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Speech by Mr Poul Nielson, European Commissioner for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, Lukole Refugee Camp

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SPEECH/00/79
Speech by Mr Poul Nielson
European Commissioner for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid
Lukole Refugee Camp
Regional Authorities and Humanitarian Agencies

Lukole Refugee Camp, Ngara District, Rwanda, 8 March 2000 - The visiting EU Commissioner Mr. Poul Nielson made a speech at Lukole Camp to a meeting, which included the Kagera Regional Commissioner, General (Rtd) Tumanieli Kiwelu, Ngara District Commissioner Mr. D. Mtambalike, Members of Parliament as well as the resident representatives of UNHCR, WFP, UNICEF, International Red Cross and several other international organisations and NGOs.

Some of the key passages:

"The international system is well organised in this camp. It sets the right example for co-operation with UN agencies and the NGO's. The Government of Tanzania has lived up to the international expectations and should continue to do so. I urge the Government to stay on track, to continue acting as a moral leader and as a guarantor of refugee rights in accordance with international standards. This is not only important for the refugees in Tanzania, but also as a positive image of Africa in the World. Tanzania is a voice of decency it represents an island of hope in a troubled region. Any return of refugees must be peaceful and voluntary in accordance with international standards."

Furthermore:

"We recognise that the World is asking much from you. We acknowledge the difficulties this creates and the sacrifices you have made. Your behaviour should become an excellent example for all Africa. "

and:

"The EU will continue its effort. We will sustain our share, both financially, including infrastructure, and politically, notably in the ongoing Burundi Peace Talks but also in the DRC. The World has not abandoned Tanzania to cope with this problem alone."

Please note that the EU through the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) and financed by the EU Budget provides a package in year 2000 of EURO 27 million (TSH 21 billion) to the UN system and international NGOs for the upkeep of refugees. Furthermore the EU through the European Development Fund and its budget has provided more than EUR 34 million (27 billion) to assist the Government of Tanzania in covering the costs of the effect the refugees have had and still is having on the Tanzanian infrastructure, social services and environment. The biggest infrastructure projects are the recently finished Mwanza Airport and the Nyakanazi-Kigoma Road rehabilitation which will start in the coming months.

For any further information contact the Delegation.