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Archive for June 2nd, 2013

IFJ Commends Successful Conclusion of EAJA General Meeting

Posted by African Press International on June 2, 2013

  • By Dickens Wasonga.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) congratulated its regional group, the Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA), and its affiliates on the successful conclusion of EAJA’s General Meeting and Strategy Conference which took place on 25-27 May 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.“We salute members of our regional organization, EAJA, for the successful conclusions of EAJA’s General Meeting and Strategy Conference. By arriving Addis Ababa to fulfill constitutional duty, journalist unions in Eastern Africa have made us and the journalists of Africa proud and have once more secured the EAJA they want,” said Gabriel Baglo, IFJ Africa Director.

The General Meeting is EAJA’s supreme decision-making body. It was attended by 21 delegates from 10 unions and associations from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. They have mandated EAJA to carry out a strategic plan during the next five years. This commits EAJA to strategically promote and defend media freedom and trade union rights.

Delegates were also able during the meeting to vote for progressive constitutional amendments to enhance EAJA’s governance. The Meeting elected an Executive Committee and Internal Audit Committee.

Dr Muheldin Ahmed Idriss from Sudanese Journalists Union was elected as President; Alexandre Niyungeko from Union of Burundian Journalists (UBJ) was elected as first Vice President, Anteneh Abraham Babanto from Ethiopia National Journalists Union (ENJU) was elected as second Vice President, Omar Faruk Osman from the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) was re-elected as Secretary-General, Jane Uwimana of Rwanda Journalists Association (RJA) was elected as new Treasurer while Maureen Mudi from Kenya Correspondents Association (KCA) and Kenedid Ibrahim Hussein from Association of Djibouti Journalists (ADJ) were elected as Executive Committee members.

“We especially congratulate the elected leaders of EAJA. Delegates showed maturity in democracy. We look forward to working closely with them and maintaining a productive relationship with EAJA leaders,” added Baglo.
The General Meeting for the first time elected a five-member Regional Gender Committee (RGC) to foster gender equality in EAJA affiliated organizations and the media in the region.

The delegates unanimously approved the organization’s last three years’ activities report. The meeting set the agenda for the next three years and passed resolutions on state of press freedom and trade union rights in the region particularly in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Burundi, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda. It also approved financial report presented by the outgoing Treasurer of EAJA Gaspard Safari.

In his closing address the re-elected EAJA Secretary General Omar Faruk Osman thanked the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) for its help in organizing the General Meeting and Strategy Conference. “This has been the biggest, most effective and representative General Meeting in EAJA’s history. The ten organizations represented here want EAJA to be an even more action-oriented organization,” said Omar Faruk Osman.

“In this General Meeting we have taken decisions on championing media freedom, on building strong organizations and on fighting for trade union rights that will strengthen journalists and other media workers everywhere in the region,” he added.

The president of EAJA Dr Mudeldin Ahmed Idriss thanked delegates for the renewed confidence and support. “We must now intensify our efforts to build strong organisations both at regional and national levels. At the end of this period, we must be able to report back to the next General Meeting about what we have done, not on why we didn’t do it. EAJA must invest a lot more into that struggle and members must play necessary role”.

Jane Uwimana, Secretary General of Rwanda Journalists Association (RJA), becomes first woman Treasurer. She vowed to build strong financial base and appealed members to pay their dues and other financial contributions timely.

The General Meeting unanimously voted for the re-admission of Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) and approved admission of Uganda Media Union (UMU) into membership, raising the number of  EAJA member organizations to eleven.

The Vice President of the IFJ Gustavo Granero and Africa Director of the IFJ Gabriel Baglo attended the General Meeting and extended solidarity to EAJA and its member organisations, while renewing IFJ’s support to EAJA and affiliated organizations.

Representatives from International Trade Union Confederation – Africa regional organization (ITUC Africa), Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) and Union of Central Africa Press (USYPAC in French) attended the meeting to extend fraternal greetings and solidarity to EAJA and its member organizations.

 

END.

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Everyone’s lives have to be transformed by growth

Posted by African Press International on June 2, 2013

Everyone’s lives have to be transformed by growth

JOHANNESBURG,  – After nine months of consultations, the UN High Level Panel on determining the world’s post-2015 development agenda has issued a report calling for a path to sustainable development which will transform the lives of the very poorest.

Set up by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and co-chaired by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and UK Prime Minister David Cameron, it elaborates a vision of how the world should develop and grow after the expiry in 2015 of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

While praising the achievements of the MDGs, the Panel said they had failed, among other things, to reach out to the very poorest and most excluded people; to highlight the devastating effects of conflict and violence on development; and promote sustainable patterns of consumption and production.

Spurred on by the central idea to eradicate poverty by 2030, the Panel also said development needed to be driven by five transformative shifts: Leave no one behind; put sustainable development at the core; transform economies for jobs and inclusive growth; build peace and effective, open and accountable institutions for all; forge a new global partnership.

“What is particularly encouraging is that it sticks its neck out and chooses priorities, instead of an all-inclusive menu that is virtually impossible to monitor, much less implement”

The Panel recommends that almost all targets should be set at the national, or even local, level to account for different starting points and contexts.

Better focused?

Debby Guha-Sapir, director of the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, told IRIN: “What is particularly encouraging is that it sticks its neck out and chooses priorities, instead of an all-inclusive menu that is virtually impossible to monitor, much less implement. The indicators listed are much more specific and better defined than the first phase of the MDGs and will therefore not only be actionable but also measurable. I was particularly heartened to note that comparable indicators, metrics and data are clearly mentioned which means we can look forward to more rigorous attention being paid for better data.”

On which topic the report’s executive summary calls for “a data revolution for sustainable development, with a new international initiative to improve the quality of statistics and information available to citizens. We should actively take advantage of new technology, crowdsourcing, and improved connectivity to empower people with information on the progress towards the targets.”

“Targets will only be considered `achieved’ if they are met for all relevant income and social groups.”

For instance, on setting a universal goal to eradicate poverty, the Panel suggests each country could set its own target to bring the number of people living on less than US$1.25 a day to zero and reduce by x percent the share of people living below that country’s 2015 national poverty line. Each country would also set a target to increase by x percent the share of women and men, communities and businesses with secure rights to land, property and other assets; cover x percent of people who are poor and vulnerable with social protection systems; build resilience and reduce deaths from natural disasters by x percent.

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

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Myanmar: Rohingya’s IDPs have Limited health options

Posted by African Press International on June 2, 2013

Health access in the camps in limited

SITTWE,  – Aid workers are calling for better health access for an estimated 140,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State, most of them Rohingya Muslims.

Although a number of NGOs and government mobile clinics are providing basic health services inside the roughly 80 camps and settlements, they are limited, and emergency health referrals remain a serious concern, they say.

According to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), conditions inside the camps, combined with the segregation of ethnic Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya and ongoing movement restrictions, are having a severe impact on health care.

Movement restrictions were slapped on Rohingyas around Sittwe, the Rakhine State capital, after bouts of sectarian violence in June and October 2012.

Another concern is the negative attitude of many ethnic Rakhine to assistance provided to Muslim IDPs.

“With threats and intimidation both to health provider and patient, this becomes an irreconcilable dilemma,” Carol Jacobsen of the medical NGO Merlin told IRIN, adding that “hostile access”, limited transportation and poor security were obstacles to health care for the Muslim population.

Pregnant women dying unnecessarily”

Aside from IDPs, thousands of Rohingyas in their villages or places of origin – many reachable only by boat – are restricted from travelling to local township hospitals in the event of a medical emergency, aid workers report.

“MSF has just returned from areas where whole villages are cut off from basic services,” said Ronald Kremer, MSF emergency coordinator in Rakhine State. “What we have seen shows that current policies such as movement restrictions are having a detrimental impact on people’s health. This includes TB patients unable to access the treatment they need to stay alive, and pregnant women dying unnecessarily because they have nowhere safe to deliver.”

It’s estimated there are 5,000 pregnant displaced women living in the camps.

“Normally, these women would be going to government hospitals or clinics,” said Marlar Soe, field coordinator for the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in Sittwe, noting that government midwives, who are largely ethnic Rakhine, are not going into the camps.

Almost one year after the initial violence in Rakhine State, more than half the IDPs are in Sittwe, one of nine strife-affected townships. Most Rohingyas are confined to a series of camps on the outskirts of the town.

Security forces and metal barricades, topped with razor wire, prevent camp residents from leaving what activists are now describing as a ghetto-like prison.

ICRC evacuates a young child to Sittwe

Call for action on hospitals

The 12-bed Dar Pai emergency hospital is the only government-run health facility for the more than 100,000 Muslim IDPs and residents in an area which encompasses 11 IDP camps and makeshift sites, as well as five Rohingya host communities.

Doctors are rarely seen and medicine is in short supply, say IDPs.

“You’re lucky if you can get an aspirin there,” said Aung Win, a 57-year-old Rohingya man from the Mawlee quarter of Sittwe, referring to the hospital.

Edward Hew, head of relief operations for Mercy Malaysia, says it is time for the international community to come together with state health authorities to strengthen the Dar Pai hospital as it is currently the only option available. “Many patients are not comfortable with being referred to Sittwe Hospital,” he said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) currently provides emergency medical evacuation services to Sittwe Hospital. “This, however, is not always easy given the security situation, as well as the limited number of beds [12] allocated for Muslims,” said one aid worker who preferred anonymity.

Meanwhile, with monsoon rains having begun, there is growing concern about the risk of water-borne and communicable diseases.

“Many of the risk factors for an outbreak are present, including overcrowding, open defecation, limited potable water, poor hygiene standards and many living in makeshift shelters,” said Ingrid Maria Johansen, project coordinator for MSF in Sittwe, warning that an outbreak of acute watery diarrhoea could spread quickly through the camps.

ds/cb  source http://www.irinnews.org

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