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Minister highlights kidnap threat in Sahel and North Africa

Posted by African Press International on December 10, 2013

LONDON, United-Kingdom, December 6, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – FCO Minister Robertson met travel industry representatives to emphasise the continuing threat of terrorist kidnap in Sahel and North Africa.

Mr Hugh Robertson said:

“Despite the success of military intervention in Mali, there remains a very real threat of kidnap to westerners in areas of the Sahel and North Africa.

“Our travel advice provides a detailed assessment of the threat in individual countries. This allows individuals to make informed decisions about where they travel.

“The British Government takes the threat to British nationals overseas extremely seriously. The Prime Minister has made the security of British nationals in high threat countries a priority. The UK, along with G8 partners, has committed to reducing terrorist groups’ access to funding by rejecting ransom payments. It is a very tough policy to follow, but we believe that this is the only way to prevent further kidnappings.”

During the meeting, Foreign Office officials underlined that the threat makes some areas, which may appear to be attractive destinations, unsafe for tourism.

The threat from groups such as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQ-M) and Al Murabitun has been demonstrated by a number of recent attacks including in In Amenas in January this year. Groups like AQ-M rely on kidnap for ransom as their major source of funding and are prepared to go to extreme lengths to secure hostages.

 

SOURCE

United Kingdom – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

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Supporting international response in Central African Republic

Posted by African Press International on December 9, 2013

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

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

Foreign Secretary William Hague said:

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

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

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

 

SOURCE

United Kingdom – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

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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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Marginalization and sexual abuse of women: Who is to blame for their pain, And who can fix it?

Posted by African Press International on October 23, 2013

Who is to blame for their pain? And who can fix it?

COLOMBO,  – A UK-rights group has accused the Sri Lankan government of failing to address the marginalization and sexual abuse of women living in the country’s former war zones in the north and east, an allegation officials dismiss as coming from a “diaspora-led false propaganda machinery”.

report recently published by the London-based Minority Rights Group (MRG) said rape and sexual harassment of women in former war zones in the north and east are continuing even after the end of a 26-year civil war in 2009, and that 89,000 widows (based on a 2010 government estimate) – including some 40,000 female-headed households – are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment, exploitation and assault by army personnel, domestic tourists and others due to the women’s poverty.

In a general culture of impunity, MRG authors wrote, Tamil and Muslim women (the two largest ethnic minorities in the former war zones, 12 and 8 percent of the general population, respectively) have feared reporting crimes to police.

The report cited data from Jaffna Hospital in the north of 102 reported cases of rape and “severe violence” against women and girls from Northern Province in 2010, 182 in 2011 and 56 in just February and March of 2012.

MRG’s South Asia expert, Farah Mihlar, wrote: “Tamil and Muslim women are especially concerned for their safety and freedom, and yet have little course for redress since they fear reporting attacks against them to the authorities.”

The island’s military spokesman, Ruwan Wanigasooriya, told IRIN that of 125 people found guilty in civil courts of perpetrating sexual violence in the north between January 2007 and May 2009, seven were security forces personnel.

After fighting ended, from May 2009-2012, of 307 people found guilty in civil courts of committing crimes of sexual violence, 10 were soldiers, based on a military assessment.

He added: “We deny in the strongest terms that there is a prevailing culture of silence and impunity for sexual violence crimes,” noting that the government has taken “legal action” and that convicted soldiers are referred to the military tribunal for court martial.

Citing the army assessment, Wanigasooriya wrote in a statement recently sent to journalists: “It is worthwhile to notice that only 11 incidents out of a total 375 reported incidents [from January 2007-May 2012] can be attributed to security forces. Therefore the inference that the presence of the military contributes to insecurity of women and girls in the former conflict affected areas is baseless and disingenuous.”

Demographic changes

The demographic shift following the civil war – from a largely homogenous Tamil community to one that includes more ethnic groups, including Muslim returnees who had been forced out by Tamils in the late 1990’s, domestic tourists and, the authors wrote, the government-sponsored relocation of workers and households from the majority Sinhalese ethnic group, has heightened the threat of women being sexually exploited by armed forces and other men (sometimes from their own ethnic community) due to poverty.

“With the increasing presence of Tamil diaspora in their home towns (places of origin), community women have told us that their daughters are often being viewed as sexual objects and in some cases, been sexually assaulted,” a leading woman’s activist working in the north told IRIN in an e-mail.

For almost three decades, separatist rebels known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fought for an independent state in the north carved along Tamil ethnic lines. Fighting ended in May 2009 with the crushing of rebels by government forces.

“After the conflict the situation has got a lot worse. People are less disciplined. There are outsiders who have come from other areas. There are lot of army people; they are in buses, everywhere,” said a Tamil woman from Mannar District, as cited in the MRG report.

The report explained how during the war, LTTE fighters (mostly followers of Hinduism) maintained a rigid code of conduct in areas it controlled, with sexual relations monitored and restricted to married couples. “While women do not necessarily approve of what the LTTE did, nor any similar regulation of their personal lives, the current context has left many feeling disoriented and insecure,” MRG wrote.

The current commissioner of Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commission(appointed by the president), Prathiba Lamanmahewa, told IRIN the island is committed to investigating all rights violations but will not be “bulldozed” by groups with vested interests.

“We have come a long way in post-war recovery. Most recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), the blueprint for reconciliation, have been implemented.

Adequate steps have been taken to restore civil administration in the north and now there is a provincial council there. It is a process and Sri Lanka has fared better than many other conflict-ridden countries,” he said.

But local activists and residents continue calling for more.

In interviews with some 1,800 households, a citizen group published a reportin March this year concluding “little progress” had been made on the recommendations.

For allegations of sexual abuse, the MRG report called on the police to create Tamil-speaking desks in all police stations in former conflict zones, boost female representation among government officials in the north and east, as well as prosecute perpetrators.

dh/pt/cb source http://www.irinnews.org

 

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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 http://www.irinnews.org

 

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The need to make the right choices

Posted by African Press International on June 7, 2013

Which interventions work best in emergencies

LONDON,  – Humanitarians working on health in crisis situations are faced with constant difficult choices. In a famine, which children should they select for supplementary feeding? In an earthquake, should they try to save most crushed limbs or should they amputate them? And – inevitably – what is the best way of spending scarce funds? Should they spend directly on health care, or indirectly on water, sanitation and shelter to prevent disease?

They choose as best they can, based on common sense and experience, and on their own agencies’ guidelines, but there is often little hard evidence of which interventions work best. Now a new funding programme, Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises, is putting up a pot of money for research which will strengthen the evidence base for these decisions.

“This field of humanitarian crises is a field where there really is a very limited evidence base,” said Jimmy Whitworth of the Wellcome Trust, which is co-funding the initiative along with Britain’s international development ministry, DFID. “This is tough stuff to do. To collect evidence in the face of disaster where there are many imperatives and many reasons to be acting very fast is hard, and people have been struggling to do this.”

But DFID and the Wellcome Trust feel it needs to be done. “What we know from all areas,” said DFID chief scientific adviser Christopher Whitty, “is that if you are doing something without a good evidence base, probably most of what you are doing is pointless, some of it’s harmful, and at best a lot of it won’t be very cost effective.”

Chairing the committee which will be selecting the projects is Paul Spiegel, who has a foot in both academic and humanitarian camps, as an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and deputy director of programme support at the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). He has just returned from Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq and says there are lots of questions which need an answer.

“Most of the research in the past has been in low-income, camp settings. But now in the last while, in the Balkans, Kosovo and now Syria, we are dealing with middle-income, non-camp situations. In Lebanon now, a quarter of the population are refugees. So there are a lot of questions that came up. How do we work differently?”

Modest funding?

The initial funding is for US$9.5 million spread over three years. The programme envisages two funding rounds, each of which could support 10-15 targeted projects, ideally collaborative research involving both academic and humanitarian communities.

“If you are doing something without a good evidence base, probably most of what you are doing is pointless”

The programme also intends to establish a rapid response facility which would allow pre-approved research projects to be set up, ready to go in the acute phase of future emergencies.

To many of those attending the launch of the scheme, $9.5 million sounded like a fairly modest level of funding, but they acknowledge that it is not always the most lavishly funded research projects which turn up the most influential results. Mark van Ommeren, a scientist at the World Health Organization, told IRIN: “This is a fantastic start, and I think the funding will increase over time.”

The Wellcome Trust’s Jimmy Whitworth confirmed that the present level of funding could change. “This is a bit of a toe in the water, or a finger in the air, if you like. We don’t know what the appetite will be for this.

Plenty of organizations came to the launch with applications ready in their back pockets.

Managing crush injuries

Anthony Redmond of Manchester University is looking for evidence about the best way to manage crush injuries after earthquakes. You can try to save the limb, which is time consuming and expensive, and if unsuccessful can put the patient at risk of death from infection or kidney failure. Or you can amputate and leave the patient disabled in what may be very challenging circumstances. Some emergency medical teams amputate a lot, some very seldom. And emergency teams aren’t usually around to see what happens to their patients later.

“There is a window of opportunity to save limbs,” Redmond told IRIN, “But I don’t know how wide that window of opportunity is. What is the point of no return? How much should you try to salvage one limb in one person as against saving the lives of many people? And that’s what we need to understand.”

Redmond’s research proposal would involve surgeons systematically recording data while operating in crisis conditions. Would they do it? “They do that in their home countries. If there is a plane crash here [in the UK], or a train crash, you are required to make notes. The medical note and the surgical note are part of the treatment and it is unethical not to do it. What we need to do is devise a method of collecting that data very easily and very quickly.”

Paul Spiegel’s experience in UNHCR suggests this may be still a challenge. “Many of our organizations have not been prepared to do research,” he says. “Still, in my own organization we try not to use the word `research’, because there is this attitude that `the money is there to help people’ – even if we don’t have the evidence to know if the money is actually helping them or not… We hope that this research will answer important questions that will guide the people in the field to make these decisions.”

eb/cb source http://www.irinnews.org

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Kenya: Perpetrators of complex crimes walk free due to lack of enough evidence.

Posted by African Press International on May 27, 2013

  • By Maurice Alal, API Kenya

Perpetrators of organized and complex crimes in the country go scot free for lack of an elaborate witness protection program.

A witness protection agency has disclosed that Culprits of crimes like terrorism, piracy, corruption, drug trafficking and money laundering have been listed as among the greatest beneficiaries of a weak witness protection system as witness cannot freely give their accounts in court.

At a workshop in Kisumu, Director of the Witness Protection Agency Mrs Alice Ondieki said that it is impossible for anyone to give evidence in a sensitive case unless their safety is guaranteed.

Mrs Ondieki stressed her agency’s mandate of mounting a strong protection program so that witnesses can testify without fear of reprisal and threats to their lives.

Deputy Director, Mr Peter Mwangi said the state has a duty to care to its citizenry to ensure the experience of testifying does not result in further harm.

Mr Mwangi said other culprits that are benefiting a lot from witness’ fear are human traffickers, election offenders and sexual and gender based violators.

He revealed that the government has acknowledged the need for security of witnesses in complex criminal cases so as to strengthen the criminal justice system.

The Witness protection Act Capt. 79 is meant to provide the framework and procedures for giving special protection, on behalf of the state, to witness and related persons in possession of important information and who are facing risk or intimidation due to their corporation with the prosecution and law enforcement agencies.

“When witnesses fail to testify due to intimidation, the accused persons are acquitted causing the public to lose trust in the criminal justice system,” said Mr Mwangi.

“By protecting the witness you make it hard for them to be threatened,” said Ms Ottilia Maunganidze, a Consultant with the Institute of Security Studies (ISS).

The two day seminar was to offer quick sensitization and dissemination of the witness protection Act (WPA) and regulations there to stakeholders and sensitize government officials from Nyanza Region of the same.

Present were government ministries, departments, agencies, institutions, independent offices and commissions who are major stakeholders in matters related to WPA in Nyanza region.

Kenya is the only country to have a witness protection programme in East and central Africa and the second in Africa after South Africa in the entire continent.

The sensitization programme will go to various towns in Kenya.

 

END

 

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Kenya to Venture in Sports Tourism

Posted by African Press International on May 25, 2013

  • By Thomas Ochieng API Kenya 21/5/2013

Kenya is in pursuit of harnessing sport tourism and the honor of underscoring this initiative has been bestowed on the Sotokoto Safari Marathon. The 21-Half Marathon the brainchild of the Olympic Medalist Douglas Wakiihuri in conjunction with the Japan-based media and environmental company, Sotokoto,hence the name Sotokoto Marathon, is set to herald a new beginning in Kenyan sporting calendar.

The Sotokoto Half Marathon is a Kenya-based organization founded in 2009 to develop African athletics talent through the biggest and richest 21k half marathon in Kenya. It has consistently held this race attracting 5,000 runners. Over 200 foreign sports tourists travel to Kenya annually for the last four years to run in the Sotokoto Safari Marathon and extend their stay to visit other interesting sports locations including facilities and training camps in other parts of the country.

The importance of this race was manifested in the newly appointed Kenya’s Sport Secretary Dr.Hassan Wario gracing the launch of this year’s Marathon in Nairobi. The Sports Secretary gave the organizers of the Marathon of total Government’s support towards the Race. “The new constitution and indeed the new administration sees sports not only as a game but an income generating activity which has to be fully supported by the relevant state organs” Said Dr.Wario adding that the newly enacted sports Act will be adhered to the latter to make sure sports such as the marathons are properly managed by the real stake holders leaving no room for short-circuiting the sportsmen and women in Kenya. His sentiments were as a direct request from the Permanent secretary of sports Mr.James Waweru who called upon the newly appointed sports Secretary to be firm and stand by the sportsmen and women in the country.

This Year’s race which will be held in July 7 2013 at the Landmark Uhuru Gardens will see a record 100 Japanese national compete in the Sotokoto Safari Half Marathon. They will be joined by nationals from Britain, Brazil and, Russia, Poland, Bahamas and China. London (Britain) and Rio (Brazil) are back to back hosts of the Olympic Games while Russia, Poland, Bahamas and China will host the world championships on the track and cross country in the next two years

Ends.

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Camps versus cities

Posted by African Press International on May 23, 2013

LONDON,  – Every year, hundreds of thousands of people are forced from their homes by violence or natural disasters. But the face of displacement is changing: While the popular view of displacement is one of sprawling rural camps, displaced people are now just as likely to be living in urban areas, often hidden from view. 

The Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG), based at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), has explored this phenomenon in a series of studies called “Sanctuary in the City?”, which examines displacement conditions and policies in eight urban centres around the world.

HPG’s Simone Haysom told IRIN, “Urban displacement is the future of what displacement is going to look like. Many of the displaced come from cities and are not going to put up with camp conditions. Already more than half are in urban areas, and that percentage is only going to grow, except where governments enforce strict encampment policies. And humanitarians are not equipped with the right tools and resources to deal with urban displacement.”

Camps versus cities

Keeping displaced populations in refugee camps or internally displaced persons (IDP) camps simplifies administration for relief agencies. “Humanitarian operations in urban areas can be more costly and time-consuming,” according to the UN Refugee Agency’s 2012 State of the World’s Refugees report.

“In contrast to refugee camps, humanitarian actors in towns and cities often know little about the food security and nutritional status of urban refugees and IDPs,” the report states.

But as the world grows increasingly urbanized, displaced populations are increasingly gravitating to cities. “Unlike a closed camp, cities present obvious opportunities to stay anonymous, make money, and build a better future,” says UNHCR’s website.

Still, encampment policies are attractive to governments struggling to keep up with the service demands in urban areas, where the added presence of displaced populations could overextend resources and cause resentment among local residents.

Katy Long of the London School of Economics, who works on issues arising from protracted displacements, said, “Eighty percent of displaced people are hosted in developing countries, and they compete for resources. The politics of nationalism play into it too, and the encampment process and the aid which goes with it provide opportunities to pass the costs on [to aid agencies]. Camps may not address the root problems and may leave refugees and IDPs extremely vulnerable, but they make sense in terms of political economy.”

In denial

HPG’s research found that government officials often assert, against all evidence, that displacement is temporary problem.

This was the case in Syria, where the government seemed to be in denial about farmers and herders who had been driven into Damascus by drought and land loss. The HPG study (conducted in 2011, before current conflict reached the capital) found that the government consistently stressed the temporary nature of this displacement, and tried to limit assistance to the squalid displacement camps on the edge of Damascus “to avoid creating a culture of dependency.”

“But rather than pulling out displacement and putting it in a separate box, a lot of solutions work best if they are community-based, not least because then we are not privileging one group over another and building resentment against the displaced”

The study’s authors wrote, “Even if the government and the international community appear to portray the displacement… as temporary… the scale of losses in northeast Syria is huge, and return does not seem to be possible without… a long-term strategy aimed at restoring the viability of rural livelihood systems in these areas.”

Similarly, authorities in Afghanistan are reluctant to accept that new arrivals flocking into the capital, Kabul, are there to stay. The HPG Kabul study observed that, “The de facto policy of the government at all levels is that displacement is a temporary phenomenon, and that in time people will return to their rural areas of origin.”

Such assumptions can limit assistance. According to the study, “One senior… official… explained why he had refused an international agency… permission to build temporary toilets and wells in one settlement, on the grounds that ‘IDPs are here for a short time and they don’t need a bathroom and a well in this situation… When we provide them with these services they will never move back to their areas.’”

Long told IRIN that in reality more than two-thirds of the world’s IDPs have been displaced for more than five years, but authorities are often unwilling to face this fact, partly because it reflects badly on them.

“In Afghanistan, for instance, if they admit that they still have a displacement problem, they are admitting that the peace is still fragile and imperfect. But rather than only looking for permanent solutions, we have to learn to live with people being displaced at this moment and focus on making their displacement better, because policies often make displacement a far worse experience than it needs to be,” Long said.

Opportunities for settlement

The HPG researchers in Kabul found that an overwhelming majority of the displaced said they intended to settle permanently in the city. Evidence from elsewhere suggests that, if allowed to do so, they could eventually integrate and make new lives for themselves.

Even 60 years after their arrival, the Palestinians in Damascus are still officially considered refugees, but many have moved out of areas designated as refugee camps and into better housing. The “camps” are now home to a mixed population including migrant workers, IDPs and poor Syrians.

Integration may be easier now because many developing-world conurbations are cities of newcomers. One HPG study showed that virtually everyone living in Yei, a town in South Sudan, had come from somewhere else. New arrivals are also prevalent in more established urban areas like Nairobi, Kenya; one study estimates only 20 percent of those under 35 were born in the city.

In Yei, Nairobi and Kabul, HPG found that the displaced were in circumstances similar to other newcomers: they were relegated to informal settlements with few or no facilities, struggling to find decent housing and earn a living. Long, of the London School of Economics, says experts now wonder whether these situations should be tackled as a general development challenge, rather than differentiating between IDPs and other urban poor.

“There are some places where we need to focus,” she told IRIN, “such as the legal status of refugees, who often don’t have the correct paperwork to be in the city. But rather than pulling out displacement and putting it in a separate box, a lot of solutions work best if they are community-based, not least because then we are not privileging one group over another and building resentment against the displaced.”

eb/rz  source http://www.irinnews.org

 

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3 dead, 10 have lost their limbs and 154 seriously injured in Boston USA

Posted by African Press International on April 16, 2013

Bombings in Boston, USA has taken 3 lives so far, and it is reported that 10 have lost their limbs while 154 are seriously injured. There is fear that many more may lose their limbs while under treatment because of the serious injuries.

The US authorities led by FBI are investigating, in their efforts to find out who planted the bomb. No suspect has been arrested by now.

FBI are working hard to find out what type of bomb and how it was built. The devices were put in a thrash can at the finish line in this Boston Marathon.. The two bombs went off minutes apart disrupting the marathon. Many people did not finish their race.

The organisers say they will not abandon their yearly famous marathon because of this, but they will use the experience of what has happened to plan better security around the race next year. This yearly Boston Marathon attracts famous runners from all over the world.

End

 

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“One on One” with South Sudan Ambassador Bol Wek Agoth

Posted by African Press International on April 11, 2013

African Press International: “One on One” with H.E Ambassador Bol Wek Agoth, Republic of South Sudan. He is the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary based in Oslo Norway, representing his country in the Nordic Countries. The Ambassador discussing with African Press International corruption in his country South Sudan and the volatile situation in  Jonglei area where 4 Kenyans, 5 Indians and three South Sudanese from the region working with the United Nations were murdered on Tuesday. Nine others were seriously injured when the UN convoy in the area was ambushed by over 200 people said to be loyal to a Morle tribe theologian-turned rebel leader David Yau Yau.

Bodies of Kenyans killed in South Sudan arrive in Kenya

The bodies of two Kenyans killed in South Sudan on Tuesday arrived in Kitale in readiness for their burial. The two were among four kenyans killed by some 200 militants who attacked a convoy of the united nations in southern sudan. The bodies were brought via road to Kitale in Trans Nzoia county even as the family called on the government to address the plight of kenyans working in other states and to beef up security for its citizens in south sudan.

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UK’s Former Prime Minister Thatcher is dead

Posted by African Press International on April 9, 2013

The funeral of Baroness Thatcher is scheduled to take place on the 17th April, Downing Street has announced.

Thatcher, 87 years old died Monday after suffering a series of strokes.

The funeral ceremony, will take place at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral,. The Queen will attend the service.

 

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Remembering The Late Martine Vik Magnussen’s life and cherishing her.

Posted by African Press International on April 2, 2013

May her soul rest in peace. And may justice be done in the courts of law, after getting the killer to answer rape and murder charges. It is the wish and a right of every parent who loses a beloved child that justice must be done. Norwegian Martine Vik Magnussen who was studying in London was lured into a trap, raped and murdered. The British police have a suspect in the name of Farouk Abdulhak, who is a Yemeni national. He is tied to the murder as the only suspect because he was the last person seen with Martine as they both left a night club in London on the 14th of March 2008, the same day she died. Farouk reportedly escaped to Yemen the same day Martine was murdered and has since refused to return to London where he was schooling. The family led by Odd Petter Magnussen is working hard to ensure that their daughter gets the justice she deserves.

All parents should pray for this case so that the guilty may soon face the law.

Related stories:

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The Search for Justice: Martine Vik Magnussen did not have to meet a cruel death in the hands of a monster killer!

Posted by African Press International on March 29, 2013

Joining hands for Martine’s sake – the search for justice and the thirst for the truth to know what happened that fateful day in her London flat.

The late Martine was a charm and a good-hearted young lady. She deserves justice. Yemeni authorities must act in order to redeem their reputation of being unnecessarily influenced by wealthy individuals whose actions are the extension of promoting injustice.

Norwegian student Martine Vik Magnussen who was only 23 years old when she met her death in the cruel hands of a rapist and monster killer. The incident took place on the 14th of March 2008. years.

According to the British police, there is only one suspect in the name of Farouk Abdulhak (22), who reportedly left London soon after the crime was committed and is said to be now hiding in Yemen being protected by his wealthy father Mr Shaher Abdulhak. There is no extradition treaty between the United Kingdom and Yemen. At the same time Norway has no treaty with the said country either. This contributes to the difficulties in trying to get the suspect to answer the charges in the such for the truth and justice in this case.

The family of the late Martine has told African Press international that they do not seek revenge but are demanding that justice must be done sooner rather than later.

www.africanpress.me/ The Late Martine Vik Magnussen, Norway (Prohibited - can only be re-printed on acquiring written permission.

http://www.africanpress.me/ The Late Martine Vik Magnussen, Norway (Prohibited – can only be re-printed on acquiring written permission.

www.africanpress.me/ Mr Odd Petter Magnussen, father to the Late Martine Vik Magnussen, Norway (Prohibited - can only be re-printed on acquiring written permission.)

http://www.africanpress.me/ Mr Odd Petter Magnussen, father to the Late Martine Vik Magnussen, Norway (Prohibited – can only be re-printed on acquiring written permission.)

www.africanpress.me/ Mr Odd Petter Magnussen, father to the Late Martine Vik Magnussen, Norway (Prohibited - can only be re-printed on acquiring written permission.)

http://www.africanpress.me/ Mr Odd Petter Magnussen, father to the Late Martine Vik Magnussen, Norway (Prohibited – can only be re-printed on acquiring written permission.)

This is in reference to the message out there:

“UK authorities have recently outlined why there are compelling reasons that Martine case should be tried in the country of the crime.  The offence occurred on British soil at a time when both the victim and the suspect were student guests in London. Therefore there is a presumption that the case will be heard in UK jurisdiction.  The witnesses, forensic evidence, and physical evidence are all in the UK.  Finally, in terms of sentence, while the UK has abolished the death penalty, it still exists in Yemen.”

Watch the video and listen to Mr Magnussen’s loss after his beloved daughter Martine was murdered in London: This video may be shared – permission granted.

Accordingly “In a Norwegian documentary in 2009 the suspect’s lawyer confirmed that the suspect was living at home in Sanaa and that his father paid for legal and living expenses.  The father allegedly assisted his suspected son fleeing the UK after the murder in 2008 by taking him a board his private plane en route from Cairo to Sanaa. The father, with roots in Kenya, will always be associated with any outcome of the Martine case irrespectively of his son’s whereabouts.

And “The Yemeni Constitution prohibits a non-voluntary extradition of Yemeni citizens. However, it cannot be assumed that this constitution was meant to protect Yemeni criminals from law enforcement following crimes committed abroad. This would also be inconsistent with all religions including the focus in Islam on ‘justice, tolerance respect for human life and dignity’.”

As all would expect “Being a conservative Islamic state the present regime would achieve greater legitimacy by contributing to an ethical solution in the Martine-case.  Beyond the Yemeni Foreign Minister claiming the Martine case put an extra burden on the government, also growing internal pressure following the political situation in Yemen, and the Arabic Spring in general, is felt strongly. The main argument is that Yemen should avoid being regarded as a safe haven for international fugitives.”

In all fairness to promote justice “New social medias have made the world more transparent, and universal justice and legal rights have become mainstream concerns globally both politically and in a CSR-perspective. Multinationals are important opinion leaders here. An ethical solution to this case will create a precedence benefitting all parties involved. Yemen will benefit by contributing to improve international legal order and combat cross border crime. Legitimacy for receiving further military and financial support from US/UK would also increase following justice prevailing in a high-profile case of this nature.”

The need for filling a loop-hole in international law is also reflected by a new resolution put forward to the OSCE by Norwegian parliamentarians, and signed by 56 countries, last July. The resolution was based on the experiences from the Martine case, and aimed at reducing international serious crimes such as trafficking, drug dealing, money laundry, kidnapping, rape, murder or terrorism in today’s mobile world. Thus it is important for the Yemeni authorities to see the Martine case as an opportunity to combat ‘cross border crime’ rather than a challenge to it’s sovereignty. The mutual advantages for to-day’s world to progress here outbalance any costs associated with such change.

This is a high-profile case touching on three countries and “Being considered a matter of ethics, rather than a question of extradition treaties, the longer the fugitive is made unavailable for UK authorities the more this case will build momentum – also in the Arabic world.  It is vital to see any solution-scenarios in light of this new logic.”

Leaders should stick to the “Rule of law, human rights and respect for cultures, religions and universal values is the ethical axis of our existence. The Martine-case is a vital test for our aspirations and motivation to contribute to a more humane world based on the principles of peaceful coexistence between nations.”

Taking responsibility seriously and respecting human life“It is still a hope that the suspect will ensure justice prevails by meeting his obligations as a former guest student in the UK and return to the country of the crime.  In this way the two families could reconcile, which would reinforce the only sustainable global truth that national and international interests must go beyond personal interests in a case of this nature.

May Martine receive the justice deserved and her soul rest in peace for eternity!

Related stories:

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Kenya: Built houses on allocated plots to curtail housing crisis

Posted by African Press International on November 7, 2012

  • By Jeff Otieno

Kisumu Mayor Sam Okello has urged the residents who were alloted plots last year by the municipal Council to immediately start constructing them in order to curtail the prevailing housing crisis in the Lake side City.

Speaking to the press the Mayor urged that its absurd that his council gave out plots to the applicants who are mostly residents of the City but over a year down the line no significant progress has been made and housing crisis is rampant.

The over 1200  plots are in Mamboleo, Kibos,Milimani, Kanyakwar and Nyalenda areas.”Some of the controversial sections of the said plots have been harmonised and therefore the beneficiaries should move with speed and start developing them”, he said.

At the embryonic stages the council faced serious teething problems like double allocations which the Town Planner Absalom Ochieng Ayany has addressed and attributed it to logistical reasons. Okello further urged both Local and International investors not to be cowed by the recent spate of insecurity saying that the Government has now deployed adequate security in the city.

Asked by this Writer which political position he’s angling for in the coming polls, the Mayor simply down played but vowed to answer it a little later. Most of the residents have been urging him to settle for the newly created Kisumu Central seat while others argue that his sterling achievements is only commensurate to bidding for Governor seat.

Okello came to helm after post Election violence in 2008 and immediately went to London in May that year where he managed to convince the donors  to fund the 4 Billion Kisumu urban project which is soon rolling out before end of November this year.

The five-star Hotel to be inaugurated in December around Hippo Point Dunga, the top of the range leafy Eco Lodge Hotel and the general infra-structural expansion-developments  being his brain child during his tenure.Hes further credited by the council workers for settling all the salary arrears by successive regimes and also sorting staggering debts the authority owed various outfits.

 

ENDS

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