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Posts Tagged ‘China’

Wang Yi Holds in Talks with the government of the Republic of Sierra Leone

Posted by African Press International on November 17, 2013

BEIJING, China, November 11, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ On Nov. 6, 2013, Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with the visiting Foreign Minister of the Republic of Sierra Leone Samura Kamara.

Wang Yi said that for the 42 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and the Republic of Sierra Leone, both sides have worked in unity and helped each other, and supported each other on issues concerning core interests. No matter how strong China grows, we will always be a trustworthy friend and partner of all African peoples. China will implement the spirit of President Xi Jinping’s correct idea of morality and profits, strengthen political mutual trust with the Republic of Sierra Leone, promote mutually beneficial cooperation and people-to-people and cultural exchanges, to create more integrating points of bilateral interests and growth points of cooperation, turning cooperation potentials into real achievements and realizing the common development of China and Africa.

Samura Kamara said that the Republic of Sierra Leone regards China as an important partner, and thanks China for its long-term and strong support for the peace, stability, reconstruction and development of the Republic of Sierra Leone. China has become a strategic partner who helps Africa realize self-confidence, self-reliance and self-improvement, Africa will always keep the door open to China, and is willing to carry out all-round cooperation with China. He also condemned the violent terrorist attack that recently happened in Beijing.



China – Ministry of Foreign Affairs


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India: Formulating a law to eradicate the social evil of sale of woman and children

Posted by African Press International on October 27, 2013

The kerala high court held that the recommendations of the law commission of India for formulating a law to eradicate the social evil of sale of woman and children deserves immediate attention by all stake holders who are interested in the welfare of women and children.

The court made it clear that sale of children should be termed as an offence by incorporating a penal provision after bringing in suitable amendment to the Indian penal code.Justice S.S Satheesh chandran made the observation while granting bail to prima of kasaragod,an accused in a case related to the selling of her two children when they were three months and six months old.

The allegation was that two tender children were sold by first accused Ratheesh with the support of the second accused prema.The first child was sold for a sum of 50000 rupees while the second child for 1 lakh. The court observed that the incident of parent selling two infants after receiving money was shocking and revolting. The court held that the statutes contained no provision to penalise a person for sale of woman and children.

The law commission of India after taking in to account the social evils of sale of women and children had recommended penal provisions including punishment by amending the IPC. The recommendation is yet to be adopted and deserves immediate attention by all stake holders,the court mentioned.



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Forced or servile marriage – Debt bondage

Posted by African Press International on October 22, 2013

A young boy works as a labourer near Kathmandu (file photo)

NAIROBI,  – More than two centuries after slavery was outlawed, 29.8 million people globally continue to be subjected to new and diverse forms of servitude, a new index ranking 162 countries shows.

Haiti, India, Nepal, Mauritania and Pakistan have the highest prevalence of modern-day slavery, according to the first edition of the Global Slavery Index(compiled by Australian-based rights organization Walk Free Foundation), while in absolute numbers, China, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria and Pakistan have the most people enslaved. In India, almost 14 million people are believed to be victims of modern slavery.

Contemporary servitude, however, is “poorly understood, so it remains hidden within houses, communities and worksites”, it stated.

According to Gulnara Shahinian, the UN special rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, its causes and consequences, “contemporary slavery… often occurs in hard to reach areas of the country or what is perceived as the `private realm’, such as in the case of domestic servitude…

“In today’s world, slavery takes many different forms: human trafficking, forced labour, bonded labour, servitude… These people are controlled and forced to work against their will and their dignity and rights are denied.”

IRIN looks at some of the major forms of modern-day slavery.

Forced labour: The International Labour Organization (ILO) considerscompulsory or forced labour any “work or service exacted from any person under the threat of a penalty and for which the person has not offered himself or herself voluntarily.”

Common forms of forced labour can be found in under-regulated or labour-intensive industries, such as agriculture and fisheries, construction, manufacturing, domestic work, and the sex industry. A 2013 ILO report, highlighted some of the brutal conditions under which people are made to work in the fisheries industry. This category can apply to multiple forms of slavery, with people being forced to work in a variety of ways, often including the threat of violence or debt bondage.

ILO estimates that around 21 million people are victims of forced labour.

Debt bondage: This is the most common form of contemporary slavery, according to the London-based NGO Anti-Slavery International, which says “a person becomes a bonded labourer when their labour is demanded as a means of repayment for a loan. The person is then tricked or trapped into working for very little or no pay, often for seven days a week.”

In Pakistan, the Asian Development Bank estimates that 1.8 million people are bonded labourers, primarily working in brick kilns as well as in agriculture, fisheries and mining. In Brazil’s rural sector, a 2010 UN report found that many poor workers were enticed to distant areas by intermediaries, who charged an advance on their salaries, promising high wages. The workers found themselves paying hefty off loans for the cost of their transport and food, without any clear indication of how their debt or wages were being calculated.

Similar practices occur in Bangladesh.

Human trafficking: The UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime defines human trafficking as the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons”, through the threat or use of force or other means of coercion “for the purpose of exploitation”.

In Benin, the International Office for Migration estimates that more than 40,000 children are the victims of trafficking. The Global Slavery Index notes that many of these children are trafficked to countries within the region, as well as from rural to urban areas within one country.

Forced or servile marriage: This occurs when an individual does not enter into a marriage with full and free consent. The 1956 Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery considers illegal any practice where “a woman, without the right to refuse, is promised or given in marriage on payment of a consideration in money or in kind to her parents, guardian, family or any other person or group”. Transfer of a woman by her husband in return for payment, as well as inheritance of a woman following the death of her husband, is also outlawed. While the definition only applies to women and girls (who bear the brunt of forced marriages) there have been calls for it to cover boys and men too.

Child slavery: Child slavery and exploitation, including the use of children in armed conflict, is another common form of contemporary slavery. The Worst Forms of Child Labour, defined by ILO include the sale and trafficking of children, compulsory labour, serfdom, and the compulsory use of children in armed conflict. In Haiti, children from rural households are sent to urban areas to work as domestic house helps for wealthier families and can then be exploited. Around 1 in 10 children in Haiti are exploited, according to the Global Slavery Index.

While child slavery remains a significant problem, the number in child labour around the world reduced to 168 million in 2012 from 246 million in 2000, according to ILO.

Chattel slavery: A situation where a person or group of people is considered the property of a slave-owner, and can be traded, is the least common form of slavery today. Slave-owners in these situations control victims and their descendants, and therefore individuals are often born enslaved.

Although slavery was finally criminalized in Mauritania in 2007, leading to the freeing of many people, few slave-owners have been convicted of the practice, and chattel slavery remains a serious problem. The Global Slavery Index estimates there are 140,000-160,000 slaves in Mauritania.

aps/aw/cb  source


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Lessons from China’s development

Posted by African Press International on September 17, 2013

Chinese contractors have been involved in the construction of many new roads in Kenya

NAIROBI,  – China’s role as an aid donor has been met with wariness, both from aid experts and recipients. Confusion over the nature of China’s aid arises because the country uses multiple ministries and agencies to give money, has different strategic priorities than traditional Western donors, and does not release detailed reports about how much aid it provides.

“China has at least nine kinds of aid,” Deborah Bräutigam, a leading scholar on Chinese aid to Africa and a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, notes in her book, The Dragon’s Gift. “Medical teams, training and scholarships, humanitarian aid, youth volunteers, debt relief, budget support, turn-key or ‘complete plant’ projects [infrastructure, factories], aid-in-kind and technical assistance.”

Most of these aid forms have existed since China became an international donor. The country gives money through three mechanisms: interest-free loans; grants; and preferential interest loans or tied loans, according to Xue Lei, a research fellow of Shanghai’s Institutes for International Studies. “Most of the foreign aid is provided in the form of project aid,” he told IRIN.

This is a key difference between the way China provides aid and way that the US, UK or other Western powers approach assistance. While the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) provide large amounts of funding to support government budgets in areas such as education, China prefers to instead to work on a single project, such as building a school, or provide scholarships to students to study in China.

“Both are very attractive, but there’s no doubt that China’s is much more… visible than putting money into the budget,” Kenneth King, professor emeritus at the University of Edinburgh told IRIN.

Lessons from China’s development

There are also changes in the way China looks at the links between aid, development and business.

“In many contemporary accounts of Western aid and capacity-building in Africa, there would not be a close connection between aid and trade,” King writes in his book. China by contrast, sees a very important link between private business and aid. Indeed, this is a core element of China’s official view to development.

“China’s job, our responsibility, is to try and help Africa compete with us,” said Ambassador Zhong Jianhua, China’s special representative on African affairs, in an interview with the African Research Institute, published in August.

This may be a reflection of the fact that China has been a recipient nation of aid. “Influenced mainly by their own experience of development and by the requests of recipient countries, the Chinese aid and economic cooperation programmes emphasized infrastructure, production and university scholarships at a time when traditional donors downplayed these,” wrote Bräutigam.

“China feels that infrastructure is essential to development. There is a huge call for that, and the West hasn’t responded. These same companies that are building roads in Africa, they’ve also built roads in China,” said Ward Warmerdam, a researcher at the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague and an economic researcher at the think tank Profundo. “Gradually, Africa is becoming a much more stable continent. A lot of the Western donors don’t really understand that.”

Agency overlap

There are three main organs controlling Chinese aid: the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and China’s Eximbank. The State Council – China’s cabinet – has oversight, and approves the annual budget, grants and aid projects over a certain amount, as well as aid to politically sensitive countries. The Ministry of Finance is also responsible for giving aid to multilateral organizations, such as UN agencies.

The Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) is the principal institution for Chinese aid, and houses the Department of Aid. It is in charge of distributing all zero-interest loans and grants. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs coordinates with MOFCOM to decide aid allocations, and is the on-the-ground diplomatic point of contact for Chinese firms and interests in Africa. But the relationship between the two ministries is often tense, and, as experts have argued, conflicting interests between the multiple agencies sometimes hurts Chinese aid policy.

In addition, over 23 other government ministries and commissions play some role in providing foreign aid. For example, the Ministry of Education has been responsible for scholarships provided to African students to study in China, and the Ministry of Health runs and funds overseas medical programmes.

“I do think that in the medium term they will likely set up a separate agency,” Bräutigam told IRIN. “There has been a lot of discussion about this in China.”

aps/kr/rz source

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Kenya: Governor Kidero dismisses his critics

Posted by African Press International on September 1, 2013


Nairobi Governor Dr Evans Kidero has dismissed claims by critics that hes about to ditch ODM.Speaking in his Asumbi rural home in Homa Bay county  during a prayer session to officially  open a newly built state of the art  house for his wife Susan Mboya daughter to the late Thomas Joseph Mboya, Kidero said that hes a staunch party member and those peddling the said rumours are punchered politicians who are jittery with his political resilience.

“I will remain in ODM and also work with the government for our people to benefit economically”, he thundered amid applause from the enthusiastic crowd. Some section of ODM members particularly those from Luo Nyanza region have been on endless campaign onslaught spreading malicious propaganda that Kidero had ditched the party due to his percieved closeness with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Kidero recently accompanied the head of state to China where multi billion contracts were signed but failed to accompany his party leader to the U S A  where close to ten Cord Governors were invited in July. Political pundits opine that Kideros critics seems to be un fair to him arguing that theres no way he can operate in isolation without working closely with the President if hes to deliver.

The city council of Nairobi is heavily indebted as a result of entrenched corruption by cartels who have been operating there with glee for decades and some of them are highly connected and to stump it out you need a good will from the government of the day. Sources further confided to the press that President Uhuru courtesy of Kidero has agreed to waiver some of the council debts to cushion it from financial crisis. Former Homa Bay MP Oluoch Kanindo is also of the opinion that Kidero resilient political graph, sterling track record in the cooperate sector and succession in Luo politics are to blame for the prevaling scenario. Some senior Luo politicians are abit bitter that they dont get the much needed attention in various forums they share with Kidero yet they view him as a political novice.

“Kidero should be adviced to have a thick skin because what we are seing now is just but the beginning”,Kanindo said during an interview.”What do you expect from a man with untainted record and massive charisma,his critics must be ready for a rude shock in the near future”,Kanindo conluded.

In the ODM circles Kidero is said to be having a rapport with the party leader Raila Odinga but some three senior politicians in Luo Nyanza who are said to have been behind Railas failure to state house as result of shoddy nominations and strategy  in 2007 and 2013 are the ones orchestrating malice and blackmail to clip his political wings.Its interesting to note that the said politicians were seen literally camping in Kidero offices and homes begging for campagn funds in the last polls which they religiously recieved.

According to a top ODM politician the three politicians enjoys the party leaders ear and therefore even the party elections being craved for to make the party more vibrant seems to be a distant dream. “Its like the party is their personal property they run it like a shop”, he quipped.




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Kenya’s First Lady on her visit to China roots for women empowerment

Posted by African Press International on August 28, 2013

First Lady Mrs Margaret Kenyatta is welcomed by the President of the All China Women’s Federation Mrs. Shen Yueyue who also the Vice President of the National People’s Congresss to the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China.

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has urged Kenya and China to take concrete steps to protect women and children’s interests.

She urged various organizations championing the rights of women and children in China and Kenya to start exchange programmes to enable women to gain from diverse experiences.

She was speaking at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China when she paid a courtesy call on the President of All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF), Mrs. Shen Yue Yue. Mrs Shen is also the Vice-President of the National People’s Congress (NPC).

“Women leaders must focus on issues that affect their members at the grassroots so that they can help them build a prosperous society,” the First Lady said.

She invited Chinese women leaders to visit Kenya’s tourist attractions such as the annual Wildebeest Migration in Maasai Mara, that is renowned globally.

Mrs. Shen said though women in China are still facing daunting challenges, they had made progress in various fields.

She highlighted women enrollment in both Primary and secondary level education that stood at 90% while that of university level stood at 46%.

She added that China and Kenya are celebrating their 50th year of bilateral cooperation which gives the two countries a chance to review the progress made so far and reflect on future challenges.

She called on the two countries to strengthen their cooperation in the cultural, educational, women empowerment, health, environmental protection and business areas.


source. statehousewebsite.

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Kenya’s First Lady calls for unity to combat the AIDS scourge during her visit to China

Posted by African Press International on August 26, 2013

She said co-operation in fighting AIDS and other infectious diseases will further reduce the HIV/AIDS pain and suffering, particularly of children infected or orphaned by AIDS.

She spoke at Beijing Ditan Hospital Capital Medical University during a tour of the premier medical facility.

“The world has a lot to learn from Beijing Ditan Hospital which combines use of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine in combating the devastation caused by AIDS and other infectious diseases,” she said.

The Hospital’s President, Zhang Yong Li, said Traditional Chinese Medicine was affordable and effective in the management and treatment of AIDS and other infectious diseases compared to western medicine.

He added that at Ditan, they had managed to reduce the rate of mother-to-child infections from 30% to 2% among the 2000 patients that have been diagnosed with AIDS since 1989.

Earlier, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta urged Kenya and China to take concrete steps to protect women and children’s interests.

She called on organizations championing the rights of women and children in China and Kenya to start exchange programmes to enable women to gain from diverse experiences.

She was speaking at the iconic Great Hall of the People in Beijing, when she paid a courtesy call on the President of All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF), Mrs. Shen Yue Yue, a leading figure in the Chinese political establishment.

“Women leaders must focus on issues that affect their members at the grassroots so that they can help them build a prosperous society,” the First Lady said.

The First Lady is accompanying President Kenyatta who is on his first State visit to China.



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Posted by African Press International on August 20, 2013

  • By   Dickens  Wasonga reporting for API,

Leaders issue Beijing Declaration to set priorities for health collaboration at the first meeting of health ministers under the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC)

Today, dozens of African health ministers and Chinese health officials gathered at the Ministerial Forum on China-Africa Health Development to map out new efforts to support Africa’s long-term health progress and shape the future of China-Africa health cooperation.
This was the first-ever meeting of health ministers under the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) since it was established in 2000, demonstrating the highest level of political commitment to tackle Africa’s most pressing health challenges together.
At the Forum, health ministers and officials launched the Beijing Declaration of the Ministerial Forum on China-Africa Health Development, which sets a road-map for jointly addressing key health challenges across Africa, including malaria, schistosomiasis, HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, immunization and vaccine preventable diseases.
Under the Declaration, China and African countries will embark on new efforts to achieve sustainable, long-term health solutions, such as increasing partnerships on joint research and addressing the shortage of healthcare workers.
China and African countries will engage further with private enterprise to encourage technology transfer and increase access to low-cost health technologies that meet high quality standards. The Declaration emphasizes that such health cooperation efforts will align with African countries’ priorities as well as national and regional development plans.

“China and African countries have enjoyed strong and effective partnerships on health for half a century, based on our common experiences and our shared vision for a brighter and healthier future for all our citizens,” said Hon. Min. Awa Coll-Seck, Minister of Health of Senegal.

“The Beijing Declaration solidifies our governments’ commitments to developing and implementing Africa-led strategies that drive sustainable health progress and improve the lives of people across the continent.”
This year marks the 50th anniversary of China sending medical teams to African countries, with the first team sent to Algeria in 1963. Since then, thousands of medical personnel have served in 43 African countries.
China has also worked with African partners and international organizations to build hospitals and malaria centers, train health workers and increase access to antimalarial treatments and other health technologies. Academic institutions and private companies have also supported these efforts.
Now, China and African countries are exploring opportunities to build on this progress and contribute new resources, innovation and leadership to drive health progress across Africa. “Chinese and African citizens live on the same planet, under the same sky.
China’s partnership with Africa is rooted in humanitarianism. As President Xi described, this love has no borders,” said Hon. Dr. Li Bin, Minister of China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission. “I believe the Chinese Medical Teams will strive to make a greater contribution in the future.”
In this new era of collaboration, Chinese and African government officials and other stakeholders will work closely together to identify sustainable solutions to health challenges.
This will include bolstering human resources capacity in African countries, supporting domestic manufacturing capacity, and increasing access to low-cost, high-quality health products.
These joint efforts will draw on and leverage China’s own experiences with improving public health in a resource-limited setting. China will also share the tools and expertise it has acquired through its investments in health research and development, the production of health technologies, and its current health reform effort to expand healthcare to all citizens.
China and African countries will also work closely with key global health stakeholders to support China-Africa health cooperation, including multilateral organizations, international NGOs and civil society organizations.
Representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO), UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNICEF, African Union, World Bank, GAVI Alliance and Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria were observers of the Forum.
These international partners have been critical to the health progress already made in both China and African countries, and their expertise and experiences can support deepened and more effective China-Africa health cooperation.
“The decades of collaboration between China and Africa has long been characterized by friendship and goodwill,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO.
“China is now a significant force in Africa’s development, with substantially increased commitments and engagements. This is a south-to-south model of development cooperation based on mutual interests and respect.”
The Ministerial Forum builds on important discussions in Botswana at the 4th International China-Africa Health Cooperation Roundtable, which took place for the first time in Africa in May 2013.
The Forum is held under the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), and is hosted by the National Health and Family Planning Commission of China, formerly the Ministry of Health.
Together, these meetings have laid the groundwork for continued South-South collaboration between China and African countries on pressing health challenges.


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Lack documentation: Many of Tibetan refugees were born in Nepal

Posted by African Press International on June 11, 2013

Many Tibetan refugees were born in Nepal

POKHARA,  – Tibetan refugees in Nepal, many of who have been here for decades, say they lack the documentation they need to lead normal lives.

“Without any form of identification paper, I don’t know where I belong. There is no future for me in Nepal,” Palden Lama, a Tibetan refugee, told IRIN outside a refugee settlement in Pokhara, Nepal’s second city. The 25-year-old was born in the settlement and has lived his entire life in Nepal.

Nepal is home to at least 20,000 Tibetan refugees, many of whom fled south across the Himalayas following the 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region. Tens of thousands were reportedly killed.

Each year hundreds continue to transit through Nepal to India, home of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile. There are more than 100,000 documented Tibetan refugees living in India.

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), there are an estimated 15,000 long-staying Tibetan refugees who arrived in Nepal prior to 1990, of whom more than half lack any form of documentation, preventing them from getting regular access to education and legal employment. UNHCR continues to advocate for the issuance of documentation to long-staying Tibetans.

Currently, there are 11 Tibetan refugee settlements in Nepal, with an estimated 9,000 people living in Kathmandu alone.

Under normal circumstances, most pre-1990 arrivals, qualifying as bona fide refugees, should have been documented and given refugee cards (RCs) by the government, allowing them the right to live and work in the country, as well as access to basic services.

“No decision”

“There has been no decision made yet,” Shanker Koirala, a senior government official with the Home Ministry, told IRIN regarding the Tibetans, adding that he had “no other comment” – a position many believe underscores government sensitivity on the issue and relations with neighbouring China.

According to the Human Rights Organization of Nepal (HURON), a prominent rights group campaigning on behalf of Tibetan refugees, Kathmandu, under pressure from Beijing, stopped issuing RCs to Tibetans in 1995, including children born in Nepal to refugee parents who had been residing in the country for decades.

“Their lack of an RC or any form of documentation means they are totally stateless and have absolutely no place in this world,” Sudeep Pathak, head of HURON, explained.

“There is a fundamental need for documentation – whether refugee identification or citizenship – for Tibetans in Nepal,” said Kate Saunders, a senior official from the International Campaign for Tibet, noting a large number of Tibetans in Nepal are effectively stateless, vulnerable to political exploitation, and unable to benefit from state services or travel without the threat of harassment, extortion or detention.

“It’s a very difficult situation for us especially after we finish school because we need a valid document to prove we are residents of this country,” said Pema, a high school student in the Tashi-Paikheli Settlement in Hyangjha village.

“This is such a wrong time to be a Tibetan,” said one young Tibetan refugee in Kathmandu who preferred anonymity.

An elderly Tibetan woman sells souvenirs to western tourists


Tibetans in Nepal say they face restrictions from Nepalese authorities, particularly around significant Tibetan anniversaries, with activists accusing Beijing of using aid and investment in Nepal to ensure the government prevents any anti-Chinese activity.

“China is determined that Nepal should not become a breeding ground for activists campaigning for an independent Tibet. It fears that Tibetan refugees, who enjoy considerable sympathy and support in India and the West, will use Nepal as a base to protest against the Chinese occupation and to carry out `anti-China activities’,” said a 2012 report by Safer World, an independent international organization working to prevent violent conflict.

But according to one activist who has worked with the Tibetans for years, their desire for documentation now has nothing to do with politics, but rather a desire to live in peace and dignity in Nepal.

“I have worked with thousands of Tibetan refugees in the past 20 years, but I have not met anyone express any interest in anti-China activities. All they want is a safe and legitimate residence in Nepal where they can live with freedom as local citizens,” said Nilkantha Sharma, chief of Sambad Nepal, an NGO supporting Tibetan refugee rights in Pokhara.

Nepal is not party to the 1951 UN Convention or 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees and there are no national laws to grant asylum or refugee status.

nn/ds/cb  source


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Bracing for spill-over of new bird flu

Posted by African Press International on April 21, 2013

Searching for clues on H7N9 outbreak

BANGKOK, – Officials throughout Asia are implementing measures to protect people from a new strain of bird flu – H7N9 – that has so far infected 24 people in China, killing seven.

These are the first human infections and deaths to have been recorded from this virus strain worldwide. China’s neighbours have reacted by boosting hospital capabilities and disease surveillance, strengthening border control, issuing reminders to ban illegal poultry imports, and more vigorously testing what is imported.

Following a mass poultry culling on 5 April in Shanghai – one of the Chinese cities affected – pandemic expert and virologist Yi Guan from the University of Hong Kong told IRIN he expects human cases to “drop or stop”. But he added that experts still have much to learn about the disease.

The virus has proved to be a “low-pathogenic” virus in infected land-based birds, so it is not clear why the virus has been so severe in humans, he noted. The true spread of the disease is also still unknown.

“We have a knowledge gap and do not know the full picture. There may be people with minor infections or who are asymptomatic among [the] population as a result of H7N9,” said Yi.

Experts have not been able to learn how or why the 21 persons became infected. While some people had contact with animals or their habitats, and infections are suspected to originate in poultry, the virus’s host and source have not been lab-confirmed.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has noted that knowing what species is responsible for the fatal outbreak is “essential to target response actions accordingly, including trade restrictions”.


Since the H5N1 bird flu virus first appeared in 2003, there have been 622 laboratory-confirmed human cases globally, 371 of them fatal, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Indonesia has seen the largest number of deaths from H5N1: 160.

“We face a similar situation to China because the high risks of the animal-human interface, and inadequate bio-security among many poultry farmers. That’s why [holding a] public awareness campaign is important, and we continue to closely monitor genetic mutations of the bird flu virus,” said Emil Agustiono, the head of Indonesia’s National Zoonosis Committee.

He said no “special measures” have been enacted as the country does not import live poultry from China.

The WHO has not advised any travel restrictions or any special screenings linked to the flu outbreak.

Tjandra Yoga Aditama, director general for disease control and environmental health at Indonesia’s Health Ministry, told IRIN the call for “intensive surveillance” has been made to local health departments. They have also been called upon to immediately respond to “any cases of influenza-like illness and severe acute respiratory infection, which may be found in communities, hospitals and other health care providers, seaports and airports.”


Vietnam, which does import live poultry from China, issued a government directive on 4 April reminding officials working near the border with China to be vigilant about keeping out illegal poultry imports and about inspecting all legal imports before distribution.

Vietnam’s health ministry has designated laboratories to analyse blood samples of suspected cases.

The Institute for Tropical Diseases in the capital, Hanoi, has ready 8,000 doses of Tamiflu (reported by Chinese authorities to be effective in treating the infection at early stages), 23 respirators and two dialysis machines. On 5 April, the Health Ministry promulgated an action plan in the case of an H7N9 outbreak.


Local media reported that Hong Kong government officials have cautioned against panic-buying and confirmed the availability of 1,400 hospital beds to quarantine any patients infected with H7N9.

Following his visit to a local poultry market on 8 April, Hong Kong’s secretary for food and health, Ko Wing-mantold reporters that officials in Hong Kong and mainland China are collaborating to boost surveillance of all poultry imports. All poultry are to receive rapid tests for H5N1 virus as well as H7N9 before being released to the markets for sales in Hong Kong.

pt/ap/rz source

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African beat – Tanzania – Saida Karoli – Ndombolo

Posted by African Press International on April 20, 2013

Enjoy African Beats..

Tanzanian – Saida Karoli – Ndombolo. So interesting!!! I love how Africa has so much rhythm, life and flavour!!! It is something that no one will ever take away from them!!! Not poverty. Not even slavery! The slaves taken from Africa continue to carry on this african rhythm in Jamaicans, black Americans spirit etc…viva AFRICA!!!


African beat: Rafiki by – mr. nice

“rafiki” means “friend”,a translation of the song:the love btw me and you friend will never end,let those who talk talk,our friendship will be broken up by death.When i have money my friend we drink and feast.GOD bless me and make my enemy my friend.Life is a long journey and a GOD’s hand is needed to pass through it.To obtain,to not obtain,who Created is the Creator.Do not get upset with me, i am your friend,in life and death,in good times and bad.If i have wrong you,forgive me


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Aid access still limited for displaced

Posted by African Press International on April 7, 2013

LAIZA,  – More than 83,000 people have run from their homes, funneling into some 45 camps and settlements to escape fighting in Myanmar’s northeastern Kachin State. But over half the displaced are still unreachable by international aid workers because they are located in rebel-controlled areas. 

“We had to dig trenches around our home because the Burmese army [was] using fighter jets to attack KIA [Kachin Independence Army] soldiers near our village,” recalled 65-year-old Pokin Kon Dok. She fled her home near Laja Yang Village last December, carrying only her one-month-old granddaughter, after government forces launched an offensive against ethnic Kachin troops near the border town of Laiza.

Now, Polkin and her extended family share a single bamboo hut with six other recent arrivals in Je Yang, a camp in Laiza that currently houses an estimated 6,000 people. The area, near the site of a main rebel camp, is inaccessible by international aid workers.

Health fallout

In other parts of the camp, stone workers and labourers break large rocks to re-enforce dirt roads and pathways leading into the area. Others stack bricks into baskets on their backs, preparing to build latrines.

“The current ratio is one toilet for 60 persons, but that is not enough, so now we are building an additional 300 toilets in the whole of Je Yang camp,” said camp supervisor Brang Shaw.

Emergency aid standards require a minimum of one latrine per 20 adults or 10 children. Local health workers have reported treating a regular stream of internally displaced persons (IDPs) with stomach ailments caused by diarrhoea and parasites.

In southern Kachin State, a network of eight local aid groups, including Wun Pawng Ninghtoi (WPN), is providing food, clothing, shelter and medicine to nearly 10,000 IDPs in six camps.

The protracted conflict has taken a toll on diets and nutrition, say aid workers, who have not conducted any formal studies on malnutrition rates among the displaced.

WPN head Mary Tawm said that while basic foods like potatoes and rice are distributed, vegetables and meats are sparse.

Lack of access to clean water and sanitation has proved fatal.

“In January, seven children drank water from a mountain stream that was polluted with pesticides from a nearby sugar cane plantation, and one of the girls died. Several of them had to be transferred to a Chinese hospital for emergency treatment,” said Tawm.

And while the local hospital in Mai Jai Yang can treat routine health problems, more complicated cases
must be transferred across the border into China. Soldiers with heavy casualties have reportedly been transferred there as well.

“We needed to spend US$3,000 for 17 referred patients to the China side in January and another 20 patients in February, basically to save people’s lives, but we don’t have enough funding so we are asking our community for help,” she said.

International aid still blocked

“The international NGOs can get into the government-controlled area very easily, but it is difficult to get to the China border where most of the IDP camps are located and in need of the most [assistance],” explained Hkalam Samson, head of local NGO Kachin Baptist Convention.

Since the start of the conflict, most of the food and medical supplies in KIA-controlled areas have been donated by local religious groups, and the Kachin Independence Organization, KIA’s political wing.

Deemed unsafe by the government, rebel-controlled areas have been largely off-limits to international aid groups since the collapse of a 17-year peace agreement in June 2011. Only a small number of UN convoys have reached KIA-controlled territory since then, the most recent one being in mid-February this year.

“Several of the camps are overcrowded because nine camps on the Chinese side were shut down last summer by Chinese authorities, and the refugees were forced back onto the Kachin side of the border,” Samson added.

On the Burmese side of the border, the population of Lana Zup Ja camp has more than doubled from last year’s 1,138 to 2,689 at the end of March, according to WPN.

Given such crowded camps, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is concerned about potential abuses and the lack of international monitors in KIA-controlled areas. “When we build shelters through our [local] partners – who do have access – we cannot monitor their progress. We are also unable to conduct capacity building such as camp management or protection training,” said Anna Little, a UNHCR spokesperson in Myanmar.

Since fighting resumed in June 2011, 12 peace talks have been held between the government and rebels, including five in China.

Meanwhile, international groups continue calling for unfettered access to all of Kachin’s IDPs.

The KIA has been fighting for greater autonomy from Myanmar’s central government for the past six decades.

ss/pt/rz  source


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Thousands still homeless one year after munitions blasts

Posted by African Press International on March 31, 2013

BRAZZAVILLE, – Thousands of people remain homeless in the Republic of Congo (ROC) one year after being displaced following a deadly munitions blast at an army barracks in the capital, Brazzaville. The 4 March 2012 blast, in the area of Mpila, east of the capital, left some 282 people dead and 2,300 others injured, according to officials. 

“We have not relocated all those affected to date. We are relocating them gradually, as we are building houses on selected sites,” Emilienne Raoul, the ROC minister for humanitarian action, told IRIN.“For a long time, the disaster-affected have remained traumatized, especially the children. It’s difficult to forget this disaster,” Raoul continued.Thousands of people who were left homeless after the March 2012 blast – which was actually a series of explosions – sought refuge in several sites around the capital.

Still waiting

At present, at least 1,400 people are still living in tents at site number 17, west of Brazzaville.

In the surburb of Kintélé, 25km north of Brazzaville, the ROC government has built houses on 10 hectares of land. About 300 affected families have already been settled there.

“Here, we have the bare minimum: water, electricity, modern toilets and sanitation,” Ago Ngoulou, 43, told IRIN. Ngoulou is living in Kintélé after losing all his property in the explosions. “But transport is a headache. The site is far from the city centre.”

Most of those affected by the blasts have returned to the area of Mpila, where 2,000 families have received tents for shelter. Conditions there are difficult.

“We set up the tents between the sides of the walls of our destroyed hoses. We are at the mercy of the elements, insects and dangerous animals such as snakes,” complained army Sgt Jules Engambé.
In the vicinity, vegetation grown over the shells of burnt up military tanks and vehicles.

The ROC government has set aside some 60 billion CFA (US$120 million) to assist the affected households – about 50 people crippled in the blast will receive a monthly allowance of 140,000 francs ($280).

In September 2012, the ROC government and China signed a number of financial agreements totalling 970 million euros (about $1.2 billion), most of which will go towards reconstructing Mpila. Reconstruction work will start in 2013, in consultation with the land owners, according to the planning minister, Jean-Jacques Bouya.

The process of decontaminating the explosion site, which started days after the early 2012 blasts, is expected to end on 31 March, the proposed date for the start of the reconstruction work.

“The munitions that were exploded were scattered over a 3km radius,” said Cpt Cyr Andsi, the mine clearance head, adding that quality controls had been carried out to ensure the safety of people in Mpila.


Members of an inquest into the cause of the 4 March 2012 explosions in Mpila initially suspected that the blasts had been due to an electric fault. But according to the ROC prosecutor Essamy Ngatsé, “This theory no longer holds.”

At least 30 people have so far been arrested and charged, among them 23 military officers who were said to have breached state security and committed arson. But their case files have, for a long time, been circulating between various offices of the judiciary, including the court of appeals and the supreme court.

“If the trial proceeds based on this cacophony that we have observed, it’s hard to believe that it will be a just and fair trial,” said Roche Euloge Nzobo of the Congolese Observatory for Human Rights (OCDH).

lmm/aw/rz source



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Erik Solheim new chair of OECD’s Development Assistance Committee

Posted by African Press International on November 6, 2012

Former Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim is to be the new chair of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD’s) Development Assistance Committee (DAC).

Mr Solheim takes over the chairmanship from Brian Atwood, from the US, who will step down at the end of the year.

Norway’s present Minister of International Development, Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås, commented, “Erik Solheim has extensive knowledge, broad experience and a large international network. He will be a forward-looking and dynamic leader.”

The DAC chair is elected for one year at time, and may be re-elected for a total period of four years.

“I am looking forward to being an advocate for the world’s poor in international arenas. One of the areas I will focus on is the linkage between development and the environment. I will also work for more private sector engagement in developing countries, and I will extend a welcome to China and other new donors,” Mr Solheim said.

DAC has 24 member countries and is based in Paris. It contributes to sustainable development by promoting close cooperation in the field. Monitoring transfers of development assistance is one important task. It also reviews member countries’ development policy, draws up analyses, and encourages exchange of experience.

You can read more about DAC on its website:


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