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From The Sunday Mirror, 16 March

Leaked report details abuse of govt scheme

Innocent Chofamba-Sithole

A leaked government audit report of its multi-million dollar livestock restocking scheme, which was originally intended to benefit newly resettled farmers under the two land resettlement models, exposes widespread abuses and manipulation of formal processes to benefit senior government officials and politicians. According to the secret audit report, of which the Sunday Mirror has a copy, the government last year advanced Z$450 million to the Livestock Development Trust (LDT) for the purposes of sourcing and distributing livestock to communal, old and newly resettled farmers under both the fast-track and commercial farming resettlement models. The LDT, which falls under the lands and agriculture ministry, launched the scheme in the first week of March last year and was supposed to allocate a maximum of five and 15 heifers to successful applicants under the small-scale and commercial farming models, respectively. But instead of solely catering for its intended beneficiaries, the scheme fell victim to senior government and senior politicians, who were allocated more cattle than was formally permissible. "The whole programme lost focus on distribution as some individuals got more than one hundred herd of cattle instead of a maximum of fifteen herd. Some farmers got more heifers than what they signed for on the hire purchase forms or contract forms," the report reads. According to sources privy to the audit, some of the senior government officials who have allegedly irregularly benefited from the scheme include Vice President Joseph Msika, who was allocated 70 herd of cattle and Mashonaland East governor, David Karimanzira, who received a total of 40 heifers under the scheme. Other undeserving senior officials who fraudulently received more than the permissible number of livestock include Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Higher Education minister Swithun Mombeshora, Education minister Aeneas Chigwedere, Health Minister David Parirenyatwa, Mashonaland West governor Peter Chanetsa, and Zanu PF legislator, Webster Shamu. The LDT bought and distributed over 14 000 cattle across the country under the scheme at a total cost of Z$471 million, Z$21 million above its allocated budget.

Further, the audit report slams the Trust for its failure to abide by the programme’s enabling agreement by subcontracting the procurement of cattle to a third party without the approval of the lands and agriculture ministry. "This was a serious breach of the contract which resulted in the Trust fund losing Z$24 385 000, in the interim, to bogus middlemen who took advantage of loopholes in the system," reads the report. The audit reveals that some time last year, LDT subcontracted a private company, Leswick Investments, to source 3069 heifers worth Z$106 072 300 for its livestock input scheme. The audit also shows how the company overpriced its livestock, thus prejudicing LDT of the Z$24 385 000. Ironically, Leswick Investments was registered with the Registrar of Companies on March 12 2002, barely a week after the launch of the livestock input scheme. The company is alleged to have strong links with a high-ranking officer in the Airforce of Zimbabwe. The Trust is also accused of having entered into a contract with Jupiter Insurance Company to insure livestock purchased under the scheme without the authority of the Government Tender Board. As at July 8 2002, LDT had paid over Z$15 million to the company as insurance premiums. Many farmers who experienced livestock deaths have, however, complained that the company has failed to compensate them.

In an undated and unsigned response to the audit, the LDT dismisses the allegations levelled against it as baseless and lacking evidence. The Trust dismisses the audit as having been "motivated by politics". "Some sections of the community are saying that LDT provided cattle to ruling party members, and therefore should be disbanded," reads the response. "It is unrealistic to suggest that a 100 percent success should have been achieved given the fact that this was a huge programme that was to be implemented within a very short time and in a volatile political environment," it adds. Contacted for comment, LDT boss, Forbes Muvirimi defended the programme as having been a success. "It was a huge programme and, therefore, it is not unusual to find a few rough ends in it, but generally the scheme was a success," he said, adding that they had managed to distribute cattle to a significant number of beneficiaries, notwithstanding the "politics" that prevailed at the time. "We actually managed to keep the programme on track. There are instances where I had to cancel the agreements for some influential people who would claim more than the stipulated number," Muvirimi said. There are fears that the livestock loan input scheme, which is supposed to be a revolving fund, may actually grind to a halt owing to serious difficulties in recovering loans from beneficiaries. "The physical addresses of some beneficiaries could not be established because of false addresses provided on agreement forms. This is likely to have a negative impact on the loan recovery strategies," the audit notes. The abuse of the livestock input loan scheme is the latest in a series of breaches of government initiatives designed to buttress the land reform programme. There are widespread reports that senior politicians and influential people have also hijacked the government’s agricultural inputs scheme, which was intended to provide new farmers with free seed and fertiliser. Large tracts of acquired farmland lie fallow owing to failure by poor, newly resettled farmers to buy seed in time for the cropping season.

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The Managing Director
17th March 2003

Dear Sir/Madam,

Re: The WALK to FREEDOM and support for calls to end the TORMENT!

In Zimbabwe 56% of the population is female and traditionally it is the
mother who must provide sustenance despite meager budget. We believe that it
is the women who are at the end of the suffering chain and it is they who
suffer in silence. The time has come for women to arm themselves NOT WITH
WEAPONS OF WAR AND DESTRUCTION but with their God given weapons - their
hearts, minds and their voices. Women of Zimbabwe Arise, (WOZA) was formed
to end that silence and lobby to end the suffering.

We, the women of Zimbabwe, who are wives, mothers and sisters, appeal to you
to assist us to vocalize this torment. We seek not feminist ideals but
rather to make it known that we will not stand by and let the torment
continue unabated. It is in our homes that we tend the tortured and sadly
turn away the starving.

We talk of our concern for our families, of our pain when we see their pain.
We, the women, sit for days and weeks and months in queues - waiting and
waiting for food that does not arrive. While we wait, our children wander
the forests searching for roots and seeds and even insects to eat.

Share our despair, the men we love and rely on, face the humiliation because
they cannot provide for us. Eight out of ten of our husbands are without
formal employment. Those in jobs earn so little money that they can barely
buy basic foods. 200% inflation has made wages meaningless. Some of our
husbands rise at 4 am to walk 20 km to work, to avoid the taxi fares. They
work all day on nothing to eat and arrive home so late and so tired they can
do nothing. Often they beat us up just out of frustration.

We wish to tell you of our anguish as mothers of school leavers. Our
children have no hope of work, and worse still, are now being forced into
youth militia training. Last year, we were brutalised by our own youth in
our communities. Our daughters, who were forced to train as militia, were
returned to us raped and many are diseased.

Our sons have been taught the language of violence and intolerance. As
mothers, we weep privately to see our families being divided and our family
values corrupted by the men who rule our land.

Can you imagine the horror of a mother who sees her week-old baby assaulted
for her political beliefs?

Can you imagine the hopelessness of a mother whose child is denied access to
health care because of his parents' political beliefs?

Can you imagine the endless frustration and simmering anger when our
children cannot eat because we, their mothers, do not have the right
political party card to produce at the selling point?

We write to you as employers of the nation. We know Zimbabweans to be people
of compassion and integrity, and that you are capable of imagining our pain.
Our children are hungry, our men are angry and we can no longer comfort

We ask that you provide a copy of this letter to your employees, both male
and female and that you work with us as we mobilise them on the walk to
FREEDOM from TORMENT. If they are late for work spare them and if they join
us in our peaceful protests, do not deduct this time from their salaries, as
it is a compassionate absence.

Before our nation is torn apart, help us to sow love where there is hatred -
this is the work of a mother! Help us to rescue our families from poverty
and repression and despair. SOKWANELE means enough is enough means ZVAKWANA.

Signed: The Women's Council, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA).
email us at

"Be strong! We are not here to play, to dream, to drift. We have hard work
to do and loads to lift. Shun not the struggle; face it, 'Its God's gift. Be
strong it matters not how deep entrenched the wrong, how hard the battle
goes, the day how long; Faint not, fight on! Tomorrow comes the song." By
Malbie Babcock.
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This is a follow up to the original message from Councillor Laban.
Action starts on Tuesday 18 March 2003. 
You are all required to stay indoors, at home, on Tuesday.  (There could be people assigned to make sure this happens).  On Wednesday everybody is asked to go to the Manicaland Governor's office  to demonstrate.  People should find their way there preferably in small numbers to avoid being stopped on the way. Once there the Members of Parliament will lead the people followed by the different leaders i.e. Province, District, Ward, Branch and then the rest of the people will rally behind them.  (You can confirm with your Ward or Branch leaders or phone 020-68817 to confirm).  Everybody is advised to carry at least a 2 litre bottle of water and a face towel. You will wet your towel and breathe through it if tear gas is used.  Try to breathe normally in order to inhale less gas. If you get a chance throw back the tear gas.
Women are advised not to use any cosmetics i.e. lotions, perfume, lipstick, etc as some of these react badly to tear gas.  People should not wear outstanding colours and should try to stay together within the group.
This action will continue until the objective is achieved.

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COPA are making an application to the Reserve Bank to import 40 000 litres of diesel to assist farmers harvest summer crops and to plant winter cereals.  Should you wish to purchase some of this fuel please contact our office with the following details:-
NAME:  ………………………………………..
FARM NAME:  ………………………………………………
NEAREST CALTEX  DEPOT:  ………………………………….
1.      The Reserve Bank may not approve out application.
2.      Provided the importation is approved diesel will be sold at a price calculated using an exchange rate of  800 : 1  (price guide + $300 / litre).
3.      Payment will have to be made before collection.
Please would Commodity, Regional and FA Chairmen advise members who do not have access to e.mail.
A meeting with trade representatives was held on the 13th March, 2003. Pertinent issues arising from the meeting are as follows.
As was the case at the Trade Meeting in January the question of the general non-availability of fuel again was the dominating issue at this meeting. There was one representative from the fuel industry and two representatives from the motor trade industry.
The situation regarding fuel supplies is critical and at present diesel is scarcer than petrol. Fuel is trickling in from Libya and the Middle East and is dependent on forex being found to pay for it. Monthly forex inflows into Zimbabwe are currently around a fifth of what they normally are at this time of the year.
Noczim is deriving different formula’s to ease the situation for certain sectors of the economy that have operations which are more vulnerable to the scarce fuel situation (eg. transport and bus companies). An introduction of a fuel coupon system for these sectors is being contemplated by the relevant Ministry and Noczim. Some service stations are being penalised for selling fuel into containers by having fuel supplies withdrawn from them.
It was pointed out that fuel must be made available for the movement of tobacco to the sales floors when these open in April. Tobacco marketing must be efficient to help alleviate the forex shortage position and enable Zimbabwe to procure essential imports like fuel.
A large proportion of local transporters are involved in World Food Programme relief work and survive the fuel crisis by filling up in RSA through the auspices of that organisation. Many farmers with smaller rigs have been involved in the distribution of food at a local level.
Bank exposure to agriculture is much reduced because there is no security and no value can be placed on property. Uncertainty is exacerbated by the destruction and commandeering of property and crops. There is a marked reluctance to providing direct credit to “new farmers”, and up to 25% of loans to this sector in the past have been bad. Losses made in the agricultural sector have been masked by profits generated by the interest rate spread between bank deposits and loans and in foreign exchange dealings.
The two larger fertilizer companies report that they have zero stocks. The industry is facing four main problems a) the lack of forex to import sufficient potash and other ingredients, b) controlled prices which do not cover costs, c) poor supplies of ammonium nitrate from Sable and super phosphates from Zimphos respectively, and d) severe external and internal transport constraints due to NRZ being unable to function efficiently. Supplies of fertilizer for the winter cereal crops are under threat because of these factors. The industry is pushing for a review of fertilizer prices by government.
Supplies of chemicals are still reasonable but the industry is reluctant to hold stocks. The sizes of the various crops are an unknown element at this time. A three month lead time is needed for imports.
Products are very expensive and production viability in all livestock sectors is affected. Price differentials between the two manufacturers should narrow as one company that has up to now relied on locally produced ingredients has now started to import costly raw materials as local supplies dry up. Output from this company was very erratic until recently but is now set to improve.
Tractors and Machinery
The industry still survives on servicing equipment and selling spares. Very little new equipment is being sold. The market for second hand equipment is fairly buoyant and demand is strong. Imports of cheap ploughs and other implements are being made to the detriment of local manufacturing.
The Tel.One representative reported that telephones in occupied farms are being used by occupiers after the owners have been evicted. It is up to the owners so affected to ensure that telephone services are terminated as they are liable to pay for the bills until this is done. The non-availability of fuel is affecting repair work to telephone services to farms. The organisation is looking into the feasibility of charging forex for international calls.
There is very little new development, and nearly all work concerns the rehabilitation of old schemes involved in horticulture. Arda and Arex are pushing heavily for the development of schemes for winter maize and wheat but finance and the capacity of the irrigation companies to undertake the work are major constraints. Parallel market rates for forex govern the prices of PVC and aluminium products, and other imported irrigation equipment.
AISD 17/3/03
Unless specifically stated that this is a Commercial Farmers' Union communique, or that it is being issued or forwarded to you by the sender in an official CFU capacity, the opinions contained therein are private.  Private messages also include those sent on behalf of any organisation not directly affiliated to the Union.  The CFU does not accept any legal responsibility for private messages and opinions held by the sender and transmitted over its local area network to other CFU network users and/or to external addressees.
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Zim inflation up 220.9% in February
Posted Mon, 17 Mar 2003

Zimbabwe's consumer price index rose by a record 220.9 percent in the year
to February from 208.1 percent in January, figures from the Central
Statistical Office showed on Monday.

Escalating inflation is one of the scourges of an economy now in its fourth
year of recession. Zimbabwe is battling acute foreign and fuel currency
shortages while half the country's 14 million population face starvation.

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From AFP, 16 March

Zimbabwe police fire tear gas to disperse rally, one dead

Harare - Police in Zimbabwe Sunday fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of
people at an opposition rally, and one person died after being run over in
the ensuing panic, an eyewitness and the opposition said. Around 50 riot
police officers fired tear gas to disperse Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) supporters in the low-income suburb of Kuwadzana where a by-election
is due to be held later this month, an AFP photographer witnessed. He said
there was an altercation between the police and the MDC's candidate for the
area, Nelson Chamisa. Opposition spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi told AFP that
two MDC vehicles had accidents as they tried to flee the scene. Chamisa was
slightly injured when his vehicle rolled, while another vehicle accidentally
ran over a bystander, killing him, Nyathi said. However, state Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) television said that the bystander was killed
when Chamisa's campaign team rammed a crowd. One person has been arrested,
ZBC added. Political tensions are running high in Kuwadzana, in western
Harare, ahead of this month's by-election. The poll will pit the MDC against
President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party.

Contacted for comment on the police action, police spokesman Bothwell
Mugariri said two rallies were scheduled for the same venue, ZANU-PF in the
morning, and the MDC in the afternoon. "As ZANU-PF were withdrawing from the
venue, there was a clash between ZANU-PF youths and MDC youths," he said.
Police dispersed the crowd by firing tear gas, he said. The opposition
accuses police of hampering their political activities in Kuwadzana, an
opposition stronghold, and in the neighbouring suburb of Highfield, where a
by-election is also to be held. The clashes in Kuwadzana came as the
opposition called Sunday for mass action against President Robert Mugabe's
government starting next week. In press advertisements the party called for
"peaceful action carefully calculated to express discontent and disgust with
the state of affairs within our nation." The country is currently suffering
from high unemployment, food and fuel shortages as well as record-high
inflation, all of which are increasing hardships for ordinary Zimbabweans.
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Voice of America

Zimbabwe Prepares for Possible Anti-Government Protests
Peta Thornycroft
17 Mar 2003, 14:49 UTC
Police fire tear gas during clashes between ZANU-PF supporters and opposition MDC supporters at a MDC rally in Kuwadzana
Many Zimbabweans, mostly in urban areas, are bracing for the possible start of mass action Tuesday to protest the government's economic and human rights policies. For the first time since presidential elections a year ago, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change has called for mass action. It is due to begin Tuesday with what is called a stay away, a strike by workers in all types of businesses and industries. The party has not said when the action will end.
Many workers have said they plan to stay at home, at least on Tuesday. Previous calls for a stay away by civic groups, and even the Congress of Zimbabwe Trade Unions, have largely been ignored in the past year.
This time, it appears that the main opposition party's call will get a better response. Several business leaders say they will not open their doors on Tuesday. Until now, businesses have ignored all calls for protest action.
Zimbabwe is currently suffering from high unemployment, food and fuel shortages, and record high inflation.
Civic leaders say they expect the police to react strongly to any mass action.
Reliable sources say protests in local areas, as opposed to city centers, are likely to dominate the mass action. The strategy is designed to make it more difficult for the police to prevent or break up the protests.
Sunday, about 50 riot police threw tear gas and fired live ammunition into the air at the site of a planned opposition rally. One woman died when she was run over by a vehicle in the subsequent panic.
The rally was planned before a by-election later this month in a poor suburb west of Harare.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says the mass action is intended to be peaceful.
Mr. Tsvangirai is on trial for treason, for allegedly plotting to assassinate Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe. He denies the charge. The opposition says Mr. Mugabe stole last year's election through fraud.
The police have said they are prepared for any political disturbances, and tens-of-thousands of police and army troops are on call for the next few days.
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Police warn they will crush anti-Mugabe protests

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, March 17 - Zimbabwe police warned on Monday they would deal
ruthlessly with any violence during protests against President Robert
Mugabe's government, called for this week by the opposition.

       The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has called for ''mass
action'' on Tuesday and Wednesday to protest at what it terms Mugabe's
''oppressive'' rule as the southern African country grapples with its worst
post-independence political and economic crisis.
       Inspector Andrew Phiri told the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation
(ZBC) that the proposed mass action -- normally a code phrase for a national
strike -- was illegal under tough security laws which critics say Mugabe is
using to silence his opponents.
       Phiri said the police would not tolerate any illegal gathering,
rallies, demonstrations or violence and would be deployed in adequate
numbers to monitor the protests.
       ''We are calling on members of the public not to participate in this
illegal call,'' Phiri told the ZBC.
       Asked how the police would deal with violent or unruly elements, he
said: ''The police will meet them head-on. We will be very ruthless with
them, but within the limits of the law.''
       In newspaper advertisements, the MDC has said the mass action was
part of a national survival strategy to force Mugabe to relinquish power,
which the 79-year-old Zimbabwean leader has held since independence from
Britain in 1980.
       Mugabe has been at the centre of a political storm since February
2000 when militants from his ruling ZANU-PF party invaded white-owned farms
in support of his land transfer drive.
       The crisis deepened over opposition charges that ZANU-PF won general
parliamentary elections in June 2000 after a violent campaign against the
MDC, and over Mugabe's controversial re-election last March in a poll
critics say was rigged.
       The Commonwealth group of mainly former British colonies decided on S
unday to extend a one-year suspension of Zimbabwe at least until December
over the disputed polls and land policy.
       With the group's 54 nations split on whether the measure should be
continued beyond Wednesday's one-year expiry, Commonwealth Secretary-General
Don McKinnon said it would be maintained until a heads of government meeting
in Nigeria.
       Tough security legislation in Zimbabwe forbids the holding of public
meetings without police clearance. Mugabe signed the law just before he won
the March poll.
       MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai told a newspaper at the weekend that
this week's protests would set the stage for a showdown with Mugabe's
       The crisis in Zimbabwe has been fuelled by soaring unemployment and
food shortages. The southern African country has suffered an acute shortage
of hard currency since 1999, squeezing fuel and food imports and threatening
half Zimbabwe's 14 million people with starvation.
       Mugabe denies mismanaging the economy during his 23-year-long rule,
and accuses enemies abroad of sabotage over his seizure of white-owned farms
for redistribution to blacks.

Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or
redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior
written consent of Reuters.
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Business Report

No more aid until Harare pays arrears, decides IMF
March 17 2003 at 12:29PM
Harare - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) painted a gloomy picture of
Zimbabwe's embattled economy on Friday and ruled out resuming aid until
President Robert Mugabe's government settled its arrears.

But a visiting IMF team said it was encouraged by Harare's latest plan to
revive an economy reeling from food, fuel and foreign currency shortages,
high unemployment and soaring inflation.

Foreign lenders, led by the IMF and World Bank, have suspended financial aid
to Harare since 1999 over policy differences with Mugabe's government.

The IMF will vote in June on whether to formally suspend Zimbabwe's IMF
rights. The team welcomed Zimbabwe's offer to make quarterly payments of
$1.5 million towards its $282.4 million debt to the fund.

"Zimbabwe's economy has experienced a progressive and sharp deterioration in
the last four years," the IMF team said.

"Real gross domestic product has declined by about 30 percent, and is still

"Inflation has doubled in each of the last two years to reach 200 percent at
the end of 2002 and could well rise further."

Earlier this month the government launched a National Economic Revival
Programme, under which monetary policy was modestly tightened, price
controls put under review and the Zimbabwe dollar effectively devalued to
Z$824 (R126.23) from Z$55 to the US dollar. - Reuters

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UN: Rights Commission Starts Work Amid Concern Over Credibility
By Mark Baker

Today marks the start of the UN Human Rights Commission's annual working
session. For six weeks, the commission -- the world's foremost body on human
rights -- will review the human rights situation around the world. But
observers say the commission may be losing credibility. Its 53 members --
including chair Libya -- comprise some of the world's worst human rights
violators. Rights groups say the commission must take steps to ensure its

Prague, 17 March 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The UN Human Rights Commission starts its
annual session in Geneva today amid mounting concern over the commission's

The commission is considered the world's foremost body on promoting and
protecting human rights. Its 53 members meet annually in the spring for a
six-week session to discuss the state of human rights around the world.

This year's session will be chaired by Libya, a controversial selection that
rights groups say has an appalling rights record of its own. Libya remains
under UN sanctions for its role in the 1988 airliner bombing over Lockerbie,
Scotland, that killed 270 people.

Libya won the chair not on merit but because of its location in Africa. By
tradition, this year's chair was to be an African country, and Libya had
earlier lobbied hard for African support. Libya's selection was confirmed
this year over strong objections from the U.S. and Canada.

Rights groups say the session comes at a time when the body's credibility is
coming under increasing scrutiny. They say among the commission's members
are some of world's worst human rights violators. In addition to Libya,
members include Algeria, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Cuba, China, and the Russian
Federation, which is under fire for the war in Chechnya.

Kenneth Roth, the executive director of the U.S.-based rights watchdog Human
Rights Watch (HRW), said these countries in many cases have joined the
commission not to further its work, but to frustrate it. "Increasingly, the
membership of the commission looks like an abusers' defense society because
increasingly the governments flocking to the commission are not those
determined to uphold human rights but those determined to frustrate the work
of the commission to avoid their own condemnation," Roth said.

The UN was not available for comment. In the past, the UN has said it is up
to the members -- not the UN -- to have a fruitful session.

Last year's session is generally regarded as one of the commission's least
successful ever. It failed to condemn, among others, repression in Zimbabwe,
a hard-line crackdown in Iran, and the abuses in Russia's crackdown in
Chechnya. A number of other initiatives were defeated.

The commission did succeed in appointing special rapporteurs for Iraq and
Afghanistan and a special representative to report on the situation in
Bosnia and Serbia and Montenegro. They will issue reports later in the

It's not clear yet whether the U.S. will pursue a special resolution that
will ask China to improve its human rights record. The U.S. traditionally
takes the lead role on this, but officials have not yet committed themselves
one way or the other.

Roth said his group is afraid that the current situation in Iraq may force
the U.S. to blunt its criticism of countries like China and Russia, which
hold permanent seats on the UN Security Council. "The U.S. traditionally
takes the lead on the China resolution, and one of our concerns there is
that the U.S. is so worried about gaining approval of an Iraq resolution at
the Security Council that it's not going to press hard," he said.

But last week, U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the U.S.
would not make Iraq part of its rights policy. He said it would look at
rights issues "on their merits" -- presumably not connected to any U.S.
policy objectives in Iraq. "We will look at each of these situations on
their merits and decide what the appropriate action is in the UN Human
Rights Commission session," Boucher said.

Commission watchers say Iraq is bound to play a role, however. They say the
strongest forces for change on the commission are the U.S. and the nations
of the European Union, and that any divisions over Iraq could blunt progress
in reforming the commission.

Human Rights Watch has urged the commission to take specific action in a
number of countries, including Turkmenistan, Russia, and Iran.

In Turkmenistan, the group is calling on the commission to adopt a strong
resolution condemning human rights violations. HRW says the resolution
should also request the UN high commissioner for human rights to visit

In Iran, HRW is urging the commission to reestablish a special procedure to
monitor and report on the rights situation. It said the commission should
call on Iranian authorities to facilitate UN visits.

In Russia, HRW is asking the commission to adopt a strong resolution on
Chechnya that condemns violations of human rights and international
humanitarian law by both parties. It also urging Russia to renew the mandate
of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's Assistance
Group in Chechnya.

This year's session is scheduled to end on 25 April.
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