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Posts Tagged ‘Sudan’

Civil war is creeping in slowly in South Sudan

Posted by African Press International on December 21, 2013

OSLO, Norway, December 20, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – “The political leaders in South Sudan must take responsibility for stopping the violence and resolving the conflict through political talks. Unless the violence is brought under control soon, I am afraid the situation could develop into a new civil war,” said Foreign Minister Børge Brende.

The civil war that raged in Sudan for more than 20 years, and finally ended in 2005 when a peace agreement was signed between the north and south, caused terrible suffering for the population.

“The current violent conflict in South Sudan and the constant reports of attacks on civilians on the basis of ethnicity give serious cause for concern. I urge the UN, theAfrican Union and other regional organisations to do what they can to persuade the parties to stop the violence and find a peaceful solution to the conflict. Norway is prepared to assist where needed with the resources we have at our disposal,” said Mr Brende.

The spread of violence from the capital to other parts of the country is further cause for concern. The UN has confirmed that at least two peacekeepers and two civilians were killed in an attack on the UN base in Jonglei state in South Sudan on 19 December. A group of civilians had sought refuge in the UN base.

“I condemn the killing of the two Indian UN peacekeepers serving in South Sudan in the strongest terms. Attacks on the UN mission and on civilians who have sought protection from the UN are completely unacceptable,” said Mr Brende.

 

SOURCE

Norway – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

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NGO Bill threatens to hinder civil society’s work in South Sudan, UN rights experts warn

Posted by African Press International on December 19, 2013

GENEVA, Switzerland, December 17, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/– Three United Nations Special Rapporteurs today warned that the NGO Bill currently discussed by Parliament in South Sudan threatens the work and independence of civil society organizations in the country.

“The Government oversight proposed in the draft law goes beyond simple notification requirements and veers into the territory of excessive control,” they stressed.

 

“We urge the Government of South Sudan to reject legislation that would unduly restrict the sectors in which associations can work and narrowly defines permissible objectives for these associations, severely limiting the independence of such groups,” they said.

 

The human rights experts reiterated their serious concern about the growing trend in Africa and elsewhere to wield more governmental control over independent groups using so-called ‘NGO laws’. “South Sudan’s NGO Bill is yet further evidence of a worrying tendency worldwide,” they noted.

 

The NGO Bill also includes burdensome registration and re-registration requirements and criminal penalties for non-compliance with the proposed law.

 

“The ability of civil society organizations to engage in activities of their own choosing is fundamental to the right to freedom of association,” the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, said. “And this right is critical in ensuring that newly formed (or constituted) countries such as South Sudan develop in a way that strengthens democracy and development.”

 

The NGO Bill also subjects civil society organizations to a regulatory body mainly composed of Government representatives and members appointed by the Government. This body has broad authority ‘to facilitate and coordinate the work of all national and foreign’ NGOs and ‘to provide policy guidelines for harmonizing their activities with the National Development Plan for South Sudan,’ and the power ‘to receive and consider application for work permits in respect of prospective employees of a registered NGO.’

“The vague provisions and administrative discretion provided in the NGO Bill could be wielded as tools to suppress dissenting views and opinions,” the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, cautioned. “NGOs working in governance, anti-corruption and human rights would be particularly at risk.”

Other vague provisions allow for the revocation of the registration status to organizations that contravene the principles of ‘Participation of local communities’ and require that civil society organizations not interfere with ‘national policies, which are too broad grounds for revoking registration

“These provisions clearly undermine the independence of civil society and place undue restrictions on the right to freely associate which limits the ability of human rights defenders to claim rights for all,” the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, underscored.

 

SOURCE

United Nations – Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

 

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Humanitarian situation deteriorates in Juba after coup attempt

Posted by African Press International on December 18, 2013

GENEVA, Switzerland, December 17, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/– Armed clashes in Juba since 15 December have left hundreds in urgent need of medical care. Thousands of civilians, including women and children, have fled their homes in search of safety, taking very little with them. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is providing the city’s two major hospitals with support so that they can cope with the heavy influx of patients.

More than 300 people have been admitted to Juba Teaching Hospital and Juba Military Hospital over the past two days. The ICRC and the South Sudan Red Cross have delivered to the hospitals enough wound-dressing materials and other urgently needed medical supplies to treat up to 500 people.

“We know there are more people who need care, but they are having difficulty reaching health-care facilities because of the security situation and the lack of available transportation,” said Felicity Gapes, an ICRC delegate who is leading the medical response on the ground. “Staff in both hospitals have been working around the clock, but they are struggling because of the sheer volume of patients and the severity of the injuries.”

The ICRC is calling on the fighting parties to take all feasible precautions to minimize civilian casualties and to allow people to safely reach health-care facilities. The organization is closely monitoring needs. Together with the South Sudan Red Cross, it will take further action as the security situation permits.

SOURCE

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

 

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Refugees in Sudan Resettled in Canada – good for humanity

Posted by African Press International on December 16, 2013


Refugees in Sudan Resettled in Canada

 

GENEVA, Switzerland, December 13, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/– On the 10th and 11th of December 2013, IOM Sudan arranged for the safe departure of 60 Eritrean refugees to be resettled to Canada from Sudan. IOM Staff from Sudan escorted the refugees to Calgary and Toronto.

The Government of Canada is the first in the top five resettlement countries accepting refugees from Sudan. A total of 711 refugees have been assisted for resettlement from Sudan to Canada in 2013. The other countries on the top five are Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Australia.

One refugee traveling on 11 December said he felt “happy yet a bit sad departing to the new country, as I do not know what is waiting for me in Canada, but I am sure I will be OK and will adapt soon.”

Prior to the departure to the resettlement countries, refugees received cultural orientation to prepare themselves to adjust and reintegrate in Canada. The IOM Migration Health Unit performed medical screening to ensure that all refugees moving under the auspices of IOM were fit to travel and that they received appropriate medical attention and assistance during all phases of the travel.

IOM in Sudan has been providing a safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation arrangement for refugees in Sudan accepted for resettlement since 2005. There were three hundred fifty two (352) refugees resettled to Canada, Australia and Europe in 2005.

In the time span of 8 years, the number of resettlement countries who joined in providing a durable solution for refugees in Sudan increased to 16. By the end of November 2013, a total of 12,134 refugees, majority being Eritrean refugees, have departed to Canada, Norway, Sweden, Australia, Switzerland, USA, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Italy, New Zealand, Denmark, France, Belgium, Germany and Spain.

The refugees are accepted for resettlement under the Government Refugee Quota and Family Reunification Programmes. IOM Sudan works in close coordination with the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Commission for Refugees (COR) and the Alien Department of the Ministry of Interior (MOI), Khartoum International Airport Authority in all stages of the pre departure preparation and processing for accepted refugees and their final travel departure from Sudan.

“IOM hopes that more countries will contribute offering a durable solution approach for refugees in Sudan,” said Ester T. Gigir, IOM Programme Cooordinator for Movement and Migration Management.

UNHCR reported that more than 150.000 refugee are in Sudan. This number consists of protracted refugees and new arrival refugees in which Eritrean represents the majority of the caseloads.

 

SOURCE

International Office of Migration (IOM)

 

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Yesterday the Dutch government decided to offer debt relief to Sudan

Posted by African Press International on December 7, 2013

5 December 2013:

 

Yesterday the Dutch government decided to offer debt relief to Sudan, an extraordinarily misguided action, the more so since Sudan was the only country favored by such relief.  The decision is bad for many reasons, but most conspicuously because of the encouragement it gives the present regime in Khartoum to believe that other nations and institutions will offer similar relief; indeed, according to some observers this was the thinking on the part of some in the Dutch parliament.  The amount to be forgiven is relatively small— €150 million or about $US200 million—given the massive debt that has accrued largely under the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party (NIF/NCP) regime: some $45 billion, according to the IMF.  Debt was only a fraction of this before the military coup that brought the NIF/NCP to power in 1989.  And despite gross mismanagement of the economy, the regime now believes there is hope it will be given a lifeline by which to survive current civil unrest in the country.

Let’s be clear: There is simply no country in the world less deserving of debt relief than Sudan—not one.  Coincidentally, two days earlier, Transparency International released the results of its Global Corruption Perceptions Index for 2013.  Sudan ranked at 174 out of 177 countries surveyed, with only Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia faring worse in the Index.  Moreover, Sudan’s score actually declined this past year; there is absolutely no sign of improvement.  This is important because many of the reasons for Sudan’s external indebtedness derive from corruption, which takes various forms: the vast system of cronyism that provides political support to the regime; the illegal appropriation and sale of valuable farmland to foreign companies; the impunity afforded to the security services in extortion and asset-stripping of humanitarian organizations and “non-Arab” Sudanese; and the monumental graft that has defined the regime for more than two decades—all of these have compelled unneeded or misdirected borrowing…. [ English original continued at http://wp.me/p45rOG-19R]

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Sudan: The killing of two Ministry of Health staff in West Darfur

Posted by African Press International on November 30, 2013

Statement attributable to the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Mr. Ali Al-Za’tari, on the killing of two Ministry of Health staff in West Darfur

KHARTOUM, Sudan, November 29, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Ali Al-Za’tari, strongly condemns the killing of two Sudanese Ministry of Health staff, a vaccinator and a driver, who were part of a team vaccinating vulnerable children against measles in West Darfur.

“My deepest condolences go to the family and friends of those killed,” said Mr Al-Za’tari. “I call on all parties to ensure the protection of all personnel working to deliver assistance to populations in need throughout Sudan,” he said.

UNICEF and the World Health Organization are helping to ensure that every child in Sudan is getting vaccinated, whoever they are and wherever they live.

 

SOURCE

UNITED NATIONS

 

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

Posted by African Press International on November 21, 2013

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

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

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

 

SOURCE

United NationsAfrican Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)

 

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Humanitarian assistance for over a million people

Posted by African Press International on November 19, 2013

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 14, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – People are suffering the effects of intercommunal violence over natural resources and land in Darfur, and of occasional fighting between government forces and armed opposition groups. So far this year, the ICRC has helped over a million people.

“We’ve scaled up our emergency response because of rising violence in Darfur, where people face increased hardship,” said Jean-Christophe Sandoz, head of the ICRC delegation in Sudan. “We’ve brought vital assistance to violence-affected areas.”

The ICRC and the Sudanese Red Crescent Society have been working hard to deliver relief rapidly. Intercommunal clashes in Jebel Amer, North Darfur state, caused thousands to flee in January and February. The two organizations jointly distributed 1,600 tonnes of food, blankets, jerrycans, tarpaulins, sleeping mats, clothes, buckets, soap and kitchen utensils to over 124,000 people, both the displaced and their host communities. As people wounded in Jebel Amer reached hospitals in Al Sireaf, Saraf Omra, Al Junaina and Al Fashir, the ICRC provided the hospitals with medical supplies. It also facilitated the evacuation by helicopter of 33 casualties from Al Sireaf to Al Fashir for treatment in the Ministry of Health hospital.

The ICRC worked with the Sudanese Red Crescent to help people in the flood-stricken Nile Valley, where thousands were left homeless in August. The two organizations distributed household and shelter items to over 30,000 people in Khartoum and Blue Nile states, in the Dongola region, and in Mereo and Wadi Halfa in Northern state. An emergency water system for 5,800 people was set up in Al Gezera state, and 10 hand pumps were installed to supply drinking water for the population of Jebel Awliya, south of Khartoum.

Darfur has seen not only increased violence but also a surge in crime. In August, unknown armed men seized eight ICRC staff in central Darfur. While they were all released within two weeks, their two trucks have still not been recovered. “Incidents like this have an effect on the humanitarian work we do for people who are suffering,” said Mr Sandoz. “We are grateful to the government authorities, and the tribal and community leaders who helped bring about the release of our colleagues.”

While Darfur remained the focus of the ICRC’s action, access to conflict-stricken areas of Blue Nile and South Kordofan states remains pending. “We have offered to carry out an impartial assessment of the needs in these areas, and to provide relief to the people most severely affected,” said Mr Sandoz. “So far, however, we have not been granted access there”.

Despite the challenges, the ICRC has spared no effort to help people in Darfur and elsewhere in Sudan. Highlighted below is some of the work we did between January and September.

Emergency aid for people suffering the effects of violence

The ICRC:

•    supplied household and shelter items for over 129,000 people displaced by violence, including 111,000 from Jebel Amer;

•    delivered enough medical supplies to 19 hospitals in Darfur, South Kordofan and Khartoum for them to perform 5,100 operations and treat 1,350 casualties;

•    provided essential drugs, medical supplies and furniture for the health centre in Garra Za Wia, Jebel Amer, which serves a population of 8,000;

•    repaired 38 hand pumps, upgraded a water point and installed six water tanks for the use of over 24,000 people in areas where displaced people from Jebel Amer had gathered;

•    trained 80 Red Crescent volunteers in first aid.

Helping people fend for themselves

•    With the onset of rains in July, around 460,000 people (mainly in and around the Jebel Marra area) received farming tools, plus groundnut, sorghum and vegetable seed. Another 16,575 families received farming tools only.

•    Over 15,600 families received donkey ploughs.

•    The ICRC distributed over 4,000 tonnes of food to help people cope with a food shortage and enable them to set aside seed for planting.

Improving access to water

The ICRC:

•    repaired 327 hand pumps, 33 water points and four wells, maintaining a reliable water supply for over 473,000 people;

•    trained 92 technicians in hand-pump maintenance, ensuring that communities would continue to have water.

Providing health care

The ICRC supports seven health centres that serve 138,000 people in Central and South Darfur states.

Between January and September:

•    health-centre staff saw over 49,300 patients, including 7,450 expectant mothers, and performed 26,400 childhood vaccinations;

•    the ICRC provided logistical support for Ministry of Health immunization campaigns that resulted in the vaccination of over 101,300 people, including children under five;

•    when September’s protests against the withdrawal of fuel subsidies resulted in numerous casualties, the ICRC provided hospitals in Khartoum with enough intravenous fluids, bandages and other medical supplies to treat over 150 people;

•    the ICRC sponsored the training of 44 midwifery students from villages in Darfur, to reduce deaths among mothers and children.

Supporting physical rehabilitation services

Almost 5,000 people received prosthetic or orthotic devices, crutches or physiotherapy from six ICRC-supported physical rehabilitation centres, a mobile workshop run by the National Authority for Prosthetics and Orthotics, and the Khartoum Cheshire Home centre for the rehabilitation of disabled children.

Vaccinating animals

•    The ICRC and the State Ministries of Animal Resources and Fisheries vaccinated over 860,000 animals belonging to more than 17,000 (mainly nomadic) families in Darfur.

•    A hundred animal-health workers received training in such skills as disease reporting and animal vaccination. Their services are expected to benefit more than 14,600 families.

•    Facilitating the release of detainees

The ICRC is often called upon to serve as a neutral intermediary when government or armed opposition groups release soldiers or civilians.

Between January and September:

•    five South Sudanese prisoners of war were repatriated following their release by the Sudanese authorities;

•    a total of 35 civilians and 27 Sudanese armed forces personnel held by armed opposition groups in Darfur were transferred home;

•    ICRC staff visited detainees held in Jebel Marra by the Sudan Liberation Army – Abdel Wahid faction.

Restoring contact between family members

Between January and September, the ICRC and the Sudanese Red Crescent:

collected and delivered nearly 8,400 Red Cross messages and organized over 800 telephone calls between members of dispersed families;

clarified the whereabouts of dozens of people reported by their families as missing or captured in connection with conflict, and received 437 new tracing requests. In addition, the ICRC and the Sudanese Red Crescent reunited a child found in South Sudan with his family in Sudan.

The ICRC has been working in Sudan since 1978. In 2003, it extended its operations to Darfur, where we are helping people suffering the effects of armed conflict and other violence.

 

SOURCE

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

 

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South Sudan Humanitarian Appeal

Posted by African Press International on November 19, 2013

South Sudan Humanitarian Appeal Sets New Direction for International Aid

JUBA, South Sudan, November 14, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/– Press release from Government of South Sudan and OCHA

The Government of South Sudan and aid agencies launched the humanitarian appeal for 2014-2016 today, unveiling an innovative new direction for humanitarian action in South Sudan.

The three-year appeal seeks US$1.1 billion to meet the needs of the most vulnerable 3.1 million people across the country in 2014. This comes to some $355 per person targeted to receive assistance, including emergency health, food and nutrition support.

While the core of humanitarian action remains to save lives in emergencies, two new pillars of action will enhance the impact of emergency relief in the next three years: building community resilience and strengthening national capacity to deliver basic services.

Building resilience will help prevent suffering and enable families to manage disasters when crises hit. Strengthening national capacity will enable state institutions to become the main provider of frontline services such as clean water and basic healthcare, and lessen reliance on international aid over time.

“This Consolidated Appeal takes a bold new approach to delivering humanitarian assistance,” said Awut Deng Acuil, Minister of Gender, Child, Social Welfare, Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, speaking about the launch of the appeal. “Placing resilience and national institutions at the forefront of aid work will help create a South Sudan which is better able to care for its citizens in times of crisis.”

Though South Sudan remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with one of the largest humanitarian operations globally, the 2014-2016 Consolidated Appeal highlights improvements on several fronts in 2013. Overall needs reduced for the first time since 2011. The arrival of Sudanese refugees slowed, and returns of South Sudanese from Sudan continued to decrease. Food security improved for many South Sudanese, although the number of people severely food insecure remained worryingly high.

In a move to ensure international aid to South Sudan is effective, the appeal links humanitarian action to the broader framework of the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States, a global initiative aimed to move fragile countries towards resilience.

“The New Deal is founded on the idea of national ownership, and a relationship between fragile countries and their donors based on trust and mutually agreed goals,” said Toby Lanzer, the Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan. “While our appeal focuses largely on principled humanitarian action to save lives, including a link to the New Deal is especially important to speed up South Sudan’s journey to recovery, and to ensure that every aid dollar spent here has a lasting impact.”

The Relief and Rehabilitation Commission highlighted the importance of early funding for the new appeal. “We call on donors to contribute to the new appeal as early as possible, so that we use this window of opportunity in the dry season to pre-position supplies ahead of the rains,” stated Peter Lam Both, the Commission’s Chairperson.

 

SOURCE

UNITED NATIONS

 

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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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“Protection of South Sudan’s internally displaced needs attention

Posted by African Press International on November 15, 2013

“Protection of South Sudan’s internally displaced needs to be up front” – UN rights expert says

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 15, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Humanitarian action, constitutional inclusion, development and peacebuilding measures are the four cornerstones of durable solutions for IDPs and returnees. “Development and peace can hardly be achieved when thousands of South Sudanese remain uprooted,” the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs), Chaloka Beyani, said at the end of his visit to South Sudan from 6 to 15 November 2013.

While Jonglei State hosts large numbers of IDPs, it is a phenomenon that affects the country as a whole and therefore must be dealt with as a matter of national responsibility. “The Government at the national and local levels has the primary responsibility to assist and protect all IDPs in an equal manner,” Beyani said. The UN and NGOs also play a significant role in protecting IDPs.

Displacement is caused by armed hostilities and inter-communal violence, insecurity, human rights violations as well as natural disasters. Instances of evictions have also resulted in internal displacement. “Many IDPs have been affected by several causes and suffered multiple displacements,” Beyani explained, highlighting concerns about the vulnerabilities and decreasing coping capacity of the displaced populations. “Due to these complexities and the lack of regular humanitarian access to areas affected by internal displacement, its magnitude remains unclear,” he noted. Public figures on internal displacement therefore reflect minimums, while the real magnitude of the phenomenon in South Sudan is allegedly much higher, revealing the need for improved data collection.

“Civilians, including IDPs, must be spared from violence and abuse by all parties,” Beyani strongly urged. The protection of the civilian population is first and foremost a responsibility of the Government, that must, however, be exercised with care to not do harm to the population. Capacities therefore must be further strengthened and the response to IDPs needs to be demilitarized. The Special Rapporteur also raised concerns about the increasingly violent nature of cattle raiding. The proliferation and excessive use of arms and weaponry are key factors in this upsurge in violence. “IDPs also suffer from arbitrary displacement, discrimination and harassment, destruction of property, loss of livestock and also simple oversight and neglect,” Beyani said. Many IDPs are unable or fearful to access basic services and humanitarian assistance.

The dimensions and complexities of internal displacement require a strategic response to overcome the divide between humanitarian and development action and create a common peace dividend. “A common policy on internal displacement that builds on relevant international standards could provide the common basis for such a strategic response,” Beyani strongly recommended.

The Special Rapporteur also addressed the situation of those returning from Sudan. “If returnees are unable to return to their homes or integrate in a place of their choice within South Sudan, they lack a durable solution just as IDPs do.” He also called upon the Government to take all measures possible to avoid statelessness. The lack of documentation of IDPs and returning South Sudanese needs to be addressed prior to any national census or elections, to ensure their right to participation.

During his visit, the Special Rapporteur met with representatives of the Government of South Sudan in Juba, Bor and Pibor; the United Nations Mission in South Sudan; UN humanitarian agencies; NGOs as well as donors. He is deeply grateful to the IDPs and returnees who openly shared their insights with him. The Special Rapporteur extends his appreciation to the Government for receiving him and his thanks to UNHCR and UNMISS who have kindly facilitated and supported this mission.

 

SOURCE

United NationsOffice of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

 

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DUBLIN: New Ambassador present Credentials

Posted by African Press International on November 15, 2013

DUBLIN, Ireland, November 14, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ His Excellency, the Ambassador of the Republic of Sudan presented its Letters of Credence to the President at Áras an Uachtaráin today.

H.E. Mr. Abdullahi Hamad Ali AlAzreg, Ambassador of the Republic of Sudan, was accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Maha Babikir, their daughter, Israa, and by Mr. Mohamed Akasha Mohamed, Counsellor at the Embassy.

Mr. Dinny McGinley, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, represented the Government at the ceremony.

The following were also present: Mr. Loughlin Quinn, Deputy Secretary-General to the President; Mr. James Kingston, Assistant Secretary at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Ms. Orla O’Hanrahan, Chief of Protocol and Mr. Joe Brennan, Protocol, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The Ambassadors were escorted to and from Áras an Uachtaráin by an Escort of Honour consisting of a motorcycle detachment drawn from the 2nd Cavalry Squadron, Cathal Brugha Barracks, Dublin, under the command of Lieutenant Grattan O’Hagan.

A Guard of Honour was provided at Áras an Uachtaráin by the 1st Infantry Battalion, Renmore Barracks, Co. Galway, under the command of Lieutenant Michael Jennings.

Captain Fergal Carroll conducted the Army No. 1 Band.

 

SOURCE

Ireland – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

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African Union (AU) on Abyei

Posted by African Press International on November 8, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

SOURCE

African Union Commission (AUC)

 

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Stop threatening women with flogging

Posted by African Press International on November 7, 2013

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 6, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Flogging women, including for “honour-related offences” amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in international law and must stop, two independent UN human rights experts said Wednesday in the wake of recent cases involving women in Sudan.

Amira Osman Hamed, a 35-year-old Sudanese civil engineer and women’s rights activist appeared in court on Monday charged with dressing indecently or immorally – for refusing to cover her hair with a headscarf. If she is found guilty, she could be sentenced to corporal punishment of up to 40 lashes. Following Monday’s hearing, the woman remains in legal limbo while the prosecution decides if additional hearings will take place or if the case will be dismissed.

Premarital sex, adultery, failing to prove rape, dressing ‘indecently’ or ‘immorally’, being found in the company of a man, or committing acts that are deemed incompatible with chastity – these are some of the “offences” for which women have been chastised with flogging in various parts of the world,” said the United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Rashida Manjoo. “This needs to stop. Women like Amira must not be forced to live in fear of being flogged. Governments need to stop flogging women and girls.”

Frances Raday, the chairperson of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice, added that it was women who were disproportionally found guilty of offences that were punishable by flogging.

“Given continued discrimination and inequalities faced by women, including inferior roles attributed to them by patriarchal and traditional attitudes, and power imbalances in their relations with men, maintaining flogging as a form of punishment, even when it applies to both women and men, means in practice that women disproportionally face this cruel punishment, in violation of their human rights to dignity, privacy and equality,” Ms. Raday said.

The experts called for the immediate release of Ms. Osman Hamed and for the Sudanese Government to review its legislation related to flogging. Under international human rights law, corporal punishment can amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment or even to torture, and States cannot invoke provisions of domestic law to justify violations of their human rights obligations under international law.

Corporal punishment of women and girls is usually linked to the control and limitation of their freedom of movement, freedom of association, as well as their personal and sexual choices. Punishment usually has a collective dimension, and is public in character, as the visibility of the issue also serves a social objective, namely, influencing the conduct of other women,” the experts said.

“We call on States to abolish all forms of judicial and administrative corporal punishment, and to act with due diligence to prevent, respond to, protect against, and provide redress for all forms of gender-based violence,” the experts said.

The experts are in contact with the government of Sudan to clarify the issue in question.

 

SOURCE

United NationsOffice of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

 

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Armed group releases five soldiers

Posted by African Press International on November 7, 2013

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 6, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Five Sudanese soldiers held in Darfur were released today by the Sudan Liberation Army – Ali Karbino (SLA-AK), an armed opposition group. The International Committee of the Red Cross facilitated the operation in its capacity as a neutral intermediary.

“The Sudanese authorities and the SLA-AK asked us to facilitate the transfer and provide logistical support for this operation,” said Jean-Christophe Sandoz, head of the ICRC delegation in Sudan. The regular dialogue the ICRC maintains with the government authorities and various armed opposition groups allows it to play its unique role as a neutral intermediary.

ICRC delegates accompanied the released soldiers as a helicopter flew them to Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state, where they were placed in the care of the Sudanese authorities. Prior to the transfer, the delegates spoke privately with the soldiers to make sure they were being transferred of their own free will.

Similar operations in Sudan this year involving the ICRC have resulted in the transfer of five South Sudanese prisoners of war released by the Sudanese government and of 32 Sudanese armed forces personnel and 36 civilians released by armed opposition groups.

The ICRC has been working in Sudan since 1978. In 2003 it extended its operations to Darfur, where it helps people suffering the effects of armed conflict and other violence.

 

SOURCE

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

 

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