Mauritanian senator arrest and constitutional referendum – Bärbel Kofler statement

Statement by Human Rights Commissioner Bärbel Kofler on the arrest of a Mauritanian senator and the situation following the constitutional referendum

Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (18 August) on the arrest of a Mauritanian senator and the situation in the country following the constitutional referendum:

The unknown whereabouts of Senator Mohamed Ahmed Ould Ghadda, who was detained in Mauritania on 11 August without an arrest warrant, fills me with great concern. Both his family and his solicitor have so far been denied contact with him.

As a member of the Senate, Mr Ould Ghadda was protected by parliamentary immunity. His arrest contravenes the principles of the rule of law.

I am also concerned by the restrictions on freedom of assembly and opinion, as well as the general deterioration in the human rights situation in Mauritania, particularly in connection with the constitutional referendum on 5 August 2017.

I call on all political actors to seek dialogue and to resolve the current tensions peacefully and in accordance with internationally recognised regulations based on the rule of law. In the current situation in particular, all Mauritanians should work together to uphold peace and cohesion in society.

Background information:

A constitutional referendum was held in Mauritania on 5 August 2017. Despite a blanket ban on assemblies, demonstrations by those who supported a boycott took place both before and after the vote. These assemblies were broken up by the security forces, who used tear gas and batons.

On 15 August 2017, the Constitutional Council confirmed the result of the referendum after checking complaints, particularly as regards possible election fraud. On the same day, President Abdel Aziz announced a law to implement the referendum result. Among other things, this law abolishes the Senate, to which Mr Ould Ghadda had belonged, with immediate effect.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Germany – Federal Foreign Office.

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Source:: Statement by Human Rights Commissioner Bärbel Kofler on the arrest of a Mauritanian senator and the situation following the constitutional referendum


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SA and NEPAD to Host the 6th Infrastructure Africa Business Forum in Johannesburg

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies will address the first day of the 6th annual Infrastructure Africa Business Forum taking place at the Sandton Convention Centre from 21-22 August 2017.

The Forum is hosted jointly by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Planning and Coordinating Agency.

Minister Davies says the Forum will provide an opportunity to learn more about infrastructure development and investment opportunities available across the continent, as well as offer a Business Matchmaking Programme to connect and do business at the Forum.

“This Forum provides a valuable platform to address the continent’s infrastructure deficit by matching projects and priorities adopted by the continent in its Infrastructure Development Master Plans with current and potential investors. The Forum will also focus on re-risking infrastructure development in Africa through the development and financing of bankable projects,” says Minister Davies.

The Forum will present stakeholders with an opportunity to unpack the enormous growth potential in addressing Africa’s infrastructure needs. Africa, with a population exceeding 1 billion people is well placed as an emerging market, keen for investment and growth.

President Zuma is the Chair of the African Union Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative (PICI) on infrastructure development on the African continent.

Zambian President, Edgar Lungu is also scheduled to address the conference.

Distributed by APO on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.

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Source:: SA and NEPAD to Host the 6th Infrastructure Africa Business Forum in Johannesburg


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Sierra Leone mudslide : WCC extends condolences

As Sierra Leone coped with the aftermath of a devastating mudslide while facing the threat of another slide, World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit offered condolences and prayers.

After a mudslide claimed at least 330 lives on the outskirts of Freetown, authorities this week were evacuating people in the same area because another, potentially larger, slide is imminent.

“It is with sadness that I write this letter of condolence,” Tveit wrote. “We note that this comes at a time when the people of Sierra Leone are still recovering from the devastation of an Ebola outbreak.”

We will hold on to God’s promises that give us hope, he concluded. “I remain in mourning and in hope with you, dear sisters and brothers.”

Distributed by APO on behalf of World Council of Churches (WCC).

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Source:: WCC extends condolences to Sierra Leone


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Telecom Ministries of Somalia and Djibouti agree on cooperation

Telecom Ministries of Somalia and Djibouti agree on cooperation

The ministers of posts and telecommunications of Somalia and Djibouti, H.E. Abdi Ashur Hassan and H.E. Abdi Youssouf Sougueh, have issued a joint statement on a four-day official visit of Somalia minister to Djibouti.

The main purpose of the minister and his delegation’s four-day visit was to strengthen the bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the areas of posts and telecommunications.

The following are the major points of the joint statement:

1. Recalling the submarine cable cut near Mogadishu landing station that severed international connectivity to a large geographic area in Somalia, the two ministries recognize the need for at least an additional submarine optical cable connection to Somalia. The two ministries agreed in principle to renew and move forward with the discussions Somali and Djibouti governments and Somali telecommunication carriers and Djibouti Telecom on the Djibouti African Regional Express (DARE) cable, which will connect Djibouti and Mombasa with many landing stations in Somalia.
2. The ministries agreed to promote and strengthen the cooperation between the ministries in number of areas, such as: regional interconnectivity, terrestrial optical fiber, cyber security, ICT regulations, cross border signals issues, spectrum management and numbering plan, etc.
3. The ministers agreed to convene a meeting between the officials of the two governments; Somalia carriers and Djibouti Telecom in the near future.

H.E. Abdi Ashur Hassan told that the recent submarine cable cut has proven that the recovering economy of Somalia urgently needs another cable for redundancy.

“To act proactively we need to move forward with the discussions of another cable. And Djibouti is a good partner in this regard because eight submarine fiber optic cables land in Djibouti,” added the minister.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Ministry of Posts, Telecom and Technology of Somalia.

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Source:: Telecom Ministries of Somalia and Djibouti agree on cooperation


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