FCO Minister visit to Tunisia

LONDON, United-Kingdom, May 22, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — UK Minister for the Middle East and North Africa Tobias Ellwood visits Tunisia, welcoming progress and reiterating continued UK support

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Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East and North Africa said:

I was delighted to make my first visit to Tunisia.

In my discussions with Tunisian Ministers and political leaders I conveyed my warm congratulations on the completion of the democratic transition.

I welcomed the strength of the UK-Tunisia relationship and desire to deepen this. I reiterated the UK’s support during this crucial period. The UK is delivering practical support bilaterally and through international fora to support economic reform and the political transition. We have also deepened our security cooperation to support a stable and prosperous environment for the Tunisian people to enjoy greater freedoms.

I hope to return to Tunisia in the coming months.

Source:: FCO Minister visit to Tunisia

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South Sudan: Escalation of fighting worsening already intolerable suffering of civilians – Zeid

GENEVA, Switzerland, May 22, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Friday warned that the escalation of fighting in recent weeks between Government and opposition forces in South Sudan has resulted in alarming gross violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law and taken a terrible toll on civilians.

“For more than 17 months, women, men and children have been senselessly suffering through an entirely man-made catastrophe, living in the most inhumane conditions. More than two million people have been robbed of their homes, their livelihoods, their security, having lost family members to death and forced recruitment,” the High Commissioner said.

“And now, over the past few weeks, the opposing parties have actually managed to make a terrible situation much, much worse.”

“Up to 10,000 more people have joined an estimated 60,000 internally displaced people in the UN’s Protection of Civilian sites in Bentiu, in Unity State, in recent weeks, many trekking on foot over long distances in very treacherous conditions, with the constant threat of being waylaid and attacked by armed groups. Another 1,600 internally displaced people are seeking protection at the ill-equipped and vulnerable UN base in Melut in Upper Nile State. Seven were already killed when shells landed inside the compound.”

“These people have been living in terrible conditions and I shudder to imagine how much more the humanitarian situation can worsen with the onset of the rainy season. The unrelenting, indefensible conflict in South Sudan should enrage the conscience of each and every one of us in the international community,” Zeid said.

There have been alarming reports of gross violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law since the escalation of fighting on 29 April, including killings, rapes, abduction and the burning and destruction of towns and villages in various counties of Unity State. There has been heavy fighting around the town of Melut and the main oilfields of Paloch, and there are fears of a further, damaging escalation in the conflict.

Zeid said UN human rights monitors have been denied access by the SPLA to various sites in Unity State where they have sought to verify allegations of human rights violations and abuses. He urged the authorities to allow such access.

The High Commissioner noted that successive commitments to end the hostilities have failed to be implemented and there has been a “shameful lack of justice and accountability for victims of such gross violations in South Sudan.”

“Such persistent impunity has left many with unresolved grievances that are easily mobilised for renewed violence and revenge attacks,” the High Commissioner warned. “The fight against such impunity must be a priority if any peace in South Sudan is to hold.”

The High Commissioner warned the parties to the conflict that they must take all feasible measures to prevent harm to civilian lives and infrastructure, including the personnel and premises of the United Nations and humanitarian agencies.

Source:: South Sudan: Escalation of fighting worsening already intolerable suffering of civilians – Zeid

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Over 20,000 Migrants and Refugees Arrive in Horn of Africa from Yemen

GENEVA, Switzerland, May 22, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Conflict and a complex humanitarian emergency has forced some 20,000 vulnerable people to flee from Yemen to the Horn of Africa over the past two months. They include refugees from Somalia, migrant workers from third countries and Yemeni civilians.

No commercial flight has landed in or departed from Yemen since 26 March 2015, stranding thousands of people. Internal movement in Yemen is also difficult due to fuel shortages and checkpoints, reducing the options open to most vulnerable people stranded in the country.

During the five-day humanitarian pause between 12-17 May 2015, there was a flurry of activity as humanitarian agencies re-supplied their operations by boat and air. At the same time hundreds of people left the country by boat crossing the Red Sea to Djibouti and the Gulf of Aden to Somalia.

Many headed for Djibouti, given its close geographical proximity and historical ties with Yemen. Djibouti’s government has maintained an open door policy and almost 13,000 people have arrived in the country since March, primarily through the remote port of Obock and the capital, Djibouti City.

Of these, 13 per cent are Djibouti nationals returning home, 42 per cent are Yemenis, and 45 per cent are third country nationals (TCNs) en route to their country of origin.

“Our main challenge in Djibouti is accommodation at the Migration Response Center and in Djibouti City. The transit accommodation capacity at the Center in Obock is overstretched and all the hotels are full,” says IOM Djibouti Migration Officer Rosalinda Cottone.

“We are working as quickly as we can to assist migrants from Ethiopia and other countries to return home in order to free up space for new arrivals from Yemen,” she adds.

“TCNs also face challenges of onward transportation, issuance of travel documents and transit accommodation, given the extremely limited supply. But IOM is doing everything it can to help,” she notes.

Options for Yemeni nationals arriving in Djibouti are even more limited. They are expected to stay in a newly established refugee camp in Obock while they wait for refugee status determination.

In Somalia, over 7,000 migrants and refugees have arrived from Yemen through various ports in Somaliland and Puntland. Over 5,000 arrived at the port of Bosasso and 2,000 at Berbera port. Of these, 90 per cent are Somali nationals. The others are TCNs, mainly from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Syria and the USA. IOM is working closely with the government, embassies and UN partners to respond to the influx.

“For many Ethiopians arriving in Somaliland, it can take up to one week or more for them to be issued with travel documents. During this time they n eed to be supported with food and accommodation. We are trying to speed up this process to help the Ethiopians, in particular,” says IOM Somaliland Operations Assistant Dayib Askar.

Source:: Over 20,000 Migrants and Refugees Arrive in Horn of Africa from Yemen

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Malawians Displaced by Floods Willing to Return Home

GENEVA, Switzerland, May 22, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — This week the latest round of IOM’s Malawi Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) report showed 107,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in 131 open displacement sites across six districts.

The site assessments were performed in Nsanje, Chikwawa, Zomba, Phalombe, Mulanje and Blantyre – the districts worst affected by the flooding which occurred in January.

Published on May 20, in collaboration with the Malawian Department of Disaster Management Affairs, the report indicates that despite the difficulties facing IDPs, 71 per cent of them intend to return to their places of origin to rebuild their lives.

One of the main factors preventing IDPs from returning is the lack of shelter, since their homes were damaged by the floods. They also lost their livelihoods.

“We are working to provide emergency housing and non-food relief items to displaced persons, but broader return, relocation and reconstruction needs must be addressed in a comprehensive and inclusive manner,” said Stephane Trocher, IOM Malawi Chief of Mission.

“The focus on recovery and transition is the best way to address the ongoing displacement in these six districts,” he added.

Following the flooding, the emergency response was initially hampered by a lack of coordinated information on displacement. In response, IOM stepped in to provide the DTM, an information tool designed to help humanitarian agencies to identify and respond to the needs of the displaced.

“DTM has not only been helpful to the humanitarian actors in addressing the emergency and protection needs of affected populations, but it has also helped the most vulnerable beneficiaries receive assistance at various displacement sites,” said IOM project officer Brenda Chimenya.

IOM is carrying out DTM assessments in partnership with Save the Children, Sustainable Rural Community Development and All Hands Volunteers. The DTM is funded by the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), the One UN Fund and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).

Source:: Malawians Displaced by Floods Willing to Return Home

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Nigeria Adopts National Migration Policy

GENEVA, Switzerland, May 22, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Government of Nigeria has formally adopted a National Policy on Migration and its Implementation Plan, with support from IOM and the European Union (EU).

Within the framework of the National 10th European Development Fund project: “Promoting Better Management of Migration in Nigeria,” IOM has supported Nigeria’s Technical Working Group (TWG) on Migration and Development throughout the development of the policy and been a strong advocate for its adoption.

The TWG is made up of ministries, departments and agencies, non-state actors, social partners, academia and development partners working on issues related to migration. It is chaired by the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI).

The policy and its implementation plan provide an appropriate legal framework for monitoring and regulating internal and international migration, and proper collection and dissemination of migration data.

The policy also addresses issues related to diaspora mobilization, border management, decent treatment of migrants, internally displaced persons, asylum seekers and the role of civil society in migration management, in order to ensure a more efficient management of migration in Nigeria.

“As a technical partner for the elaboration and adoption of the migration policy, IOM congratulates the Government of Nigeria on this important achievement. We also take this opportunity to also thank the European Union for it generous support to the process. IOM encourages the government to establish sound mechanisms to ensure that there is smooth implementation of the policy. We remain committed to providing technical assistance towards its implementation,” said IOM Nigeria Chief of Mission Enira Krdzalic.

In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the strong links between migration and national development, as migration can be beneficial to both sending and receiving countries. For Nigeria, a major country of origin, transit and destination in terms of global migration, the potential development benefits could be immense.

Source:: Nigeria Adopts National Migration Policy

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Foreign Minister Steinmeier on Germany’s continued participation in the EU mission Atalanta

BERLIN, Germany, May 22, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement in Berlin on 21 May on the decision that German armed forces are to continue to be involved in the EU mission Atalanta in the Horn of Africa:

I am delighted that the German Bundestag has voted by a large majority to continue Germany’s participation in Operation Atalanta.

Atalanta is a success story. Thanks to this European mission, no more ships have fallen into the hands of pirates in the Horn of Africa in the last three years.

Also in Somalia, there are finally first signs that the situation is stabilising, even though the country still has a long and difficult path ahead and the dangers posed by Islamist terror have not yet passed. Germany and the international community are doing their utmost to support work to rebuild fundamental political structures and achieve social reconciliation and economic development in the country.

The international involvement in Somalia demonstrates what can be achieved when we work together and closely coordinate our efforts.

Background information:

On 21 May, the German Bundestag approved a decision by the Cabinet that German armed forces will continue to participate in the EU mission Atalanta in the Horn of Africa. The mission was launched in 2008 and aims to protect international commercial shipping in the Horn of Africa and fight piracy. Some 179 ships of the World Food Programme (WFP) carrying deliveries of humanitarian aid for the Somali population have been safely guided to Mogadishu since the mission began.

Source:: Foreign Minister Steinmeier on Germany’s continued participation in the EU mission Atalanta

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