SCHOOLS FOR THE CHILDREN
The tragic reality of the war and of the transition period has affected
numerous families in the country. Destroyed houses, schools in ruins, displaced people and
lack of resources have become the lot of those who come from the front-line districts. But
among all those unfortunate people, the children are the ones who have been suffering most
from this situation.
The vision of the badly damaged schools deeply drew the attention of the
ICRC delegate responsible for construction, when he first visited the front-line
districts. Leaky roofs, rotten floors, broken windows were the pathetic conditions in
which the kids were supposed to study. Following the principle of the greatest aid to the
most vulnerable, the ICRC decided to set up a school rehabilitation programme intended to
give the children the opportunity to pursue their education. Launched in the district of
Fizuli, 12 schools were completed by the end of 1997.
"Making the building watertight was the first thing to be done in
the schools. It was a priority that the kids could study in places which were dry !"
stressed Eric Weissen, construction delegate. In order to get good thermal insulation, it
was necessary to make artificial ceilings, to mend all the holes which had appeared under
the roofs, and to make all the walls watertight.
The second step of the work included the repair of the doors and
windows, as well as the plastering and painting. A special wood heating system, preventing
the kids from being cold in winter, has also been installed in every classroom. The space
available has been utilized to get the biggest possible number of classrooms in each
This year eight more schools, chosen in collaboration with
representatives of the Ministry of Education, have been reconstructed in the districts of
Gedabay, Tovuz, Agstafa and Kazakh and nine more will be finished by the end of October
Thanks to the ICRC school rehabilitation programme, 6500 children will
be able to continue their education in optimal conditions.
The children are innocent of the tragedies of the time. Moreover, they
represent the new generation. Let's help them to build the future!
INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT : A REALITY AT LAST.
The Diplomatic Conference on the establishment of an international
criminal court opened in Rome on 15 June.
For the ICRC, the establishment of an international criminal court is of
special importance. Indeed, the ICRC believes that this development will give greater
weight to Article 1 common to the four 1949 Geneva Conventions, whereby States undertake
not only to respect the provisions of the Conventions but also to ensure respect for them.
On July 17, after years of relentness efforts and five weeks of intense
negotiations, the Statute of the permanent International criminal court was finally
The ICRC welcomes this historical event. It sincerely hopes that this
Statute will allow the Court to fight efficiently against those criminals who mock the
international community and whose impunity is an invitation to crime.
The signing and ratification of this treaty by a very large number of
States is therefore a must, as they will be providing the Court with adequate funding and
staff of a high quality.
FROM FOOD DISTRIBUTION TO FOOD PRODUCTION.
A new ICRC assistance programme designed to help the Tajik prison
administration start producing food for detainees is about to yield its first crops. Seed,
fertilizers and various agricultural supplies were provided by the ICRC.
Both the prison authorities and the Ministry of Agriculture welcomed
this programme, which will allow them to grow enough food for the detainees.
Last week delegates proceeded with the final food distributions in
prisons, putting an end to the nutritional assistance programme which the ICRC had
launched in the summer of 1996 to reduce the alarming death rate among the 7,000 detainees
who are languishing in Tajik jails.
Although the programme achieved its aim, surveys show that the overall
situation remains far from satisfactory. Each month the ICRC distributed about 120 tons of
food for the detainees.