§ 3.15 p.m.
§ LORD COLYTON
My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government what part the civil and technical officers of the United Nations and other international agencies are taking in rehabilitating the areas of the Congo liberated by the Congolese national forces from the terrorists in the provinces of Orientale and Kivu since November last in such matters as health, education, agriculture and communications.]1438
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (LORD WALSTON)
My Lords, the United Nations Information Centre in London can provide a full account of the activities undertaken. I can, however, give some examples of the action taken by United Nations officials and technicians in the areas concerned. At the Congolese Government's request, the United Nations has taken immediate steps for the welfare of Congolese people in the liberated areas. The day after the liberation of Stanleyville, a general purpose team of United Nations personnel arrived there. World Health Organisation doctors and public works officials are still working there and the United Nations' local representative has distributed food to the people in the area and has visited Paulis. Doctors from the World Health Organisation have also been to Bunia, where there was a threat of smallpox. In Bukavu the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and World Health Organisation doctors are engaged in extensive famine relief, which involves the feeding of some 20,000 children. Although the United Nations has not yet established a local office in that part of the North-East Congo which is still under military control, individual experts visit the area as required. I should like to emphasise that all these and other activities undertaken by the United Nations have been carried out at the request of the Congolese Government.
I think your Lordships will agree that this gives clear evidence of the extremely valuable work which the United Nations and other organisations are continuing to perform in the Congo.
§ LORD COLYTON
My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Lord for his reply, which will give great satisfaction to all of those who are interested in the welfare of the Congo.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
My Lords, is my noble friend aware of the very great appreciation which, I am quite sure, is felt on both sides of the House of what the United Nations is doing in this matter?
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, it is an appreciation which is certainly shared by Her Majesty's Government.