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Cablegate: Unhcr Refuses to Clarify Its Role or Make

VZCZCXRO2216
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHBP #1274 3021712
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 291712Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAMAKO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8360
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 0408
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS 0358
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0164

UNCLAS BAMAKO 001274

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

ACCRA FOR RECOORD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PHUM ML
SUBJECT: UNHCR REFUSES TO CLARIFY ITS ROLE OR MAKE
ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE TO CONGOLESE REFUGEES

REF: A. OCT 19 PERKINS-SAMPSON EMAILS

B. BAMAKO 01067
C. BAMAKO 01196

1. The Embassy contacted UNHCR/Mali's Director Adama Kouyate
on October 29 to inquire about the status of humanitarian
assistance supposedly earmarked by UNHCR's Geneva
headquarters for the 27 Congolese refugees now in Bamako (ref
A). Director Kouyate claimed he was unaware of UNHCR
Geneva's decision to help the Congolese and was openly
hostile to the idea of granting anything beyond the USD 80
already given to each Congolese refugee upon their arrival in
Bamako on September 17 (ref B).

2. Kouyate initially refused to believe the caller was an
Embassy official (curiously, UNHCR/Mali's Deputy Director
Mamadou Sidibe made the same assertion when contacted earlier
in the month) and categorically refused to provide any
information regarding UNHCR's support for the Congolese
without first receiving an official letter from the Embassy.
He maintained that the Congolese refugees in Bamako benefit
from the same level of assistance UNHCR provides to other
refugees, but refused to elaborate on what such "assistance"
entails. Based on conversations with the Congolese and
repeated attempts to pry information from UNHCR officials,
UNHCR assistance for the Congolese, including access to
medical care, is effectively nil.

3. On October 17 the Embassy informed Deputy Director Sidibe
that the partner NGO charged by UNHCR to provide refugees
with basic medical services had yet to receive funding from
UNHCR and was therefore turning away refugees who sought
medical care (ref C). Notwithstanding this, Mr. Sidibe was
still referring individuals to the NGO as late as October 25,
despite knowing full well that the NGO would be unable to
help any refugees due to lack of funds.

4. Embassy is drafting a letter for Mr. Kouyate, and will
continue to follow the case closely.
McCulley

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