Dec 032014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, December 3, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, will visit Malta from 6 to 10 December 2014 as follow-up to his 2012 year-long study on the management of the external borders of the European Union.

“Given Malta’s proximity to North Africa, Malta is a key entry point for those wishing to reach Europe,” Mr. Crépeau said. “Understanding how this maritime border is managed, and their impact on the human rights of migrants, will be an essential part of the visit to Malta.”

During his four-day country visit to Malta, the independent expert will meet with a range of Government officials responsible for border management, EU institutions present in the country, international organisations, and migrants themselves, to discuss the complex management of the Malta maritime border.

Mr. Crépeau’s visit to Malta is the second stage in his follow-up study on the management of the EU external borders. He is currently on an official visit to Italy, as another key entry point for migrants to Europe.

At the end of the mission, the UN Special Rapporteur will share his preliminary conclusions at a press conference on 10 December 2014 at 10am, at the Grand Excelsior Hotel, Great Siege Road, Floriana FRN1810.

The follow-up study, launched by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants will result in a country mission report and a thematic report on EU border management which will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2015.

Dec 032014
 

OTTAWA, Canada, December 3, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement after terrorists targeted non-Muslim workers at a quarry in northeast Kenya:

“Canada strongly condemns the cowardly attack that took place in the middle of the night and claimed the lives of at least 36 innocent workers in northeast Kenya.

“On behalf of all Canadians, I offer my sincere condolences to the families and friends of those affected by this heinous act.

“Canada stands in solidarity with the Kenyan people and will continue to work with Kenya and the international community in the fight against al-Shabaab.”

Dec 032014
 

MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, December 3, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — At the Official Draw for the 2015 OrangeTM Africa Cup of Nations today, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) joined football stars, celebrities, international health organizations and corporations to announce the launch of Africa United (http://www.weareafricaunited.org), a global health communications campaign aimed at preventing the spread of Ebola in West Africa. The campaign, which is supported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Foundation and driven creatively by actor Idris Elba, is designed to recognize the vital role of frontline healthcare workers, as well as to provide critical education and resources for the people of West Africa. Educational messages will be delivered on local and national radio and TV, billboards and by SMS to audiences in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and neighboring countries.

Watch the video “West Africa vs. Ebola”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnnU_o010EE

Watch the video “We’ve Got Your Back”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Af4Ld1jIteE

Photo 1: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/photos/141202e2.jpg

Photo 2: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/photos/141202e.jpg

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/auen.jpg

In a new TV spot titled “We’ve Got Your Back,” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Af4Ld1jIteE) Elba and a group of football players committed to the fight against Ebola in West Africa, including Yaya Touré, Carlton Cole, Kei Kamara, Patrick Vieira, Fabrice Muamba and Andros Townsend, are voicing their solidarity with the healthcare workers who are risking their lives every day to fight Ebola. In the video, the players acknowledge that, although fans regard them as heroes, healthcare workers tackling Ebola are the true heroes. Each player wears the name of a healthcare worker on his back as a symbol of respect for “the world’s most important team.”

“For me the battle against Ebola is a personal one. To see those amazing countries in West Africa where my father grew up and my parents married being ravaged by this disease is painful and horrific,” said Idris Elba, actor and the creative force behind the development of the campaign public service announcements. “Imagine having to sit down and tell your family that you were going to fight this disease. That conversation is happening across West Africa and around the world every day. I am in awe of the bravery of these health workers, who put their lives at risk day in and out to stop the spread of this terrible disease. My hope is that, in some small way, through the development of these PSAs and the creation of the Africa United campaign, we can ensure that these workers get the support they need and that health messages are delivered to people on the ground to help them in their fight. #wevegotyourback. We will support you.”

In another campaign video titled “West Africa vs. Ebola,” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnnU_o010EE) Elba stars as a soccer coach giving a rousing and educational team talk to West Africa in preparation for its “life or death” game against Ebola. Elba explains the symptoms of Ebola and tactics for how to beat the virus, which includes spreading the word and working as a team.

“I wanted to support this campaign for so many reasons. I could not sit back without doing something to help fight Ebola. It is important we don’t treat this as something we just discuss with work colleagues or simply follow on the news for updates – instead our focus should be to do something,” said Yaya Touré, Ivorian professional football (soccer) player. “I also wanted to get involved with this campaign as it pays tribute to the many, many African heroes who are in the villages, towns and cities using their skills, resourcefulness and intelligence to battle Ebola. Those people on the front line are often forgotten. African mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters are doing everything they can to fight Ebola – we have to support them. #WeveGotYourBack”

The video spots and other multimedia educational materials—including video and radio messages, billboards and posters—will be available on the campaign website, www.WeAreAfricaUnited.org, in English, French, Krio and additional local languages. The educational materials are designed to be adapted and distributed by Africa United partners such as ministries of health, health clinics, government and non-governmental organizations, media and sports organizations. These include the CDC Foundation and current partners Africa 24, SuperSport, ONE, UNICEF and Voice of America. CDC staff working in the affected countries contributed to the development and distribution of the health messages, and Africa United will continue to develop and provide messages to CDC and partners in real time based on changing needs in country.

To further leverage the power of football to reach Africans, Africa United also will distribute FIFA and CAF’s ‘11 Against Ebola’ messages through Africa United partners.

The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, infecting nearly 16,000 people with more than 5,600 deaths to date. While the spread of Ebola is a threat to people, health systems and economies around the globe, West African communities in particular are being crippled by the disease as a result of already-strained healthcare systems, mistrust of healthcare workers and fear and stigmatization of those infected.

“Private and public partnerships like Africa United are critical to aligning organizations fighting Ebola and to ensuring quick, effective responses to changing circumstances and needs,” said Charles Stokes, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “The CDC Foundation remains committed to advancing response efforts in West Africa through public education and resources for use on the front lines of the Ebola battle.”

Visit www.WeAreAfricaUnited.org to join the campaign.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Africa United.

Twitter: @WeAre_AU

Facebook: We Are Africa United

YouTube: We Are Africa United

Hashtags: #WeAreAfricaUnited & #WeveGotYourBack

OFFICIAL DRAW ON-SITE CONTACT:

Michael Grela

KYNE

+1 917-670-2283

mgrela@KYNE.com

AFRICA UNITED MEDIA CONTACTS:

Fara Ndiaye

info@WeAreAfricaUnited.org

+221 77 332 88 63

Pierce Nelson

VP for Communications, CDC Foundation

pnelson@cdcfoundation.org

+1 404-523-3509

Claire Greenwell

Communications Officer, CDC Foundation

cgreenwell@cdcfoundation.org

+1 404-443-1126

About Ebola

Ebola, previously known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus strains. Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with blood and body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola, and objects (like needles) that have been contaminated with the blood or other body fluids of a person sick with Ebola. Ebola is not spread through the air, water or food. A person infected with Ebola cannot spread the disease until symptoms appear.

About Africa United

Africa United (http://www.weareafricaunited.org) is a global team of football stars, celebrities, international health organizations and corporations committed to stopping the spread of Ebola in West Africa. Africa United provides critical education, resources and solidarity to those affected by Ebola in West Africa. Its mission is to help stop the spread of Ebola and ensure access to healthcare by: driving adherence to positive behavior change messages, dispelling rumors and misconceptions, and instilling confidence in and acknowledging the vital role of community health workers. Visit www.WeAreAfricaUnited.org to join the campaign.

About the CDC Foundation

Established by the U.S. Congress, the CDC Foundation helps the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) do more, faster, by forging public-private partnerships to support CDC’s work 24/7 to save lives and protect people from health and safety threats. The CDC Foundation currently manages more than 250 CDC-led programs in the United States and in 73 countries around the world. The CDC Foundation’s Global Disaster Response Fund has been formally activated to support CDC’s response to the West African Ebola epidemic, and donations to the fund are providing critical assistance and supplies. For more information, please visit www.cdcfoundation.org.

Dec 032014
 

MONROVIA, Liberia, December 3, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Ebola Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) airlifted more than 135 tons of medical equipment and supplies to Liberia as part of the Agency’s efforts to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The cargo contained 107,000 sets of personal protective equipment (PPE)—face masks, medical gloves, protective goggles, boots, and aprons—to be distributed to healthcare workers providing care to Ebola patients.

USAID transported the large shipment of PPE to Liberia on November 21 and 28 aboard two charter flights from the United States. Since the first cases of Ebola were reported in West Africa in March 2014, USAID has expanded the pipeline of medical supplies and critical commodities to the region, airlifting more than 390 metric tons of cargo. This includes 140,000 sets of PPE, 4,400 cots for Ebola patients, water treatment systems and tanks, and more than 2,200 rolls of plastic sheeting to be used in the construction of Ebola treatment units (ETUs).

“The United States is committed to ensuring that healthcare workers have the resources needed to safely do their jobs and save lives,” said USAID DART Leader Mia Beers. “To that end, we and the international community are making it a priority to supply Ebola treatment units with the critical commodities needed to operate.”

The United States is currently in the process of constructing 15 ETUs in Liberia; U.S. support for ETUs goes beyond construction and includes funding healthcare workers to run the ETUs, bringing in materials—such as plastic sheeting and gravel—to build them, providing generators and fuel to power them, and offering logistical support to supply ETUs with medical equipment and commodities to keep them running. In total, the United States will be providing support to 20 of the currently planned and/or operational ETUs in Liberia.

In addition, the U.S. has provided training for healthcare workers, supported 65 safe burial teams now working in every county in Liberia, helped to more than double the country’s lab capacity, and supported aggressive social outreach and Ebola education campaigns. Total U.S. humanitarian assistance for the Ebola crisis now exceeds $703 million, yet the continued success of the overall U.S. response depends on a well-funded strategy. This is precisely why President Obama has requested $6.18 billion in emergency funding to enhance U.S. efforts to urgently address this crisis, and to meet the longer-term recovery and prevention needs in West Africa.

Learn more about USAID’s response to Ebola in West Africa by visiting www.usaid.gov/ebola.

Dec 022014
 

ACCRA, Ghana, December 2, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the countries hardest hit by the Ebola epidemic, will each receive $500 000 to help curb the potentially devastating impact of the disease on food security and on the livelihoods of farmers and others in rural areas.

The $1.5 million grant comes from the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund and will be used in support of FAO’s recently launched Regional Response Programme to tackle food security and agriculture issues related to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa.

The funds will be used over a 12-month period to assist 7 500 households – about 45 000 people – in the three targeted countries.

Activities include social mobilization and training to help stop the spread of EVD; the strengthening of savings and loan schemes, particularly those involving women beneficiaries; and the provision of agricultural inputs to help rural families safeguard their livelihoods and incomes.

The agreement is one of three signed today in which the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund is granting a total of $6.5 million to support FAO’s work in continent-wide programmes including youth employment in rural areas and South-South Cooperation.

“The grants made available today signal the ongoing willingness of African countries to assist each other, not only during times of urgent need, as is the case now with the Ebola crisis, but also to secure their continent’s future growth and prosperity”, said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.

“The Africa Solidarity Trust Fund for Food Security is a unique initiative for mobilizing resources from Africa for Africa with potential to help wipe out hunger and build resilience of vulnerable people”, declared, Crisantos Obama Ondo Ambassador of Equatorial Guinea to the Rome-based UN agencies and Chair of the Steering Committee for the ASFT.

Commenting on the new grants, Sierra Leone Minister of Agriculture Joseph Sam Sesay said: “Beyond the current human tragedy, Ebola also threatens to reverse the hard-earned development achievements of the entire region of West Africa. We thus warmly welcome the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund’s support as a true example of ‘Africans for Africans’ solidarity.”

More funds urgently needed to thwart Ebola threat

Last month FAO appealed to donors for the estimated $30 million urgently required to mitigate the impact of EVD on the food and nutritional security of affected communities in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and neighbouring at-risk countries.

FAO has already committed around $1.8 million of its own emergency funds to the agency’s Ebola Regional Response Programme and the grant made available by the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund is a much-needed contribution to FAO’s efforts.

New milestones for “by Africans for Africans” initiative

The other two agreements signed with the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund will support two FAO programmes: helping to create jobs for young people and women in the continent’s rural areas; and safeguarding food security in Africa through South-South Cooperation amongst African countries.

The programme on enhancing employment opportunities for rural youth, run by FAO in partnership with the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) will receive $4 million. Activities include helping countries to draw up and implement policies to boost enterprise development in rural areas and the transfer of entrepreneurship skills.

Today, the FAO Director-General and NEPAD Chief Executive Officer, Ibrahim Hassane Mayaki, signed a Letter of Intent through which the two organizations agree to join forces to implement the project. “This programme is a concrete way to empower young men and women with the necessary capacities and skills to engage in the socio-economic transformation of their countries. The joint implementation of the programme demonstrates the strong partnership that exists between FAO and the NEPAD Agency,” Mayaki said.

The second initiative relates to Africa’s South-South Cooperation Facility for Agriculture and Food Security. It will receive $1 million to support African countries share and exchange development solutions including knowledge, expertise, best practices, innovations, technologies, innovative policies and resources.

About the fund

The Africa Solidarity Trust Fund was launched in 2013 as a unique Africa-led initiative to improve agriculture and food security across the continent. It includes contributions from Equatorial Guinea ($30 million), Angola ($10 million) and a symbolic contribution by civil society organizations in the Republic of the Congo.

Since its inception, the Fund has already provided financing for projects in 30 countries including building resilience for conflict affected rural communities, reducing rural poverty through youth employment opportunities and building best practices to increase crop and livestock production.

Administered by FAO in partnership with key collaborators, the Fund aims to pool resources from Africa’s strongest economies and use them across the continent to implement initiatives in the framework of the African Union’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) to boost agricultural productivity and food security in the region.

It is governed by a steering committee currently consisting of Equatorial Guinea, Angola, the Chair of the Africa Group, the Chair of the Regional Conference for Africa, the African Union and FAO.

Dec 022014
 

NAIROBI, Kenya, December 2, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The team of Special Envoys to the Great Lakes region of Africa is outraged and deeply concerned by a spate of civilian massacres that has taken place in eastern Democratic Republic …

Dec 022014
 

ACCRA, Ghana, December 2, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Residence of France, Accra

Three Ghanaian key actors signed Grant Agreements with the Embassy of France to implement the France-Ghana cooperation’s project called “Strengthening the accountability of Ghana’s central and local government”. The project amounts 800 000 €, for 30 months. The signature took place at the Residence of France.

The Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) is in charge of implementing the actions for accountability at the central level, mainly in the health, education and governance sectors. The Institute of Local Governance Studies (ILGS) is in charge of strengthening the accountability of local government in Western Region, the pilot region. The third institution, the Ghana Center of Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), has to improve the ties between the government, civil society and citizens by calls for proposals.

The goal of the project is to improve the living conditions of Ghanaians through a more rational and transparent use of public resources. This project aims to reinforce reforms and make the realities involved in their implementation clearer to policy makers. The activities should focus on the consolidation of good practice in the general functioning of the public administration, and should try to enhance effective citizen participation, based on accountability mechanisms. The Civil Society will finally have a better understanding of issues relating to administrative reforms and the tools at its disposal to ensure the accountability of policymakers.

With the mutual confidence and understanding between France and Ghana, H.E. the Ambassador of France, Frédéric Clavier, the Hon. Deputy Minister of Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development,Nii LanteyVanderpuye, the Hon. Minister AlhassanAzongrepresented by his Chief Director XolaSenayaof the Public Sector Reform Secretary, were very glad to move together to a new stage in their partnership in the field of the good governance. By signing these Grant Agreements with GIMPA, ILGS and CDD-Ghana, the implementing of the project is launched.

Dec 022014
 

JUBA, South Sudan, December 2, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — There have been persistent report! s in South Sudanese and regional media alleging that the United Nations has a plan to place the Republic of South Sudan under a “protectorate.” Members of the Government of South Sudan have also brought these reports to the attention of the leadership of UNMISS and voiced their concern.

Addressing this issue, on 1 December, the Spokesperson of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon made the following remarks at a press briefing in New York:

“I can tell you that these reports are completely false. The Secretary-General wishes to make it categorically clear that neither he nor the UN Mission in South Sudan is aware of any plans or discussions within the United Nations to take such a course of action. The UN has supported the cause of self-determination for South Sudan from the time of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement through to the 2011 referendum and independence. None of this would have been possible without the help of the United Nations.”

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ellen Margrethe Lo ej, has echoed the remarks of the Secretary-General’s Spokesperson and confirmed that UNMISS is not aware of nor is it involved in any plans or discussions within the United Nations to take such a course of action. “The Republic of South Sudan is an independent, sovereign State recognized by the United Nations, and is a member of the Organization,” said Special Representative Loej. “The United Nations has no tradition of making independent, sovereign countries protectorates. The principles of South Sudan’s sovereignty and independence are consistently underlined by the Security Council in its resolutions on the mandate of UNMISS.”

The Special Representative remains deeply concerned about the conflict in South Sudan, which! has continued for nearly a full year, causing untold suffering to the civilian population. She therefore calls on the leadership of the Government and the armed opposition to honour and fully implement the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement they have signed and to reach a comprehensive peace agreement without any further delays.

Dec 022014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, December 2, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The IOM Regional Office for Southern Africa, in cooperation with UNHCR and UNODC, is conducting a one-day consultation workshop with High Level Officials from Member States of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) in Pretoria on 2 December 2014 to discuss the region’s response to mixed and irregular migration.

The meeting was organized in preparation for the upcoming Ministerial Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA) that will be held in Zimbabwe in 2015. The one-day consultation is a follow up to the 2014 MIDSA held in Malawi, which developed a draft regional Action Plan.

In his opening speech at the event, IOM Regional Director Bernardo Mariano said: “During the past decade, the MIDSA process has been instrumental in bringing regional governments together to discuss common migration issues and devise solutions for challenges such as the current influx of mixed and irregular migration flows in the region.”

“Working with the SADC Secretariat, and in partnership with UNHCR and UNODC, we have developed a regional action plan that aims to address the challenges in a comprehensive manner. Today, we are taking our plan one step further to implementation prior to its formal approval by Member States. We also hope to finalize the sustainability plan for the MIDSA process itself, with a better reflection of ownership by the Member States, in line with their express desire for its continuation,” he added.

The Southern Africa region has increasingly seen mixed movements coming from the East and Horn of Africa and from the Great Lakes Region. IOM studies conducted in 2009 and 2014 show that large mixed migratory groups – pushed by war, lack of protection, economic disparity or hope for better opportunities – move to Southern Africa each year.

But of the estimated 20,000 individuals who take this route every year, many do not manage to reach South Africa. Thousands suffer great hardship, including starvation, abandonment, physical and sexual abuses, exploitation, lengthy detention and even death (usually by drowning or suffocation in truck containers.) The presence of unaccompanied migrant children in these flows has been of particular concern to regional actors and SADC Member States.

The Regional Action Plan on mixed and irregular migration, as well as the MIDSA sustainability plan finalized at the one-day consultation is expected to receive formal SADC endorsement in 2015. Member States also took the opportunity to deliberate on steps that need to be taken to address the issue of unaccompanied child migrants in the region.

The workshop was funded by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) as part of IOM’s regional project: ‘Addressing Irregular Migration Flows in Southern Africa Phase V’. Now in its fifth phase, the project is implemented in cooperation with UNHCR and UNODC and has capacity building, direct assistance and regional dialogue components.