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Archive for March 21st, 2014

Switzerland / Seminar on Federalism for 30 African parliamentarians

Posted by African Press International on March 21, 2014

BERN, Switzerland, March 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ Some 30 members of parliament from six countries in East Africa have been invited to Geneva by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) from 20 to 21 March. They are taking part in a seminar to discuss the federal systems of Switzerland, Ethiopia and other African countries. The project is in line with the Swiss strategy for the political stabilisation of the Horn of Africa.

The representatives have had the opportunity to discuss the themes of federalism and decentralised statebuilding with experts. The debate concentrated on the separation of powers, sharing resources and fiscal federalism. Most of the around 30 participants travelled to Geneva for an Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) meeting, which took place prior to the seminar. They were from Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda.

The seminar was of particular interest for the Somali, Sudanese and South Sudanese MPs. These countries’ reform projects seek to enshrine elements of federalism in their political systems. Participants from these countries will now be able to contribute comparisons of various federal models to the debate on the upcoming constitutional reform processes. Swiss federalism was not the only point of reference for the discussions in Geneva. Ethiopia and other African countries also have federal state systems.

Accountable governance is a priority for Switzerland

The Geneva seminar on federalism reflects the priorities of the Swiss Confederation’s 2013 – 2016 cooperation strategy for the Horn of Africa. The strategy sets out Switzerland’s engagement in the region, working with the countries and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) for a culture of accountable governance and to strengthen peace dialogue. An agreement is in preparation to regulate cooperation with IGAD in various fields.

Stabilisation in the Horn of Africa is in Switzerland’s interest. It requires tensions and conflicts between states to be settled through dialogue and without the use of force. The governance of the individual states, the IGAD platform and the international community all have a major role to play in meeting these challenges. IGAD is comprised of the following member countries: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea (membership currently suspended), Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.

 

SOURCE

Switzerland – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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ILO, Somalia sign agreement to promote decent work

Posted by African Press International on March 21, 2014

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), the social partners of the country and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have signed an agreement establishing a Decent Work Programme for Somalia.

H.E. Dr Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed, Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Somalia and Mr. Aeneas Chapinga Chuma, ILO Regional Director for Africa signed the agreement at an official ceremony held at ILO headquarters in Geneva.

The Decent Work Programme sets out priority areas to be implemented by 2015, including the promotion of youth employment, strengthening labour market services, improving livelihoods through immediate employment creation and promoting small and medium enterprises. These areas are key to supporting the New Deal Compact for Somalia.

The ILO will provide technical support for the effective implementation of the Decent Work Programme, which is meant as a major contribution to peace and stability in Somalia.

In addition to the signing of the Decent Work Programme, the Government of Somalia deposited with the ILO the instruments of ratification for the following ILO conventions: Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87), Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98) and Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182).

 

SOURCE

International Labour Organisation (ILO)

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Secretary’s Remarks: On the Occasion of the Republic of Namibia’s National Day

Posted by African Press International on March 21, 2014

WASHINGTON, March 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Press Statement – John Kerry, Secretary of State, Washington, DC

March 20, 2014

On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I congratulate the citizens of Namibia as you celebrate 24 years of independence on March 21.

The United States remains committed to building on the strong legacy of partnership between our nations.

I am proud of the work we have undertaken in the battle against HIV/AIDS. The success we have achieved in agriculture, education, and conservation is laying the foundation for a more prosperous future.

Together, our countries are creating new opportunities for the Namibian people by working to improve public health and promote sustainable economic growth.

We will continue our close partnership with Namibia to achieve our mutual goal of a stable, healthy, and prosperous society for all Namibians.

As you celebrate this special day from Oshakati to Oranjemund, I offer all Namibians warmest wishes for continued peace, security, and lasting prosperity.

 

SOURCE

US Department of State

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Sri Lanka suppressing dissent?

Posted by African Press International on March 21, 2014

  • March 20, 2014
    Two activists are held under anti-terror laws amid calls to investigate Sri Lanka’s human rights record. READ MORE,,,

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Bangkok lifts state of emergency

Posted by African Press International on March 21, 2014

  • March 20, 2014
    A 60-day state of emergency imposed on Bangkok and several surrounding areas has come to an end, giving the tourism industry hope that lagging arrival numbers in the Kingdom will improve. BREAD MORE–

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Bin Laden son-in-law testifies in court

Posted by African Press International on March 21, 2014

  • March 20, 2014
    The defendant’s testimony in a stilled Manhattan courtroom Wednesday took a federal jury half a world and many years away, to a mountain cave in the desolation of Afghanistan, to the hours after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.READ MORE
     

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Joint Monitoring Committee of the TICAD Process

Posted by African Press International on March 21, 2014

TOKYO, Japan, March 17, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ – 1. The Joint Monitoring Committee of the TICAD Process was held on March 14 (Fri.) at JICA Research Institute. The Committee was chaired by Mr. Yoshifumi Okamura, Director-General for African Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and was attended by representatives of the ministries concerned, government agencies, TICAD co-organizers (the African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations, the United Nations Development Program, and the World Bank ), the Permanent Representatives Committee of the African Union (PRC), the African Diplomatic Corps, New Partnership for Africa’s Development(NEPAD) , international organizations and NGOs.

2. At this Committee, MOFA Japan and TICAD co-organizers briefed on the preparation for the first TICADV Ministerial Meeting which is scheduled in May 4th and 5th in Cameroon, and outcome documents and the participants exchanged views. Through the Committee, it was agreed that all participants will work together for the success of this upcoming Meeting.

References TICAD Follow-up Mechanism

1. Yokohama Action Plan 2013-2017 sets forth the Three-Tier structure of the Follow-up Mechanism established as follows:

(1) Joint Secretariat: MOFA Japan, African Union Commission, UNOSAA, UNDP and World Bank;

(2) Joint Monitoring Committee composed of Japanese Government and related governmental Organizations, TICAD Co-organizers, Permanent Representatives Committee of the African Union (PRC), African Diplomatic Corps in Tokyo (ADC) and NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, International Organizations and donor countries

(3) Follow-up Meetings

・Annual Senior Officials Meeting

・Annual Ministerial Meeting

・Summit (Every five years)

2. Dialogues between MOFA Japan and the African Diplomatic Corps in Tokyo (ADC) on the TICAD are held regularly.

 

SOURCE

Japan – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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European Union Council conclusions on South Sudan

Posted by African Press International on March 21, 2014

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, March 17, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Council adopted the following conclusions:

“1. The European Union (EU) expresses its deep concern about the ongoing crisis in South Sudan, the grave human suffering it causes and its regional implications. It is seriously concerned about the violations of the Cessation of Hostilities (CoH) agreement signed on 23 January 2014 in Addis Ababa and calls on all parties to immediately stop the violence and honour the CoH. It urges all political and military leaders to protect the people of South Sudan and to act in the interest of the South Sudanese population as whole. The EU supports efforts to operationalise the agreed Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (MVM) and calls on all actors involved to expedite this process. The EU recognises the essential role that the

United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is playing in protecting civilians and reporting on human rights. The EU condemns all threats against the Mission’s personnel and calls upon all parties to cooperate fully with UNMISS.

2. The EU firmly supports the mediation led by the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and commends IGAD’s relentless efforts to open the way for an inclusive political dialogue. In this regard the EU welcomes the release of seven detained political leaders and their involvement in the peace process, and calls on the Government of South Sudan to take the necessary measures to release the four remaining detainees and allow them to take part in this process too. The EU looks forward to the resumption of talks in Addis Ababa on 20 March 2014. In this context, it urges all parties to negotiate in good faith towards a peaceful, comprehensive and sustainable solution to rapidly put an end to this conflict by addressing its underlying causes. The EU stresses the importance of inclusive dialogue and national reconciliation and underlines the role of civil society in this respect.

The EU has provided support for the IGAD-led negotiations and stands ready to support their eventual outcome. The EU invites the EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa to remain actively engaged in addressing this crisis in coordination with the “Troika” and other international actors.

3. The EU expresses concerns about any external intervention that could exacerbate the political and military tensions in South Sudan. It recalls the engagement of the parties to redeploy or progressively withdraw allied forces invited by either side. The EU encourages regional leaders to continue their cooperation under the aegis of IGAD.

4. The EU is deeply concerned at ongoing reports of widespread human rights violations and other abuses as also documented in an interim report by UNMISS issued on 21 February 2014. The EU welcomes further investigations by the UN into the role of different actors in instigating and committing the gross violations documented in the report: extrajudicial and mass killings; the deliberate targeting of civilians, arbitrary arrests and detention; enforced disappearances; ill-treatment and torture; recruitment and use of children; sexual violence; and widespread looting and destruction of property. The EU welcomes the establishment of the African Union Commission of Inquiry on 7 March 2014. It urges the Commission to begin its work as soon as possible and to cooperate with the UN and other relevant actors including in establishing the immediate and root causes of the conflict, in investigating crimes committed and proposing accountability and reconciliation measures. All those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law must be held accountable.

5. The EU is alarmed by the increasingly desperate humanitarian situation, including a significant risk of famine. Since the outbreak of the conflict in mid-December 2013, more than 900 000 have been forced from their homes. Around 3.7 million people are severely food insecure. The EU welcomes the role of the UN in coordinating the humanitarian response. It urges all partners to contribute both generously and swiftly to the South Sudan Crisis Response Plan and in particular to align their efforts to address the increasing food insecurity and to strengthen the resilience of the population. The EU and its Member States have so far pledged support to the tune of € 110 million. The EU condemns continued restrictions on humanitarian activities and calls on all parties to allow rapid, full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to all populations in need, in accordance with international humanitarian law and principles.

6. The EU reiterates that it stands ready to consider targeted restrictive measures against individuals obstructing the political process, in support of AU and IGAD efforts and in close coordination with international partners.”

 

SOURCE

European Council

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