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Archive for July 20th, 2014

Minister Paradis Statement on Nelson Mandela International Day

Posted by African Press International on July 20, 2014

OTTAWA, Canada, July 18, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — We commemorate and honour the memory of Nelson Mandela. His extraordinary legacy in dismantling apartheid and leading national reconciliation in South Africa as its first elected black president is a testament to the values of democracy, human rights and freedom that can endure despite oppression.

As Canadians, we are privileged to live in a society built on these tenets. Our international development work, including our efforts in poverty reduction, is a clear reflection of the values of democracy, human rights and freedom that are fundamental to Canadians. Nelson Mandela paid tribute to these values when he became an honorary Canadian citizen in 2001: “Your [Canada’s] respect for diversity within your own society and your tolerant and civilized manner of dealing with the challenges of difference and diversity had always been our inspiration.”

Nelson Mandela championed respect for children’s and women’s rights as intensely as he fought against apartheid, particularly in the area of HIV/AIDS. Thanks to his tireless work and campaigning to reduce mother-to-child transmission, significant progress in reducing the number of new HIV infections has been made. “Give a child love, laughter and peace, not AIDS,” he said. Canada is continuing this work. At the Saving Every Woman, Every Child Summit Prime Minister Stephen Harper released the Toronto Statement, which laid the groundwork to end the preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and children under the age of five within a generation, and committed an additional $3.5 billion in funding support.

Nelson Mandela also firmly believed that education is the foundation of democracy and that it is one of the most powerful tools for changing the world. That is why, on December 11, 2013, in memory of Nelson Mandela, Prime Minister Harper announced the creation of the African Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarships Fund. The fund, co-sponsored by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada and The MasterCard Foundation, will provide sub-Saharan African professionals with masters-degree-level scholarships to access high-quality academic and professional training in Canada to prepare them to assume leadership roles in key social and economic sectors in Africa. Proposals to manage the fund are currently under consideration.

Prime Minister Harper also launched the Canada Graduate Scholarships, which will be awarded to Canadian graduate students studying subjects, such as freedom and human rights, that marked the South African leader’s life. As the Prime Minister stated, “Nelson Mandela’s lasting legacy is the example he gave on his long march to freedom…his grace and humility throughout that walk…ensures that his remarkable example will inform others for generations.” Indeed, we should all continue to do our part to create a more secure, peaceful and equitable world—not just today, but every day hereafter.

 

Christian Paradis

 

Minister of International Development and La Francophonie

 

SOURCE

Canada – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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Norway condemns suicide attack in Afghanistan

Posted by African Press International on July 20, 2014

Almost 100 people are believed to have been killed and many more injured in a suicide attack at a market in Afghanistan on 15 July.  ‘This was a gruesome and totally unacceptable attack, which killed and maimed civilians in a public place. Norway has been in contact with the Afghan authorities and we have expressed our deepest condolences to the many victims and their families,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

The attack took place near a busy market in the Paktika province in south-eastern Afghanistan. According to the Afghan authorities, many of those killed were women and children. Police officers from the national Afghan police are also believed to be among the dead.

The attack was carried out against an alarming backdrop of rising civilian losses in Afghanistan. According to a recent UN report, the number of civilians killed and injured rose by 24 % in the first six months of 2014.

‘I am deeply concerned about the violence and the attacks that are affecting so many civilians in Afghanistan. Once the new political leadership is established, it will be of crucial importance for them to take proper steps to address the security problems in the country,’ said the Foreign Minister.

 

end

source mfa.norway

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Norway welcomes agreement on audit of Afghan election result

Posted by African Press International on July 20, 2014

‘I welcome the agreement reached by the two presidential candidates in Afghanistan on an extensive audit of the election result. In agreeing to this step, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah are showing that they both take responsibility for promoting stability and unity in the country,’ said Foreign Minister Børge Brende.

Following the announcement of the preliminary result of the second round of the presidential election, there have been many allegations of extensive election fraud. After consultation with the candidates, President Karzai and the country’s electoral commission, UN Special Representative Jan Kubis drew up a proposal for an audit of the election result. Agreement was reached after talks on Friday and Saturday, in which US Secretary of State John Kerry also participated. All the votes from the second round of the presidential election are to be recounted. Both candidates have said that they will accept the final result, and that they will then form a broad coalition government under the leadership of the winning candidate. President Karzai has also accepted the audit even though it will now take longer before the new president and government are in place.

‘I am grateful to UN Special Representative Jan Kubis and State Secretary John Kerry for the work they have put into finding a solution. It is crucial that the first democratic change of government in Afghanistan’s history takes place in a way that wins the confidence of both the Afghan people and the international community. This audit will ensure that the votes of the millions of Afghans who took part in the election, despite threats of reprisals from the Taliban, will be processed properly, and that false votes will be weeded out.

‘This will be an extensive and demanding task. I hope that Afghanistan’s independent electoral commission, with the support of the international community, will be able to carry it out in line with international standards. Norway has supported Afghanistan’s electoral institutions for several years, and we look forward to the final result and a successful change of government that leads to greater security, stability and development in the country,’ said Mr Brende.

 

End

source. mfa.norway

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