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Archive for March, 2013

President Barack Obama wanted Raila Odinga to be the fourth President of Kenya but the Kenyan people chose Uhuru Kenyatta

Posted by African Press International on March 31, 2013

President Barack Obama, the US leader wanted Raila Odinga to be Kenya’s fourth president. The Kenyan people defied his wishes and chose Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta as President and Hon. William Ruto as his deputy.

Obama, due to his Luo roots in Kenya, spoke clearly through his then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that his country did not want Uhuru and Ruto as leaders for the Kenyan people.

Now what for Obama? Will he visit Kenya now that those he did not wish to see ascend to power have been elected?

He should be told that the Kenyan people care less if he visits the country or not.

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Thousands still homeless one year after munitions blasts

Posted by African Press International on March 31, 2013

BRAZZAVILLE, – Thousands of people remain homeless in the Republic of Congo (ROC) one year after being displaced following a deadly munitions blast at an army barracks in the capital, Brazzaville. The 4 March 2012 blast, in the area of Mpila, east of the capital, left some 282 people dead and 2,300 others injured, according to officials. 

“We have not relocated all those affected to date. We are relocating them gradually, as we are building houses on selected sites,” Emilienne Raoul, the ROC minister for humanitarian action, told IRIN.“For a long time, the disaster-affected have remained traumatized, especially the children. It’s difficult to forget this disaster,” Raoul continued.Thousands of people who were left homeless after the March 2012 blast – which was actually a series of explosions – sought refuge in several sites around the capital.

Still waiting

At present, at least 1,400 people are still living in tents at site number 17, west of Brazzaville.

In the surburb of Kintélé, 25km north of Brazzaville, the ROC government has built houses on 10 hectares of land. About 300 affected families have already been settled there.

“Here, we have the bare minimum: water, electricity, modern toilets and sanitation,” Ago Ngoulou, 43, told IRIN. Ngoulou is living in Kintélé after losing all his property in the explosions. “But transport is a headache. The site is far from the city centre.”

Most of those affected by the blasts have returned to the area of Mpila, where 2,000 families have received tents for shelter. Conditions there are difficult.

“We set up the tents between the sides of the walls of our destroyed hoses. We are at the mercy of the elements, insects and dangerous animals such as snakes,” complained army Sgt Jules Engambé.
In the vicinity, vegetation grown over the shells of burnt up military tanks and vehicles.

The ROC government has set aside some 60 billion CFA (US$120 million) to assist the affected households – about 50 people crippled in the blast will receive a monthly allowance of 140,000 francs ($280).

In September 2012, the ROC government and China signed a number of financial agreements totalling 970 million euros (about $1.2 billion), most of which will go towards reconstructing Mpila. Reconstruction work will start in 2013, in consultation with the land owners, according to the planning minister, Jean-Jacques Bouya.

The process of decontaminating the explosion site, which started days after the early 2012 blasts, is expected to end on 31 March, the proposed date for the start of the reconstruction work.

“The munitions that were exploded were scattered over a 3km radius,” said Cpt Cyr Andsi, the mine clearance head, adding that quality controls had been carried out to ensure the safety of people in Mpila.

Inquest

Members of an inquest into the cause of the 4 March 2012 explosions in Mpila initially suspected that the blasts had been due to an electric fault. But according to the ROC prosecutor Essamy Ngatsé, “This theory no longer holds.”

At least 30 people have so far been arrested and charged, among them 23 military officers who were said to have breached state security and committed arson. But their case files have, for a long time, been circulating between various offices of the judiciary, including the court of appeals and the supreme court.

“If the trial proceeds based on this cacophony that we have observed, it’s hard to believe that it will be a just and fair trial,” said Roche Euloge Nzobo of the Congolese Observatory for Human Rights (OCDH).

lmm/aw/rz source http://www.irinnews.org

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The view from the ground: How drone strikes hamper aid

Posted by African Press International on March 31, 2013

Air workers say drone strikes in rural parts of Afghanistan are affecting humanitarian and advocacy work

HIGHLIGHTS
• Waging conflict in “fuzzy international legal terms”
Aid workers under suspicion after drone strikes
• Little possibility for dialogue with drone operators
• Call for more disclosure on drone warfare

AMMAN/DUBAI,  – In recent years, the legality and civilian casualties of the secretive American drone programme have increasingly been the subject of much discussion. But one question has gone largely unasked: What is the impact of drone warfare on humanitarian work?

“The public debate, rightly so, has focused on the transparency and targeting of drones, but for humanitarians, there are a whole set of much more specific concerns that we don’t necessarily have answers on and ought to be thinking about,” says Naz Modirzadeh, a senior fellow at Harvard Law School and a leading expert on the intersection between counterterrorism and humanitarian aid.

In places like Afghanistan and Pakistan, strikes by unmanned planes are increasingly affecting humanitarian operations, aid workers say, necessitating a greater discussion by humanitarians on how to deal with the impact and a greater focus by US policymakers on how to mitigate it.

The issue will be increasingly relevant in coming years, as drones, also used in Somalia, Yemen and Gaza, become an ever more popular weapon of choice in counter-terrorism operations.

The legal framework 

One of the first questions of relevance for humanitarians is the legal framework under which the drone strikes operate and whether international humanitarian law (IHL), which protects humanitarian access and aid workers, applies.

Last month, NBC News made public a US Justice Department white paper making the legal case for drone strikes “outside [an] area of active hostilities”, in which IHL traditionally applies. It argued the USA was engaged in a geographically boundless non-international armed conflict with non-state armed groups – essentially claiming that it is “at war everywhere all the time”, as one international lawyer put it.

In the white paper, the US argues its counter-terrorism programme will be “informed by” what it presents as four core principles of IHL – necessity, distinction, proportionality and humanity. But it is not clear whether this is a binding interpretation of the law or a flexible policy statement.

Modirzadeh argues there are unanticipated costs of waging conflict in what she calls “fuzzy international legal terms”.

“A purported global non-international armed conflict, fought through weaponized unmanned vessels, whatever its status under international law, raises fundamental questions about how the humanitarian community will engage with states in order to ensure that lifesaving supplies reach the civilian population,” she told IRIN.

“If strikes target a particular region (such as in Yemen or Pakistan), what state, if any, has an obligation to ensure the population has access to relief operations? With whom do humanitarians interact to negotiate access? Can the territorial state reasonably be expected to offer meaningful and secure access? Does the targeting state have any obligations under IHL relevant to humanitarian assistance? Does human rights law [apply] as the dominant set of rules relevant to the basic needs of the population?”

In an attempt to answer some of these questions, the UN special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism in January launched an inquiry into the civilian impact of the use of drones, focusing on the applicable legal framework. He will present findings and recommendations to the UN General Assembly later this year.

Perceptions of neutrality 

In the meantime, aid workers are already feeling the impact on the ground.

Like other counter-terrorism methods, including other air strikes and night raids, drone strikes have in many cases created environments of suspicion and paranoia, even witch-hunts, with perceived collaborators hunted down and in some cases executed in front of video cameras.

In this environment, how do you manage perceptions of humanitarians’ neutrality? To varying degrees, aid workers have been able to distance themselves from traditional military associations: checkpoints, troops, convoys. But how can you distance yourself from a drone strike?

Take the May 2008 US missile attack on al-Shabab leader Aden Hashi Ayro in Somalia as an indicator. According to NGO security officials there, attacks by armed groups on aid workers rose from one or two per month leading up to his assassination, to 6-11 per month for the rest of the year. Aid workers were abducted and two US NGOs working in the area of the strike shut down operations as a result.

“That was kind of a turning point in al-Shabab suspicion towards humanitarian actors,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, director of policy and advocacy at Mercy Corps, which was working in Somalia at the time. “The fact that foreign NGOs were operating in the same area where the strike had occurred was enough to put them at severe risk.”

Pakistan is a more recent case in point of how even the prospect of drone strikes can compound tensions.

In 2011, Pakistani investigators alleged that a doctor running a vaccination campaign in northeastern Pakistan was an undercover CIA agent trying to gather information on the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden.

“That did a tremendous amount of harm to the humanitarian community,” said Sarah Holewinski, executive director of the Center for Civilians in Conflict.

According to one volunteer who has worked with government vaccination teams in Khyber Agency, one of Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas: “Because of drones and the Dr. Shakil Afridi case, all health workers are looked on with suspicion.”

Citing the case, in June 2012, a local Taliban commander in North Waziristan Agency, Hafiz Gul Bahadur, distributed pamphlets in the town of Miramshah banning polio vaccinations until drone strikes stopped. He alleged the campaign was a cover for US spies. Until now, vaccinations have not resumed in many parts of North Waziristan.

“The CIA is not going to sit down with humanitarian organizations and explain their operations”

The Pakistani volunteer, who requested anonymity, said hostility worsens after a drone strike. “In villages, we have been accused of being Western agents and [have had] jibes hurled at us,” he told IRIN. “My relatives warn me not to do this vaccination work as my life could be at risk.”

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) Humanitarian Policy Group raised the issue in research with the Taliban last year.

“Fighters recalled retaliating against local aid workers present after drone attacks and airstrikes, assuming that they were responsible for passing on intelligence,” Ashley Jackson, an ODI research fellow, told IRIN. “Aid workers gathering information for programming or assessing needs – even basic information – become suspect for asking questions, and are often blamed [by] the Taliban in the aftermath of such strikes.”

Collecting information 

Organizations working in rural areas of Afghanistan, who use GPS coordinates as a more reliable way of tracking the people they help in remote villages, say they have had more difficulty collecting beneficiary information in the last year and a half or so.

“If you are running around with maps, or even a large watch that could be mistaken for a GPS, people are very uncomfortable,” said one aid worker working with a USAID-funded programme in tribal areas of Afghanistan.

Third-party organizations doing monitoring and evaluation of NGO programmes have in some cases refused to offer the option of taking GPS coordinates because it has become too dangerous.

“It has made collecting information really difficult,” the aid worker said. Even where they are able to get the information, “now we are worried about where that information goes,” not only for privacy reasons, but also security reasons.

In addition, counter-terrorism legislation has required aid agencies to do more vetting than usual in areas where drone strikes occur, Modirzadeh points out. “If you are asking all sorts of questions of your partners and vendors and one week later there is a drone strike, who is going to be blamed?”

Protection of civilians 

One of the main concerns humanitarians have is who to liaise with when things go wrong, to secure safe access and to advocate the protection of civilians.

“Who do you call when an intelligence agency is running strikes and there are no operations on the ground?” Modirzadeh asks.

While the protection of civilians eventually became an important pillar of the US counter-insurgency approach, because it contributed to “winning hearts and minds”, the shift to counter-terrorism has placed the well-being of civilian populations on the back-burner, Holewinski says.

“The CIA is not going to sit down with humanitarian organizations and explain their operations and discuss how they can protect each other’s space. It’s an inherently clandestine organization.”

In 2012, an aid worker with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) died of shrapnel wounds after an air strike in southern Yemen.

“This is the cost of being vague about legal obligations,” Modirzadeh says.

Some say this is a new face to an old problem, but the remotely-controlled nature of the operations does add a unique challenge. Many of those who have tried to dialogue with drone strike operations have hit a brick wall.

ODI’s Jackson was working with Oxfam in Afghanistan 2010 and 2011 when a drone strike caused civilian casualties near the eastern city of Jalalabad. She tried to determine who was responsible for the strike, but “it’s incredibly difficult to get to anyone,” she said.

The drones might fly out of the same airbase as the regular military but have a completely separate chain of command, leading to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the US military special operations forces’ Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).

Jackson’s colleagues in Washington tried to arrange meetings with US officials, but “humanitarians don’t formally interface with the CIA or certain parts of the Pentagon who control this.” In the end, she said, “we had zero success.”

But others feel they are getting somewhere. While the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)’s 2012 report on the protection of civilians tracked only five drone strikes which resulted in civilian deaths and injuries, it did share its concerns with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) with the view that there is close cooperation between ISAF and the CIA and that the commander of ISAF has purview over any weapons used on his battle space.

“They are ultimately responsible from our point of view,” said James Rodehaver, deputy director of UNAMA’s human rights unit. “There is more than enough ability on the part of the forces here to track what sort of weapon is operating in their area and where the orders to order the strike came from,” he told IRIN.

Because of a “decent flow of information”, UNAMA does have a “direct line for advocacy and for messaging”, he said, with concerns shared with ISAF presumably reaching responsible authorities outside Afghanistan, for example US military’s Central Command (CENTCOM) in Tampa, Florida. At times, the interaction works extremely well; at others, “it takes more effort”, including delays while ISAF determines what it can and cannot share publicly.

But ISAF often provides UNAMA with relevant information, which helps the Mission confirm whether air operations – including drone strikes – occurred in a specific place at a specific time. Advocacy with ISAF more broadly has been successful in getting international forces to change tactical directives, train its forces, and ensure Standard Operating Procedures are enforced so as to reduce civilian casualties. Rodehaver urges that practical directives issued for aerial operations also be applied to drones for clearer policy guidance so that advocacy on drone strikes specifically can have a similar impact on operations.

But humanitarians are more skeptical. “The military will tell you, ‘Those are not our guys. We don’t know what to tell you’,” one researcher said.

In places like Yemen, where there is no international military force on the ground, the challenges of finding an interlocutor are that much more acute.

One option for dealing with this challenge would be some kind of special operations interface, but logistically, this would be very difficult. Special Forces on the ground are “wearing beards and blending in”. Making their presence overt would open them up to attack and would expose the quiet consent of national governments who allow them to operate on their territory.

“But it’s an important function the US government has to have,” Holewinski says, “whether it is on the ground or somewhere else.”

When her organization, which recently wrote a report on the unexamined costs of drones, tried to lobby US senators and members of Congress for greater oversight of the drone programme, not a single one responded to requests for meetings.

The way forward 

The American use of armed drones has risen considerably in recent years. According to UNAMA, the number of weapons released by drones in Afghanistan jumped from 294 in 2011 to 506 in 2012, a 72 percent increase. But from the limited information available, it appears civilian casualties have not followed the same curve.

Several organizations, including The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and PakistanBodyCount.org, have tried tracking civilian deaths caused by drone strikes, but researchers have questioned their methodologies, which are largely based on analyzing press reports. As such, Howlenski argues, “nobody really knows” the true number of civilians killed by drones.

Still, the New America Foundation, which has among the most conservative estimates, says civilian casualties have accounted for about 14 percent of drone-related killings during Obama’s tenure – down from 46 percent during the Bush administration. In 2012, that percentage was down to 1.7, though another 9.3 percent of casualties’ identities were unknown, the Foundation said.

But concern over the use of drones has, if anything, increased. Researchers expect other countries to start using drones, if they have not already (Israel, for example, has reportedly used drone strikes in Gaza). With troops pulling out of Afghanistan in 2014, the trend is likely to continue.

“If you have fewer troops on the ground, and you have less transparency and [drones] is the way they increasingly fight the war, it will increasingly be an issue for civilians and as such for aid workers,” Jackson said.

And while the US government is under more and more pressure to address civilian casualties of drone strikes, observers say the impact of drones on humanitarian action is almost surely not on the radar screen.

“We are… concerned that there are consequences to covert drone strikes that policymakers and the public may underestimate or fail to recognize,” the Center for Civilians in Conflict wrote in its report.

It urged more disclosure on drone warfare in order to inform public debate and an inter-agency task force in the US that would evaluate, among other things, the strategic value and humanitarian impact of covert drone strikes compared to other counterterrorism approaches.

“A fundamental shift may be slowly, if haltingly, emerging,” Modirzadeh said. “It is very difficult to do things in secret anymore and we are likely to see a legal and political debate about this in the years to come.”

kh/ha/cb source http://www.irinnews.org

 

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The Supreme Court of Kenya today Saturday the 30th of March 2013 declares:

Posted by African Press International on March 30, 2013

The Supreme Court judges have reached a unanimous decision to uphold the election of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto as president and deputy president elect respectively. Reading the judgement Chief Justice Willy Mutunga said the IEBC conducted a free, fair and credible election. The court also dismissed the case filed by CORD and Africog.

The Fourth President of Kenya is Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy President is Hon. William Ruto.

The Kenyan people and the international community are now waiting for the petitioner Raila Odinga, a man known never to concede defeat in any election, to congratulate Hon Uhuru Kenyatta.

We in African Press International Congratulate the incoming President and his deputy!

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Mandela still in hospital, but reportedly responding well to treatment

Posted by African Press International on March 30, 2013

Nelson Mandela is reportedly comfortable and breathing without any difficulty. He is being treated for pneumonia, the presidency has told the media today Saturday. This is his 3rd day in hospital.

Mandela who is now 94 years old had fluid removed from his chest and is said it “has resulted in him now being able to breathe without difficulty,” President Jacob Zuma‘s office said.

 

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Kenya Presidential election petition: Uhuru, re-run (Uhuru/Raila, or fresh elections – The Supreme court ruling before 17.00hours Kenyan time today.

Posted by African Press International on March 30, 2013

Kenya‘s Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has stated that the Supreme Court will deliver its judgement today before 17.00 hours Kenya time.

“COMPATRIOTS. The Supreme Court will deliver its decision NOT LATER than 5pm today InshALLAH,” said Dr Mutunga on Twitter today Saturday the 30th March 2013.

The Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court Gladys Shollei said the Supreme Court judges had, in the morning retreated to deliberate on the evidence and write their ruling.

“The media and the public will be alerted an hour in advance before ruling,” she told a news conference in Nairobi Saturday morning.

The Supreme Court’s ruling is historic: It will either clear the way for the swearing in of President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta as Kenya’s fourth President, a run-off pitting Mr Uhuru Kenyatta and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, or a fresh election.

Police Inspector General Kimaiyo warns that those who will cause chaos after the ruling is made will face the law.

 

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Derrière la colonie israélienne E1

Posted by African Press International on March 30, 2013

JERUSALEM,  – Le mois dernier, une mission d’enquête internationale sur les colonies israéliennes dans les Territoires palestiniens occup&eacu te;s (TPO) commandée par le Conseil des droits de l’homme des Nations Unies a révélé que les colonies constituaient une violation du droit international humanitaire et a appelé Israël à cesser son expansion territoriale immédiatement et à se retirer de ses implantations. 

Un projet israélien controversé, appelé E1, visant à construire des milliers de logements et de chambres d’hôtel près de la colonie de Ma’ale Adummim est sous le feu des projecteurs, car il séparerait le quartier palestinien de Jérusalem Est du reste de la Cisjordanie. (Voir le briefing d’IRIN sur le plan E1 ici)

Mais dans le même temps, Israël continue son extension à une vitesse inhabituelle avec des projets de colonisation moins médiatisés.

Alors que le président Barack Obama s’apprête à visiter la région cette semaine, IRIN se penche sur certains éléments absents de la polémique.

Que prévoit le projet de Giv’at HaMatos ?

Selon l’organisation non gouvernementale (ONG) israélienne Ir Amim (« Cité des nations »), dont l’objectif est de maintenir Jérusalem comme ville à la fois israélienne et palestinienne, le plan d’implantation de Giv’at HaMatos est d’une « importance capitale ».

Dans un sens, Giv’at HaMatos fait dans le sud ce que E1 fait à l’est. Le projet d’un grand complexe résidentiel et hôtelier à la limite sud de Jérusalem constituerait un obstacle supplémentaire à la continuité du territoire entre Jérusalem-Est et le reste de la Cisjordanie, nécessaire à la création d’un futur État palestinien. D’après des organisations de défense des droits et de recherche, cela sonnerait le glas de la solution de deux États. Le projet marquerait aussi la première construction d’une colonie dans Jérusalem depuis 1997.

« Toutes les constructions sont problématiques mais il y a plusieurs projets qui sont, selon nous, plus dangereux s’ils sont mis en œuvre », a déclaré à IRIN Hagit Ofran, directeur de l’Observatoire de la colonisation de l’ONG israélienne Peace Now. « Giv’at HaMatos est le projet le plus dangereux et est désormais approuvé ».

Une partie du projet, qui vise à construire 2 612 unités, a été approuvée par le Comité régional de planification et de construction de Jérusalem le 19 décembre.

Une grande partie du territoire de Giv’at HaMatos est actuellement inhabitée, mais selon International Crisis Group (ICG), qui a récemment publié un rapport en deux parties sur l’avenir de Jérusalem Est, la construction prévue isolerait des quartiers arabes au sud de Jérusalem, comme Beit Safafa et Sharafat, les transformant en « enclaves palestiniennes ».

Giv’at HaMatos relierait d’autres colonies, qui sont en projet ou en cours d’extension, le long de la limite sud de Jérusalem, notamment Giv’at Yael au sud-ouest et Har Homa et Talpiyot-Est au sud-est, pour former « un long continuum de territoires juifs qui diviserait le continuum urbain de Bethléem du Jérusalem palestinien », a annoncé ICG. L’an dernier, le gouvernement israélien a également approuvé la construction de plus de 2 000 nouvelles unités dans le quartier voisin de Gilo.

Cette détermination à développer les colonies juives pourrait compliquer encore plus les pourparlers de paix.

« Du point de vue de l’opinion publique israélienne, Giv’at HaMatos se situe à la frontière municipale de Jérusalem », a affirmé M. Ofran. « Il est considéré comme une partie légitime d’Israël ».

Barak Cohen, conseiller de la municipalité de Jérusalem pour les affaires étrangères et les médias, a déclaré à IRIN que Giv’at HaMatos s’inscrivait dans « l’expansion naturelle et nécessaire » de Jérusalem et permettait aux propriétaires arabes et juifs de développer leurs territoires.

En effet, une partie du projet de Giv’at HaMatos, approuvée le 18 décembre, prévoit la construction de 549 unités pour les Palestiniens, même si Betty Herschman, directrice des relations internationales et du plaidoyer de l’ONG Ir Amim, indique qu’il s’agit plus de légaliser rétroactivement des bâtiments déjà construits que d’en construire de nouveaux. Les chiffres, a-t-elle ajouté, représentent un peu plus d’un cinquième de l’expansion juive.

Pourtant, a insisté M. Cohen, l’extension serait bénéfique pour Jérusalem dans son ensemble : « L’absence de projet et de développement des quartiers de Jérusalem finirait par nuire à tous les habitants et les propriétaires, tant arabes que juifs ».

L’an dernier, Israël a également lancé des appels d’offres pour la construction de 606 nouvelles unités résidentielles au nord de Jérusalem Est, dans la colonie de Ramot, juste au nord de la Ligne verte qui marque la frontière entre Israël et la Cisjordanie, et a approuvé 1 500 unités supplémentaires dans la colonie voisine de Ramot Shlomo, selon Ir Amim.

Quels sont les autres projets de colonisation ?

Selon l’Observatoire de la colonisation, en dehors de Jérusalem, un certain nombre de projets de colonisation se développent dans des zones contestées.

En juin 2012, le gouvernement israélien a annoncé la construction de 851 nouvelles unités en Cisjordanie, y compris plus de 230 unités dans les colonies contestées d’Ariel et d’Efrat. Comme Giv’at HaMatos, ces deux colonies rendent impossible la continuité du territoire palestinien, d’après l’Observatoire de la colonisation.

Dans l’ensemble, les colonies s’étendent beaucoup plus vite que l’an dernier.

Selon l’ONG Peace Now, en 2012, le gouvernement israélien a approuvé la construction de 6 676 unités résidentielles israéliennes en Cisjordanie, contre 1 607 unités en 2011 et plusieurs centaines en 2010.

Pour les projets qui ont déjà été approuvés, le gouvernement a lancé plus de 3 000 appels d’offres aux entrepreneurs de construction, plus que n’importe quelle autre année de la dernière décennie, d’après Peace Now. Les travaux ont déjà commencé pour 1 747 habitations.

Indépendamment des colonies, les Palestiniens, notamment ceux de la zone C, subissent d’énormes pressions. Les dernières semaines ont marqué une hausse considérable des démolitions de constructions palestiniennes. Selon Displacement Working Group, un groupement d’organisations humanitaires qui viennent en aide aux familles déplacées, les forces israéliennes ont détruit 139 bâtiments palestiniens, dont 59 habitations en janvier, soit près du triple de la moyenne mensuelle de 2012. Les démolitions ont eu lieu dans Jérusalem Est et en Cisjordanie, en majorité dans la zone C, ce qui a causé le déplacement de 251 Palestiniens, dont plus de 150 enfants.

Le bureau du Coordonnateur des activités gouvernementales dans les territoires [palestiniens] (COGAT) a déclaré à IRIN qu’il n’y avait pas de lien entre la destruction des bâtiments construits illégalement et la construction des colonies israéliennes. « Toutes les constructions en Cisjordanie sont soumises à la réglementation et la législation en matière de construction et de planification, et les constructions illégales seront traitées en conséquence », a déclaré le bureau dans un courriel.

Quels sont les effets boule de neige ?

Les colonies sont souvent évoquées à travers le prisme de l’illégalité établie par le droit international humanitaire ou comme un obstacle au processus de paix entre Israël et les Palestiniens. Mais tout ce qui concerne les colonies, notamment les infrastructures exclusivement israéliennes, la barrière de séparation israélienne, les postes de contrôle, les restrictions de la liberté de circulation des Palestiniens, la suppression de la liberté d’expression et de la participation politique, ainsi que le contrôle des ressources naturelles palestiniennes, a des répercussions sur la société palestinienne et un impact catastrophique sur la population.

D’après les estimations des Nations Unies, il y a désormais 520 000 colons israéliens dans Jérusalem Est et en Cisjordanie, 43 pour cent du territoire étant réservé aux conseils municipaux et régionaux des colonies. Selon le Secrétaire général des Nations Unies, Israël a établi environ 8 pour cent de ses citoyens dans les TPO depuis les années 1970, transformant la composition géographique du territoire et éloignant encore plus le peuple palestinien de son droit à l’autodétermination.

M. Baker, du cabinet du premier ministre israélien, a déclaré qu’un futur État palestinien devait inclure une minorité juive. « Cela supposerait… que les Juifs n’ont pas le droit de vivre en Cisjordanie, une supposition que nous rejetons. En vérité, nous nous considérons comme le véritable peuple autochtone de ce territoire ».

Pourtant, d’après la mission d’enquête des Nations Unies, les colonies israéliennes violent le principe d’égalité devant la loi des Palestiniens, dans leur liberté religieuse et leur liberté de circulation. Les colonies ont également restreint l’accès des Palestiniens à l’eau et aux actifs agricoles, ainsi que leurs possibilités de croissance économique, a-t-elle révélé.

Par exemple, les Bédouins du village palestinien de Khan Al Ahmar, au nord-est du secteur E1 ne peuvent plus vendre leurs produits laitiers sur le marché traditionnel de Souq Al Ahmar. À cause des restrictions de circulation (ils possèdent des cartes d’identité cisjordaniennes et n’ont pas les laissez-passer nécessaires pour entrer dans Jérusalem Est), ils ne peuvent pas s’y rendre.

Le Secrétaire général des Nations Unies a déclaré que les Palestiniens « n’avaient pratiquement aucun contrôle » sur les ressources en eau en Cisjordanie, 86 pour cent de la vallée du Jourdain et de la mer Morte sont sous la juridiction de fait des conseils régionaux des colonies.

Selon une étude menée par le gouvernement et les Nations Unies, il existe un lien arithmétique entre la proximité des colonies et les taux d’insécurité alimentaire des Palestiniens, les résultats montrent qu’un quart des Palestiniens vivant dans la zone C, qui abrite la majorité des colonies en Cisjordanie, souffrait d’insécurité alimentaire. Dans les zones A et B, le taux d’insécurité alimentaire moyen est de 17 pour cent.

De plus, « tous les aspects de la vie des Palestiniens sont marqués par les attaques d’une minorité de colons qui utilise la violence et l’intimidation pour forcer les Palestiniens à abandonner leurs terres », a indiqué la mission.

Selon Operation Dove, une organisation internationale qui œuvre dans le village palestinien d’At-Tuwani et dans les collines du sud d’Hébron, il est très difficile pour les enfants palestiniens d’aller à l’école à cause des attaques des colons.

Les Nations Unies et les organisations de défense des droits affirment que les colons extrémistes s’attaquent aux Palestiniens en toute impunité et leurs avant-postes illégaux sont souvent reconnus et légalisés rétroactivement par le gouvernement.

Depuis le début de l’occupation, Israël a arrêté des centaines de milliers de Palestiniens, parfois sans chef d’accusation, y compris des enfants. D’après la mission d’enquête, la plupart des mineurs sont arrêtés « aux points de friction, comme un village proche d’une colonie ou une route empruntée par l’armée ou les colons ».

Israël a recours à ce qui est appelé la « détention administrative » lorsqu’un détenu est soupçonné de constituer une menace pour la sécurité de l’État.

Mme Herschman de Ir Amim affirme qu’Israël veut également créer un « grand Jérusalem » par des moyens supplémentaires, notamment : la barrière de séparation israélienne, des projets de parcs nationaux et la construction d’axes routiers qui diviseraient les villages, confisqueraient leurs terres aux Palestiniens, ce qui rendrait encore plus difficile l’accès aux services publics comme les écoles et les mosquées.

Au cours des dernières semaines, les habitants du village palestinien de Beit Safafa ont manifesté contre le prolongement prévu de l’autoroute Begin qui diviserait leur village pour relier Jérusalem aux principales colonies situées à l’extérieur de la cité.

L’emplacement prévu de la barrière de séparation israélienne, ajouté au projet de parc national autour du périmètre de la barrière, couperait l’accès au village palestinien voisin d’al-Wallajeh.

L’emplacement prévu de la barrière de séparation s’étend tout autour et bien au-delà de Muale Adummim et dans d’autres zones au sud et au nord de Jérusalem. « Ces tracés sont une déclaration unilatérale d’un Jérusalem beaucoup plus étendu, une expansion unilatérale des frontières, une augmentation exponentielle », a-t-elle déclaré à IRIN.

En d’autres termes, selon ICG, « pour beaucoup d’habitants arabes de Jérusalem-Est, le combat pour leur cité est presque perdu ».

mg/ha/cb-fc/amz

 

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The Search for Justice: Martine Vik Magnussen did not have to meet a cruel death in the hands of a monster killer!

Posted by African Press International on March 29, 2013

Joining hands for Martine’s sake – the search for justice and the thirst for the truth to know what happened that fateful day in her London flat.

The late Martine was a charm and a good-hearted young lady. She deserves justice. Yemeni authorities must act in order to redeem their reputation of being unnecessarily influenced by wealthy individuals whose actions are the extension of promoting injustice.

Norwegian student Martine Vik Magnussen who was only 23 years old when she met her death in the cruel hands of a rapist and monster killer. The incident took place on the 14th of March 2008. years.

According to the British police, there is only one suspect in the name of Farouk Abdulhak (22), who reportedly left London soon after the crime was committed and is said to be now hiding in Yemen being protected by his wealthy father Mr Shaher Abdulhak. There is no extradition treaty between the United Kingdom and Yemen. At the same time Norway has no treaty with the said country either. This contributes to the difficulties in trying to get the suspect to answer the charges in the such for the truth and justice in this case.

The family of the late Martine has told African Press international that they do not seek revenge but are demanding that justice must be done sooner rather than later.

www.africanpress.me/ The Late Martine Vik Magnussen, Norway (Prohibited - can only be re-printed on acquiring written permission.

http://www.africanpress.me/ The Late Martine Vik Magnussen, Norway (Prohibited – can only be re-printed on acquiring written permission.

www.africanpress.me/ Mr Odd Petter Magnussen, father to the Late Martine Vik Magnussen, Norway (Prohibited - can only be re-printed on acquiring written permission.)

http://www.africanpress.me/ Mr Odd Petter Magnussen, father to the Late Martine Vik Magnussen, Norway (Prohibited – can only be re-printed on acquiring written permission.)

www.africanpress.me/ Mr Odd Petter Magnussen, father to the Late Martine Vik Magnussen, Norway (Prohibited - can only be re-printed on acquiring written permission.)

http://www.africanpress.me/ Mr Odd Petter Magnussen, father to the Late Martine Vik Magnussen, Norway (Prohibited – can only be re-printed on acquiring written permission.)

This is in reference to the message out there:

“UK authorities have recently outlined why there are compelling reasons that Martine case should be tried in the country of the crime.  The offence occurred on British soil at a time when both the victim and the suspect were student guests in London. Therefore there is a presumption that the case will be heard in UK jurisdiction.  The witnesses, forensic evidence, and physical evidence are all in the UK.  Finally, in terms of sentence, while the UK has abolished the death penalty, it still exists in Yemen.”

Watch the video and listen to Mr Magnussen’s loss after his beloved daughter Martine was murdered in London: This video may be shared – permission granted.

Accordingly “In a Norwegian documentary in 2009 the suspect’s lawyer confirmed that the suspect was living at home in Sanaa and that his father paid for legal and living expenses.  The father allegedly assisted his suspected son fleeing the UK after the murder in 2008 by taking him a board his private plane en route from Cairo to Sanaa. The father, with roots in Kenya, will always be associated with any outcome of the Martine case irrespectively of his son’s whereabouts.

And “The Yemeni Constitution prohibits a non-voluntary extradition of Yemeni citizens. However, it cannot be assumed that this constitution was meant to protect Yemeni criminals from law enforcement following crimes committed abroad. This would also be inconsistent with all religions including the focus in Islam on ‘justice, tolerance respect for human life and dignity’.”

As all would expect “Being a conservative Islamic state the present regime would achieve greater legitimacy by contributing to an ethical solution in the Martine-case.  Beyond the Yemeni Foreign Minister claiming the Martine case put an extra burden on the government, also growing internal pressure following the political situation in Yemen, and the Arabic Spring in general, is felt strongly. The main argument is that Yemen should avoid being regarded as a safe haven for international fugitives.”

In all fairness to promote justice “New social medias have made the world more transparent, and universal justice and legal rights have become mainstream concerns globally both politically and in a CSR-perspective. Multinationals are important opinion leaders here. An ethical solution to this case will create a precedence benefitting all parties involved. Yemen will benefit by contributing to improve international legal order and combat cross border crime. Legitimacy for receiving further military and financial support from US/UK would also increase following justice prevailing in a high-profile case of this nature.”

The need for filling a loop-hole in international law is also reflected by a new resolution put forward to the OSCE by Norwegian parliamentarians, and signed by 56 countries, last July. The resolution was based on the experiences from the Martine case, and aimed at reducing international serious crimes such as trafficking, drug dealing, money laundry, kidnapping, rape, murder or terrorism in today’s mobile world. Thus it is important for the Yemeni authorities to see the Martine case as an opportunity to combat ‘cross border crime’ rather than a challenge to it’s sovereignty. The mutual advantages for to-day’s world to progress here outbalance any costs associated with such change.

This is a high-profile case touching on three countries and “Being considered a matter of ethics, rather than a question of extradition treaties, the longer the fugitive is made unavailable for UK authorities the more this case will build momentum – also in the Arabic world.  It is vital to see any solution-scenarios in light of this new logic.”

Leaders should stick to the “Rule of law, human rights and respect for cultures, religions and universal values is the ethical axis of our existence. The Martine-case is a vital test for our aspirations and motivation to contribute to a more humane world based on the principles of peaceful coexistence between nations.”

Taking responsibility seriously and respecting human life“It is still a hope that the suspect will ensure justice prevails by meeting his obligations as a former guest student in the UK and return to the country of the crime.  In this way the two families could reconcile, which would reinforce the only sustainable global truth that national and international interests must go beyond personal interests in a case of this nature.

May Martine receive the justice deserved and her soul rest in peace for eternity!

Related stories:

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Norwegian Odd Petter Magnussen on her late daughter Martine Vik Magnussen’s investigation

Posted by African Press International on March 29, 2013

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Norway: Release of a new CD titled “URU NNE BARA” (Mother’s role) by Juliet Okparaebo in June

Posted by African Press International on March 29, 2013

African Press International: Social Educator and artist Juliet Okparaebo to launch her CD in Oslo.
She will launch her CD in Oslo in June this year 2013. On this slides roll she shows to our viewers a ready CD waiting to hit the road. During the discussions with Juliet, here seated in her family home looking forward to the launcing date. is her daughter Ezinne Okparaebo who is 200 and 100 meters Norwegian champion since 2005 to this day and onwards hopefully…….

Acharaugo Dancing Group” (ADGIN)

Historical Background

Their musical genre is basically cultural/folklore. The music can be danced by both males and females, but “Acharaugo Dancing Group” (ADGIN) is made up of some of the Nigerian women living in Norway and membership is open to women of 18 years old and above.

ADGIN officially became registered in Norway in 2012, but prior to its registration, the founder and leader (performing artiste),  Juliet Okparaebo began her musical career since 2002.

LISTEN TO HER LEADERSHIP SKILLS:

The formation of ADGIN was in response to the vigorous campaign by various bodies—governmental and organizations for integration. For ADGIN cultural dancing was one of the fastest means of integrating with the Norwegian society through social and cultural interaction with other various organizations (Norwegians and foreigners). In addition to integration, ADGIN has the vision to achieve the following:

A)     To use its dancing group to entertain and to make  the public happy at special events.

B)      To leave a legacy for their off-spring through the promotion of their cultural heritage, hence they often bring along their children during dancing practices.

C)      To promote a healthy life-style through physical activity (dancing) as many of them do not regularly train at physical training studios.

Activities

They meet on regular basis for dancing practices and discussions on how best to meet their set goals. At intervals and when the need arises they visit one another. ADGIN on certain conditions accepts invitations from the public to do what they do best—folklore music and dancing. Since 2002, the performing artiste/leader of ADGIN, has been show-casing  her musical talent in a number of public events. In 2004 and 2005 for instance, she performed for Oslo “Kommune” (LGA) during some of its annual “Bjerke Mela” at Årvål Samfunnshus and at Slurpen (Mangfold og Integrering) activities,  to mention, but a few. And in January, 2013 she successfully produced her first album “Uru Nne Bara” (mother`s role).

 

Related story:

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2013 Kenya Presidential Petition: Meet UHURU KENYATTA’s lawyer FRED NGATIA – giving RAILA sleepless nights – NEVER LOST a CASE

Posted by African Press International on March 29, 2013

www.africanpress.me/ Advocate Fred Ngatia

http://www.africanpress.me/ Advocate Fred Ngatia – 

In a span of over 3 decades in his legal practice, Fred Ngatia has never lost a case in any court of law in Kenya.
Ngatia, who is representing President electUhuru Kenyatta in the ongoing Court petition, has over the years represented top government officials in both criminal, consititutional and commercial cases.
The brilliant lawyer is regarded in legal circles as the guru of constitutional and judicial service cases. He has been the lawyer for the late Cabinet Minister George Saitoti and represented him at the Goldenberg Commission of Inquiry which recommended that the late Minister should face criminal charges for his role in the Goldenberg scandal.
Ngatia is also the lawyer representing former Kenya Power chairman Samuel Gichuru and former Minister Chris Okemo in an extradition case where they are accused of defrauding the parastatal millions of shillings.
Rumour has it that, Ngatia is giving CORD leaders sleepless nights.
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ArabDisaster Risk Reduction

Posted by African Press International on March 29, 2013

AQABA, – Nearly 300 government officials, scientists, aid workers and activists from across the Arab world are working together in Jordan to draw up the first joint regional platform for disaster risk reduction (DRR).In the last three decades more than 164,000 people in the region have been killed by natural hazards, which caused damage estimated at US$19.2 billion, according to new figures for the region from the Belgium-based Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED).

“All the people who are here now – they’ve been waiting for this for a few years. The conference has been scheduled and rescheduled, so there’s a pent up wish to discuss and tackle issues upfront,” Margareta Wahlstrom, special representative of the UN Secretary-General for DRR, told IRIN, blaming the Arab Spring for the delays.

The week of meetings is being held in Jordan’s coastal port, Aqaba, recognized as a leader in disaster preparedness in the region and one of many urban centres built on one of the four main regional fault lines – the Dead Sea Transform Fault, the Taurus-Zagros fault, the Nubia-Eurasia plate boundary in Maghreb and the NU-Aegean Sea and NU-Anatolia in Eastern Mediterranean region.

Conference speakers acknowledge that the region has been “lucky” in recent years to escape major natural hazard events, but historic records show cities like Beirut, Damascus and Alexandria have all been destroyed by earthquakes.

While the natural hazards may not be new, the risks have been aggravated in recent years by the nature of human development.

“In a relatively short period a number of crucial factors have magnified the exposure and vulnerability of cities in the Arab region to disaster and its aftermath,” said Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan, president of the Jordanian Royal Scientific Society.

“The explosive increase in urban populations in recent decades, coupled with poor planning in land use, has expanded the potential of hazard to cause havoc in our cities.”

Around 55 percent of the population in the Arab world lives in cities, a figure predicted to reach 66 percent by 2020.

Prevention not cure

Disaster experts at the conference credit the Indian Ocean Tsunami disaster of 2004 with opening eyes internationally to the importance of preparing in advance for natural hazards.

Previously, Wahlstrom told IRIN, such disasters were thought of as things over which you had little control: “you deal with the immediate consequences, you rebuild, you pay for it and you move on.”

But she says governments increasingly realize that natural disasters happen when natural hazard events meet vulnerable and unprepared populations.

“You actually have to plan for it; you can mitigate the impact, and you can mitigate the costs.”

In early 2005, countries around the world signed up to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), which set five priorities over the 10-year period to 2015 for countries to strengthen institutional responses, set-up early warning systems, identify risks and build resilience at all levels.

It was the world’s first attempt to coordinate who should be in charge of what in a disaster.

Sometimes experience has shown itself to be the best teacher; Algeria improved building regulations for schools and hospitals after damage caused by the 2003 earthquake, while Lebanon – a regional leader on DRR – set-out to improve disaster management coordination after a recent plane crash saw four emergency operations rooms set up in the first four hours, but without any coordination between them.

Results

This is the first Arab conference on DRR, and the region is the last to meet ahead of a global DRR conference in Geneva in May, at which countries will plan the post-2015 strategies for resilience when the current Hyogo framework will need replacing.

“The explosive increase in urban populations in recent decades, coupled with poor planning in land use, has expanded the potential of hazard to cause havoc in our cities.”

What changes all this will have on the ground will depend on implementation, and so far Arab countries have been slow to put in place measures to improve preparedness; only nine of the region’s 22 countries have set up, or are setting up, a national loss database, while just 10 have submitted their HFA country reports to the UN Office for DRR (UNISDR).

“To be very honest with you, I share your fear that many of these things are paper products,” said Wahlstrom at the event’s press conference. “But when I look back at the conferences that we’ve had over the years, I see a very high level of coherence between the recommendations and commitments, and what people actually do.”

Funding prevention

Disaster experts at the conference stress that investing in prevention is a way to save money in the country; that a dollar spent on prevention is worth at least four after a crisis.

Natural disasters are often extraordinarily expensive – the floods that hit Saudi Arabia and Yemen in 2008 and 2009, for example, cost about $1.3 billion.

In addition, unprepared countries face far longer recovery times and affected cities and regions can be set back by years.

The Lebanese government’s decision to prioritize preparedness dates back to the destruction caused by the earthquake in Haiti, which was witnessed first-hand by officials from the prime minister’s office.

“The challenge is to convince governments to pay for what is not yet tangible, but which will become tangible in the coming years,” said Wahlstrom.

Just published figures from CRED show natural hazards have cost the world more than $100 billion a year for the past three years.

The Arab League has led the adoption of DRR in the region, and in 2012 it produced a strategy adopted by regional heads of state.

But Fatma Al-Mallah, DRR advisor and member of the Global High Level Advisory Group on HFA2, says more engagement is needed.

“This is not enough – there should be a political commitment from each government. We should have more political courage in our countries when we have problems.”

She warned governments that natural hazards such as drought were frequently an underlying cause of political unrest, citing Darfur and the Arab Spring as examples, and said that a lack of good governance on these issues risked bringing instability at the lowest levels of society.

Jordan Ryan, director of the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery at the UN Development Programme, said natural disasters invariably affect the most vulnerable.

“Forest fires in Lebanon and earthquakes in Algeria are all reminders of how vulnerable this region is. As in other parts of the world, we know who suffers the most – the poor.”

He said 95 percent of the 1.3 million disaster fatalities around the globe in the past two decades were the poor.

“Weak systems for disaster preparedness are as much to blame as the natural disasters that cause them,” said Ryan.

jj/cb source http://www.irinnews.org



 

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Government sells food aid

Posted by African Press International on March 29, 2013

MBABANE,  – Swaziland’s government has sold maize donated by the Japanese government to feed hungry Swazis for US$3 million and deposited the money in the Central Bank of Swaziland.

The nearly 12,000 metric tons of donated maize was sold by the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development in 2011, but the sale was not made public until an item about the transaction appeared in a performance report the ministry presented to the Swaziland Parliament for review last week.

Swaziland has not produced enough food to feed itself since the 1970s. It depends on international food aid to bridge a gap that varies from year to year, ranging from two-thirds of the country’s 1.2 million people in 2007 to about one-tenth of the population this year, after a better than average rainfall, according to the World Food Programme.

Unanswered questions

The majority of Swazis reside on communal Swazi Nation Land, under the authority of chiefs appointed by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. Lacking title deeds to their ancestral farms, they are unable to secure bank loans to invest in irrigation equipment or farming machinery, relying instead on rainfall to water their crops. However, Swaziland’s climate is becoming increasingly arid and agricultural inputs are growing increasingly unaffordable.

Bertram Stewart, the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development’s principal secretary, acknowledged the sale of the food aid to Swazi media, and said it was not the first time this had been done. According to Stewart, the Japanese government was informed that the maize donation would be sold and that the money would be used to purchase farming inputs for subsistence farmers, but the Japanese government has yet to confirm this assertion.

In fact, government-funded farming inputs were scaled back during the past cropping season, with the Ministry of Agriculture citing a lack of funds.

Members of parliament (MPs) have asked the economic planning minister, Prince Hlangusemphi Dlamini, for an explanation as to why food donations intended for the poor and hungry were being diverted for other uses, but Dlamini, who was appointed to the ministerial position by his brother, the king, has yet to respond.

MPs also pointed out that the government has $50 million in unused funds that could be used to purchase food aid or to implement programmes recommended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to boost food production.

Economic decline

The government’s profligate spending, coupled with its failure to follow IMF guidelines meant to boost its economy and increase government tax revenue, has led to years of economic decline. Swaziland’s GDP fell by 3 percent last year, and is expected to drop again in 2013. IMF has predicted that, by 2014, the country’s economy will have replaced Somalia’s as the worst performing in the world.

A substantial portion of the government’s budget is provided by revenue from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), which distributes tax revenue from goods entering Southern Africa to its five member states. But revenues from SACU have plummeted in the wake of the global economic slowdown, helping to precipitate a fiscal crisis that has led to job losses and significant cuts in social spending, putting an increased strain on the two-thirds of the population already living in chronic poverty.

“The government is desperate for money and will grab it by hook or by crook, even taking food from the mouths of babies,” said one private sector accountant familiar with the government’s financial situation.

“At the same time, the government is used to the international community rushing in with aid to cover the government’s mismanagement of the economy and the humanitarian crisis here,” he said.

Two NGOs that did not wish to be named told IRIN they were worried the sale of Japan’s food donation and the lack of a full accounting by the government could negatively affect donors’ willingness to support the country.

tg/ks/rz source http://www.irinnews.org



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Calm returns to Myanmar’s Meiktila

Posted by African Press International on March 28, 2013

MEIKTILA,  – Inside a stadium now sheltering more than 2,000 displaced people in the central Myanmar town of Meiktila, residents appear dazed.

“How could this happen?” asked 65-year old Syed Darbi, who has lived her whole life in Meiktila, an otherwise quiet university town. “I can’t believe my own eyes. We lived in the same community. [It was] so friendly.”“We are like refugees,” said 45-year old Ohnmar, sitting on the concrete floor of the stadium. After violence broke out on 20 March, the Muslim mother of two escaped a Buddhist mob only to see her home go up in flames. “How will I restart my life now?”

At least 40 people were killed and more than 12,000 displaced in the area, officials estimate, in what is being described as the worst sectarian violence to strike Myanmar since the 2012 unrest in western Rakhine State, where more than 120,000 Muslim Rohingya remain displaced.

Uneasy calm

On 20 March, a heated argument in a Meiktila gold shop between its Muslim owner and his Buddhists customers escalated, with crowds soon setting fire to businesses, religious buildings and houses. More than 150 homes and buildings were destroyed, including at least five mosques, local media reports say.

Whole neighbourhoods were destroyed

The violence continued for two days, spreading to neighbouring areas and prompting the government of President Thein Sein to declare a state of emergency in four townships – Meiktila, Thazi, Wandwin and Mahlaing – on 22 March. Troops were dispatched to the area.

“Due to the situation of devastating [sic] of peace and tranquility in Myeikhtilar District, Mandalay Division, the president’s office proclaims the State of Emergency (Act 144) for national security,” an announcement on the president’s website read.

Almost one week on, an uneasy calm has returned to the streets, but the local market remains closed and the atmosphere tense.

“We need to be alert so nobody sets our homes on fire,” said Aung Kyaw Soe, whose house was spared last week. “There are rumours that arson attacks can resume at any time.”

“Enough security forces should be in place for some period in order to prevent future clashes,” Win Htain, a parliamentarian for Meiktila Township, said.

Relief efforts continue

According to the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement (MoSWRR), 9,710 of the displaced are now living in six temporary locations – five schools and the local stadium – and 2,800 are staying in local monasteries. Others may have fled the area altogether.

The government has been providing food and water to the displaced through the MoSWRR, while the Myanmar Red Cross Society and the Ministry of Health have been providing health assistance, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported on 25 March.

The government established a relief management committee on 22 March. It is led by the deputy of the MoSWRR and includes local authorities, but aid workers say emergency assistance such as food, water and shelter is still needed.

To prevent outbreaks of communicable diseases, sanitation at each of the camps needs to be improved, said one government health worker, who asked not to be identified.

“So far, there are no serious diarrhoea outbreaks. There are just normal cases, such as injuries, and sickness, such as headache, backache and hypertension,” he said, noting that there were still not enough latrines in any of the camps.

At the stadium, there were only eight toilets for the more than 2,000 people, IRIN observed.

Under Sphere standards, which outline minimum standards in humanitarian response, the maximum number of people per latrine is 20.

“Many people who can’t wait their turns just defecate in the open space. How can they be shy now?” asked one Muslim man, pointing to dozens of residents queuing up outside the latrines.

nl/ds/rz

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ICC: Motoo Noguchi elected Chair of the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims

Posted by African Press International on March 28, 2013

The Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) at the International Criminal Court elected Mr Motoo Noguchi as its Chair, at the 10th Annual Meeting of the Board in The Hague on 19 March 2013. Noguchi is amongst the five members of the Fund’s Board of Directors elected by the Assembly of States Parties in November 2012. He will serve as Chair of the TFV Board until November 2015.

Upon his election, Motoo Noguchi expressed his gratitude about the confidence expressed by his fellow Board members. “The Trust Fund for Victims is on the verge of entering a defining phase in its development. It is an honour to be called to the position of Chair and I see it as my duty to work with the Trust Fund Board and Secretariat, as well as with the ICC and States Parties, to ensure that victims and affected communities within the jurisdiction of the Court are recognised and will be effectively supported by the Trust Fund in order to regain their dignity and rebuild their lives.”

Noguchi praised Ms Elisabeth Rehn, who held the position of Chair during the Board’s previous mandate (2009-2012), for her strong personal drive and unw= avering dedication to the Trust Fund for Victims during the past three years, which have greatly helped to strengthen the Fund’s visibility and reputation.

Justice Noguchi (Japan) was in the Supreme Court Chamber at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) from the inception until July 2012. He is currently Director of the International Cooperation Department of Research & Training Institute of the Ministry of Justice in Japan, concurrently advising the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on international criminal justice. Since 1985 he has held various professional positions in Japan= and abroad, including prosecutor, counsel to the Asian Development Bank based in Manila, professor at UNAFEI (United Nations Asia and Far East Institute), and visiting professor at the University of Tokyo.

Attending the Board meeting were the President of the Assembly of States Parties, Ambassador Intelmann, as well as ICC Principals President Song, Prosecutor Bensouda and Registrar Arbia. They congratulated the Trust Fund Board and Motoo Noguchi personally on the election result, noting the interdependence of the ICC and TFV in the joint pursuit of achieving reparative justice for victims in the framework of the Rome Statute. They expressed the wish that the mutual cooperation between the institutions continues to develop in the same positive and constructive manner as before.

  • The Trust Fund Board of Directors (2012-2015) is composed as follows:
  1. Sayeman Bula-Bula (Democratic Republic of the Congo, representing African States Parties)
  2. Motoo Noguchi, Chair (Japan, representing Asian States Parties)
  3. Elisabeth Rehn (Finland, representing Western European and Other Group States Parties)
  4. Denys Toscano Amores (Ecuador, representing Latin American and Caribbean States Parties)
  5. Vaira Vike-Freiberga (Latvia, representing Eastern European States Parties)

 

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Source: Trust Fund for Victims

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