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Posts Tagged ‘Addis Ababa’

The imperative of the restoration of public order and the protection of the civilian populations in the Central African Republic

Posted by African Press International on December 8, 2013

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, December 6, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, continues to closely monitor, with utmost concern, the evolution of the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR). She reiterates the strong condemnation by the AU of the abuses and other massive violations of human rights that continue to be committed against the civilian populations. She stresses the urgent need to do everything necessary to bring this unacceptable situation to an end.

The Chairperson of the Commission encourages the Peace Consolidation Mission of the Economic Community of Central African States in the CAR (MICOPAX), which will transition into the African-led International Support Mission in the CAR (MISCA), on 19 December 2013, to intensify its efforts, in order to contribute to the speedy restoration of public order and the effective protection of the civilian populations, and to take all necessary steps to this end.

She welcomes the initiatives taken by her Special Representative in the CAR, Hawa Ahmed Youssouf, including the sustained and continued consultations with the transitional authorities, the military command of MICOPAX, the religious leaders and key representatives of the international community in Bangui, in order to address the prevailing situation on the ground. She appeals to the French forces deployed in the CAR to extend all the necessary support to MICOPAX.

 

SOURCE

African Union Commission (AUC)

 

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Managing the Influx of Vulnerable Ethiopian Migrants Returning from Saudi Arabia

Posted by African Press International on December 4, 2013

GENEVA, Switzerland, December 3, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Government of Ethiopia are working together to manage the influx of vulnerable Ethiopian migrants returning from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Ethiopia’s Bole International Airport receives an average of 7,000 migrants every day, as the Ethiopian government works around the clock to facilitate organized movement of its citizens from Saudi Arabia. Over 75,000 migrants have returned to Ethiopia since the operation began on 13 November 2013.

Out of the migrants that have arrived to date, 47,479 are men, 25,000 are women and 3,391 are children. 51,000 migrants are still expected to arrive in Addis Ababa in an exercise that the government estimates will be completed by 15 December.

IOM is facilitating airport reception, registration and transportation from the airport to the Transit Centres and onward to the bus station. For their transport home, IOM is providing $50 bus fare. Water and high energy biscuits are also given to the migrants at the airport reception and meals, water and high energy biscuits are provided at the Transit Centres. IOM has set up clinics at the airport where the arriving migrants can receive medical assistance. The arriving migrants have been treated for Upper Respiratory Tract Infections, Trauma, Urinary Tract Infections, pneumonia, dyspepsia and coughs. In collaboration with the Ethiopian Red Cross and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, ambulances are on standby to transfer patients that may need specialized medical attention.

The Ethiopian government has dedicated seven Transit Centres with a carrying capacity of 6,000 individuals in the capital Addis Ababa. In addition, the World Food Programme has provided seven tents that are used for accommodation. Migrants who arrive in the evening are hosted in these Transit Centres overnight and allowed to go home in the morning. Migrants who arrive during the day are allowed to get a bus home. This ensures that the Transit Centres have room to accommodate new arrivals.

Unaccompanied minors are temporarily hosted at the IOM Transit Centre in Addis Ababa as efforts are made to trace their families. In coordination with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the International Rescue Committee (IRC), IOM is assisting in family tracing and re-unifying the minors with their families. The unaccompanied minors are transported to their areas of origin in the company of a social worker and handed over to their parents or guardians.

IOM has set up clinics within these reception centres and migrants who need medical attention are able to readily access it. The clinics are supported by five IOM doctors and 17 nurses including some medical personnel from the Ministry of Health. Psychosocial counselors have also been availed at the Transit Centres for migrants in need of counseling.

In support of the IOM and government initiatives, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has donated non-food items worth $100,000 for use at the Transit Centres. The IRC has also donated NFIs worth $60,000.

Thousands of irregular migrant workers have reportedly been arrested and deported after the expiry of an amnesty period during which the workers were allowed to legalize their status. The measure prompted an exodus of over 1 million foreigners.

 

SOURCE

International Office of Migration (IOM)

 

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KYUNG-WHA KANG TO VISIT SOUTH SUDAN, ETHIOPIA AND KENYA

Posted by African Press International on November 16, 2013

UN DEPUTY HUMANITARIAN CHIEF KYUNG-WHA KANG TO VISIT SOUTH SUDAN, ETHIOPIA AND KENYA

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 15, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – UN DEPUTY HUMANITARIAN CHIEF KYUNG-WHA KANG TO VISIT SOUTH SUDAN, ETHIOPIA AND KENYA

WHO: Kyung-Wha Kang, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator

WHAT: Mission to South Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya

WHEN: 17 – 25 November 2013

WHERE: Juba, Jonglei, Addis Ababa and Nairobi

UN Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) for Humanitarian Affairs Kyung-Wha Kang will visit South Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya from 17 to 25 November.

In South Sudan, from 17 to 20 November, ASG Kang plans to travel to Bor and Pibor counties in Jonglei state to visit communities who have been affected by conflict and floods. She is scheduled to meet Government officials, including the Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, local authorities and humanitarian partners to discuss ways to strengthen disaster response and find sustainable solutions for affected communities. A press conference is planned in Juba on 20 November.

On 21 November, in Ethiopia, Ms. Kang is expected to attend the 14th Session of the UN-African Union Regional Coordination Mechanism and engage with decision-makers to discuss partnership opportunities and humanitarian action in the continent.

In Kenya, from 22 to 25 November, Ms. Kang is scheduled to co-chair the Great Lakes consultations with UN agencies and humanitarian partners aimed at continued improvement of humanitarian work and coordination in the region. She is also expected to visit the Mathare informal settlement in Nairobi, where an estimated half million people live with limited access to clean water, sanitation, health care and education.

 

SOURCE

UNITED NATIONS

 

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Improving Maternal Health

Posted by African Press International on November 15, 2013

Ethiopia Approves Plan to Improve Maternal Health

NEW YORK, November 14, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The Ministry of Health has approved plan to accelerate progress on improving maternal health in Ethiopia in an effort that is expected to address the concern over the so far slow progress the country has made on meeting the Millennium Development Goal on maternal health (MDG 5) .

“Advancing better health is a gateway to development progress, lifting economies and societies. Meeting a woman’s need for sexual andreproductive health services will increase her chances of finishing her education, and breaking out of poverty,” saidUN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Representative Mr Eugene Owusu, emphasising the importance of fast-tracking actions for reducing maternal mortality in Ethiopia.

Recent data and trends placeEthiopia as one of the countries with the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world.

The 2010/11 Demographic and Health Survey indicates that Ethiopia has made limited progress over the last decadeto reduce maternal deaths but there is some concern that the trend might be reversing. The maternal mortality ratio declined from 871 deaths per 100,000 births in 2000to 673 in 2005; howeverthe maternal mortality ratio marginally increased between 2005 and 2010, to 676 per 100,000 live births in 2010.

The Ministry of Heath has undertaken measures to reduce maternal mortality through the provision of clean and safe delivery services at the health post level, skilled delivery and emergency obstetric care at facility level and family planning services at all levels of the health care system. To up-scale these efforts, experts drawn from the Government and various UN agencies have been able to adapt the MAF methodology to the Ethiopian context, and to identify systematically bottlenecks and prioritize acceleration solutions to speed up progress on MDG 5.

For women in the reproductive age (15-49 years), reproductive health problems constitute the leading cause of ill health and death. And because women are often the backbones of their families, these problems can affect the well-being of the whole family.Universal access to family planning; access to pre- and antenatal care; skilled attendance at all births; and timely emergency obstetric care when complications arise can prevent almost all maternal mortality and greatly reduce injuries of childbearing. Access to family planning alone can reduce unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortion and maternal death and disability, saving women’s lives and the lives of their children.

The MDG Accelerated Action Plan on Improving Maternal Health in Ethiopia was validated and endorsed by the Ministry of Health at a national conference in Addis Ababa on 8th of November 2013. The plan is based on the MDG Acceleration Frameworkand takes into account the fact that the rate of achieving MDG 5 varies across geographic regions and socio-economic groups in Ethiopia.

The MDG Acceleration Framework (MAF) is an important tool increasingly used by countries to identify and remove barriers to MDG achievement. The MAF was developed by UNDP in 2010 and is supported by UN Development Group. Around 50 countrieshave applied the MAF to help them drive efforts to overcome the bottlenecks preventing progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

 

SOURCE

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

 

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US Assistant Secretary on a mission to UK and Etiopia

Posted by African Press International on November 13, 2013

WASHINGTON, November 13, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/: Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration Anne C. Richard will travel to London, United Kingdom and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, November 12-21.

While in London, Assistant Secretary Richard will attend the Protecting Girls and Women in Emergencies conference hosted by the UK Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening. The conference will build on Safe from the Start, the U.S. Government’s initiative to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls from the very onset of a crisis.

In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Assistant Secretary Richard will provide closing remarks at the International Conference on Family Planning and visit U.S. Government-funded health clinics that provide sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning and services to survivors of gender-based violence. She will also meet with government officials and representatives of both international and nongovernmental organizations. Later in the week, Assistant Secretary Richard will travel to the Tigray Region in northern Ethiopia with U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, Patricia Haslach, to visit Eritrean refugees living in camps and to witness refugee programs and assistance provided on the ground. Ethiopia is hosting 77,000 refugees from Eritrea, and hosts refugees from Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan, as well.

 

SOURCE

US Department of State

 

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Agricultural Non-State Actors Forum (ANSAF) of Tanzania has been named winner of the 2013 ONE Africa Award

Posted by African Press International on November 11, 2013

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, November 8, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The announcement was made today by ONE’s Africa Director (http://www.one.org), Dr. Sipho S. Moyo, at a ceremony held at the UN Conference Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The ceremony, which was attended by ONE co-founder Bono, Board Chairman Tom Freston and CEO Michael Elliott, took place at the Africa Media Leaders Forum.

Now in its sixth year, the annual $100,000 USD prize celebrates the innovations and progress made by African civil society organisations towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Africa.
“The ONE Award is an incredible opportunity for us at ONE to shine a spotlight on some the most innovative Africa-led, Africa-driven efforts and initiatives by civil society organizations that are working hard to build a better future for African citizens. These organizations often tie public service delivery efforts to robust advocacy tactics so that systemic change can be achieved,” Dr. Moyo said, while announcing the winner.

ANSAF is a network of non-state stakeholders in Tanzania’s agricultural sector that brings the voices of struggling smallholder farmers to the policy-making table. The organization monitors Tanzania’s agricultural budget and advocates for the government to allocate 10% of its national budget to agricultural and rural development in accordance with the 2003 Maputo Declaration.

ANSAF is also using cashew nuts to develop an advocacy model aimed at improving the entire value chain of agriculture in the country. Tanzania was once one of the world’s leading exporters of cashew nuts. Regaining this position could contribute significantly to curbing poverty in rural areas that produce the nuts.

“The work ANSAF is doing to give smallholder farmers a seat at the policy table and to use the cashew industry as a model for finding the right solutions to increasing agricultural productivity and finding markets for that produce, holds enormous promise for the economy of Tanzania.  We’re proud to partner with them and with our board member Howard Buffett, who has dedicated much of his life to agriculture development and funds this special award,” said Michael Elliott.

Accepting the trophy from Tom Freston, ANSAF’s Executive Director Audax Rukonge said:

“This is Award is for Tanzanian and African smallholder farmers who work had to ensure Africa has enough food to feed the nations.”

Speaking at the ceremony, Bono described the information revolution taking place in Ethiopia and around the world, and how it is empowering civil society organisations to hold governments to account.

“The quality of governance depends on the quality of civil society, ” he said. “And the quality of civil society depends on the quality, the accuracy, and the relevance of information,” Bono added.

He also spoke about ONE’s work with civil society organizations campaigning for transparency to fight corruption:

“Transparency plus insight equals transformation. Capital flight is always at night, in the dark.  Phantom companies, with more wealth than some governments, can’t stand the daylight that would unmask who owns them.  Corporate and government corruption is killing more kids than any disease.  But there is a vaccine, and it is information. It’s transparency.”

Addressing the Africa Media Leaders Forum, which hosted the ceremony, Bono spoke out on the importance of media freedom and commented:

“To try and pretend the revolution in information technology isn’t happening is like King Canute putting his hand up to try and stop the waves. They can’t be stopped, they are tidal waves.  I would encourage this government, which has done such incredible work on human development, to surf these waves.  Not to fear journalism, but to encourage it.”

Two hundred and fifty-seven NGOs from across Africa entered this year’s competition for the prestigious award. Previous winners include Positive-Generation (PG) of Cameroon in 2012; Groupe de Réflexion et d’action, Femme Démocratie et Développement  (GF2D) of Togo in 2011; SEND-Ghana of Ghana in 2010; Slums Information Development and Resources Centres (SIDAREC) of Kenya in 2009; and Development Communications Network (DEVCOMS) of Nigeria in 2008.

Runners-up:

Runners-up of this year’s ONE Award include Zambia Open Community Schools (ZOCS) of Zambia; Doper l’Entrepreneuriat par la Finance Innovante et Solidaire (DEFIS) of Mali; Jerusalem Children and Community Development Organization (JeCCDO) of Ethiopia; Friends of the Global Fund Africa of Nigeria; and Réseau Accès aux Médicaments Essentiels (RAME) of Burkina Faso.

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About ONE –

ONE (http://www.one.org) is a campaigning and advocacy organization of more than 3.5 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Co-founded by Bono and strictly non-partisan, we raise public awareness and press political leaders to combat AIDS and preventable diseases, increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, and demand greater transparency in poverty-fighting programs.

ONE is not a grant-making organization and does not solicit funding from the public or receive government funding. ONE is funded almost entirely by a handful of philanthropists and foundations. We achieve change through advocacy. Our teams in Washington, D.C., London, Johannesburg, Brussels, Berlin, and Paris educate and lobby governments to shape policy solutions that save and improve millions of lives. To learn more, go to ONE.org.

Agricultural Non-State Actors Forum (ANSAF) – Tanzania

In Tanzania, poverty remains rampant in rural areas where smallholder farmers struggle to make a living. Yet Tanzania’s agricultural sector offers immense opportunity to lift millions out of poverty…an opportunity that is not often exploited because the farmers’ voices go unheard…

ANSAF is using one commodity to change this trajectory. Tanzania was once a world leader in exporting cashew nuts.  Farmers now find themselves mired in redtape and bureaucracy as they try to get their cashews to the market and make a profit. If Tanzania could get cashews right, its economy would benefit enormously.

ANSAF is bringing farmers’ voices to the policy-making table in Tanzania. And with the African Union and Tanzania’s leadership zeroing in on smallholder farmers in the coming year, the prospects for Tanzania’s farmers will have no limit.

SOURCE

ONE

 

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A high-level political meeting on increased domestic funding for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, in Addis Ababa from November 11-12, 2013

Posted by African Press International on November 10, 2013

 

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, November 8, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The African Union Commission (AUC) in collaboration with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and the African Development Bank (AfDB) will convene a high-level political meeting on increased domestic funding for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, in Addis Ababa from November 11-12, 2013.

The meeting will advocate for increased innovative domestic resource mobilization following renewed commitments in Abuja by Heads of State and Government this year in July and pledges to support the Global Fund’s fourth replenishment.

The response to AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria over the last three decades has mobilized unprecedented resources, commitment and action at the national, regional and global levels. However the results achieved and the progress made over the years in responding to these epidemics is not sustainable. African countries have relied heavily on external financing, leaving them vulnerable to the unpredictability of donor funds and often considerably weakening national ownership. Sub-Saharan Africa’s dependency on international funding has been especially stark, with over 60 per cent of investment coming from external sources. More innovative domestic resource mobilization is vital in effectively implementing the African Union Roadmap for Shared Responsibility and Global Solidarity on AIDS, TB and malaria (2012-2015) and related continental commitments.

The commitment of implementing countries to the fight against the diseases in the form of investing increasing amounts of domestic resources in their national health and disease programs is crucial for demonstrating country ownership and for the long-term sustainability of programs. It also demonstrates accountability and sends a strong message to donors that implementing countries are taking action to address their countries health and development challenges.

Pledges from African Union Member States can provide an opportunity to help secure a fully funded Global Fund, which in turn is a guarantee for implementing countries to receive sufficient and predictable funding in order to reach the Millennium Development Goals and win the fight against the three pandemics.

These commitments are all the more crucial as we stand at a key historic moment: it is now within our grasp to turn the three epidemics into low-level epidemics, virtually control them, and remove them as threats to public health if we intensify our efforts. The global community has secured the science, acquired the requisite experience and understands the high impact interventions that will sustain the results.

The African Union spearheads Africa’s development and integration in close collaboration with African Union Member States, the Regional Economic Communities and African citizens. AU Vision: An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in global arena. 

The Global Fund is a unique global public/private partnership dedicated to attracting and disbursing additional resources to prevent and treat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. This partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and affected communities represents a new approach to international health financing. The Global Fund works in close collaboration with other bilateral and multilateral organisations to supplement existing efforts in dealing with the three diseases.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) spurs sustainable economic development and social progress in its 54 regional member countries (RMCs), thus contributing to poverty reduction through mobilizing and allocating resources for investment in RMCs; and providing policy advice and technical assistance to support development efforts. The AfDB’s Human Development Department supports RMCs in areas of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Health, Social Protection and Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship. The AfDB recently approved a new Strategy for 2013-2022.

SOURCE

African Development Bank (AfDB)

 

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African Union (AU) on Abyei

Posted by African Press International on November 8, 2013

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, November 7, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) fielded a visit to Abyei from 5 to 6 November 2013 to mark its solidarity with the Ngok Dinka and Misseriya communities, as well as with the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) as part of its effort to promote peace, security and stability in the region.

Council was received by the Governor of South Kordofan, Mr. Adam Elfaki, during its transition in Kadugli on its way to Abyei. Council expressed gratitude for the warm welcome accorded to it and the facilities made available.

In Abeyi Town, on 5 November 2013, the PSC received briefing from the Ngok Dinka community through their representatives namely, the Paramount Chief of Ngok Dinka, Bulabek Deng Kuol Arop, the Chairperson of the Civil Society Organization, the Representative of South Sudan Political Parties and the Chairperson of Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC)-South Sudan on the situation prevailing in Abyei, as well as from UNISFA regarding its mission and the current situation in Abyei. On 6 November 2013, Council received briefings from the AJOC-The Sudan and the Misseriya traditional leaders, as well as from the people of Misseriya in Diffra.

Council recalled the objectives of its important and historic field visit to Abyei as stated in its communique PSC/MIN/COMM.1(CCCLXXXVII) Rev.1, adopted at its 387th meeting held on 29 July 2013, and expressed satisfaction that the field visit afforded Council the opportunity to obtain first-hand information and understanding of the situation in Abyei. Council acknowledged the enormity of the humanitarian needs, as well as the far reaching challenges facing UNISFA and the Abyei communities.

Council also noted the plight of the local communities and called for urgent development assistance, especially in the fields of health and education, and pledged to do its utmost in seeking assistance for such development.

Council reaffirmed its communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(CDIII), adopted at its 403rd meeting held on 26 October 2013, through which Council among other things, reiterated its deep concern about the situation prevailing in Abyei, and stressed the need for active and continued African involvement in support of efforts aimed at addressing the challenges at hand. Council reiterated its full acceptance of the proposal submitted by the AU High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), on 21 September 2012, and renewed it appeal to the UN Security Council to urgently support the proposal as the best way forward for the solution in Abyei.

Council underscored the inalienable right of the people of Abyei to self-determination in accordance with the Abyei Protocol contained in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005. With regard to the decision of the Ngok Dinka community to conduct a unilateral referendum, Council listened to the expression of deep frustration, anger and concerns, as well as reasons for the action of the Ngok Dinka community and stressed the need for continued efforts to resolve the final status of Abyei within the context of the AUHIP proposal of 21 September 2012.

On 6 November 2013, Council met with the Chairman of AJOC-The Sudan, Mr. Alkhair Alfaeem Almakki, and the members of his Committee and the Misseriya Paramount Chief and the Community Leaders and people in Diffra before returning to Addis Ababa via Kadugli. Council listened to the expressions of their deep concerns and rejection of the unilateral action of the Ngok Dinka community and reassured them that the PSC had noted their views and would take them into account during their deliberations at their future meetings.

Council underlined that its visit was aimed at helping in the healing process for the Abyei communities and expressed its determination to continue its support to the Ngok Dinka and Misseriya communities in seeking a lasting solutionso that the communities can co-exist peacefully. Council once again called upon all the stakeholders in Abyei not to aggravate the already tense situation on the ground.

Council expressed its gratitude for the warm welcome and hospitality accorded to the members by the authorities and the communities of Ngok Dinka and Misseriya. Council expressed its deep appreciation to the Government of The Sudan and the Government of South Sudan, as well as the UNISFA Force Commander for their tireless support in facilitating its field mission to Abyei. Council commended the laudable work of UNISFA in maintaining peace, security and stability in the Area despite the daunting challenges it faced in its working environment.

 

SOURCE

African Union Commission (AUC)

 

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Ethiopian political leadership must respect human rights; says Bizualem Beza

Posted by African Press International on August 13, 2013

www.africanpress.me/ - Mr . Bizualem Beza - Ethiopian Human Rights Activist based in Norway

http://www.africanpress.me/ – Mr . Bizualem Beza – Ethiopian Human Rights Activist based in Norway

Ethiopia, officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea to the north, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Sudan and South Sudan to the west, and Kenya to the south. With over 91,000,000 inhabitants, Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world and the second-most populated nation on the African continent. It occupies a total area of 1,100,000 square kilometres (420,000 sq mi), and its capital and largest city is Addis Ababa.

The sudden death in August 2012 of Ethiopia’s long-serving and powerful prime minister, Meles Zenawi, provoked uncertainty over the country’s political transition, both domestically and among Ethiopia’s international partners. Ethiopia’s human rights record has sharply deteriorated, especially over the past few years, and although a new prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, took office in September, it remains to be seen whether the government under his leadership will undertake human rights reforms.

Ethiopian authorities continued to severely restrict basic rights of freedom of expression, association, and assembly in 2012. Thirty journalists and opposition members were convicted under the country’s vague Anti-Terrorism Proclamation of 2009.The security forces responded to protests by the Muslim community in Oromia and Addis Ababa, the capital, with arbitrary arrests, detentions, and beatings.

The Ethiopian government continues to implement its “villagization” program: the resettlement of 1.5 million rural villagers in five regions of Ethiopia ostensibly to increase their access to basic services. Many villagers in Gambella region have been forcibly displaced, causing considerable hardship. The government is also forcibly displacing indigenous pastoral communities in Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley to make way for state-run sugar plantations.

Hostility for independent media

Since the promulgation in 2009 of the Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSO Law), which regulates nongovernmental organizations, and the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, freedom of expression, assembly, and association have been increasingly restricted in Ethiopia. The effect of these two laws, coupled with the government’s widespread and persistent harassment, threats, and intimidation of civil society activists, journalists, and others who comment on sensitive issues or express views critical of government policy, has been severe.

INTERVIEW:

“One on One with Bizualem Beza, Human Rights Activist: Part 1 of 2″

“One on One with Bizualem Beza, Human Rights Activist: Part 2 of 2”

Ethiopia’s most important human rights groups have been compelled to dramatically  scale-down operations or remove human rights activities from their mandates, and an unknown number of organizations have closed entirely. Several of the country’s most experienced and reputable human rights activists have fled the country due to threats. The environment is equally hostile for independent media: more journalists have fled Ethiopia than any other country in the world due to threats and intimidation in the last decade—at least 79, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

The Anti-Terrorism Proclamation is being used to target perceived opponents, stifle dissent, and silence journalists. In 2012, 30 political activists, opposition party members, and journalists were convicted on vaguely defined terrorism offenses. Eleven journalists have been convicted under the law since 2011.

On January 26, a court in Addis Ababa sentenced both deputy editor Woubshet Taye and columnist Reeyot Alemu of the now-defunct weekly Awramaba Times to 14 years in prison. Reeyot’s sentence was later reduced to five years upon appeal and most of the charges were dropped.

On July 13, veteran journalist and blogger Eskinder Nega, who won the prestigious PEN America Freedom to Write Award in April, was sentenced to 18 years in prison along with other journalists, opposition party members, and political activists. Exiled journalists Abiye Teklemariam and Mesfin Negash were sentenced to eight years each in absentia under a provision of the Anti-Terrorism Law that has so far only been used against journalists. Andualem Arage, a member of the registered opposition party Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ), was sentenced to life for espionage, “disrupting the constitutional order,” and recruitment and training to commit terrorist acts.

Activists demand respect for human rightsin Ethiopia because the government is insensitive for good governance and allows corruption to be the order of the day. According to the U.S. Department of State‘s human rights report for 2004 and similar sources, the Ethiopian government’s human rights“remained poor; although there were improvements, serious problems remained.” The report listed numerous cases where police and security forces are said to have harassed, illegally detained, tortured, and/or killed individuals, who were members of opposition groups or accused of being insurgents. Thousands of suspects remained in detention without charge, and lengthy pretrial detention continued to be a problem. Prison conditions were poor. The government often ignores citizens’ privacy rights and laws regarding search warrants. Although fewer journalists have been arrested, detained, or punished in 2004 than in previous years, the government nevertheless continues to restrict freedom of the press. The government limits freedom of assembly, particularly for members of opposition groups, and security forces have used excessive force to break up demonstrations. Violence and discrimination against women continue to be problems. Female genital mutilation is widespread, although efforts to curb the practice have had some effect. The economic and sexual exploitation of children continues, as does human traffickingForced labor, particularly among children, is a persistent problem. Low-level government interference with labor unions continues. Although the government generally respected the free exercise of religion, local authorities at times interfere with religious practice. In order to improve Ethiopia’s image, they hired US agencies to improve Ethiopia’s image for 2.5$ million.

During the late 19th-century Scramble for Africa, Ethiopia was the only African country to defeat an European colonial power and retain its sovereignty as an independent country. It was the first independent African member of the 20th-century League of Nations and the UN. When other African nations gained their independence following World War II, many of them adopted the colors of Ethiopia’s flag. In 1974, at the end of Haile Selassie I‘s reign, Ethiopia became a federal republic ruled by a communist military junta known as the Derg, until it was defeated by the EPRDF, which has ruled since 1991.

Ethiopia is a multilingual society with around 80 ethnic groups, with the two largest being the Oromo and the Amhara. It is one of the founding members of the UN, the Non-Aligned MovementG-77 and the Organisation of African Unity, with Addis Ababa serving as the headquarters of theAfrican Union, the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the UNECA, theAfrican Standby Force and much of global NGOs focused on Africa. Despite being the main source of the Nile, the longest river on earth, Ethiopia underwent a series of famines in the 1980s, exacerbated by civil wars and adverse geopolitics. The country has begun to recover recently, and it now has the largest economy by GDP in East Africa and Central Africa

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“The world won’t end AIDS without PEPFAR”

Posted by African Press International on June 8, 2013

“The world won’t end AIDS without PEPFAR”

ADDIS ABABA,  – Ten years ago, a shipping container was converted into Ethiopia’s first HIV treatment centre, in Addis Ababa, the capital. Created in response to a dramatic rise in new HIV infections and AIDS -related deaths, the centre offered the only hope for HIV-positive Ethiopians, who had to pay to access the life-prolonging antiretroviral therapy (ART).

When US Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby joined other US and Ethiopian officials at the centre on a recent trip, they found a state-of-the-art facility, where thousands of clients receive free, comprehensive HIV treatment. The centre, a wing at the Empress Zewditu Memorial Hospital, has just added an outpatient annex.

“At least 350 clients will be seen daily in this new facility, some of whom have not been able to receive the services they need and deserve elsewhere. I particularly applaud Zewditu for its tremendous effort to build the first site in Ethiopia that offers counselling and testing services for the deaf and blind,” Goosby said at the inauguration ceremony.

The centre is now one of 900 sites across the country where over 290,000 people are receiving ART. The new centre, like thousands across Africa, was funded by the US government-run President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Established in 2003, PEPFAR was the product of a rare bipartisan deal between former US president George W. Bush and lawmakers spearheaded by the Congressional Black Caucus. It was first a commitment of US$15 billion in funding to fight the global HIV/AIDS pandemic; at the launch of the plan, only 50,000 Africans were accessing ART, according to Eric Goosby who heads PEPFAR.

In 2012, an estimated 8 million people were receiving treatment in low- and middle-income countries – of which PEPFAR directly supported 5.1 million. This was a 20-fold increase in treatment coverage since PEPFAR was created in 2003. In 2012 alone, the emergency plan helped carry out 46 million HIV tests, preventing 230,000 babies from being born HIV-positive, Goosby said in an interview with IRIN.

Funding cuts versus AIDS-free generation

But experts are concerned that consistent budget cuts in PEPFAR funding could make reaching the goal of an HIV-free generation difficult, if not impossible.

Chris Collins, a vice president and director of public policy at the Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), argues that despite impressive gains made in the AIDS response now is not the time for funding cuts.

“Funding for PEPFAR has fallen 12 percent since 2010 in the State Department HIV bilateral budget line. Last week, the White House proposed an additional $50 million cut for 2014. When the mandated sequestration cut is taken into account, the programme is now at its lowest funding level since 2007,” Collins noted in an April editorial.

“The honest truth is that the world won’t end AIDS without PEPFAR. Some will say: judge PEPFAR on its outcomes, not its funding. But when PEPFAR’s own Blueprint calls for rapid scale-up of effective services in order to show tangible gains, it’s hard to understand why now is the time to cut back,” Collins argued.

But Goosby explained the cuts are being made for three reasons. The first is because they are “getting better and smarter” in service delivery, such as procuring and shipping commodities like condoms and test kits at cheaper costs and favouring less expensive generic drugs over pricey brands.

“We also started a dialogue (this… was an attempt to try to make these services sustainable, not just dependent on one funder) with governments around what their contribution was now to these services and what they could be. And governments all heard this and [began] to pour… their own money into the service pot,” he told IRIN. “So, again, it would be additives, so we can build on what we have already started… with a donor-start but it is a government finish.”

The US is also looking to more cooperation with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to raise funds to pay for the HIV prevention and treatment programmes, according to Goosby, who says the US donates a third of the money that goes to the Global Fund.

“So we think of it as a shared responsibility… We see our ethical obligation to the patients that are using these services… We will not renege on that. But we also feel that in order to make sure these services continue, we need to diversify the fund portfolio so others are contributing.”

Chipping in

But whether poorer countries in the region will be able to take over the ongoing programmes is a concern for many.

According to the African Union commission, a number of countries have begun to implement innovative AIDS financing measures intended to reduce dependence on external funders such as PEPFAR.

“Zimbabwe and Kenya now earmark a portion of domestic tax revenues for an AIDS Trust Fund, while countries such as Benin, Congo, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Niger, Rwanda and Uganda have established special HIV levies on mobile phone usage or airfares,” said the commission in a statement issued on May 26. “Taking a different approach, South Africa reduced its spending on antiretroviral medications by 53 percent by reforming its tender process to increase competition among suppliers.”

“Our continent is demonstrating strong political commitment and action by embracing transformative reforms to address AIDS, TB [tuberculosis] and malaria,” said the commission’s chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

PEPFAR’s Goosby agrees it is not yet time to scale back the fight against HIV/AIDS. “If we pull back on what we are doing for HIV, it will come right back, without any doubt. We see that in just about every infectious disease, but HIV is notorious for this. So keeping this going becomes the challenge. That’s why we want to emphasize the shared responsibility.”

kta/kn/rz  source http://www.irinnews.org

 

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AU ready for rapid deployment of soldiers in the continent when required

Posted by African Press International on June 3, 2013

The African Union wants to urgently establish a quick reaction force to deal with the continent’s crises

HIGHLIGHTS

  • AU spurred into action by French intervention
  • 1,500 soldiers for rapid deployment at any time
  • Troop contributions to new force will be voluntary
  • More heavy air lift aircraft needed

JOHANNESBURG,  – A newly sanctioned African Union (AU) force for quick deployment in conflicts such as in Mali is being promoted as a stop-gap measure ahead of the planned formation of the “rapid deployment capability” (RDC) African Standby Force (ASF).

Unlike the ASF, which will also have policing and civilian duties, the African Immediate Crisis Response Capacity (AICRC) force will have “a strictly military capacity with high reactivity to respond swiftly to emergency situations upon political decisions to intervene in conflict situations within the continent,” Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairperson of the AU Commission, said in her recent report to the AU summit in Addis Ababa.

While the AU’s failure to resolve crises in countries like Côte d’Ivoire, Libya and Mali has been a source of embarrassment to the continent-wide body, the AU Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) is widely regarded as a success, with the annual US$500 million running costs bankrolled by international partners.

AMISOM provides “pride” for the AU, according to analysts, as African forces at the cost of significant lives (some estimates say thousands), were able to achieve what a far better equipped US force failed to do in Somalia – bring about an opportunity for peace.

Spurred into action

Dlamini-Zuma said in her report Mali was a spur for the AICRC’s formation and it was “obvious” an African military force with an RDC would have meant the French military intervention would not have been “the only recourse”.

“[The French intervention in Mali] left a bad taste in the mouths of many people here and led to discussions at the highest level of the AU”

Solomon Dersso, a senior researcher at the Addis Ababa office of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), a Pretoria-based think tank, told IRIN Mali interim president Dioncounda Traoré’s reaching out to former colonial power France for military assistance to counter the Islamist rebels “left a bad taste in the mouths of many people here [Addis Ababa and AU headquarters] and led to discussions at the highest level of the AU.”

According to Dlamini-Zuma, the AICRC will be drawn from a “reservoir of 5,000 troops, with operational modules in the form of tactical battle groups of 1,500 personnel that can be deployed rapidly… which must have a minimum initial self-sustainment period of 30 days”.

The report said the AICRC would have three tactical battle groups, comprised of three infantry battalions of 850 troops each, an artillery support group and light armour elements, as well as an air wing of 400 troops, which would include strike aircraft and helicopters and logistical support, including strategic airlift capabilities. The unit would have a “10-day notice of movement”.

The force headquarters will have a nucleus of 50 staff and AICRC duties would range from “stabilization, peace enforcement and intervention missions; neutralization of terrorist groups, other cross-border criminal entities, armed rebellions; and emergency assistance to Member States within the framework of the principle of non-indifference for protection of civilians,” Dlamini-Zuma’s report said.

Lamamra Ramtane, AU commissioner for peace and security, said in astatement that troop contributions to the AICRC would be on a voluntary basis by member states and those countries participating would finance the AICRC so it could “act independently”.

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is seen as Africa’s greatest conflict resolution success

On the face of it, the AICRC looks like a prototype of the ASF, except there appear to be slight differences in the way the two forces can be deployed. Lamamra said: “Command and control [of the AICRC] will be ensured by the AU Peace and Security Council upon request of a Member State for intervention.”

The ASF mandate under the Constitutive Act of the AU adopted in 2000, is a complete break from its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity, which adopted a philosophy of non-interference in member states. The Act gave the AU both the right to intervene in a crisis, and an obligation to do so “in respect of grave circumstances, namely: war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity”.

Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for the South Africa foreign affairs department, told IRIN the AU remained committed to the ASF, and although any AICRC deployment was conditional on a government’s invitation, “there may be exceptional circumstances” where the force could intervene in the absence of such a request.

Ad hoc forces

Outside of AU and UN missions, African military operations have favoured ad hoc forces, such as the four-country force ranged against Joseph Kony’sLord Resistance Army (LRA).

The advantage of ad hoc forces, Sivuyile Bam, the AU Commission head of the Peace and Support Operations Division, told IRIN last year, was that it used the lead nation concept and was more direct, rather than dealing in the political intricacies of the ASF. “A country can go to the AU [with the ad hoc system] and say I have got a battalion. I will deploy it tomorrow.”

Bam envisaged a “combined system for the next 5-10 years. The ASF system is maturing and taking time to develop and still relying on the lead nation [ad hoc] concept. So when there is a need for an operation – send out a note to the (AU) member states saying `I need soldiers, please help me out’.”

“Once it [the AICRC] gets a life it may take a different course altogether, depending on its success”

The AICRC is framed as a “temporary arrangement”, the ISS’s Dersso said, but “once it gets a life it may take a different course altogether, depending on its success,” and may evolve from an ad hoc force into a “fully fledged unit” at the disposal of the AU.

Some analysts have argued that a functioning, efficient and well equipped ASF may still lack the capacity to simultaneously operate in places like South Sudan, the Sahel and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

If and when the ASF eventually materializes, troop contributions to the five stand-by brigades will be based on Africa’s five regional economic blocs with each supplying about 5,000 troops, 720 police officers and 60 civilian members (e.g. human rights advisers, political affairs and public information officers) – and each regional bloc’s brigade will be placed on a six month rotational standby every two years to be available for rapid deployments.

The ASF will fulfil a range of functions, for example, supplying troops for attachment to a regional military, political or UN mission; or it may deploy a regional peacekeeping force within a 30-day timeframe, or 14 days in “grave circumstances”, such as genocide.

Question marks over military capacity

An urgent need for quick reaction forces was highlighted in a recent ISS report that said “the risk of instability and violence [in Africa] is likely to persist and even increase in some instances.”

Drivers of conflict cited by the report included: the fact that “many states were trapped somewhere in between autocracy and democracy;” the “bad-neighbourhood” syndrome resulting in the effects of conflict spilling across borders; and post-conflict states lapsing back into “repeat violence”.

The imminent deployment of a 3,000-strong “robust, highly mobile”intervention force – comprising troops from Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania – under the masthead of SADCBrig (Southern African Development Community Brigade) to “neutralize” armed groups in the eastern DRC under UN Resolution 2098 has a stronger resemblance to the AICRC’s mandate rather than to the ASF’s, as it will comprise a combat force without any civilian or policing appendages.

However, deployment of the intervention force in DRC is being delayed by a combination of factors, including an increasing scarcity of available heavy air lift aircraft, and a paucity of landing strips capable of handling them, Helmoed-Romer Heitman, a senior correspondent for Jane’s Defence Weekly, told IRIN.

“How do you deploy quickly if you don’t have heavy airlift?”

“How do you deploy quickly if you don’t have heavy airlift?” he asked. African militaries were chartering aircraft “as usual”, but relied on former Soviet logistical aircraft, such as Antonovs, which were becoming obsolete, he said.

South Africa ordered eight Airbus military A400m transport aircraft in 2005 at a cost of about US$1 billion, but later cancelled the order citing financial constraints and associated cost increases, and was reimbursed the $407 million down-payment in December 2011 by the European aircraft manufacturer. The transport aircraft were expected to enter service in 2013.

Heitman also questioned how the AU defined the concept of “quick reaction”, alluding to recent events in Bangui, the capital of the Central Africa Republic (CAR), that saw the botched deployment of South African troops in support of CAR President Francois Bozizé. Thirteen South African troops were killed and two others died from wounds on their return.

“A lot can happen in 48 hours. Putting a paratroop battalion on the ground in 24 hours is a quick reaction,” he said.

go/cb  source http://www.irinnews.org

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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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EAJA General Meeting closes with regional action pledge

Posted by African Press International on June 1, 2013

  • By   Dickens Wasonga.
The three yearly General Meeting and Strategy Conference of the Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA) closed on Monday, 27 May 2013, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with the Regional Association committing itself to further escalate its campaigning activities in press freedom and trade union rights.
 
The General Meeting is the EAJA’s supreme decision-making body, and during the meeting the 21 delegates from 10 unions and associations from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda 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 from affiliated unions and associations were able to vote to progressive constitutional amendments to enhance EAJA’s governance. The Meeting elected an Executive Committee and Internal Audit Committee.
 
Dr Muheldin Ahmed Idris from Sudan 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 Vice President, Omar Faruk Osman from the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) was 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.
 
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 organisation’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 huge General Meeting and Strategy Conference, and said: “This has been the biggest, most effective and representative General Meeting in EAJA history. The ten organizations represented here want EAJA to be an even more action-oriented organization”.
 
“In this General Meeting we have taken decisions on championing media freedom, on building strong organisations and on fighting for trade union rights that will strengthen journalists and other media workers everywhere in the region”.
 
The president of EAJA Dr Mudeldin Ahmed Idris thanked delegates for the renewed confidence and support, and said, “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 to 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 member organizations of EAJA to eleven.
 
The Vice President of the IFJ Gustavo Grenaro and Africa Director of the IFJ Gabriel Baglo attended the General Meeting and extended solidarity to EAJA and its member organizations, while renewing IFJ’s support to EAJA and affiliated organizations.
 
Representatives from International Trade Union Confederation – Africa regional organisation (ITUC Africa), Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) and Union of Syndicates of Central Africa Press (USYPAC) attended the meeting to extend fraternal greetings and Solidarity to EAJA and member organisations. 
END.

 

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ICC underlines impartiality, reiterates commitment to cooperation with the African Union

Posted by African Press International on May 31, 2013

The Presidency of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issues the following statement in light of reports on discussions concerning the ICC at the recent Summit of the African Union held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia:

“The International Criminal Court acknowledges and respects the African Union’s important role as the continent’s main regional organization. As an impartial international judicial institution, the ICC, including its independent Office of the Prosecutor, strives to maintain good working relationships with all relevant international and regional bodies, including the African Uni= on. The ICC’s relationship with Africa is all the more important considering that 34 African countries are States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC . In addition, the majority of the Court’s current investigations were initi= ated following referrals or requests from the African States in question.

The ICC operates strictly within the mandate and legal framework created by= the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the Court, and cannot take politic= al factors into account. Decisions are taken independently on the basis of the law and the available evidence and are not based on regional or ethnic considerations. Judges are the guarantors of the fairness of proceedings before the Court, from the authorisation of investigations to the confirmation or= non-confirmation of charges and decisions on guilt or innocence.

It must be recalled that cases before the ICC are not only about the suspects or the accused; they also concern the thousands of victims affected by the events under the ICC’s jurisdiction, many of whom are represented in the various proceedings with the help of legal assistance provided by the Court.

The ICC does not replace national jurisdictions; it only complements them when necessary. The Rome Statute defines the criteria for deciding whether cas= es should be tried before the ICC or in a national judicial system, and this determination is made through a judicial process by independent judges of the ICC. In all proceedings before the ICC, suspects as well as concerned States have the possibility to address these matters in accordance with the Rome Statute and the Rules of Procedure and Evidence.

While the Rome Statute gives the United Nations (UN) Security Council powers of referral and deferral in relation to the ICC, the exercise of these powers by the Security Council is governed by the UN Charter. The ICC is autonom= ous from the United Nations and does not participate in the Security Council’s decision-making. However once the Security Council refers a situation to the ICC, the investigation and proceedings that may arise from that situation are governed by the Rome Statute and the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the ICC and are not influenced by the Security Council or any other external body.

The Presidency stresses that the ICC is an independent institution that has a specific, judicial mandate created by States determined to end impunity a= nd to contribute to the prevention of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole. The ICC counts on the continued sup= port and cooperation of its States Parties in accordance with the Rome Statute and remains fully committed to a constructive and cooperative relationship with the African Union.”

End

Source ICC

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President Kenyatta holds talks with Egyptian President in Addis Ababa , May 26, 2013

Posted by African Press International on May 27, 2013

 

President Uhuru Kenyatta meets Egyptian President Mohammed Mosi on the sidelines of the African Union (AU)summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

 

 

 

 Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Mohammed Morsi of Egypt have today committed to consult and work closely in matters of mutual interest both at the continental and global arena.

Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Mohammed Morsi of Egypt have today committed to consult and work closely in matters of mutual interest both at the continental and global arena.

At a meeting on the sidelines of the African Union (AU) summit, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the two leaders stressed the need for Africa to speak in one voice and look for African solutions to challenges facing the continent.

On economic issues, the two leaders agreed to strengthen existing bilateral cooperation with a view to boost trade and investment between the two countries within the framework of COMESA and the African Union.

The two leaders in particular noted the need to enhance cooperation in tourism which is a major source of foreign exchange for the two countries.

Noting that Egypt is a key tourism destination attracting millions of visitors each year, President Kenyatta expressed confidence that Kenya would benefit from close cooperation with Egypt.

President Morsi said his Government was supportive of Kenya’s peace initiatives and hailed Kenya for the frontline role it has continued to play in search for lasting peace in the Horn of Africa region especially in Somalia.

President Kenyatta also held talks with the President of Malawi Joyce Banda and Ghanaian President John Mahama.

During the meeting with President Banda the two leaders hailed the cordial relations between Malawi and Kenya and explored ways of strengthening relations between the two countries for the mutual benefit of their people.

Noting the two countries shared common interests within the COMESA and the Great Lakes Region, the two leaders agreed to work together to promote African unity, peace and development.

President Kenyatta and President Mahama also discussed ways of strengthening the two countries’ economic, social and political cooperation noting that the two nations shared a common history and had a lot to learn from each other.

 

End

source StateHse.

 

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