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Posts Tagged ‘African Union’

EU commits to funding the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic

Posted by African Press International on December 10, 2013

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, December 6, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – As the political and humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) has progressively deteriorated for more than a year now, the European Commission has continued to mobilise its development aid to help people and improve their security.

On 5 December 2013 the Poliitical and Security Committee of the EU endorsed a request from the African Union (dated 21 November 2013) addressed to the European Union for funding of €50 million for the African-led International Support Mission in the CAR (AFISM-CAR). “The AFISM-CAR will contribute to the stabilization of the country and the protection of local populations, creating conditions conducive to the provision of humanitarian assistance and the reform of the security and defence sector”, said European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs.

SOURCE

European Commission

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Supporting international response in Central African Republic

Posted by African Press International on December 9, 2013

LONDON, United-Kingdom, December 6, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Foreign Secretary announces UK air transport assistance to France for Central African Republic.

On 5th December, with strong UK support, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2127 authorising the deployment of the African-led International Support Mission to CAR (MISCA), and the deployment of French forces to give assistance. The Mission will contribute to the protection of civilians, the restoration of public order, and the stabilisation of CAR at a critical moment.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said:

“The UN Security Council made an important decision yesterday to authorise African Union and French troops to respond to the security and humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic.

“We are determined to play our part in helping to address the violence. We have therefore agreed with the Government of France that we will help move French equipment to CAR by means of a UK C17 transport aircraft. Three separate flights will take place this month, with the first one due to land in CAR shortly.

“This comes on top of £10 million in UK aid announced on 30 November. Having already contributed £5 million in July, the United Kingdom is now one of the largest donors of humanitarian assistance to the people of CAR. We will continue to work alongside the International Red Cross and UN agencies to help thousands of people gain access to food, water, shelter, sanitation and healthcare to alleviate the desperate humanitarian suffering.”

 

SOURCE

United Kingdom – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

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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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National Day Message

Posted by African Press International on December 1, 2013

WASHINGTON, December 1, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ Remarks

John Kerry

Secretary of State

Washington, DC

November 30, 2013

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I extend my deepest hope to the people of the Central African Republic that you may celebrate your independence on December 1 in peace and security.

The United States stands with the courageous people of the Central African Republic as we work together and with regional and international partners to restore stability, protect human rights, promote national reconciliation, and re-establish constitutional governance in your country.

We share a vision for your country’s future that includes security and prosperity for all people. To help realize that vision, we are planning to provide $40 million in assistance to the African Union-led peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic. We have also provided more than $24 million in humanitarian assistance and an additional $6 million specifically to support new Central African refugees in neighboring states.

I congratulate the people of the Central African Republic on their National Day and extend my sincerest wishes for a future of peace, stability, and prosperity.

 

SOURCE

US Department of State

 

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Kenya emerges victorious at the Twelfth session of the Assembly of States Parties held in the Hague, by securing amendments to the Rome Statute – to their satisfaction

Posted by African Press International on November 27, 2013

Kenya has emerged victorious at the twelfth session of the Assembly of States Parties by securing amendments to their satisfaction. This means now that President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto are not required to appear in the International Criminal Court in person but only represented by Counsel.

Part 1

Part 2

This is good news for African Union who had pushed for the deferral because they did not want to see Kenya’s Commander-in-Chief and President of the Republic of Kenya humiliated, sitting daily in the court instead of serving the people of Kenya.

Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohamed was thrilled to see her delegation manage their assignment. The delegation was led by the Attorney General Prof Githu Muigai. In the delegation were many other senior government officials among them, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Keriako Tobiko.

Today is a celebration for those Kenyans and friends of Kenya who supported the amendments because they do not want the Head of State and his deputy to be humiliated.

However, there are those who are disappointed like the NGOs and some members of the Kenya opposition parties who wanted to see the humiliation of the President and his deputy carried through.

Ambassador Amina Mohamed informed the media that the amendments also allows for the Video link in other cases in the future. She hopes the video link trials  can be extended to cover Mr Joshua Arap sang since his case is already ongoing.

When asked if the trial via video link will be extended to Mr Barasa whose warrant of arrest has been issued by the ICC accusing him of confusing witnesses, the Cabinet Secretary stated that there was no discussion in that direction. Mr Barasa, therefore, will have to face the ICC in person to answer the charges if he is exported to the Hague by the Kenyan authorities. He has gone to court to block exportation. Mr Barasa recently told the media that he worked with ICC investigators on witnesses and that they turned against him when he was considered hostile to the needs of the ICC prosecution. Barasa is a Kenyan journalist who has claimed that he was being paid by the prosecution investigators whenever he gave them the help they needed.

Did Mr Barasa break the code of conduct as a journalist in any way?

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Support for the African Union International Support Mission in the Central African Republic

Posted by African Press International on November 21, 2013

WASHINGTON, November 21, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ Remarks

John Kerry

Secretary of State

Washington, DC

November 20, 2013

I am deeply concerned by the ongoing crisis in the Central African Republic and the deplorable levels of violence and lawlessness that affect millions of people every day. In the continuing aftermath of the March 2013 overthrow of the government by the Seleka rebel alliance, militia groups are now organizing themselves along increasingly sectarian lines and engaging in a cycle of retaliatory abuses against civilians. At this moment, the United States sees no evidence that the CAR transitional government has the capacity or political will to end the violence, especially the abuses committed by elements of the Seleka rebel alliance that are affiliated with the government.

Pending notification to the United States Congress, the Department of State plans to provide $40 million in assistance to MISCA, the African Union-led peacekeeping mission in the CAR, to help protect civilians and provide security throughout the country. This assistance may provide logistical backing, non-lethal equipment, training, and planning support. In the immediate term, we believe that MISCA is the best mechanism to help quickly address the ongoing violence in the CAR and prevent further atrocities. MISCA is also in the best position to help establish an environment that allows for the provision of humanitarian assistance and an eventual political transition to a democratically elected government.

There are nearly 400,000 internally displaced persons and over 220,000 CAR refugees in neighboring countries, including approximately 68,000 new refugees who have fled in recent months. In the past year, the U.S. government has provided more than $24 million in humanitarian assistance to support programs that provide food, health services, and other aid in the CAR. We have also provided an additional $6 million in humanitarian assistance to specifically support new Central African refugees.

We call on the region and the international community to support and fully deploy MISCA in order to restore security in the country, and we will continue to work with others in the region and the international community to implement a credible political transition and assist the people of the CAR who have suffered so greatly in this conflict.

 

SOURCE

US Department of State

 

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Government of Sudan and LJM: UNAMID’s Head welcomes the signing of final security arrangements between the two parties.

Posted by African Press International on November 21, 2013

KHARTOUM, Sudan, November 20, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ The AU– UN Joint Special Representative/ Joint Chief Mediator (JSR/JCM) for Darfur, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, attended the signing ceremony of the final security arrangements between the Government of Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), stipulated under the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), in the afternoon of 20 November 2013 in Khartoum.

The JSR/JCM welcomed the signing of these arrangements and expressed his hope that they would constitute a significant step towards the implementation of the DDPD. He also congratulated the Government of Sudan and the LJM for the commitment, flexibility and concessions both sides have demonstrated during the negotiations, which have brought them to this important moment.

In his brief remarks at the ceremony, Dr. Chambas reflected by saying “With this signing, a new chapter will begin for the LJM. The commencement of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of their forces will offer new opportunities for many of their troops; whether this is to join the Government forces or to seek a civilian future. It is this future away from war that the DDPD was intended to secure.”

 

SOURCE

United NationsAfrican Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)

 

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The deferral of the ICC case against President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto fails to get enough votes at the UN today

Posted by African Press International on November 15, 2013

The United Nations Security Council has rejected the request by the African Union to grant a deferral in order to allow Kenya‘s President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto to give more of their time to the running of the country.

It now remains to be seen what action the AU will take because it had decided that if deferral is not granted, the AU member states may pull out of the Rome Statute that established the International Criminal Court.

During the vote at the Security Council, 8 countries abstained while only 7 voted for the deferral. To win a vote at the UNSC, one requires to get 9 votes and no veto.

Mr Kenyatta’s case is set to start on February the 5th 2014 while Mr Ruto’s case resumes next week on the 21st November 2013.

There are many analysts now who say there is a possibility that Mr Kenyatta may not turn up when his case starts, Those who want him well, however, fear that if he does not meet up the ICC will issue a warrant of arrest, something many say will not be good for the country. These group is encauraging the president to atten the trial.

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AMISOM and Partners conclude a three-day Workshop

Posted by African Press International on November 14, 2013

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, November 11, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in collaboration with its partners has today concluded a workshop on the development of a Gender Mainstreaming Strategy.

The workshop which aimed at undertaking a comprehensive reflection to develop a mission-specific strategy that addresses the critical gender gaps, was attended by representatives from the Federal Government of Somalia, the African Union, AMISOM, UN missions as well as representatives from research and civil society organizations.

The workshop was officially opened by the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia, Ambassador Mahamat Saleh Annadif. In his opening remarks, Ambassador Annadif praised the organizers of the workshop which comes at a time when the mission is undergoing different phases of transformation.

“In its operations, AMISOM will always safeguard human rights and integrate gender perspectives into its work in compliance with the United Nations Charter, international human rights instruments and the UN Security Council Resolutions including resolution 1325 on women, peace and security,” he said.

“I have great expectations and I am confident that your discussions on Gender and its mainstreaming across the mission will lead to a concrete Gender Strategy that will guide the mission in current and future operations,” he added.

The Director of Women, Gender and Development Directorate of the African Union Commisssion-Ms. Litha Musyimi-Ongana, reiterated the AU’s full support to AMISOM in the implementation of the strategy once it has been adopted. She thanked the participants and ACCORD on behalf of the Chairperson of the African Union for the fruitful deliberations which resulted in the draft strategy. The position was appreciated by Ambassador NTAMWANA-AMISOM Chief of Staff who represented the SRCC during the closing of the workshop.

The workshop highlighted key areas of achievement and lessons learned from other similar peacekeeping missions, and identified priorities that informed a draft strategy to be submitted to the mission’s leadership for endorsement.

 

SOURCE

African Union Commission (AUC)

 

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Security Council Extends Mandate of African Union Mission in Somalia

Posted by African Press International on November 13, 2013

NEW YORK, November 13, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The Security Council today extended the mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to 31 October 2014, requesting the African Union to increase the troop strength of that regional peacekeeping body from 17,731 to a maximum of 22,126 uniformed personnel as part of overall efforts to combat the increasingly asymmetrical tactics of Al-Shabaab rebels in the country.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2124 (2013) under the Charter’s Chapter VII, the 15-member body also expanded the logistical support package for AMISOM for a maximum of 22,126 uniformed personnel until 31 October 2014. It agreed with the Secretary-General that conditions in Somalia were not yet appropriate for the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation, taking note of benchmarks for such efforts outlined in his 14 October letter (document S/2013/606).

By other terms, the Council underlined that increases in force strength were to provide enhancement of AMISOM’s military capacity for 18 to 24 months, and further, were part of the Mission’s overall exit strategy, after which a decrease in force strength would be considered. It agreed with the Secretary-General on the critical need for sourcing contingent-owned equipment, including force enablers and multipliers, either from existing AMISOM troop contributors or other States, citing the particular need for up to 12 military helicopters. It encouraged Member States to respond in that regard.

Further, the Council requested the Secretary-General to work with the African Union to improve by 1 January 2014 the strategic management of AMISOM by strengthening command and control structures, the coordination of contingents, joint operations with the Somali National Army (SNA) and information management.

As for Somali institutions, the Council requested the United Nations Support Office for AMISOM to provide – as exceptional support — food, water, fuel, transport, tents and “in-theatre” medical evacuation to front-line units of the Somali National Army, the funding for which would be provided from an appropriate United Nations trust fund.

Regarding United Nations personnel, the Council took note of the Secretary-General’s intention to deploy a guard force to strengthen security at the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). It requested details on its deployment “as soon as possible” and emphasized, in that context, the importance of AMISOM’s protection of Mogadishu International Airport Compound within the troop ceiling. On the political front, it urged increased collaboration among the African Union, United Nations and Somali Government towards a comprehensive approach to peace, security and development.

Speaking after adoption, the representative of the Russian Federation said he had voted in favour of the resolution to support African Union efforts in fostering settlement in Somalia, based on the key role that its mission had played in that regard. However, some of his Government’s concerns had not been borne in mind. He was seriously concerned by the wording in paragraph 21, which outlined the Somali Government’s requirement to provide full access to humanitarian organizations, which ran counter to the principles of humanitarian assistance.

He went on to say that the Federal Government was not in a position to control a significant part of the country and that humanitarian organizations were leaving Somalia not because they had been hindered by the Government, but rather, because of the security situation. In establishing humanitarian principles, the Council was getting into an area not covered by its remit — standard setting, which was covered by the General Assembly. Therefore, he did not consider the wording in paragraph 21 as setting a precedent.

The representative of Somalia said that, over the last year, the important parts of his country’s six-pillar policy had been implemented. While the Council had “sustained” Somalia for a long time, there was now a light at the end of the tunnel. Its partnership in support of critical priorities was at a turning point. Indeed, the Council had noted the achievements of AMISOM to liberate Somalia from the scourge of Al-Shabaab, as well as the assistance and training that had enabled his Government to liberate the residual components of that group.

He went on to express hope that the Somali Army contingent fighting with AMISOM to defeat Al-Shabaab would be supported in a more consistent and timely manner by the United Nations, raising questions over when resources from the United Nations trust fund would arrive. AMISOM had been given 18 to 24 months to complete its mandate and he wondered if the trust fund would allow Somali armed forces to liberate the country in enough time for preparations for elections in 2015-2016 to proceed. All means should be applied to ensure those funds arrived as soon as possible. “Otherwise it will be a disaster for Somalia once again,” he cautioned.

The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and ended at 10:25 a.m.

Resolution

The full text of resolution 2124 (2013) reads as follows:

“The Security Council,

“Recalling its previous resolutions on the situation in Somalia, in particular resolutions 2036 (2012), 2093 (2013) and 2111 (2013), and statements of its President on the situation in Somalia,

“Reaffirming its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia, and reiterating its commitment to a comprehensive and lasting settlement of the situation in Somalia,

“Taking note of the Joint African Union (AU)-United Nations Mission on the benchmarks for a United Nations Peacekeeping Operation in Somalia and their assessment of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali National Security Forces, and underlining the importance it attaches to greater peace, prosperity and stability in Somalia,

“Taking note of the AU Peace and Security Council’s 10 October Communiqué on the Joint AU-United Nations Review of AMISOM and the benchmarking exercise, and welcoming in particular its call to all AU Member States to contribute financially to AMISOM,

“Welcoming the constructive manner in which both the Secretariat and the AU conducted the joint review,

“Underlining its gratitude for the work of AMISOM, in particular the extraordinary sacrifices made by AMISOM forces and personnel in pursuit of peace in Somalia,

“Welcoming the support of the international community to peace and stability in Somalia, in particular the European Union for its substantial contribution in supporting AMISOM, and emphasizing the importance of new contributors sharing the financial burden of supporting AMISOM,

“Noting with appreciation recent high-level events on Somalia which have generated substantial pledges of support, and underlining the importance of delivering on any support pledged at these events,

“Condemning recent Al-Shabaab attacks in Somalia and beyond, which serve to undermine the peace and reconciliation process in Somalia, and expressing its solidarity with the people and Governments of Somalia and the region,

“Expressing serious concern at the Secretary-General’s assessment in his

14 October letter to the Security Council that recent security gains against Al Shabaab are at serious risk of being reversed, and noting that the Somali National Army (SNA) and AMISOM have now assumed a more defensive posture,

“Noting the Secretary-General’s assessment that there is an urgent need to resume and strengthen the military campaign against Al Shabaab, which requires an enhancement of international support to the Somali National Security Forces and to AMISOM,

“Noting the Secretary-General’s assessment that a comprehensive strategy that includes political, economic and military components is needed to reduce the asymmetrical threat posed by Al-Shabaab,

“Acting under Chapter VII of the charter of the United Nations,

AMISOM

“1. Decides to authorize the Member States of the AU to maintain the deployment of AMISOM, as set out in paragraph 1 of resolution 2093 (2013), until 31 October 2014, which shall be authorized to take all necessary measures, in full compliance with its obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights law, and in full respect of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia, to carry out its mandate;

“2. Agrees with the Secretary-General that conditions in Somalia are not yet appropriate for the deployment of a United Nations Peacekeeping Operation, takes note of the benchmarks for a United Nations Peacekeeping Operation as set out in the Secretary-General’s 14 October letter, and endorsed in the 11 October letter of the AU Commission Chairperson, and requests that the Secretary-General keeps progress against the benchmarks under continuous review, in consultation with the AU, and with a view to creating conducive conditions for the potential deployment of a United Nations Peacekeeping Operation and the hand-over of security responsibilities to national authorities;

“3. Requests the AU to increase AMISOM’s force strength from 17,731 to a maximum of 22,126 uniformed personnel as set out in the Secretary-General’s 14 October letter;

“4. Decides to expand the logistical support package for AMISOM, referred to in paragraph 4 of resolution 2093 (2013), for a maximum of 22,126 uniformed personnel until 31 October 2014, ensuring the accountability and transparency of expenditure of the United Nations funds as set out in paragraph 6 of resolution 1910 (2010), and consistent with the requirements of the Secretary-General’s Human Rights Due Diligence Policy;

“5. Underlines that, in line with the Joint United Nations-AU Review of AMISOM, the increases in the force strength decided in this resolution are to provide a short-term enhancement of AMISOM’s military capacity, for a period of 18 to 24 months and as part of an overall exit strategy for AMISOM, after which a decrease in AMISOM’s force strength will be considered;

“6. Agrees with the Secretary-General on the critical need for sourcing contingent owned equipment including force enablers and multipliers as provided for in paragraph 6 of resolution 2036 (2012) either from existing AMISOM Troop-Contributing Countries or other Member States, emphasizes in particular the need for an appropriate aviation component of up to twelve military helicopters, and encourages Member States to respond to AU efforts to mobilize such equipment;

“7. Reiterates paragraphs 5 of resolution 2093 (2013) regarding logistical support to AMISOM;

“8. Further reiterates paragraph 13 of resolution 2093 (2013) on the strengthening of women and children’s protection in AMISOM operations and activities;

“9. Requests the Secretary-General to work closely with the AU in order to support the implementation of this resolution, in particular by improving efficiency in the planning and strategic management of AMISOM, including strengthening command and control structures, the operational coordination of contingents, joint operations with the SNA, and information management, through a new Concept of Operations by 1 January 2014, with a view to enabling AMISOM to respond to the increasingly asymmetrical tactics used by Al-Shabaab, through an effective resumption of the military campaign against Al-Shabaab, which would rapidly reduce its capacity to control key strategic locations, and further requests the Secretary-General to continue to provide technical and expert advice to the AU in the planning, deployment and management of AMISOM through the United Nations office to the AU, and reiterates its request to the Secretary-General, in view of the substantial increases in AMISOM capabilities and support to the SNA, to enhance the provision of technical advice to the AU through existing United Nations mechanisms;

“10. Requests the AU to advance efforts to implement a system to address allegations of misconduct, which includes clear mechanisms for receiving and tracking allegations, as well as for following up with troop-contributing countries on the results of the investigations and disciplinary actions taken as applicable, and requests the United Nations to redouble its efforts to advise and provide guidance to the AU in this endeavour;

“11. Reiterates its request, and that of the AU Peace and Security Council, for AMISOM to develop further an effective approach to the protection of civilians, and stresses in particular the urgent need for AMISOM to establish and use a Civilian Casualty Tracking, Analysis and Response Cell, as requested in resolution 2093 (2013);

“12. Underlines the importance of AMISOM abiding by all requirements applicable to it under international human rights and humanitarian law, further underlines in particular the need for AMISOM to ensure that any detainees in their custody, including disengaged combatants, are treated in strict compliance with applicable obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights law, including ensuring their humane treatment and further requests AMISOM to allow appropriate access to detainees by a neutral body, and to establish Standard Operating Procedures for the handover of any detainees, including children, who come into their custody during a military operation;

“13. Reiterates its call for new donors to support AMISOM through the provision of additional funding for troop stipends, equipment, technical assistance and uncaveated funding for AMISOM to the United Nations Trust Fund for AMISOM, and underlines the AU’s call for their Member States to provide financial support to AMISOM;

Somali federal security institutions

“14. Takes note of the Secretary-General’s recommendation of the need to provide targeted support to front line units of the Somali National Army (SNA), requests UNSOA to support the SNA through the provision of food and water, fuel, transport, tents and in theatre medical evacuation, decides that this exceptional support shall be provided only for joint SNA operations with AMISOM and which are part of AMISOM’s overall Strategic Concept, further decides that funding for this support will be provided from an appropriate United Nations trust fund, and encourages Member States to make uncaveated contributions to the trust fund;

“15. Underlines that the support outlined in paragraph 14 of this resolution must be in full compliance with the United Nations Human Rights and Due Diligence Policy (HRDDP), further underlines its expectation that the Secretary-General will report on all UNSOA support to the SNA including on the implementation of the HRDDP, and also requests AMISOM to use its Civilian Casualties Tracking Analysis and Response cell as part of its reporting on joint AMISOM operations with the SNA;

“16. Underlines that all forces supported by UNSOA shall act in compliance with the Secretary-General’s Human Rights and Due Diligence Policy (HRDDP), and in that context further underlines its expectation that the Federal Government of Somalia will give its assurance to the Security Council, including in writing, that any Government forces being supported by UNSOA on joint operations with AMISOM will act in compliance with the HRDDP, and recalls the importance of training in this regard;

“17. Requests that to assist UNSOM to fulfil its mission, the Head of UNSOA shall keep the Special Representative of the Secretary-General informed on the implementation of the AMISOM support package, and further requests the Secretary-General to include this information in his regular reporting to the Security Council;

“18. Calls upon the Federal Government of Somalia to continue its efforts, with the support of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), AMISOM (in accordance with their respective mandates), and other international partners to strengthen the Somali National Security Forces including by mapping the structure of these forces, establishing clear command and control systems, implementing appropriate procedures, codes of conduct and training including to ensure the safe storage, registration, maintenance and distribution of military equipment and finalizing and implementing a national program for the treatment and handling of disengaged combatants and promoting respect for human rights, including through implementing the relevant Somali Government action plans on children and armed conflict;

“19. Further requests UNSOM, in accordance with its mandate, to continue to assist in the rebuilding of Somali security institutions, and reiterates in particular UNSOM’s role in providing strategic policy advice on security sector reform (SSR) and assisting the Federal Government of Somalia in coordinating international donor support on SSR;

“20. Requests UNSOM, working closely with the AU, to assist the Federal Government of Somalia in developing broad principles on the nature of policing in Somalia with a view to proposing further options to support the development of an effective police force in Somalia;

“21. Requests the Federal Government of Somalia to ensure the protection and well-being of all internally displaced persons, including from sexual violence and exploitation, paying particular attention to ensuring that the human rights of internally displaced persons in Somalia are respected in relation to relocations, and to ensure a fully consultative process, providing prior notice and ensuring safe, sanitary new sites that have basic services, as well as full, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian organizations;

Security of United Nations personnel

“22. Takes note of the Secretary-General’s intention to deploy an appropriate United Nations Static Guard unit to strengthen security at UNSOM compounds, looks forward to receiving further details of its deployment as outlined in the Secretary-General’s 14 October letter as soon as possible, and strongly emphasizes the importance of AMISOM’s protection of Mogadishu International Airport Compound within the troop ceiling authorized in this resolution;

Political process

“23. Urges increased collaboration between the AU, United Nations and Federal Government of Somalia, including on a comprehensive approach to peace, security and development which integrates political, security, peacebuilding and development activities, recognizing that none can succeed in isolation;

“24. Recalls its 13 September 2013 statement welcoming the agreement between the Federal Government of Somalia and the Interim Jubba Administration, emphasizes the importance of all parties ensuring that the timelines as stipulated in the agreement are met, and further emphasizes the importance of the Federal Government of Somalia ensuring the right political conditions are in place to ensure greater peace and stability in Somalia;

“25. Welcomes in this context the efforts undertaken by the Federal Government of Somalia to consolidate security and establish the rule of law in areas secured by AMISOM and the Security Forces of the Federal Government of Somalia, and encourages it to continue to lead an inclusive national dialogue, with the support of UNSOM, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the AU to clarify and settle relations between the Federal government of Somalia and existing and emerging local administrations and initiate processes of national reconciliation in order to accelerate efforts to establish sustainable, legitimate and representative local governance structures across the country, especially in areas recovered from Al-Shabaab;

“26. Encourages the Federal Government of Somalia to finalize and adopt a federal Constitution by December 2015, to prepare for and hold credible elections in 2016; and to ensure the equitable participation of women, youth, minority groups and other marginalized groups in national political processes;

“27. Further encourages the Federal Government of Somalia to implement its “Vision 2016″ agenda which sets out the importance of a Somali-owned, inclusive, and transparent political process and economic recovery, consistent with the Provisional Constitution and including an effective federal political system and a comprehensive reconciliation process that brings about national cohesion and integration;

Sanctions

“28. Expresses concern at continuing violations of the Security Council charcoal ban requests the Secretary-General and his Special Representative to raise awareness amongst relevant Member States on their requirements to abide by the charcoal ban, as set out in resolution 2036 (2012);

“29. Underlines the importance of the Federal Government of Somalia and Member States complying with all aspects of the arms embargo, including the reporting and notification requirements set out in resolution 2111 (2013);

Reporting

“30. Requests the Secretary-General to report on the implementation of all aspects of this resolution as part of his regular reporting to the Security Council on the situation in Somalia;

31. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”

 

SOURCE

UNITED NATIONS

 

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Donald Kaberuka named 2013 African of the Year in recognition of his role in spearheading the Africa50 Fund

Posted by African Press International on November 11, 2013

TUNIS, Tunisia, November 8, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ African Development Bank Group President Donald Kaberuka has been named 2013 African of the Year in recognition of his role in spearheading the Africa50 Fund to mobilize the financing of infrastructure projects on the continent.

The $50,000 award was announced Thursday evening in Addis Ababa during the African Media Leaders Forum. The prize is sponsored by Nigeria’s Daily Trust newspaper.

“[This award] is for his bringing to fruition the idea of domestically financed development,” Salim Ahmed Salim, Tanzania’s erstwhile foreign minister and former Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (current African Union), said at the forum.

The Africa50 Fund seeks to leverage infrastructure financing for transformational development projects from African central bank reserves, pension and sovereign wealth funds; the African diaspora; and high net worth individuals on the continent.

The Fund was endorsed in May 2013 by African Finance Ministers during the Bank’s Annual Meetings in Marrakech, where Kaberuka underscored the critical role of infrastructure in Africa’s development. “The one thing which can really slow down the recent performance in its tracks is infrastructure,” he said. “No country in the world has been able to maintain 7% GPD growth and above (sustainably) unless the infrastructure bottleneck is overcome.”

In July, African institutions including the African Union Commission, UN Economic Commission for Africa, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), regional Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency endorsed the Africa50 Fund as the continent’s vehicle for facilitating large-scale mobilization of resources to unlock international private financing with a view to addressing Africa’s $45-billion infrastructure gap, according to some estimates.

The African Development Bank will play a lead role in the Fund, said Kaberuka: “It will be a vehicle which can build on the AfDB track record and financial strength as investor, financial engineer, attract local and international pools of savings, utilize smart aid and leverage that to up our funding of infrastructure. It will be a strongly rated instrument able to issue a bond of significance – a bond attractive to investors.”

The Africa50 Fund is a game-changer in the delivery of infrastructure, Slim Ahmed said Thursday, adding that Africa must take ownership of its development.

“We are proud to honour an idea whose time has come. Dr. Kaberuka has shown what Africa should do,” he said.

The award will be presented at a ceremony slated for January 15 in Abuja.

Last year’s African of the Year award went to former South African president Thabo Mbeki.

 

SOURCE

African Development Bank (AfDB)

 

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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.

*******************************************’

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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Kampala Talks and the Situation in the Great Lakes Region

Posted by African Press International on November 9, 2013

WASHINGTON, November 7, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ Special Briefing

Russell D. Feingold, Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Via Teleconference

Washington, DC

November 6, 2013

MODERATOR: Good morning, everyone. We’re pleased today to have Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo Russ Feingold, who will brief us on the Kampala talks and the situation in the Great Lakes region. Just a reminder that this is an on-the-record briefing. Special Envoy Feingold will open with a few introductory remarks, and after that point we’ll be ready for your questions and answers. With that, Special Envoy Feingold, if you’ll start us off.

MR. FEINGOLD: Good morning, everybody, and thank you for your interest and your participation. I’ll just make a few comments and then, of course, will be happy to answer any questions.

I started this position in July, but I’ve been trying to follow events in this region throughout my career in the Senate, where I was either a member or chairman or ranking member of the Africa subcommittee in the Senate. So when Secretary Kerry contacted me and asked me to take this position, I already realized that this was one of the most serious crises in the world, as you – many of you already know. Some five to six million people have died in the course of 20 years of this conflict. There is unspeakable violence, sexual violence against women and children, children being conscripted into the military, and there continues to be something like dozens of – as many as 40 to 45, perhaps – armed illegal groups in eastern Congo.

So it’s one of the greatest crises in the world, but it’s easy for people to confuse what’s really happening in terms of the attempt to try to turn this around. There are really two different processes that are in place and they are unconnected to each other formally, but are related to each other. One is the framework agreement, which is the agreement that was signed in Addis Ababa by 11 nations from the region, including the critical ones – DRC – the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda. But these agreements were signed also under the auspices of the African Union and the United Nations. And that is where the significant international involvement in trying to resolve this problem under the Framework for Peace, Security and Cooperation really started in its most recent phase last – and that’s just this past February. So that’s one part of the process, and in my view, and I think the view of the international community and the envoys, that’s the most important avenue for trying to resolve the fundamental problems. So that’s one of the processes.

The other one, though, is what you’ve been hearing about in the last few days that has a significant relationship to this, and that’s the so-called Kampala talks. Before the framework, last year in December, after the M23 rebel group had taken over Goma and had further roiled the situation in eastern Congo, independently of the United Nations, President Museveni, the President of Uganda, tried to broker talks between the M23 and President Kabila and Democratic Republic of Congo. These, sponsored by the so-called ICGLR, the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region, are what are known as the Kampala talks being held in Kampala, Uganda.

These have sort of sputtered over the last few months. They were only supposed to take a couple weeks, and contemplated that the result would be the elimination of this one group, the M23, that that would somehow be negotiated. This really sputtered until late July, late August, when fighting broke out and the group of special envoys that had been appointed to take on this issue – Mary Robinson of the UN, myself, a representative of the European Union, a representative of the African Union, and Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the Secretary General – when all of us decided that it was urgent to stop the fighting, to go to Kampala and try to re-stimulate the process. So we made a first trip there and there were negotiations going on at the time that we observed and tried to support. They were going to take care of getting rid of the M23 and making arrangements for that within 14 days in September, but that didn’t happen.

And so we went back for another round just two, three weeks ago. And I was personally involved in five different evenings of negotiations that greatly narrowed the difference between the Democratic Republic of Congo and then – and the M23. Much of the question was resolved at that point, but there didn’t seem the will on the part of the M23 to actually sign. That led to a final round of negotiations this past weekend that also went late in the night in Kampala, and the result of that is what you’ve been reading about, that after all these negotiations, it was agreed that a first step to resolve the M23 issue was the M23 would announce that it is disbanding, that it is renouncing its rebellion. They have made that statement. The second is that the Democratic Republic of the Congo would say they would stop military action against the M23. Those two steps have essentially happened.

The third step, though, has to occur yet, and that is the actual signing of an agreement or engagement that has been worked out in great detail. It’s not like this has to be negotiated; it’s already negotiated. It’s ready to be signed. And I and the other special envoys are standing by, ready to return to Kampala for that sort of a ceremony or meeting as early as tomorrow or early next week. Again, though, this would only resolve one aspect of the issue, the very serious problem of the M23. It does not deal with the root cause – all the other root causes of the problem, does not deal with the so-called FDLR and the ADF and other armed groups and all the issues about what the Democratic Republic of the Congo has to do in order to reform itself. That is part of the broader framework. But we believe this signing would not only solve this one problem; it would lead and give momentum to the broader effort where, we hope, through a broader mediated dialogue, the actual countries involved would be at the table. Not the M23, per se, or that kind of a group, but the people and the entities at the table would be Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, and perhaps other countries from the region.

So I hope I didn’t get too deep into the weeds with that, but the distinction between the Kampala talks and the framework is important for understanding exactly what’s going on here.

Okay. Happy to take questions.

MODERATOR: Hi, Cynthia. If you could just again read the instructions to our callers for how they would ask a question, and then we’ll stand by for a moment for those first ones to come in.

OPERATOR: Certainly, and once again, for any questions or comments, press * and then 1. That’s * and then 1 for your questions or comments. And one moment, please, while we order the queue.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Cynthia. I think we can start with our first question in queue, Michele Kelemen from NPR.

QUESTION: Yeah, hi. Thanks for doing this. I’m wondering if you can – can you hear me?

MR. FEINGOLD: Yes, I can.

QUESTION: Yeah, okay, sorry. I’m wondering if you could talk a little bit about the role of this more assertive UN force in Congo and how much that is working and whether or not that can be translated to other conflicts as you look across the continent.

MR. FEINGOLD: That’s a very important question and important part of this.

First of all, the effort of the intervention brigade, which is a part of the MONUSCO UN operation force, is one of a series of major signs that the international community is giving unprecedented – I like to call it sustained attention to this problem. So it should be looked at not only in terms of strengthening the abilities and the capacity and the mandate of MONUSCO, but also it is combined with this framework under the auspices of the United Nations, the special envoys being appointed, the fact that the World Bank pledged over $1 billion if this process can be successful.

All of this occurred, and then in addition to that, this intervention brigade was given the ability to take offensive action to disarm and demobilize these armed groups, and as I indicated, the estimates vary, but there are certainly dozens of these groups. Most people believe this is an exceptional approach, some would say unprecedented, but in any event, it’s a very strong approach that stands in great contrast to, frankly, often criticized role of the UN forces in this region in the past which did not have this capacity.

So how does it work? Well, the IB, and in fact, the MONUSCO itself stand in support of the efforts of the federal army of the Congo. So this does not lead – they do not lead and take the – make the decisions unilaterally to decide who to go after or when, but they do provide coordination. Sometimes it’s more in the form of a backup such as making sure that civilians are protected. In some cases, it’s direct action. This occurred both at the end of July – excuse me, at the end of August – and also just recently, where in some cases, the FARDC was in the lead, in some cases it was in cooperation, and sometimes this intervention brigade or MONUSCO itself, with the intervention brigade as a part of it, do this.

So it’s a creative mechanism. I think your question really goes to the central issue, as not only is this very important for the confidence of the Congolese military and going after these illegal groups, but this may have long-term consequences for what people believe could happen if United Nations peacekeeping forces were given a stronger capacity to deal with violence and threats to civilians. This has exciting potential and the initial signs are that this is a very successful operation under the leadership of Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the Secretary General, and General dos Santos Cruz, who is a commander who had good, strong experience in Haiti. And I met with him and seeing that they are – these two are an exceptionally strong combination for this effort which certainly will be pointed to, whether for good or bad, as to whether this kind of an operation can work. The initial signs are that it is successful, so far is a good concept, and is working well, at least in this context.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Just a reminder to our callers, to ask a question, you dial *1. Again, *1 to ask a question. Cynthia, I believe our next caller is Deb Riechmann from AP, if you can open her line. Thank you.

OPERATOR: And Deb, your line is open.

QUESTION: Hi, I have several questions. Do you have any information about the whereabouts of some of the M23 leaders who are wanted for serious abuses? Any information on that that you could offer? And is there any details about how they will go – they will now go about disarming the rebels? And how can you ensure that the M23 won’t disappear across the border, regroup, and reemerge?

MR. FEINGOLD: I do not at this point have specific information about where some of the top leaders of M23 might be at this point. What I have seen is press speculation. I expect to get some more information in the near future, but that is something that is not clear at all.

In terms of how the process will work – disbanding the M23 and demobilizing them, disarming them – the agreement that is yet to be signed has very specific provisions that provide for the sequencing of how the group will be disarmed; where, for example, they would be in a cantonment zone, which is important because they need to be protected from other armed groups. To disarm them and not provide them protection would be obviously unreasonable and not something they would sign on to. So there is a very carefully worked out sequence of steps.

It also raises the question of groups of those who cannot get amnesty. You were sort of referring to some of those individuals. There is also an important step that has to be taken, which is the passing of a national amnesty law by the Congolese Government. That amnesty law will not provide amnesty for war crimes or crimes against humanity for people who have committed those crimes. It will only – if this agreement goes through the way I hope it will and believe it will – it will only provide amnesty for the – sort of the rank-and-file members of M23 for purposes of having been part of a rebellion. In other words, they’re forgiven for having started or been involved in a rebellion as long as they pledge individually to not rebel again. And if they do rebel again or participate in rebellion, they lose their amnesty, but no amnesty for the type of people who have committed crimes against humanity and international crime.

So that’s a major distinction between this and the 2009 agreement, actually the March 23 – M23 agreement in 2009 that did give that kind of amnesty to people who committed major crimes. In fact, they allowed them to come back into the Congolese military. That is not happening in this case if this agreement goes through the way I believe it will go through, and certainly, the international community and the United States would not support such an agreement. I also believe that the Congolese Government would never sign such an agreement this time.

So there has to be accountability. There’s no impunity in this this time.

QUESTION: So there will be some accountability for crimes committed, then?

MR. FEINGOLD: There has to be. And in fact, the United States –

QUESTION: But not rank-and-file guys. How do they determine who is held – which ones are held accountable? Does it depend on what they –

MR. FEINGOLD: They have a very good sense –

QUESTION: — or – depending on what the crime was, or depending on who they were?

MR. FEINGOLD: Yeah. Sure. Well, of course, it’s based on evidence that they committed war crimes –

QUESTION: Okay.

MR. FEINGOLD: — whether it be crimes of rape or crimes of conscripting child soldiers or any of the sort of acts – there’s plenty of information out there, and the ability to indict individuals, some of whom have already been indicted by Congolese justice system. There’s plenty of information to identify, and we have a very good sense of the people who would be subject to that kind of a process.

So, yes, there has to be accountability. The accountability would be most likely through the Congolese justice system, and that is going to need some help. One of the ideas that is out there that the United States believes is a good idea, and the international community, is a piece of legislation that is currently pending before the Congolese parliament for what’s called mixed courts. Mixed courts provide – it’s a model that’s been used, I believe, in other places, where a court is composed of some Congolese judges but also international judges with experience in these sorts of things, probably from other African countries, so to sort of upgrade and improve the quality of the process so there can be appropriate indictments and prosecution and punishment. This will be one of our very top priorities, for the special envoys and for the Congolese Government, so that this has a very different face than what happened with – on the previous two occasions, where this – an agreement was made but it essentially just set up a system where this would happen again. The goal here is to make sure this can’t happen again.

QUESTION: Okay.

MODERATOR: Cynthia, I believe our next caller in line is Arshad Mohammed from Reuters. Can you please open Arshad’s line?

OPERATOR: And Arshad, your line is open.

QUESTION: Thank you very much for doing the call. Two things: Can you explain to us how you hope the Kampala Declaration, once it is signed, may help pave the way to addressing some of the root causes of the conflict in eastern Congo, and notably, how it might over time help address questions such as the return of Tutsi refugees from Rwanda? And secondly – and guarantees of land for Tutsi pastoralists in eastern Congo.

MR. FEINGOLD: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: And then, secondly, do you anticipate any change in the U.S. position on defense assistance to Rwanda in the light of the current situation on the ground?

MR. FEINGOLD: Your question goes right to the heart of this matter and what I started the conversation about, the distinction between the Kampala talks and the broader talks – hopefully, mediated talks – that need to happen under the framework agreement. The Kampala talks preceded and were not directly related to the framework, but it was our judgment as special envoys that it would be extremely important to resolve the M23 issue to get on to those root causes. In other words, if it was still actively, with its military capacity at the time, causing war in eastern Congo, it would be extremely hard to get the parties to sit down and talk about the broader context. So that’s why we put so much focus on trying to get what we hope is the resolution, conclusion of the talks, and the disbandment of the M23. But it is only a series of talks that have to do with M23 and its rebellion. It does not go to the root cause of the problem.

So how do we get to the next step? The next step is to get the parties in the region, hopefully with the help of the African Union and others, to agree on actual talks and an agenda for talks – mediated talks, I would hope – under African leadership, where the items on that agenda are not just the M23 but are things exactly what you just described. How can refugees be returned? And that’s just not a problem of how do you – where do you return them to. The question is, have you resolved and given protection for ethnic tensions, Rwandaphone populations that live in eastern Congo, land tenure issues, and others? In so doing, you have to be careful to not get into matters that are purely or largely matters within the context of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There needs to be some sensitivity to those issues that are properly within the sphere of that government and our work with them, and then some issues are international and some are regional. The framework agreement contemplates that because it has benchmarks, separate benchmarks, for international, regional, and national progress in these areas.

My belief is the only way you get those benchmarks enforced and integrated with each other is by having actual talks where countries like Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo are represented at the table, and probably other countries in the region who have an interest in this matter, because as the summit in Pretoria that I just returned from illustrates, the entire continent, particularly the SADC region and the ICGLR region, are extremely concerned about this instability in Congo and see it as threatening the entire continent, not just the specific Great Lakes region.

The other – only other point I would make is that, in the somewhat narrower context of being able to deal with other armed groups in the area, the successful disbandment of the M23 clearly opens the door for the absolute necessity to go after groups like the FDLR, which, of course, is associated with the Rwandan genocide in the past, and the ADF, which is a group that has been antagonistic to the Ugandan Government over the years and is largely operating in eastern Congo, as well as other groups. So Kampala is a jumping off point to get more serious about those other armed groups, but also fundamentally to have a series of negotiations that actually get at some of the issues that have led to this extremely complicated situation in eastern Congo.

QUESTION: How – as I understand it, there are no such additional negotiations scheduled. How quickly do you think that may happen, and what are the impediments to that happening once the M23 issue is substantially resolved, if it is?

MR. FEINGOLD: It will require the political will of the countries in the region. These countries have all signed the framework agreement in which they pledged no support for these armed groups, in which they agreed that issues about reform within the Democratic Republic of Congo and issues about the return of refugees and all – and as well as positive opportunities in terms of economic development. There’s already this piece of paper that talks about that and benchmarks. But in the end, there’s no requirement in any of that, that this be a face-to-face process where there’s a mediator who actually encourages them to come to serious agreements that can be enforced and watched over time. That is something that all of us have been working on. I have discussed this myself with President Kagame, President Kabila, Mrs. Zuma, the head of the African Union, and there’s a healthy conversation going on about whether such talks could occur, what they would look like, who might be involved in those talks.

But in the end, if the African leaders do not want such talks, they won’t happen. There’s nothing in the framework itself that mandates that that particular process occurs. It’s my belief as a special envoy that, without that, this is not likely to be a successful effort at getting at the root causes. They’re too complex to simply do by sort of a shuttle diplomacy approach.

QUESTION: Lastly, can you comment on the U.S. posture on military assistance to Rwanda?

MR. FEINGOLD: Yes. The United States has chosen this year to be firm with regard to our concern that there is a credible body of reporting that Rwanda has given support to the M23, at least in the past. Rwanda is a friend and an ally, and we have a lot of admiration for what they’ve accomplished; but any such support for the M23, of course, is inconsistent with our views, with international law, and in particular, Rwanda’s own position as a signatory to the framework.

So we have been candid with our friend. We have, in some cases, put sanctions because of a concern – concerns about, for example, the support – the recruitment or assistance in terms of children soldiers for the M23 and involvement of Rwanda in that. If it turns out that Rwanda is no longer involved in such activities, if it turns out that their role here has been a positive one and there is much that they have done during this process to be positive, with President Kagame issuing a statement that he wanted these talks concluded – if that bears out that there is a different approach here than the one we have believed is happening, then we would certainly review whether it’s appropriate to continue these sanctions. They are based specifically on certain actions that we believe occurred, and if those actions cease, there would certainly be a serious review of whether it’s appropriate to continue.

QUESTION: And do you believe that they have ceased?

MR. FEINGOLD: We don’t know for sure. This is just like the questions about where some of these individuals might be. That is still up in the air. And I think it’s going to be a fact-based investigation with the sincere hope that we find out that that support has terminated, and certainly with an open mind in that regard.

MODERATOR: I think we have time for a couple more questions here. Next in line we have Nicolas Revise from AFP. Cynthia, can you open up his line?

OPERATOR: And Nicolas, your line is open.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. Thank you for doing that. A follow-up on Arshad’s question: Is it correct to say that the surrender of M23 is partly due to huge U.S. pressures put on Rwanda to cut off ties with M23 rebellion, and especially thanks to very recent phone call between the Secretary Kerry and President Kagame? Thank you.

MR. FEINGOLD: I would say, first of all, that the United States has taken a much more involved role in this entire region, that that has included efforts to try to bring the Kampala talks to a successful conclusion. And a part of that has been Secretary Kerry’s willingness to call not once but more than once to suggest to all the leaders in the region that this process must conclude.

In addition, the United States has shown tremendous interest in this by allowing me to work full-time as the first full-blown special envoy, and I have traveled to the region now three times since early September to work with the other special envoys. This is a level of engagement that is probably unprecedented for the United States. So it clearly – the decision by President Obama and Secretary Kerry to make this one of their leading priorities in Africa, and frankly, one of the leading priorities in their national policy, is really significant. And when Secretary Kerry – in addition to his phone call, when Secretary Kerry had an opportunity to chair the United Nations Security Council for the first time in his tenure as Secretary of State, he could have chosen a lot of topics to discuss, to make the topic. He chose this.

And that was an important moment to signal the very intense American involvement in this, which is continuing on a daily basis. So I am proud to be part of that effort. The leadership shown by this Administration and the engagement, I think is being noticed. In fairness, it is combined, of course, with the rest of the international community. The fact that the United Nations chose Mary Robinson, a distinguished former president of Ireland, to be an envoy, to have the full-time envoy from the European Union, an envoy from the African Union, and Mr. Kobler’s involvement.

These are levels of diplomatic sustained attention combined with the United States efforts that are unprecedented. And what’s really striking is that we are there all the time. It is not as if we have a meeting in New York or we go to Africa every once in a while. The leaders, and particularly the people at the Kampala talks, noticed that we were around even at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning on occasion to observe the proceedings. I believe all of that, including, of course, Secretary Kerry’s phone calls, were helpful in making it clear that we would not go away until this was resolved.

MODERATOR: I believe we have time for that one last question, and the last question here is from Dana Hughes from ABC. Cynthia, can you open up Dana’s line?

OPERATOR: Dana, your line is open.

QUESTION: Hi, thank you again for doing this. Just a couple of follow-up questions. One, I was interested in what you were talking about with the accountability and the international sort of justice with Congolese judges and international judges as well. Can you talk a little bit about getting to the heart of the problem of the security sector reform and what role the United States is playing in that? Are – is the United States providing trainers? Are there still military trainers on the ground?

MR. FEINGOLD: Well, first of all, the accountability issue and justice issues is one of the three aspects of security sector reform. Number one, of course, is the military. Number two is police. And number three is the justice system. So I’ve already talked about the way in which perhaps mixed courts legislation could assist in that part of the process.

But there needs to be a greater reform of the military itself. Now, some steps have been taken, and I think the success of the Congolese military is an indication in its recent actions that those steps are helping. For example, they put in new, more effective commanders, they have better logistical actions.

On the other hand, there’s much more that has to be done to modernize the military. In fact, the soldiers are not even paid in an effective way. There needs to be a much better system for making sure that this is a professional army where people are paid, and aren’t encouraged to sort of get their payment by abusing local citizens, which is something that has happened in the past. We have to make sure that this army is one that would no longer take advantage of a military situation to take reprisals against citizens, or take advantage of people in a community just because they happen to be in an area that they’ve successfully taken over during a military operation.

The United States is prepared to assist, through the United Nations and through our own programs, with a wide range of reform measures involving the military. That’s one of the things I’m working with various donor communities about how we might help with something like that. An example might be sort of the online, cell phone type of bank account that’s available. Mobile banking is a way to pay a soldier, rather than having a bag of money go to a commander and being sent that way.

These are innovative ways that we can help with the process, and I think that those kinds of things to modernize the military might be among the things we can do in the near term. True reform of a military like that is going to take many years – five to 10 years. And we need some signs of confidence building to build on the other things that the Congolese military has done to make it clear to people that this military is reforming itself. And so I think those kinds of modernization things would be high on the list. We’re not looking here to provide bricks and mortar for the Congolese military. We’re looking more to modernizing it.

MODERATOR: Great. Thank you very much. I want to thank Special Envoy Feingold for his time today in doing this call, and to all of you for your participation.

SOURCE

US Department of State

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Seeking the right to vote – Abyei

Posted by African Press International on November 4, 2013

Seeking the right to vote

NAIROBI,  – The contested region of Abyei recently held a “unilateral” referendum to determine whether it will remain part of Sudan or be restored to South Sudan, a move analysts fear could fuelconflict in the region.

The 27-29 October referendum on Abyei followed repeated delays in the vote, which was initially planned for January 2011 as part of a deal under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) designed to bring the civil war in Sudan to an end.

The sticking point has been Khartoum’s insistence that Misseriya pastoralists, many of whom served alongside Sudan’s government forces during the civil war, and who spend six months of the year in Abyei’s pastureland, be allowed to take part.

The Ngok Dinka community, Abyei’s main permanent residents who largely backed the southern rebels during the war, overwhelmingly voted to join South Sudan in the poll. “The referendum committee has announced the results, and the number of people who have chosen to become part of South Sudan is 99.9 per cent of the vote,” Kenya’s Daily Nation quotes Luka Biong, the spokesman for the Abyei Referendum High Committee, as saying.

Those allowed to vote were the Ngok Dinka and others with permanent abode in Abyei, as recommended by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague in 2009, according to a Small Arms Survey (SAS) report.

The Misseriya on 29 October said they would hold a counter-referendum in November, according to Radio Miraya, a Juba-based UN radio station.

Warnings over unilateral action

Before the vote, the UN Security Council had urged Sudan and South Sudan “to refrain from any unilateral action that could heighten tension between the two neighbouring countries or impede a solution regarding the contested, oil-rich border region of Abyei.”

The African Union (AU) in a statement, following a failed visit to Abyei on 26 October said: “[The AU] reiterates its deep concern at the prevailing situation in Abyei, and stresses the need for active and continued African involvement in support of the efforts aimed at addressing the challenges at hand in Abyei. [It] further reiterates that its visit to Abyei is aimed at defusing tension on the ground, including averting any unilateral actions, and creating a conducive environment for the peaceful resolution of the final status of Abyei…

“[It] warns all stakeholders in Abyei to refrain from taking any unilateral action likely to complicate the situation, and, in this regard, calls for maximum restraint.”

Once the referendum had been held the AU described it as “unacceptable and irresponsible”.

“Political statement”

The vote, according to Abyei leaders, was spurred by growing frustration at perceived international inaction.

“The Dinka Ngok did not want to take this path but what can they do since they have been denied the opportunity repeatedly. The Dinka Ngok people were promised an internationally recognized referendum but it has been repeatedly delayed since January 2011. They cannot be expected to fold arms and wait indefinitely”

“It was the AU which made the proposal to hold a referendum in October 2013. However what has been the benefit of attending summits and meetings on Abyei, considering that the AU’s own delegation was recently not allowed to enter the area by the Sudanese government?” asks Ngor Arol Garang, a South Sudanese journalist based in Juba writing in the Sudan Tribune (based in Paris).

“The Dinka Ngok did not want to take this path but what can they do since they have been denied the opportunity repeatedly. The Dinka Ngok people were promised an internationally recognized referendum but it has been repeatedly delayed since January 2011. They cannot be expected to fold arms and wait indefinitely,” adds Garang.

Writing in African Arguments, Sudan expert Stephen Arrno says: “What is now considered an “empty” move by the nine Ngok Dinka chieftains to hold a unilateral plebiscite that will get no recognition is in fact a political statement by a community that found itself caught in a cyclical political conundrum.

“Through taking the law in hand via a unilateral referendum, the people of Abyei have reached out to all actors to express their disaffection for a decade of indecisiveness and the suffering, humiliation and displacement – endured twice during the CPA period.”

The referendum, adds Arrno, has also raised “serious questions regarding the complexities in the Abyei protocol, giving no options for the Ngok people but to be at odds with regional and international bodies…

“Indeed the Abyei protocol which is part of the… CPA remains and will currently go [down] in history as the only protocol that has never been implemented since it was signed in 2004. Moreover, the Abyei protocol remains the only open protocol in the CPA that is constantly modified to accommodate serious hiccups arising between the two parties.”

Fears of conflict

The referendum has elicited fears of possible conflict and other adverse effects.

“The Misseriya, increasingly alienated from the GoS [Government of Sudan] and worried about losing crucial grazing land in Abyei -especially given that many of their routes into South Sudan have been blocked in recent years – could clash with the Ngok Dinka over the referendum,” says SAS.

“Even if the initial declaration of the referendum results does not lead to clashes, the upcoming annual migration will present a stiff test to both sides, as a putatively independent Ngok Dinka administration in Abyei will have to decide on how to handle a Misseriya migration amid massive numbers of returnees.”

“Through taking the law in hand via a unilateral referendum, the people of Abyei have reached out to all actors to express their disaffection for a decade of indecisiveness and the suffering, humiliation and displacement – endured twice during the CPA period”

The AU in a separate statement warned that the poll poses a threat to peace in Abyei and could “trigger an unprecedented escalation on the ground, which could negatively affect the continuing normalization of relations between Sudan and South Sudan, with far-reaching consequences for the region as a whole…

“Such escalation could also put the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) peacekeepers in a very dangerous position,” added the AU.

South Sudan condemns referendum

Besides conflict concerns, the Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS), which has also condemned the vote, is protecting its economic interests.

“The GRSS believes that no further headway can be made in negotiations with the GoS over the situation in Abyei, and is also aware that siding with the Ngok Dinka over the referendum could destabilize relations with Sudan, lead to a disruption of vital oil flows, and further conflict,” notes SAS.

“By pressing the AU to take the lead over Abyei, the GRSS hopes that the AU might try to force the GoS to accept the referendum results, while preventing the consequences that could result from South Sudan taking such a position.”

South Sudan’s government relies on oil profits to pay its public sector workers and the army.

GoS has also dismissed the poll results.

Regarding the impasse over Abyei, Zacharia Diing Akol, the director of training at the Juba-based Sudd Institute states: “The facts in this case are very clear… Abyei belongs to the Ngok Dinka and these people deserve to voluntarily decide under the international system that recognizes their right to self-determination where they should belong.

“The nomadic Misseriya community, which seasonally comes to Abyei and South Sudan’s neighbouring states for grazing and pasture, has the secondary right recognized by the PCA’s ruling. This, however, does not and should not at all be confused with the idea of permanent abode, which the court has identified as forming the sole basis upon which all other Sudanese citizens can participate in the referendum,” states a 29 October Sudd Institute report.

According to SAS, the “unilateral” referendum “is a high-risk strategy, and, in the best-case scenario, leaves Abyei voting to join a country that did not publicly condone the referendum, and leaving a country that refuses to recognize the referendum’s results.”

aw/cb  source http://www.irinnews.org

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