AWI9802003 Action Call

    Algeria Watch International
    P.O.Box 27423
    West Allis, WI. 53227, USA
    Tel: (414) 543-6534
    AWI email: awi@afn.org
    BOD email: afn33683@afn.org
    URL: http://members.tripod.com/~AlgeriaWatch
    
    
    
    Statement AWI9802003
    ACTION CALL
    
    
    February 16, 1998
    
    
    Dear Friends:
    
            On January 26, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and fifteen other
    congressmen signed a letter addressed to US Secretary of State, 
    Madelaine Albright.  In the letter, Senator Leahy deplored the cycle of 
    violence that has erupted in Algeria and the large scale massacres that 
    continue to take place there on a daily basis.  Observing the total 
    failure of the international outcry so far to bring the blood letting 
    to a stop, the Senator is calling upon the US administration to 
    initiate an effort towards establishing an international investigation
    into the massacres in Algeria.
    
     Algeria Watch International fully supports Senator Leahy?s call and
    urges everyone who wishes, like us, to see the slaughter of innocent
    civilians come to an end, to also lend their support.  Please call or 
    send a note to Senator Leahy at:
    
                    Senator Patrick Leahy
                    433 Russell Senate Office Building
                    United States Senate, Washington, D.C. 20510
                    Telephone: (202) 224-4242
                    e-mail: senator_leahy@leahy.senate.gov
                    url: http://www.senate.gov/~leahy/
                    
            
     Please find enclosed below the full text of the Letter by Senator
    Leahy.
    
    
            Yours,
    
            Algeria Watch International
    
    
    ======================================================================
    
    Washington, DC,
    January 26, 1998
    
    Hon. Madeleine Albright,
    Secretary of State, Department of State,
    Washington, DC.
    
    Dear Madam Secretary:
    
    We are writing to express our alarm
    concerning the recent massacres in Algeria, which have
    brought the toll of those killed in the five-year civil war
    to an estimated 80,000 persons, mostly civilians. The
    Algerian Government has consistently failed to adequately
    investigate the atrocities and bring those responsible to
    justice. The administration's call for an international
    inquiry is an appropriate and necessary first step in
    responding to this crisis.
    
     Since the civil war erupted in 1992, extremist opposition
    groups have increased their attacks on innocent people. The
    tactics of these groups rank among the most inhumane seen
    anywhere. While their conduct should be strongly condemned,
    there are persistent reports that Algerian security forces
    have failed to stop or prevent the massacres or to arrest
    those involved. Eyewitnesses to the violence report that
    terrorist groups have operated in collusion with, and under
    the protection of, units or factions of the army, police, and
    state-armed militias. According to human rights monitors, no
    one has been arrested by Algerian authorities in connection
    with a series of bloody attacks that occurred in August and
    September leaving hundreds of civilians dead. Algerian
    authorities have made no effort to explain why army and
    police garrisons located nearby failed to intervene. Since
    then, the frequency and brutality of the attacks have only
    increased--over 1,000 Algerian civilians have reportedly been
    killed in the last month alone.
    
            Little progress was made during a January 20, 1998
    diplomatic mission led by British Minister of State for
    Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mr. Derek Fatchett.
    Algerian President Liamine Zeroual has reportedly denounced
    international expressions of concern about possible official
    complicity in the killings. In addition, the ability of human
    rights organizations and the media to look into allegations
    of abuses has been increasingly limited by the Algerian
    Government and details about armed attacks are often
    censored.
    
            We believe it is essential that the administration take an
    active and visible role in ensuring that an international
    investigation occurs in an expedient and effective manner
    with the necessary political and logistical support. We urge
    the administration to sponsor a resolution calling for such
    an inquiry to ascertain the facts and make recommendations at
    the March 1998 meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Commission in
    Geneva. We further urge that the administration send a clear
    message of support for this initiative in public as well as
    in diplomatic contacts with Algeria and other governments.
    
    Thank you for your consideration.
    
    Sincerely,
    
    Patrick Leahy, Senator; Sam Brownback, Senator; Paul D.
    Wellstone, Senator; Nancy Pelosi, Representative;
    Robert Torricelli, Senator; Edward Kennedy, Senator;
    Frank R. Lautenberg, Senator; Tom Lantos,
    Representative; Chris Smith, Representative; Robert
    Wexler, Representative; James M. Jeffords, Senator,
    Dianne Feinstein, Senator; Dick Durbin, Senator;
    Russell Feingold, Senator; Tom Harkin, Senator.
    




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