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Posts Tagged ‘Ethiopia’

Managing the Influx of Vulnerable Ethiopian Migrants Returning from Saudi Arabia

Posted by African Press International on December 4, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

SOURCE

International Office of Migration (IOM)

 

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Swiss government appoints new Ambassadors

Posted by African Press International on November 16, 2013

BERN, Switzerland, November 13, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/– The Swiss government (Federal Council) has approved the list of diplomatic staff transfers scheduled for 2014 submitted by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. The changes will be made in accordance with the normal rate of transfers, to be communicated at the time of the decision by the Federal Council. The appointments of Heads of Mission take effect as soon as the authorities in the host country communicate their approval. The Federal Council takes this opportunity to express its gratitude to the Ambassadors due to retire for the services rendered.

Martin Strub, currently First Secretary to the Head of Mission in New Delhi, has been appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Sudan, and the State of Eritrea, with residence in Khartoum.

Andrea Semadeni, Head of Mission in Accra, has been appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Republic of Djibouti, the Republic of South Sudan, and Permanent Observer to the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, effective as of the end of November 2013, with residence in Addis Ababa.

Georg Steiner, currently First Secretary to the Head of Mission in Teheran, has been appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the State of Libya, replacing Ambassador Erwin Hofer who is retiring.

Dagmar Schmidt Tartagli, currently First Secretary to the Head of Mission in Rabat, has been appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Senegal, the Republic of Cabo Verde, the Republic of the Gambia, the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, the Republic of Mali and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, with residence in Dakar.

Thomas Litscher, currently Head of Mission in Colombo, has been appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, the Republic of Guinea, the Republic of Liberia and the Republic of Sierra Leone, with residence in Abidjan.

Mirko Manzoni, currently Head of the SDC Cooperation Office in Bamako, has been appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Mozambique.

Rita Adam, currently Deputy Director of the Directorate for International Law, has been appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Tunisia, replacing Ambassador Pierre Combernous who is retiring.

Muriel Berset Cohen, currently Head of Mission in Dakar, has been appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, replacing Ambassador Thomas Feller who is retiring.

Ambassador Gerhard Brügger, currently Head of the Consular Directorate in Bern, has been appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Ghana, the Republic of Benin and the Republic of Togo, with residence in Accra.

Benedict Gubler, currently Deputy to the Head of the Permanent Representation of Switzerland to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, has been appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Angola and the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, with residence in Luanda.

Thomas Litscher, currently Head of Mission in Colombo, has been appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, the Republic of Guinea, the Republic of Liberia and the Republic of Sierra Leone, with residence in Abidjan.

 

SOURCE

Switzerland – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

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

Posted by African Press International on November 16, 2013

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

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

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

WHAT: Mission to South Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya

WHEN: 17 – 25 November 2013

WHERE: Juba, Jonglei, Addis Ababa and Nairobi

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

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

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

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

 

SOURCE

UNITED NATIONS

 

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Improving Maternal Health

Posted by African Press International on November 15, 2013

Ethiopia Approves Plan to Improve Maternal Health

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

SOURCE

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

 

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US Assistant Secretary on a mission to UK and Etiopia

Posted by African Press International on November 13, 2013

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

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

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

 

SOURCE

US Department of State

 

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

Posted by African Press International on November 11, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Runners-up:

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

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

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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Clashes on Kenya-Ethiopia border among the Gabra, Burji and Borana communities

Posted by African Press International on September 10, 2013

MOYALE,  – Thousands of families remain displaced from the northern Kenya district of Moyale, close to the Ethiopian border, following the latest spate of clan violence, which has left at least two dozen dead since it broke out on 30 August.

Aid agencies say they have been unable to conduct a comprehensive assessment of humanitarian needs, essential for providing emergency assistance to populations in some of the district’s more volatile areas.

Two days of inter-clan fighting among the Gabra, Burji and Borana communities saw houses torched, gunfire exchanged and business come to a standstill in the areas of Somare and Teti. The violence has since subsided, but tension remains high in the area.

Education officials say all 32 primary and secondary schools in Moyale remained closed on 2 September, as all both teachers and students remained displaced, too afraid of renewed violence to return home.

The violence is believed to be part of a series of revenge attacks that began when the Borana and Gabra clashed on 15 July, leaving one dead and three wounded.

Displaced

“More than 38,000 people from 6,381 households have been forced to leave their homes,” said the Kenya Red Cross Society‘s (KRCS) Moyale coordinator, Stephen Bonaya, who noted that most of the displaced had crossed into Ethiopia, while others were staying with relatives in Moyale and the counties of Marsabit and Wajir.

He said scores of children, women and men were still separated from their families, while others were missing. “A team is helping families trace lost members and reunite them. At the moment, 60 families have been united,” he added.

According to Bonaya, displaced families are in urgent need of food assistance, shelter, drugs, water, cooking utensils, clothing and mosquito nets, among other things.

Moyale’s traders say the suspension of operations by transporters has led to a spike in food prices in the area.

“My lorry has been parked for a whole week now. I am afraid it could either be burnt or hijacked, and yet I am supposed to service a loan,” said Golicha, a truck owner.

Ismail Adan, a livestock trader and a transporter, said the prices of hiring and ferrying livestock by lorries doubled as a result of the clashes. “It’s not possible to make any profit from livestock trade. Animals at the market are too few and very expensive,” he said.

Seeking a solution

Historically, the regions’ communities – which straddle Kenya and Ethiopia – have fought over resources such as pasture and water for their livestock, but research by Tufts University and KRCS shows that the violence has recently become more deadly and communities and their leaders now seek to achieve control over these resources through the political system.

“The government is now in charge. Militia gangs from the warring communities have been flushed out [by the police and the army],” Marsabit County commissioner Isaiah Nakoru told IRIN. “Some have fled and crossed the border. We have arrested eight Ethiopians, two Kenya[ns]. The state is serious; nobody will escape punishment… Politicians responsible will not be spared.”

He added that preliminary investigations had established that “foreign militia” armed with mortars and bombs had fuelled the fighting.

People affected by the conflict say the intermittent violence will continue unless the government addresses the root causes, involving the warring communities and their leaders.

“This is a political problem. Neither Kenya’s entire military nor police can contain or end this problem. Arrest the politicians, involve all communities in the political process and share resources fairly,” said one Moyale resident, who preferred anonymity.

Former national assembly speaker Francis Ole Kaparo said a peaceful solution to the conflict needed to be found. “These communities must stop this bloody way of resolving disputes and share them [resources] or lose all anticipated benefits,” he told IRIN.

na/kr/rz  source http://www.irinnews.org

 

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Ethiopian political leadership must respect human rights; says Bizualem Beza

Posted by African Press International on August 13, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hostility for independent media

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

INTERVIEW:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End

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The government of the self-declared republic of Somaliland will stiffen penalties to curb smuggling and human trafficking

Posted by African Press International on July 30, 2013

Smugglers are increasingly kidnapping migrant Somaliland youths for ransom

HARGEISA,  – The government of the self-declared republic of Somaliland will stiffen penalties for people smuggling and human trafficking to stem irregular migration, particularly by the region’s youths.

“Of course there is an article in Somaliland’s penal code dealing with this issue, but we think it is not deterrent enough. For this reason, the government plans to pass new laws to prevent human smuggling,” Mohamed Osman Dube, Somaliland’s administrative director in the interior ministry, told IRIN.

At present, Article 457 of Somaliland’s penal code identifies the selling and purchasing of humans as slaves as offences punishable by prison terms of 3 to 12 years. Article 466 further provides for a three-year prison term for those found guilty of engaging in physical abuse, according to Mustafe Mahdi, a Somaliland lawyer.

The new laws are aimed at reducing irregular migration from Somaliland to Ethiopia and onwards to Sudan, Libya and Europe. When passed, they are expected to include tougher punishments for smugglers and to provide ways to rehabilitate youth migrants, added Dube.

While solid figures on people smuggling and human trafficking in Somaliland are not available, in late June, Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud (Silanyo) nominated a ministerial committee to address the problem, expressing concern over growing youth mass migration and related deaths.

According to a recent survey by the community-based Somaliland Youth Ambition Development Group (SYADG), for example, at least 15 Somaliland youths died in May in the Sahara desert, between Libya and Sudan, either from being shot dead by smugglers or due to the harsh conditions. The 15 were part of a group of 325 youths, from which 31 are still missing, with 83 and 80 others in Libyan and Tunisian prisons, respectively, according to SYADG spokesperson Ahmed Jamal.

Targeted

Most of the youths migrating from Somaliland have been from poorer families, but those from better-off families are increasingly risking the perilous journey to Europe.

“When I was looking for my son, I received a phone call from a stranger asking me to speak my son. The stranger told me to pay him US$5,000 in smuggling fees. I said, ‘I will look for the money’, but unfortunately, my son was shot dead,” Mohamed Da’ud, the director of planning in Somaliland’s interior ministry, told IRIN.

“My son is among youths who have been killed by smugglers or [who] died in the Sahara after they tried to run away from smugglers.”

According to Wafa Alamin, a human rights activist based in Khartoum, Sudan, “Illegal immigrants are treated like animals by the smugglers in the Sahara, between Sudan and Libya.”

Smugglers are also increasingly kidnapping migrant Somaliland youths for ransom.

“The youths are asked about their parents’ properties and jobs. If the smugglers identify that the family of the person can pay a ransom, they take him or her across the border without any payment only to later force the client to call his or her family to demand a ransom,” explained Abdillahi Hassan Digale, the chairman of the Ubah Social Welfare Organization (USWO).

Abdillahi Omar’s sons are among the smugglers’ victims.

“If the smugglers identify that the family of the person can pay a ransom, they take him or her across the border without any payment only to later force the client to call his or her family to demand a ransom”

“My two sons graduated from high school in 2011 and had no reason to risk their lives,” said Omar. “I sent one of them to university in Ethiopia, but he saved up the money I used to send him to make the risky journey to Libya. On different occasions in Sudan and Libya he was held hostage by smugglers who demanded a ransom, and I spent $14,500 on him. But he is lucky he reached Europe.”

Omar’s other son, the younger one, is now in Libya. “I don’t know what to do. I sold everything I had. My problem is not only being bankrupt but that I don’t know how to bring him back,” he said.

Way forward

The government, civil society and international organizations have been engaging in public awareness campaigns to sensitize the Somaliland population on the dangers of irregular migration.

But more needs to be done.

“Even though a lot of campaigns have been done, [especially] in the last several weeks, and youth migrants have decreased from 15 per day to eight per day, we believe that there are local smugglers connected to other smugglers based in Ethiopia, Sudan and Libya, and we don’t think it will stop soon,” said a Somaliland border immigration official who preferred anonymity.

The high rate of unemployment in Somaliland must be addressed amid an increasing number of university graduates, according to USWO’s Digale. “For this reason, there is a need for interventions by both the government and the local business community, as well as international partners working in Somaliland,” he said.

A past survey by the Somaliland National Youth Organization found about 75 percent of the youths there to be unemployed.

At present, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is implementing a regional mixed migration programme covering Djibouti, Ethiopia, Puntland, Somaliland and Yemen. In mixed migration, refugees, asylum-seekers, economic migrants and even victims of human trafficking use the same routes, means of transport and smuggling networks to reach shared destinations, but with different claims to protection and humanitarian assistance.

“The overall objective of this programme is to strengthen the protection of – and provide emergency assistance to – irregular migrants in Somaliland, Puntland [and] Djibouti, and potential migrants and returnees in Ethiopia, including the assisted voluntary return of the most vulnerable,” said IOM Somalia. Ethiopia is a leading source country of irregular migrants from the Horn of Africa region heading to the Arabian Peninsula.

IOM Somalia is also urging Somaliland to accede to the Palermo protocol, which aims to prevent the smuggling of migrants, promote cooperation among state parties, protect the rights of smuggled migrants, and prevent the worst forms of exploitation, which often characterizes the smuggling process.

On 17 July, Somaliland officials prosecuted 11 people on human smuggling charges. The Gabiley Regional Court “found the 11 men guilty of smuggling youths from Somaliland to Ethiopia en-route to Libya”, said an official with Somaliland’s immigration department. The arrests and prosecutions are the first of their kind in Somailland.

maj/aw/rz  source http://www.irinnews.org

 

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Locking horns with Kenya’s pastoralists

Posted by African Press International on July 12, 2013

Experts say large-scale irrigation schemes could undermine pastoralists access to land

NAIROBI,  – The Kenyan government is planning to introduce large-scale irrigation in the country’s dry lands to improve food security and unlock agricultural potential – but critics have blasted the US$170 million scheme as unviable, and a threat to the pastoralist economy.

The government has set aside one million acres of land for irrigated agriculture over the next five years in the historically underdeveloped northeast. Half a million acres of this land will be used to grow cereals and 300,000 acres to grow sugarcane. The remainder will be used for horticultural crops.

“The government… [aims] to exploit the agricultural potential in ASAL [arid and semi-arid lands],” Daniel Barasa, head of the National Irrigation Board, told IRIN.

According to Vision 2030, Kenya’s economic blueprint for the next 17 years, the country’s chronically food insecure arid and semi-arid regions need special attention to help them develop.

Vision 2030 calls for the provision of water, infrastructure, pasture, fodder and veterinary services; establishing strategically located disease-free zones to increase livestock productivity and quality; unifying the efforts of different ministries and other stakeholders to coordinate development of the region; and putting more land under cultivation.

But experts are calling for caution in rolling out large-scale irrigation schemes in the ecologically fragile pastoralist areas.

“Such schemes usually incur high costs, are technically complex, and dependent on heavy machinery. This means that the sustainability of the schemes is ultimately dependent on external commitment and expertise to succeed,” Jeremy Lind, research fellow at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and member of the Future Agricultures Consortium, told IRIN.

Undermining pastoralism?

Ced Hesse, a senior researcher on dry lands at the UK-based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), said that such schemes are not only “economically, environmentally or socially unviable,” but can also be destructive, adding that large scale irrigation schemes have the potential to “severely undermine pastoralism.”

“As population levels rise and natural resources are perceived to decline, many governments believe [large-scale] irrigation is the answer. But this fails to recognize that investments in developing, and then maintaining, the highly capital-intensive inputs that irrigation requires is extremely expensive, especially for food production,” IIED’s Hesse said.

“Large-scale irrigation and pastoralism are diametrically opposed. One of the key pillars of pastoralism is the availability of space and access to grazing land. I fear this might be undermined in the process”

“It also ignores the greater benefits in food production that can be had by investing in pastoralism, a highly specialized production system that, if allowed to function properly, can bring greater net returns per hectare than irrigated farming without destroying the environment.”

In Kenya, pastoralism accounts for 13 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

A 2013 study examining grazing lands along the Awash River in Ethiopia revealed the shortcomings of large-scale irrigation. Beginning in the 1960s, these traditional pastoral grazing areas were converted into large-scale cotton and sugar plantations, which contributed to significant environmental degradation and very low economic returns despite high subsidies, while undermining the pastoral livestock economy.

“Irrigation projects have not improved the economic returns from agriculture in the Awash Valley, but they have transferred the control of valuable natural resources from Ethiopian pastoralists and farmers to government officials,” said the study authors, noting that there is more community support for pastoralism than irrigation.

“Despite considerable investment by government, pastoralism is consistently more profitable than either cotton or sugarcane farming while avoiding many of the environmental costs associated with large-scale irrigation projects. As we enter an increasingly climate-constrained world, our findings suggest that pastoralism is a surer investment in the longer-term resilience and economic stability of Ethiopia’s dry lowlands.”

Michael ole Tiampati, the coordinator of Pastoralists Development Network of Kenya, a local pastoralist rights group, told IRIN he feared large-scale irrigation could undermine pastoralists’ access to land.

“Large-scale irrigation and pastoralism are diametrically opposed. One of the key pillars of pastoralism is the availability of space and access to grazing land. I fear this might be undermined in the process,” Tiampati said.

An evaluation of government-supported irrigation schemes carried out along Kenya’s Turkwel River in 1960s and 1970s revealed that it increased the vulnerability of the local population to drought and famine.

In April 2013, leaders from Tana Delta called on the Kenyan government to disband a 10-year-old irrigation project in the area, saying it had contributed to flooding in the region.

A matter of scale

Experts like IDS’s Lind believe smaller schemes “designed to complement traditional flood-retreat farming along rivers, which include points of access and rights for pastoralists to take livestock to the river, are more likely to succeed.”

The government is planning to roll out irrigated agriculture over the next five years to boost food security

IIED’S Hesse concurred, so long as these schemes “reinforce the existing production strategies of the family farmer and the pastoralists, who have learned over hundreds of years of how best to manage the unpredictable climate in the ASALs,” he said.

Reinforcing existing production strategies “involves strengthening the production strategies of family farmers who use a variety of soil- and water-conservation techniques to capture and conserve rainfall through contour banding, the preparation of planting pits with manure and the planting of trees. Success [in improving food security and livelihoods] depends on scale – if you focus on family farmers rather than large-scale plantation approaches, there is a good chance of success,” he added.

Officials told IRIN the local communities will benefit from the irrigation projects.

“The communities are the major beneficiaries of the irrigation projects. Some of the benefits that come with implementation of the projects include: food security; employment opportunities within the project; [and] infrastructure development within the project,” the National Irrigation Board’s Barasa said.

Barasa says the government will provide alternative pasture lands to those affected.

Enoch Mwani, an agricultural economist, told IRIN about the need to tackle insecurity in arid and semi-arid regions – exacerbated in part by conflict over natural resources – and sensitize communities on natural resource management.

“The focus should not be much on taking resources there, because that is long-term, but rather on educating communities in these regions to manage the resources and stem insecurity, which disrupts their livelihoods,” Mwani said.

These approaches, coupled with infrastructure development, Mwani said, could help unlock the regions’ development potential.

ko/rz source http://www.irinnews.org

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“The world won’t end AIDS without PEPFAR”

Posted by African Press International on June 8, 2013

“The world won’t end AIDS without PEPFAR”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Funding cuts versus AIDS-free generation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chipping in

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Global Journalists Congress begins in Ireland

Posted by African Press International on June 7, 2013

  • By Maurice Alal, API Kenya

More than 200 journalists and leaders of journalists unions and associations have converged in Dublin, Ireland for the 28th World Congress of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) which is expected to focus attention on media freedom, the safety of journalists and job security amid growing austerity measures in many countries.

The 5 day event, which runs to June 7, kicked off yesterday with a meeting of the Gender Council, which discussed strategies for improving gender parity in journalists unions and associations at the national, regional and global levels.

The Congress, which will today focus attention on job security for journalists under the themes “Decent Jobs, not Austerity’’, will  officially be opened by the President of the Republic of Ireland,  Michael D. Higgins.

Kenya Correspondents Association (KCA), an affiliate of IFJ, is represented at the Congress by its National Chairman William Oloo Janak who is expected to speak about media freedom, safety and security of journalists and the uncertainty of jobs facing Kenyans journalists.

“This is an important platform to discuss challenges facing journalists and we will highlight the case of Kenya given the problems journalists face, including increasing safety and security concerns and violation of journalists labour rights by employers,” said Janak in a statement from Dublin.

The Congress is expected to discuss the killings of journalists in Somalia and other hot spots, the continued threats, intimidation, arrests and detentions of journalists in a number of countries including in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, among others.

On Wednesday June 5, the Executive Council of the Irish National Union of Journalists (NUJ) will lead the delegates in a “Freedom Walk” to remember the those journalists killed since the last World Congress in Cadiz, Spain in June 2010.

The Congress, which has representatives from over 110 countries, has a strong African delegation drawn from more than 40 journalists unions and associations under the continental grouping of the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) which seeks to play an important role within the global journalists’ body.

During the Congress, the delegates will elect a new leadership to steer the IFJ for the next two years till the next congress in 2015.

 

 

END

 

 

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IFJ Commends Successful Conclusion of EAJA General Meeting

Posted by African Press International on June 2, 2013

  • By Dickens Wasonga.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) congratulated its regional group, the Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA), and its affiliates on the successful conclusion of EAJA’s General Meeting and Strategy Conference which took place on 25-27 May 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.“We salute members of our regional organization, EAJA, for the successful conclusions of EAJA’s General Meeting and Strategy Conference. By arriving Addis Ababa to fulfill constitutional duty, journalist unions in Eastern Africa have made us and the journalists of Africa proud and have once more secured the EAJA they want,” said Gabriel Baglo, IFJ Africa Director.

The General Meeting is EAJA’s supreme decision-making body. It was attended by 21 delegates from 10 unions and associations from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. They have mandated EAJA to carry out a strategic plan during the next five years. This commits EAJA to strategically promote and defend media freedom and trade union rights.

Delegates were also able during the meeting to vote for progressive constitutional amendments to enhance EAJA’s governance. The Meeting elected an Executive Committee and Internal Audit Committee.

Dr Muheldin Ahmed Idriss from Sudanese Journalists Union was elected as President; Alexandre Niyungeko from Union of Burundian Journalists (UBJ) was elected as first Vice President, Anteneh Abraham Babanto from Ethiopia National Journalists Union (ENJU) was elected as second Vice President, Omar Faruk Osman from the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) was re-elected as Secretary-General, Jane Uwimana of Rwanda Journalists Association (RJA) was elected as new Treasurer while Maureen Mudi from Kenya Correspondents Association (KCA) and Kenedid Ibrahim Hussein from Association of Djibouti Journalists (ADJ) were elected as Executive Committee members.

“We especially congratulate the elected leaders of EAJA. Delegates showed maturity in democracy. We look forward to working closely with them and maintaining a productive relationship with EAJA leaders,” added Baglo.
The General Meeting for the first time elected a five-member Regional Gender Committee (RGC) to foster gender equality in EAJA affiliated organizations and the media in the region.

The delegates unanimously approved the organization’s last three years’ activities report. The meeting set the agenda for the next three years and passed resolutions on state of press freedom and trade union rights in the region particularly in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Burundi, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda. It also approved financial report presented by the outgoing Treasurer of EAJA Gaspard Safari.

In his closing address the re-elected EAJA Secretary General Omar Faruk Osman thanked the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) for its help in organizing the General Meeting and Strategy Conference. “This has been the biggest, most effective and representative General Meeting in EAJA’s history. The ten organizations represented here want EAJA to be an even more action-oriented organization,” said Omar Faruk Osman.

“In this General Meeting we have taken decisions on championing media freedom, on building strong organizations and on fighting for trade union rights that will strengthen journalists and other media workers everywhere in the region,” he added.

The president of EAJA Dr Mudeldin Ahmed Idriss thanked delegates for the renewed confidence and support. “We must now intensify our efforts to build strong organisations both at regional and national levels. At the end of this period, we must be able to report back to the next General Meeting about what we have done, not on why we didn’t do it. EAJA must invest a lot more into that struggle and members must play necessary role”.

Jane Uwimana, Secretary General of Rwanda Journalists Association (RJA), becomes first woman Treasurer. She vowed to build strong financial base and appealed members to pay their dues and other financial contributions timely.

The General Meeting unanimously voted for the re-admission of Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) and approved admission of Uganda Media Union (UMU) into membership, raising the number of  EAJA member organizations to eleven.

The Vice President of the IFJ Gustavo Granero and Africa Director of the IFJ Gabriel Baglo attended the General Meeting and extended solidarity to EAJA and its member organisations, while renewing IFJ’s support to EAJA and affiliated organizations.

Representatives from International Trade Union Confederation – Africa regional organization (ITUC Africa), Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) and Union of Central Africa Press (USYPAC in French) attended the meeting to extend fraternal greetings and solidarity to EAJA and its member organizations.

 

END.

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EAJA General Meeting closes with regional action pledge

Posted by African Press International on June 1, 2013

  • By   Dickens Wasonga.
The three yearly General Meeting and Strategy Conference of the Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA) closed on Monday, 27 May 2013, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with the Regional Association committing itself to further escalate its campaigning activities in press freedom and trade union rights.
 
The General Meeting is the EAJA’s supreme decision-making body, and during the meeting the 21 delegates from 10 unions and associations from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda have mandated EAJA to carry out a strategic plan during the next five years. This commits EAJA to strategically promote and defend media freedom and trade union rights.
 
Delegates from affiliated unions and associations were able to vote to progressive constitutional amendments to enhance EAJA’s governance. The Meeting elected an Executive Committee and Internal Audit Committee.
 
Dr Muheldin Ahmed Idris from Sudan Journalists Union was elected as President; Alexandre Niyungeko from Union of Burundian Journalists (UBJ) was elected as First Vice President, Anteneh Abraham Babanto from Ethiopia National Journalists Union (ENJU) was elected as Vice President, Omar Faruk Osman from the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) was elected as Secretary-General, Jane Uwimana of Rwanda Journalists Association (RJA) was elected as new Treasurer while Maureen Mudi from Kenya Correspondents Association (KCA) and Kenedid Ibrahim Hussein from Association of Djibouti Journalists (ADJ) were elected as Executive Committee members.
 
The General Meeting for the first time elected a five-member Regional Gender Committee (RGC) to foster gender equality in EAJA, affiliated organizations and the media in the region.
 
The delegates unanimously approved the organisation’s last three years’ activities report. The meeting set the agenda for the next three years and passed resolutions on state of press freedom and trade union rights in the region particularly in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Burundi, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda. It also approved financial report presented by the outgoing Treasurer of EAJA Gaspard Safari.
 
In his closing address the re-elected EAJA Secretary General Omar Faruk Osman thanked the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) for its help in organizing the huge General Meeting and Strategy Conference, and said: “This has been the biggest, most effective and representative General Meeting in EAJA history. The ten organizations represented here want EAJA to be an even more action-oriented organization”.
 
“In this General Meeting we have taken decisions on championing media freedom, on building strong organisations and on fighting for trade union rights that will strengthen journalists and other media workers everywhere in the region”.
 
The president of EAJA Dr Mudeldin Ahmed Idris thanked delegates for the renewed confidence and support, and said, “we must now intensify our efforts to build strong organisations both at regional and national levels. At the end of this period, we must be able to report back to the next General Meeting about what we have done, not on why we didn’t do it. EAJA must invest a lot more into that struggle and members must play necessary role”. 
 
Jane Uwimana, Secretary General of Rwanda Journalists Association (RJA), becomes first woman Treasurer. She vowed to build strong financial base and appealed to members to pay their dues and other financial contributions timely.
 
The General Meeting unanimously voted for the re-admission of Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) and approved admission of Uganda media Union (UMU) into membership, raising the number of member organizations of EAJA to eleven.
 
The Vice President of the IFJ Gustavo Grenaro and Africa Director of the IFJ Gabriel Baglo attended the General Meeting and extended solidarity to EAJA and its member organizations, while renewing IFJ’s support to EAJA and affiliated organizations.
 
Representatives from International Trade Union Confederation – Africa regional organisation (ITUC Africa), Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) and Union of Syndicates of Central Africa Press (USYPAC) attended the meeting to extend fraternal greetings and Solidarity to EAJA and member organisations. 
END.

 

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

Posted by African Press International on May 27, 2013

 

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

End

source StateHse.

 

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