to the Mozambican contingent.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what proportion of the Department's humanitarian aid pledged to Burundi has been delivered; and what discussions the Department has had with the European Union concerning its delivery of its commitment. [126399]

Last financial year we provided some £l million for humanitarian work in Burundi. All this has been utilised. For 2003–04 we have earmarked about £2 million for humanitarian work. In June 2003 we provided £400,000 through MSF for medical support in Bujumbura Rural and nutrition programmes in Karuzi covering the period 1 July to 31 December 2003. We are currently considering Appeals for 2003 from international relief organisations and stand ready to make further responses to humanitarian needs through them and proposals received from international NGOs.We are in close contact with the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO) in Burundi through our DFID Country Representative, who meets regularly with other humanitarian donors to ensure a co-ordinated and effective response. We also participate in the European Community's Humanitarian Affairs Committee in Brussels.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what recent discussions the Department had with parties to the conflict in Burundi with respect to international humanitarian law; and what plans he has to bring to justice those guilty of human rights abuses in Burundi. [126400]

The UK both bilaterally and as part of the international community regularly raises human rights issues and international humanitarian obligations in relation to the Burundi conflict. The EU is deeply concerned about the ongoing violations of human rights and humanitarian law in Burundi and continues to call on all sides to cease the fighting.We are also funding the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) which is providing international humanitarian law training for the Burundian Army. We keep in close contact with the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the ICRC in Burundi regarding their work in this area.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what financial and technical assistance the Government is giving to the Burundi Government to help develop an effective system of justice; and who the leading donor is on these issues. [126404]

We have made it clear to the Burundi Government that we are ready to provide support on security sector reform, which could include support to the police should they require it. Belgium is the most active donor in the justice sector and is supporting a number of NGOs.The EC is also considering providing support to the justice sector.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what recent assessment the Department has made of sexual violence and targeted rape in Burundi in the last year; and what action his Department is taking. [126405]

We receive regular reports on the humanitarian and human rights situation in Burundi, including sexual violence, from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the UN Office for Human Rights, the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) and NGOs such as Human Rights Watch. The UK is active—within the EU, UN and bilaterally—in pressing all the parties involved in the conflict to start fulfilling their humanitarian obligations to the people of Burundi. In terms of financial support, DFID has contributed £400,000 to ICRC's programme in Burundi which includes a project in support of women who are victims of violence.