AID WORKERS IN RWANDA

 

Sir, - Apropos Paul Cullen's piece on the Rwandan Government's decision to force aid workers to quit Rwanda (January 20th), might I be permitted to clarify the situation as it impacts on our organisation.

Mr Cullen is correct when he states that the Rwandan Government demanded a minimum two year commitment from GOAL before they would provide us with the necessary permits to work in the country. But he fails to mention the fact that the Rwandan Government also demanded that we spend in excess of $1 million on the rehabilitation project. This sort of money GOAL does not have, nor is a donor prepared to guarantee it.

GOAL has never been comfortable about the prospect of working with the Kigali authorities, given the fact that they have imprisoned over 100,000 people without trial during the past two years. GOAL will continue to work in the Great Lakes region and our concentration will be on how to persuade the international community that the lives of 500,000 plus hapless Rwandan refugees stranded in the jungles of Eastern Zaire, are worth saving. - Yours, etc.,

Director,

GOAL,

Box 19,

Dun Laoghaire,

Co Dublin.