Friday, December 21, 2007

Today's events

First, a meeting with Lulu Todd and Ahmed Kadleye, Director of Somaliland Overseas, to discuss recent developments in Somaliland: (1) freedom of expression and the possibility of funding for a proposal by Haatuf; (2) the coup d'etat at ShuroNet by agents of the fovernment; (3) the illegal Security Commiittee and the extrajudicial penalties it imposes; (4) the human rights of minorities, and particularly the Gabooye. We will formulate proposals to be put to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Somaliland

Next, a meeting with my old friend Adnan Mufti, who I had last met in Erbil, in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, in 1995. and the Representative of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in the UK, Hawar Rasoul. Adnan Mufti is now Speaker of the Kurdistan National Assembly (KN), the Parliament of the Kurdish rgion of northern Iraq. we talked of other old friends including Mahmoud Osman and Bakhtiar Amin, both now Members of the KNA, and Jalal Talabani, now President of Iraq. Who would have imagined it in 1995! We spoke about a Chatham House conference two days ago on the future of Kirkuk and other majority Kurdish areas on the boundary between the Kurdish region and the rest of Iraq; about the High Committee for Article 140, which deals with returns, and about the rights of Turcomans, on which there are proposed amendments to the constitution. Meanwhile, they have freely operating political parties, their own TV and other rights.

Third, I met Philip Clarke, for a discussion on the events of November 1996 in eastern DRC, when assessments were made by the international community and the UNHCR of the number of refugees from Rwanda and Burundi in the region, and the number who returned to Rwanda during the month. An RAF Canbverra was sent to overfly the region and take aerial photographs to help assess the numbers, and the Americans sent P3 Orion reconnaissance aircraft with the same objective. On the ground, the UNHCR counted the refugees recrossing into Rwanda. There are mysterious discrepancies in the figures, and the Government have refused to allow me access to the flight los of the Canberra, or to look at the photographs they took.

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