HL Deb 15 December 1999 vol 608 cc38-9WA
Lord Judd

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their estimate of the humanitarian predicament of the Congo Brazzaville; and what action they are supporting to meet their needs. [HL262]

Baroness Amos

The UN estimates that 810,000 people have been displaced in the Republic of Congo since December 1998. Of those, around 580,000 people remain internally displaced, while a further 30,000 remain as refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Gabon. Public services, such as health posts, have stopped functioning in many areas of the country. Many returnees reaching Brazzaville are malnourished, with severe malnutrition up to 30 per cent.

The only long-term solution to the humanitarian predicament of the people of the Republic of Congo lies in a negotiated political settlement leading to peace between the warring parties. We urge a fully inclusive reconciliation process leading to a return to democratic government.

We are currently considering the Year 2000 UN Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for the Republic of Congo, alongside UN appeals for the other countries in this region and elsewhere.

The UK has not traditionally been a bilateral donor to the Republic of Congo, but we stand ready to respond to requests for humanitarian interventions.