Algeria Watch International P.O.Box 27423 West Allis, WI. 53227, USA Tel: (414) 543-6534 AWI email: email@example.com BOD email: firstname.lastname@example.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: email@example.com 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.