Information Regarding the Suspension of the Peace Corps Program in Madagascar

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 20, 2002—Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez announced today the decision to suspend its program in Madagascar. The 108 currently serving Peace Corps volunteers in Madagascar were recently relocated to Nairobi, Kenya for a transition conference. During that conference, the volunteers will be given options to transfer in order to continue their service in other Peace Corps posts or to re-enter the Peace Corps at a later date.

The U.S. Ambassador and U.S. Department of State have been informed of the decision to suspend. The Peace Corps has been assessing the viability of its program because of the difficult political climate in Madagascar, following last week’s Department of State notice of an ordered departure for eligible family members of Embassy staff and personnel in non-emergency positions.

While there have been incidents of violence and the potential for more violence remains, there have been no incidents involving Peace Corps volunteers. Deteriorating security conditions and increased logistical difficulties and indications that the political and security conditions could worsen have led to a complex and difficult political situation with no clear resolution in sight. Trends over which the Peace Corps has no control, indicate that there are no longer conditions in the country’s safer areas to justify continuance of the program at this time.

Over 320 volunteers have worked in Madagascar since the first group arrived in 1993. Projects focused on the teaching of the English language and training teachers, conducting health education and child survival activities and working on natural resource management and community development.

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