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Archive for January, 2014

Prime Minister Abe’s Visit to Ethiopia (Outline and Outcomes)

Posted by African Press International on January 31, 2014

TOKYO, Japan, January 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ – 1. Outline and Outcomes

(1)    Prime Minister Abe selected Ethiopia as his last stop of his tour of Africa because it is the country Japan holds the longest bilateral relation in Africa, the Chair of the African Union (AU) and he wished to send a message to the African countries from Addis Ababa, the capital of African diplomacy, where the AU headquarters is located. At the AU headquarters, Prime Minister Abe delivered a policy speech titled Japan’s Diplomacy towards Africa: Strengthening Each Individual, One by One. He made an appeal for Africa to choose Japan as its true partner, explaining that what is necessary for Africa is Japanese assistance and the organizational culture of Japanese companies which value human resources and place importance on creative ingenuity through the bottom-up approach. By doing so, Prime Minister Abe succeeded in promoting the presence of Japan in Africa, emphasizing Japan’s unique attributes.

(2)    In terms of the bilateral relationship, in the summit meeting, Prime Minister Hailemariam expressed his appreciation for the Kaizen project, which Japan has been promoting in Ethiopia, Japan’s human resources development support, such as the African Business Education Initiative for Youth (ABE Initiative), implementation of the Industrial Policy Dialogue toward Ethiopia’s economic structural reform, and assistance in the areas of infrastructure and agriculture. He also expressed his expectations for further investment by Japanese private companies. Both leaders took this opportunity to sign on the Exchange of Notes amending the bilateral Air Service Agreement, which enables direct flights of Ethiopian Airlines to Narita International Airport.

(3)    In particular, with regards to the situation of South Sudan, considering Japan’s serious concerns over the situation there, Prime Minister Abe conducted diplomacy vis-à-vis Ethiopia which plays a central role in peacemaking mediation as a neighboring country and hosts negotiations between the parties in Addis Ababa. Prime Minister Abe expressed his support for mediation efforts by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD; Chair: Ethiopia) and both leaders confirmed that they would seek an early suspension of hostilities between the parties and national reconciliation in the future.

(4)    In addition, in the expanded summit meeting, Prime Minister Abe emphasized the interests the Japanese private sector has in Ethiopia, through the accompanying delegations from 15 private companies, universities, and so forth, and held discussions toward promotion of investments in both countries. Both leaders shared the view that Japan is going to promote a closer business relationship with Ethiopia, a country with which Japan has enjoyed more than eight decades of diplomatic relationship, the longest among the African countries.

2. Outline of Events

January 13

(1)    Meeting with Mr. Abebe’s Son and Other Athletes

Prime Minister Abe met the son of Mr. Abebe Bikila (late gold medalist in the men’s marathon in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics) and other athletes associated with Japan (Ms. Tiki Gelana, Mr. Yacob Jarso). After admiring the collection related to Mr. Abebe and photos relevant to the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, Prime Minister Abe handed over running shoes to promising boys and girls belonging to the Ethiopian Athletics Federation.

(2)    Japan-Ethiopia Summit Meeting, Signing Ceremony of the Exchange of Notes on the Amendment of the Annex to the Air Service Agreement between Japan and Ethiopia, and Joint Press Conference

Prime Minister Abe held a Japan-Ethiopia summit meeting with Prime Minister Hailemariam. Following this meeting, the both leaders held an expanded summit meeting inviting top leaders of Japanese companies and organizations, and private-sector personnel of the both countries made remarks on the efforts for further reinforcement of the economic relationship between the both countries, including investments. Following the summit meetings, and after having attended the signing ceremony of the Exchange of Notes on the amendment of the Annex of the bilateral Air Service Agreement, Prime Minister Abe held a joint press conference with Prime Minister Hailemariam.

Joint Communiqué: “Joint Communiqué between Japan and Ethiopia on the Occasion of the State Visit of Prime Minister Abe to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia” (Summary of the outcomes of the summit meeting) (Outline (Japanese)(PDF), Text (Japanese(PDF), English(PDF)))

(3)    Official Dinner Hosted by Prime Minister Hailemariam

Following the above events, Mr. and Mrs. Abe attended the official dinner hosted by Prime Minister Hailemariam.

January 14

(1)    Courtesy Call on President Mulatu and Visit to the Japanese Garden in the Presidential Palace

Prime Minister Abe made a courtesy call on President Mulatu Teshome at the presidential palace. Prime Minister Abe reiterated his congratulations on the assumption of the presidency of President Mulatu (October 2013), who has experience of having served as an Ethiopian Ambassador to Japan. In response, President Mulatu expressed his gratitude to Japan’s past cooperation in the development of Ethiopia.

Following this courtesy call, Prime Minister Abe visited the Japanese garden in the palace with the President.

(2)    Policy Speech by Prime Minister Abe (Text attached)

Prime Minister Abe made a policy speech on Africa titled Japan’s Diplomacy towards Africa: ‘Strengthening Each Individual, One by One’ at the headquarters of the African Union (AU).

Citing specific examples of the Kaizen project and others, in response to the question of what unique contributions Japan can make for the further development and growth of Africa, Prime Minister Abe emphasized that Japanese companies, which consider human resources as the most valuable resource and value the creativity and ingenuity of each individual, will bring this philosophy along with their investments and will contribute to human resource development in Africa. He stressed that strengthening of the relationship with Japan and Japanese companies would lead to sustainable growth in Africa.

On that basis, Prime Minister Abe announced that Japan’s diplomacy towards Africa will focus on the empowerment of young people and women, and that Japan will provide maximum support to realize “an Africa where young people and women shine”.

In addition, Prime Minister Abe announced that Japan is committed to doubling the amount of EPSA loans, which are co-financed by Japan and the African Development Bank (for five years from 2012), and is prepared to implement assistance of approximately 320 million US dollars in order to respond to conflicts and disasters in Africa, such as those in South Sudan and Central African Republic.

Text of the Speech (Japanese(PDF), English(PDF), French(PDF))

(3)    Courtesy Call by Dr. Zuma, Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union

Following the policy speech on Africa, Prime Minister Abe received a courtesy call by Dr. Zuma, the chairperson of the Commission of the African Union in the AU headquarters. Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan will implement cooperation to promote the use of the abilities of women and young people as mentioned in his policy speech, and that Japan is preparing new assistance of 5 million dollars for the AU, including assistance for South Sudan and Central African Republic.

In response, following his remarks to welcome Prime Minister Abe’s visit, Dr. Zuma expressed her gratitude for various support from Japan, including the above assistance, and stated that she would like to continue to cooperate with Japan in the areas of human resource development and agriculture.

 

SOURCE

Japan – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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OUTGOING CHAIRPERSON OF THE AFRICAN UNION OUTLINES ACHIEVEMENTS AND WISHES HIS SUCCESSOR WELL

Posted by African Press International on January 31, 2014

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Mr. Hailemariam Dessalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia officially opened the 22ndOrdinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on January 30. He did this in his capacity as outgoing Chairperson of the Union before handing over to the new Chairperson, Mr. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz,the President of Mauritania.

Prime Minister Dessalegn announced the theme of this year’s Assembly meeting as “Agriculture and Food Security: marking the 10th anniversary of CAADP, the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme, which is the Union’s flagship project that aims at achieving agricultural transformation in Africa. In reviewing the progress made through the program over the past decade, he pointed out that more member countries are now allocating the agreed 10 percent of their national budgets to the agricultural sector, thus contributing to the transformation of agriculture on the continent.

Summing up his one-year tenure as the Chairperson of the Union, Prime Minister Dessalegn noted that a lot of ground was covered over the past year in implementing priorities to move the continental agenda forward. Among these priorities were the recognition of the historic 50 year milestone of the OAU/AU through the Golden Jubilee celebrations, the adoption of ‘Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance’ as the overarching theme in planning the post 2015 African development agenda and putting in place Agenda 2063, the blueprint for the next 50 years of the continent’s development. Highlighting the importance of adopting an African common position in international development cooperation talks, Prime Minister Dessalegn expressed appreciation for the chairmanship of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and her working committee in finalizing the common African position on development priorities for consideration and adoption by the Assembly.

Prime Minister Dessalegn pointed out the role that the legislative and presidential elections of last year played in helping member states come out of political crisis in countries such as Madagascar and Guinea Bissau, and the consolidation of democratic governance in countries such as Mali. The Prime Minister of Ethiopia reported that the issue of peace and security was the major preoccupation of the Union during the past year. He expressed his deep concern for the serious potential threat that the conflict in Sudan and Central African Republic poses for the collective peace and security of the region and called for continued support for the peaceful resolution of conflicts from the regional and international communities.

Reporting on the work of the Commission, Prime Minister Dessalegn welcomed the adoption of the strategic plan for the years 2014-2017 and the tripartite consultative process between the UNECA, ADB and the Commission in elaborating the framework for Agenda 2063. The Prime Minister, in closing, congratulated his successor, Mr. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania for assuming Chairmanship of the African Union for the working year 2014 and pledged his support.

 

SOURCE

African Union Commission (AUC)

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Agriculture: A strong component of Agenda 2063

Posted by African Press International on January 31, 2014

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission gave a press briefing on Wednesday January 29th 2014 at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in the framework of the 22nd AU Summit in the presence of Commissioner, Rural Economy and Agriculture Mrs. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace. Dr. Zuma addressed the media on the theme of the Summit: “Agriculture and food security” and the Africa Agenda 2063.

In her opening remarks, the Chairperson of the Commission said “we must make sure agriculture is a strong component of the Agenda 2063″. The AU should partner with governments, private sectors and other organizations, develop science and research, trade, industry, infrastructure, human resources and other sectors, in order to improve agriculture. Ensuring good distribution and attracting young people were also stated as steps towards the development of agriculture.

“Africans should not be forced to sell their lands to other people, the land should belong to the people, Africa for Africans” she said. The lack of strong land tenure policies have driven some African countries to sell or grant long leases to foreign investors, Africa should empower the people in terms of land, she explained. Moreover, the people working on the land must be given access to technology and capital so as to enable them to produce and process the food to be more competitive in the international markets as well as create jobs. The generated income will therefore remain in the country and the activity will add value to the people working on those lands.

In line with the Union’s vision to be a “people centered Union driven by its own citizens”, the African Union has engaged in robust consultations with Africans, including youth, civil society and the Diaspora as well as with members of the Executive Council using various tools including the African Union Website (www.au.int). The Agenda 2063 has galvanized a lot of interest and will be discussed during the Assembly of Heads of States to have their inputs, and will be adopted in the June summit. The adopted Agenda 2063 for Africa will be included in government plans and will allow Africa to have its own development goals.

“We must invest in the youth” said Dr. Zuma, stressing on the need to engage the youth in crafting this agenda in order to achieve its goals. Dr. Zuma also noted the importance of the Diaspora in terms of financial contributions and their skills that can be applied in Africa for the development of the continent.

However, given that the media has provided little input, the Chairperson expressed her wish to see more contributions from the media on the Africa they want in 2063. The consultations will go on until the June Summit of Heads of States.

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission also addressed issues such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) and the finding of alternative sources for funding. She encouraged all member states to implement the CAADP program and learn from the successful implementations in some countries. As for the latter, she indicated that the African Union has taken steps to create a foundation to raise funds from individuals and the private sector among others.

 

SOURCE

African Union Commission (AUC)

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New Chairperson and members of the bureau elected at AU Assembly meeting

Posted by African Press International on January 30, 2014

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ – This morning marked the official opening of the 22ndOrdinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of States and Governments of the African Union.

The Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, the Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo announced the results of the electionto the Assembly.

The new Chairperson of the African Union is Mr Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.He replaces former Chairperson Mr. Hailemariam Dessalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

Zimbabwe was elected as first Vice President, the second Vice Presidency went to the Democratic Republic of Congo and the third Vice President is Nigeria. Ethiopia was designated as Rapporteur.

 

SOURCE

African Union Commission (AUC)

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Suspect Pirates Apprehended by EU Naval Force Flagship Transferred To The Seychelles

Posted by African Press International on January 30, 2014

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, January 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ – On 29 January 2014, international collaboration in the fight against piracy resulted in the transfer of five men by the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia Operation Atalanta flagship, FS Siroco, to the Republic of Seychelles, with the aim of prosecuting them for acts of piracy.

On Saturday 18 January, FS Siroco, in cooperation with Japanese assets in support of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF/CTF 151), freed the crew of an Indian Dhow that was believed to have been used by the five suspected pirates as a mother-ship in the attack on an oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden a day earlier (read full article).

The EU Naval Force crew was able to gather a significant amount of evidence, as it is the EU’s ambition to support a legal finish where possible. On that basis, the Republic of the Seychelles has accepted the transfer of the suspected pirates with the intention to prosecute them.

The EU, including through EU NAVFOR, has developed a successful partnership with the Republic of Seychelles in the fight against piracy. The transfer agreement signed in December 2009 has up to date allowed for 47 (including today’s five) suspected pirates to be transferred. With 33 pirates now prosecuted, the Seychelles play a leading role in achieving a legal finish against pirates in the region.

Maciej Popowski, Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service, and current Chairman of the international Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), said: “We thank the Government of Seychelles for their continued collaboration which shows the quality of our relations and their very active role in fighting piracy in the Indian Ocean.”

The EU NAVFOR Force Commander, Rear Admiral Hervé Bléjean, said: “I wish to express my deepest consideration to H.E. Mr. James Alix Michel, president of the Republic of Seychelles, for allowing us to proceed with the transfer of the suspected pirates. More broadly I would also like to extend my thanks to the Seychelles’ Government and judiciary authorities for their involvement in the process throughout. Finally, I would like to express my highest gratitude towards H.E. Ambassador Geneviève Iancu, French Ambassador and current representative of the EU presidency in the Seychelles, for her decisive action to achieve this successful legal finish. Operation Atalanta’s dedication to act decisively against piracy would not be fully achieved without the ability to prosecute those involved in piracy. I also urge the maritime industry, as an actor of its own security at sea, to continue applying best management practices at the appropriate level.”

The EU chairs in 2014 the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS). The EU and the entire CGPCS are keen to mobilise international support to eradicate Somali piracy once and for all, not only by addressing the symptoms at sea but also by addressing the root causes of piracy ashore.

EU Naval Force deters, prevents and represses acts of piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia. EU Naval Force ships protect World Food Programme vessels delivering aid to Somalia and AMISOM shipping. EU Naval Force ships also contribute to the monitoring of fishing activity off the Somali Coast.

 

SOURCE

EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia – Operation Atalanta

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Twenty years after genocide, Rwanda should pave the way towards peaceful dissent – UN expert

Posted by African Press International on January 30, 2014

GENEVA, Switzerland, January 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/– United Nations Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai commended the Rwandan Government on its economic development in the 20 years since the 1994 genocide, but urged that undue restrictions on the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association be lifted so that the country can expand its achievements to the fields of multiparty democracy and human rights.

“I commend Rwanda for its remarkable progress in developing infrastructure, building institutions and ensuring stability and security over the past 20 years,” Mr Kiai said* at the end of his first official visit to the country. “These efforts have laid the foundation for a bright future for Rwanda.”

“The next step is to build upon that foundation by developing a true multiparty democracy and allowing space for peaceful dissent,” stressed the independent expert charged by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and promote the realization of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association worldwide.

Freedom of peaceful assembly

The Rwandan Constitution guarantees freedom of peaceful assembly, but the Special Rapporteur said he found that in practice, peaceful protests criticising government policies were generally not allowed. He also noted a “contradiction in requiring both prior notification and authorisation, paving the way for arbitrary decisions by the authorities.”

“Let me emphasize that peaceful assemblies should not be feared,” the human rights expert said. “Rather they should be encouraged. There is value in expressing disagreement and differences peacefully and publicly.”

Freedom of association

Rwanda’s constitution also guarantees the right to freedom of association, but Mr Kiai said that in practice, there are onerous obstacles to registration, limits on civil society’s freedom to operate in certain fields, and government interference in the internal affairs of groups deemed too critical of official policy.

The Special Rapporteur also noted concern from many people that the body charged with regulating local NGOs, the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB), interfered in the internal affairs of some organizations.

“The independence and ability of associations to run their internal affairs without external interference is of paramount importance in the exercise of the right to freedom of association,” he said. “I see no justification for RGB involving itself in leadership wrangles within local NGOs.”

The independent expert drew attention to the “striking difference between the registration process for NGOs and businesses.” Civil society groups can take months to register, while businesses can be formed in six hours or less.

“The ease with which businesses can be registered and operate in Rwanda is notable. It is one reason for the country’s economic transformation,” Mr Kiai said. “A similar approach to the civil society sector would yield significant economic, social and political dividends, allowing for innovation and creativity.”

The Special Rapporteur observed “a lack of space” for individuals to express dissenting views in the political realm, due to the Government favouring a type of “consensus politics” that strongly discourages public criticism. Registration of political parties, he said, is also “long, laborious and, in far too many instances, arbitrary.” The Green Party, for example, spent four years securing its registration. Other key opposition parties remain unregistered.

“Every dissenting political leader who rejects this consensus approach appears to get into legal trouble, with the most common charges being denying the genocide, sectarianism, corruption, and even spreading rumours,” Kiai said. “In all such cases, these politicians are accused of violence or having links with violent groups. This sends a chilling and unacceptable message that peaceful public disagreement with the Government is equivalent to criminality.”

The human rights expert highlighted the cases of Ms Victoire Ingabire, Mr Sylvain Sibomana and Mr Anselme Mutuyimana from the FDU Inkingi, an opposition party that has been unable to register to date, as well as of Mr Bernard Ntaganda from the PS Imberakuri. They have all been sentenced from four to fifteen years in prison on similar charges.

During his eight-day visit, Mr Kiai met State officials, members of the judiciary and of Parliament, representatives of the National Human rights Commission, members of civil society, and the diplomatic community.

The Special Rapporteur will present a final report on his visit to the Human Rights Council during its 26th session in June 2014.

(*) Check the full end-of-mission statement by the Special Rapporteur:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=14201&LangID=E

SOURCE

United Nations – Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

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NEPAD Heads of State Summit

Posted by African Press International on January 29, 2014

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ – NEPAD Heads of State Summit

WHAT: Media is invited to attend the official opening of NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC) Summit.

DATE: Wednesday January 29, 2014

TIME: 09:00

WHERE: Medium Conference Hall – Ground Floor of in the new AU

BACKGROUND: Twenty African leaders who make up the membership of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee – HSGOC will meet I n the Ethiopian Capital Addis Ababa ahead of the AU Summit. The HSGOC provides leadership to the NEPAD process and sets policies, priorities and the programmes of action.

There will be media briefing after the HSGOC Summit by NEPAD’s Chief Executive Officer Dr Ibrahim Mayaki outside the hall of the HSGOC meeting

 

SOURCE

African Union Commission (AUC)

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Kenya tough anti-poaching laws enacted – A Chinese smugler has been ordered to pay 230-thousand-dollars

Posted by African Press International on January 29, 2014

A Chinese man has been ordered to pay 230-thousand-dollars or spend seven years behind barsfor trying to smuggle ivory out of Kenya. It’s the first case since the government passed a new law to deter illegal trading in ivory, sentencing anyone who is caught trying to smuggle parts of an engangered species to a fine of not less than 230,000 dollars, life imprisonment or both. Catherine Soi reports from Nairobi.

Source Al Jazeera

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President Uhuru Kenyatta defends Standard gauge railway project

Posted by African Press International on January 29, 2014

Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta says that his Government will continue with the implementation of the Standard Gauge Railway Project as planned. The project has been under criticism over alleged inflation of prices. The President however says the project has been done in a transparent manner. It has been embraced due to its transformative role, and Kenya Railways and The China Road & Bridges Corporation had done the feasibility study and preliminary design of phase one of the projects. The project is financed by China’s Exim Bank that will provide a commercial loan, of 1.6 billion dollars and a concessional loan of 1.63 billion dollars, which makes a total of 3.23 billion dollars, for the development of phase one of the project.

Source. CCTV

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Journalists enlightened on the African Charter to Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of women in Africa

Posted by African Press International on January 28, 2014

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 24, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The Director of Women, Gender and Development of the African Union, Mrs. Litha Musyimi-Ogana, held a press conference on 22 January 2014 at the African Union Commission headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, within the framework of the 22nd African Union Summit, holding from 21 – 31 January 2014.

Mrs. Ogana Presented the status of ratification of the protocol of the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of women in Africa. She said within the timeframe of ten years 36 member states have ratified the protocol .She encouraged countries who have not yet signed to do so accordingly, while acknowledging at the press conference that member states have done their part beyond commitment in ratifying the protocol. “Now we are moving to the implementation phase of the protocol and so far 10 member states have expressed their interest”. These countries, she said will be given training and accessed on the status of implementation.

Mrs. Litha also added that, the member states are expected to report on their progress to the Commission. “In this regard Malawi is the only country which has submitted its report so far”, she said.

 

SOURCE

African Union Commission (AUC)

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Ruto & Sang ICC Trial: 27 Jan 2014

Posted by African Press International on January 27, 2014

Ruto & Sang ICC Trial: 27 Jan 2014

 

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NTV Investigates: A Terrorists’ playground

Posted by African Press International on January 27, 2014

Serious breach of security helps terrorists succeed in their cruel attacks.

Is it our National Mindset? Is it our institutions? Is it the public or is it the security agencies?
These are some of the questions that our Investigative Team ended up with after weeks of Investigations into the State of the Country’s security awareness in the light of the ever present threat of terrorist attacks.
A bag was supposed to raise alarm ended up becoming a bag of surprises for NTV’s Dennis Okari and the Investigative Team that went out on an assignment that proved beyond doubt that Kenyans, especially in the Streets of Nairobi are sitting ducks waiting to die. Here is a Terrorists’ playground on NTV Investigates.

 

Source: NTV Kenya

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THE AFRICAN CHARTER ON THE RIGHTS AND WELFARE OF THE CHILD: 25 YEARS IN 2015

Posted by African Press International on January 27, 2014

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 24, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ – A campaign for the universal ratification and reporting on the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC)

Addis Ababa, 23 January, 2014. – Alongside the 22nd AU Summit (21 – 31 January, 2014), on 29 January, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) is launching the Campaign for the Universal Ratification of and Reporting on the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC). The campaign marks the 25th Anniversary of the adoption of the ACRWC on 11 July 1990. The campaign aims at securing a universal ratification of and reporting on the implementation of the ACRWC.

Presently the number of ratification stands at 47 out of 54 AU Member States. The remaining seven countries which are yet to ratify the ACRWC are: Central Africa Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Federal Republic of Somalia, Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, Republic of South Sudan, and Tunisia. Similarly, only 20 out of 47 state parties have complied duly to their obligations to submit initial reports to the committee as stipulated in Article 43 of the ACRWC, among which only two, Burkina Faso and Kenya, have submitted their periodical reports.

For the committee to effectively undertake its mandate, all African countries are expected to ratify the charter and report on its implementation accordingly. Upon ratification the state parties have the obligation to protect, promote and fulfill the rights enshrined under the ACRWC. State parties to the charter are also obliged to recognize the rights, freedoms and duties enshrined in the ACRWC and shall undertake to the necessary steps to adopt such legislative or other measures as may be necessary to give effect to the provisions of this charter. States parties to the ACRWC are required to report on the implementation of the provisions so the reporting mechanism is a means of monitoring compliance of the state with its child rights obligations.

The campaign is planned to be conducted within a two-year period culminating on 29 November, 2015, with a series of activities and outreach events across the continent. The campaign, inter alia, aims at achieving universal ratification and respect for states parties’ fulfillment of their reporting obligations by 2015 and increasing the visibility of the ACRWC and its monitoring body. It also promotes the effective implementation of the ACRWC and advocates for the withdrawal of reservations.

A press conference will be held on 29 January, 2014 at 10:30 in the Briefing Room 1 of the African Union headquarters.

Media are invited to attend this event.

 

SOURCE

African Union Commission (AUC)

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The 24th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the AU officially opens on Monday 27 January 2014

Posted by African Press International on January 27, 2014

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, /African Press Organization (APO)/ – The 24th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the AU officially opens today Monday 27 January 2014

WHAT: 24th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union (AU).

THEME: Year of Agriculture and Food Security in Africa

WHEN: 27- 28 January 2014 January 2014 at 10 a.m.

WHERE: African Union Headquarters, Addis Ababa Ethiopia, Large Conference Hall (plenary) /AUCC

WHY: In the context of the 22nd Summit of the AU, the twenty fourth (24th) Ordinary Session of the Executive Council will deliberate on the different reports of the ministerial meetings organised by the AU Commission during the last six months. The Ministers of External Affairs and other ministers or authorities designated by the governments of AU Member States will consider the activity report of the Commission; the recommendations of the PRC on the implementation of previous Decisions of the Executive Council and the Assembly; and the report of the ministerial committee on candidatures.

The Executive Council will also consider the report on the implementation of the of the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA); the report of the Commission on the Situation in the Middle East and Palestine as well as the report of the Commission on implementation of Assembly Decision on granting competence to the African Court of Justice and Human Rights to deal with International Crimes.

One of the high moments during the Executive Council meeting will be the election of the ten members of the Peace and Security Council for a two year mandate, as well as the election of the president and vice president of the Pan-African University Council.

The ministers will in turn pass on their decisions and recommendations to the Heads of State and Government who will meet in their 22nd ordinary session from 30 to 31 January.

According to the draft program of the Executive Council, the official opening ceremony will feature among others, welcome remarks by the Chairperson of the Executive Council, a statement by the Chairperson of the AU Commission, a statement by the UN Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UNECA and a group Photo for Ministers. Camera people are invited to cover the photo session immediately after the opening ceremony in front of the plenary hall of the AUC Conference Center.

 

SOURCE

African Union Commission (AUC)

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Uganda Supports US Airlift Missions

Posted by African Press International on January 26, 2014

ENTEBBE, Uganda, January 24, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ As U.S. airlift missions operating at the request of the French government and African Union authorities continue, Uganda maintains their role as a key U.S. strategic partner.

In just two months, the Ugandans allowed the U.S. military to stage at least three essential missions out of Entebbe.

“The Ugandans have been invaluable,” Col. William Wyatt, Office of Security Cooperation Uganda chief said. “Both the Civil aviation authority and Ugandan People’s Defense Force have been instrumental in helping us stage important missions out of Entebbe.”

Most recently, the U.S. Air Force has been staging two C-17 Globemaster III aircraft out of Uganda to provide airlift support to a Rwandan mechanized battalion. The U.S. military is transporting equipment and soldiers to the Central African Republic in support of the African Union’s effort to confront destabilizing forces and violence.

The ability to stage missions out of Uganda has been vital to mission success.

“Every day we coordinate with the Entebbe Handling Service and they provide us with crew buses and maintenance towing capabilities,” said Maj. Micah Vander Veen Contingency Response Element Commander, and overall mission commander for the Entebbe stage. “They provide us with everything we need around the airfield, including security services.”

The U.S. began the Rwandan airlifting mission January 16, 2014, and is scheduled to continue through the month.

In December of last year, the U.S. staged a Burundi airlift mission out of Uganda in support of the same African Union operation. The duration of the operation was approximately 10 days.

“With the rapid pace of events in East Africa the additional presence of the U.S. military was felt at Entebbe,” said Wyatt. “However the Government of Uganda was very helpful in allowing U.S. forces to conduct these important missions in support of the African Union for the Central African Republic and evacuation of noncombatants from South Sudan.”

The most notable support the Ugandans have shown to the U.S. occurred when three CV-22 Ospreys were forced to divert to Entebbe after being fired upon, wounding four personnel onboard. The aircraft were attempting to land in Bor, to evacuate Americans from South Sudan.

During this diversion the Ugandans were conducting their own noncombatant evacuation operations out of Juba, South Sudan.

“When the U.S. had to emergency land in Entebbe, they were forced to occupy the only area on the airfield with lights,” said Wyatt. “It was difficult for the Ugandans to process their people in the dark.”

The civil aviation authorities and Ugandan’s People Defense Air Force worked closely with U.S. Department of Defense authorities to make this mission and others a success.

Uganda is located in the geographical heart of Africa and it is evident they have played a critical role in past and current operations.

Vander Veen echoed positive sentiments as he spoke about the current airlift operation with the Rwandan soldiers, “Things are going extremely well, and the Ugandans have been strong partners in this operation.”

 

SOURCE

U.S Africa Command

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