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Archive for February 3rd, 2014

IPU welcomes release of former Burundian MP Gérard Nkurunziza

Posted by African Press International on February 3, 2014

GENEVA, Switzerland, February 3, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/– IPU welcomes release of former Burundian MP Gérard Nkurunziza – IPU has welcomed the release today of former Burundian MP Gérard Nkurunziza after more than five years in custody in a case marked by grave judicial irregularities.

A member of the dissident wing of the Burundian ruling party CNDD-FDD, Nkurunziza was arrested in July 2008 accused of slandering the country’s President and supplying arms for a rebellion against the government. According to his lawyers, no evidence was ever found and no weapons seized.

Burundian courts did not examine his case until May 2012 when the Supreme Court decided to hold hearings on it for the first time. However, it still did not consider the legality of Nkurunziza’s continued detention.

The former Burundian MP was acquitted by the Supreme Court on 30 January on insufficient evidence.

IPU had long deplored the flagrant disregard for international and national fair-trial standards by the Burundian authorities, arguing that “justice delayed is justice denied”.

Nkuruniza’s release follows that of two other dissident voices within CNDD-FDD in 2012. Pasteur Mpawenayo and Deo Nshirimana were both acquitted of plotting against the government after being held in custody for four and two years respectively.

IPU’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians is, however, deeply concerned about the alleged harassment, threats and intimidation against Mpawenayo and Nshirimana since their release in 2012. It calls on the government to investigate these allegations and provide security for both men.

Another senior dissident, Hussein Radjabu, is serving a 13-year jail sentence for subversion since April 2008 in another case marked by irregularities. Having served more than a quarter of his sentence, IPU has encouraged the Burundian authorities to explore all possible legal remedies to his case, namely release on parole, a re-trial or a presidential pardon.

IPU has also expressed hope that an independent, legitimate and credible Truth and Reconciliation Commission will finally be established to shed light on the episodes of violence that have plagued Burundi since independence in 1962, including the assassination of six members of the National Assembly between 1994 and 2002.

 

SOURCE

Inter-Parlementary Union (IPU)

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UN Special Representative for Somalia urges calm in Baidoa

Posted by African Press International on February 3, 2014

MOGADISHU, Somalia, January 31, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/– The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, today expressed his concern over escalation of tensions in Baidoa surrounding a federal state-building conference.

“It is important that all parties remain calm, committed to dialogue and support reconciliation efforts. I call on the traditional leaders, politicians and all stakeholders to play a constructive and reconciliatory role,” said SRSG Kay.

“Nobody should risk taking steps that spoil peace- and state-building processes. I recognise the need for all stakeholders to meet without delay in Baidoa to address the legitimate concerns and aspirations of all parties. UNSOM is working closely with local partners, the Federal Government, IGAD and others to that effect, in order to reinvigorate peaceful talks and reconciliation efforts,” SRSG Kay added.

 

SOURCE

Mission of UN in Somalia

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“We must not fail on protection for South Sudan’s IDPs” – UN expert warns amid ongoing crisis

Posted by African Press International on February 3, 2014

GENEVA, Switzerland, January 31, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/– The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Chaloka Beyani, has urged the UN system and the international community to give total priority to the safety and security of South Sudan’s displaced populations.

“The armed conflict in South Sudan has resulted in a widespread displacement and protection crisis, and violence continues unabated despite the agreement to cease hostilities reached on 23 January,” Mr. Beyani noted. “In attending to this crisis, we as a whole system must ensure that protection is up front, and not fail in protecting South Sudan’s internally displaced.”

“Targeted attacks against civilians, including women and children, are not acceptable,” the expert stated with concern over the ethnic politicization of the armed conflict that has uprooted almost 650,000 South Sudanese. Some 80,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) sought refuge in protected areas of the UN Mission in South Sudan, while the majority fled elsewhere within the country.

The UN Special Rapporteur drew special attention to those displaced before the crisis: “There is urgent need to put in place a holistic system for protecting internally displaced persons in South Sudan,” he said, reiterating one of his key recommendations after his first official visit to the country in November 2013 (check his press statement:

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=13998&LangID=E).

“The congested situation within the UN bases has started to create risks for IDPs,” Mr. Beyani warned. “While decongestion of the sites is advisable, this cannot be a quick and standalone measure amid South Sudan’s ongoing crisis, but must be embedded in a long-term comprehensive strategy on internal displacement.”

“The safety and security of the displaced populations must be the absolute priority for the United Nations to safeguard, the expert said. “IDPs must not be forced or induced to leave these areas and robust physical protection of civilians irrespective of the source of the threat is critical now.”

SOURCE

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

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