AU deploys election observers to various states in Sudan

KHARTOUM, Sudan, April 13, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Following the receipt of an invitation from the Government of the Republic of Sudan, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Her Excellency Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, approved the deployment of an African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) to Sudan to observe the Presidential and Parliamentary elections scheduled for 13 to 15 April 2015.

The AU launched its election observation mission in Sudan on 10 April 2015 with the deployment of 20 short-term observers (STOs) drawn from 14 African countries, representing institutions such as the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), Election Management Bodies (EMBs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). The STOs were deployed in teams of two to cover 7 states in Sudan.

The AUEOM is led by H.E. Chief Olusengun Obasanjo, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who arrives in Khartoum on 13 April to interact with key stakeholders and observe the voting and counting process.

The AUEOM’s mandate is derived from the 2007 African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance; the 2002 AU/OAU Declaration on Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa; and the 2002 AU Guidelines for Elections Observation and Monitoring Missions.

The assessment and observations of the Mission will be guided by the principles and guidelines stated in these instruments, and other relevant international instruments guiding international election observation and the legal framework for elections in the Republic of Sudan

The Mission will issue a statement of its preliminary assessment of the elections on 16 April at a Press Conference at Corinthia Hotel in Khartoum. A final and comprehensive report will be released within two months from the date of announcement of final election results.

The Secretariat of the AUEOM is located at Corinthia Hotel, Khartoum

Source:: AU deploys election observers to various states in Sudan

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UN Committee on Migrant Workers to review Uganda

GENEVA, Switzerland, April 13, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Uganda’s record on protecting the rights of migrant workers is due to be reviewed by a UN Committee on 15 and 16 April in Geneva.

Uganda is one of the 47 States Parties to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, and so is required to submit regular reports to the Committee on the Rights of Migrant Workers.

The Committee, which is composed of 14 international independent human rights experts,

will discuss the issues with a delegation from the Ugandan Government, and also hear from representatives of UN agencies and other entities.

Venue: Room XI, Palais des Nations, Geneva

Time: 15:00 to 18:00 (16:00 to 19:00 in Kampala) on 15 April; 10:00 to 13:00 (11:00 to 14:00) on 16 April.

Among the possible issues for discussion are: Legal framework regarding protection of migrant workers; main challenges and obstacles in regulating labour migration processes; measures taken to implement National List of Hazardous Child Labour; detention of migrants; steps taken to ensure right of quality of treatment of migrant workers, including those in an irregular situation; right to transfer earnings and savings.

More information can be found here:

http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=962&Lang=en

The Committee will make its concluding observations on Uganda and the other States being reviewed – Kyrgyzstan and Peru – available here by 24 April. http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=962&Lang=en

Source:: UN Committee on Migrant Workers to review Uganda

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Nomination call for UN Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize 2015

NEW YORK, April 13, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The first UN Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize has opened the call for nominations. The prize recognizes the achievements of those who dedicate their lives to the service of humanity in the promotion of reconciliation and social cohesion, and in community development, guided by the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

The Prize will be presented once every five years as a tribute to the outstanding achievements and contributions of two individuals (one female and one male), not to be selected from the same geographic region.

Deadline for receiving nomination is May 18, 2015

Nominations (in English) should be sent to the Secretariat by email at: mandelaprize@un.org.

To submit a nomination, please download the nomination formwhich isavailable at: www.un.org/en/events/mandeladay/nominations.shtml.

Further information about the Prize can be found at www.un.org/en/events/mandeladay/prize.

Source:: Nomination call for UN Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize 2015

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Thousands newly displaced after renewed clashes in Upper Nile, South Sudan

JUBA, South Sudan, April 13, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Increased clashes and continuing tension in Upper Nile since the beginning of April have led to 4,600 newly displaced people at the Protection of Civilians (PoC) in Malakal town, the capital of the state. MSF continues to support the hospital in the PoC in the town.

In Mellut, around 1,000 families, mostly of the Shilluk ethnic group, have fled their camp and sought refuge across the Nile in an area called ‘Noon’, approximately 10 Km from Mellut. MSF, one of the few organisations working in Mellut, has set up a mobile clinic to assist this population and is preparing to do a supplementary food distribution.

Source:: Thousands newly displaced after renewed clashes in Upper Nile, South Sudan

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Minister Nicholson Disappointed by Sudanese President’s Failure to Hold National Dialogue Ahead of Elections

OTTAWA, Canada, April 10, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:

“Canada is disappointed by the failure of Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir to deliver on his promise to hold an inclusive national dialogue in the lead-up to the Sudanese general and presidential elections.

“Over the last year, Sudanese authorities have repeatedly seized newspapers’ print runs, ordered political arrests—including those of opposition leaders—hindered pre-electoral activities and targeted civilians in the states of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

“These actions have obstructed the emergence of a free and open democratic process and have led many opposition parties to boycott the elections. As a result, the outcome of the elections will not reflect the will of all Sudanese people.

“Canada calls on the Government of Sudan to honour in full its commitment under the national dialogue road map and to build the necessary trust for a return to dialogue, which is the only way to resolve the current conflicts in Sudan and to ensure the rights and interests of all Sudanese are respected.”

Source:: Minister Nicholson Disappointed by Sudanese President’s Failure to Hold National Dialogue Ahead of Elections

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Statement on the 5th meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee regarding the Ebola outbreak in West Africa

GENEVA, Switzerland, April 10, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The fifth meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the WHO Director-General under the International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005 regarding the Ebola virus disease (EVD, or “Ebola”) outbreak in West Africa was conducted with members and advisors of the Emergency Committee on Thursday, 9 April 2015.

As provided in the IHR 2005, the main issues for the Committee’s advice to the Director-General were: (1) does the event continue to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and, if so, (2) should the current temporary recommendations be extended, revised, and/or new temporary recommendations issued.

The Committee reviewed developments since the previous meeting on 20 January 2015, including the current epidemiological situation. The Committee noted that as a result of further improvements in EVD prevention and control activities across West Africa, including in the area of contact tracing, the overall risk of international spread appears to have further reduced since January with a decline in case incidence and geographic distribution in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. These three IHR States Parties provided updates and assessment of the Ebola outbreak, in terms of the epidemiological situation and the status and performance of exit screening and contact tracing.

The Committee recognized the progress achieved by all three countries and emphasized that there was no place for complacency, the primary goal remaining the interruption of transmission as rapidly as possible. The Committee reinforced the importance of community engagement in “getting to zero”. The Committee expressed its continued concern about the recent infection of health care workers and reaffirmed the importance of ensuring the rigourous application of appropriate infection prevention and control measures.

The Committee discussed the issue of probable sexual transmission of EVD, particularly the recent case who is likely to have been infected following sexual contact involving an Ebola survivor some months after his recovery. The Committee welcomed the ongoing programme of research underway in this area and urged its acceleration as a priority.

The Committee discussed the issue of inappropriate health measures that go beyond those in the temporary recommendations issued to date. The Committee was very concerned that additional health measures, such as quarantine of returning travellers, refusal of entry, cancellation of flights and border closures significantly interfere with international travel and transport and negatively impact both the response and recovery efforts. Although some countries are reported to have recently rescinded these additional health measures, and some regional airlines have resumed flights to affected countries, about 40 countries are still implementing additional measures and a number of airlines have not resumed flights to these countries.

The Committee concluded that the event continues to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and recommended that all previous temporary recommendations should be extended. The Committee provided the following additional advice to the Director-General for her consideration in addressing the Ebola outbreak in accordance with the IHR.

Recommendations for the most affected countries (Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone)

The Committee strongly reiterated the need for continued exit screening in the three affected countries. Such exit screening must be maintained for at least 42 days after the last case has twice tested negative for Ebola; countries are encouraged to maintain exit screening until human-to-human transmission has stopped in the entire subregion. The Committee again urged affected countries to provide WHO, on a monthly basis, with the number of people screened at international airports and the results of such screening.

Recommendations for countries sharing borders with Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone

The Committee reemphasized the need to continue to reinforce active surveillance, particularly in border areas, and to engage in cross-border cooperation, information and asset sharing, continued vigilance for new cases, and tracing of known contacts. The Committee highlighted the strong social and cultural linkages that cross national boundaries and must be taken into account in planning and implementing such activities.

Recommendations for all countries

The Committee reaffirmed the need to avoid unnecessary interference with international travel and transport, and to only implement measures which are commensurate with the current public health risks, as specified in Article 2 of the IHR 2005 and expressed in the current temporary recommendations. The Committee welcomed WHO’s continued work to monitor inappropriate measures and urged States Parties to reverse quickly any such measures and to inform WHO of such action in advance of the World Health Assembly discussion on the Ebola crisis in May 2015.

Based on this advice and the information considered by the Committee, the Director-General declared that the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone continues to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The Director-General endorsed the Committee’s advice, extended the existing Temporary Recommendation and issued the additional advice as new Temporary Recommendations under IHR (2005). The Director-General thanked the Committee members and advisors for their advice and requested their reassessment of this situation within three months or earlier should circumstances require.

Source:: Statement on the 5th meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee regarding the Ebola outbreak in West Africa

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