U.S. Concern About Violations of Cessation of Hostilities in South Sudan

WASHINGTON, February 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Press Statement

Jen Psaki

Department Spokesperson

Washington, DC

February 8, 2014

We are deeply concerned by reports of violations by both the Government of South Sudan and anti-government forces of the Cessation of Hostilities agreement that was signed in Addis Ababa on January 23. We urge the redeployment or phased withdrawal of foreign forces invited by either side, and warn of the serious consequences which could result from any regionalization of this conflict.

We welcome the arrival in Juba of the first component of the team that will eventually monitor and verify the implementation of the Cessation of Hostilities agreement. We strongly urge the Government of South Sudan to facilitate its important work, which will provide both sides with a mechanism to report any breaches of the agreement.

We look forward to the beginning of the IGAD-led political dialogue and inclusive reconciliation process. We urge the government of South Sudan to support these efforts and to release the remaining four political detainees. The expeditious release and transfer of all of the detainees would reduce tension and build confidence in an inclusive reconciliation process.

We also call on the government of South Sudan to fully cooperate with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). It is imperative that the government ensure that any assaults on and threats against UNMISS facilities and personnel immediately cease. The Mission’s ability to carry out its mandate is critical to establish peace and meet the urgent humanitarian needs of the people of South Sudan.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

Canada Condemns Upsurge of Violence in Central African Republic

OTTAWA, Canada, February 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and Andrew Bennett, Canada’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom, today issued the following statement:

“Canada strongly condemns the upsurge of violence in the Central African Republic that reportedly claimed the lives of 75 people in the town of Boda during sectarian clashes that took place in the week of January 27. Canada also condemns the brutal February 5 lynching of an onlooker at the end of the official ceremony marking the reinstatement of the country’s armed forces.

“Canada condemns these reprehensible acts and calls for the perpetrators to be brought to justice quickly.

“While the international community is rallying to improve the humanitarian situation and security in the Central African Republic, Canada urges all the parties involved in this conflict to exercise restraint to end the cycle of violence undermining the country. The people of the Central African Republic, anxious to rebuild their country, will be able to do so only in a context of peace and security.”

In 2013, Canada contributed $6.95 million to address the urgent needs of people affected by the conflict in the Central African Republic. Through international and Canadian humanitarian organizations and other partners, Canada has provided clean water, food, basic health care and protection to those most affected by this crisis.

On Wednesday, February 12, the House of Commons will hold a take-note debate on the situation in the Central African Republic.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

Sudan: UN rights expert in official mission to Khartoum, Darfur and South Kordofan

GENEVA, Switzerland, February 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mashood Adebayo Baderin, will visit the Sudan from 11 to 20 February 2014 to follow-up on his previous recommendations*, and identify areas of technical assistance and capacity building which will help the country fulfil its human rights obligations.

“The Government of the Sudan has made some progress in developing policies as well as legislative and institutional mechanisms necessary for improving the human rights situation in the country,” Mr. Baderin said, announcing his fourth mission to the Country.

“Sudan now needs to concentrate on implementing these policies through the adoption of a results-oriented culture that promotes the tangible realization of the adopted human rights policies across the relevant institutions in the country,” he stressed.

During his nine-day mission, the human rights expert will travel to Khartoum, North, Central and East Darfur, as well as South Kordofan states, where he will meet with Government officials, civil society actors, humanitarian organisations and UN agencies.

At the conclusion of his visit on Wednesday 19 February, the Independent Expert will hold a press conference at the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Office in Khartoum at 1:30 pm

Mr. Baderin will present his findings and recommendations in a comprehensive report to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2014.

(*) Check the latest reports by the Independent Expert: http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?m=95&m=172

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

Médecins Sans Frontières Launches Campaign in Guinea to Vaccinate 400,000 Children Against Measles

GENEVA, Switzerland, February 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The humanitarian medical organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Saturday launched a vaccination campaign against measles in an attempt to control the epidemic that was declared by the government of that country on January 14. 1105 suspected cases, with 68 confirmed, have already been recorded, causing the fear of a rapid explosion in the number of infections.

“Measles is one of the most highly contagious diseases and it can spread like wildfire. It affects primarily children, and can involve severe medical complications so it is critical that action be taken in order to avoid the catastrophe that occurred in 2009, when ten children lost their lives,” explained Corinne Benazech, MSF’s Head of Mission in Conakry.

Working in co-operation with the Ministry of Health, MSF has deployed 32 teams throughout the Matam, Matoto and Ratoma neighbourhoods of Conakry. Placed strategically close to the people who need it, in areas such as community centres, private homes and public spaces, the MSF teams expect to vaccinate 394,000 children, ages six months to ten years. 400 personnel from MSF and the Ministry of Health will be working for three weeks to orchestrate this emergency operation requiring powerful logistics. There is no charge to those who receive the vaccine.

MSF estimates that during this epidemic some fifty children infected with measles will be at risk of developing serious, and potentially fatal, complications, so it will be supporting targeted health structures, primarily by providing medical treatment to children infected with measles.

“Measles and its complications can be fatal, so it is critical that we vaccinate all children in order to protect them, now and for several decades to come,” explained Gemma Dominguez, MSF Medical Coordinator in Conakry.

Measles can be avoided with a safe and effective vaccine which, when it is part of a routine vaccination program, is given to all children, starting from the age of 9 months. But overall, just 37% of the country’s children have received both the vaccine doses that are needed to provide them with full protection. Even in Conakry, the vaccination coverage remains insufficient, because just 80% of the population has been vaccinated.

As part of its campaign, MSF will be able to provide no-charge diagnosis of those children that are sick, so that they can be treated. “Children showing symptoms that begin with a high fever need to be seen by a physician. This can save their lives,” explained Dr Daloka Delamou, Medical Coordinator with MSF. Follow-up in cases involving complications will also be provided at no charge.

The Guinean government announced that the vaccine stock used for routine vaccinations will be exhausted by February 15, and so it has asked for MSF support in organizing the emergency vaccination campaign in the three communities where an epidemic has been declared.

MSF has been working in Guinea for the past 25 years. In addition to its regular projects involving the provision of treatment to AIDS patients, it provides regular support to the government of Guinea in response to emergencies and epidemics.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

US Special Envoy Visits IOM Operations in Eastern DRC

GENEVA, Switzerland, February 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — US Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Russell D. Feingold, US Ambassador to the DRC James Swan, and senior officials from the US Mission in Kinshasa have visited an IOM maritime training programme for the National Congolese Police (PNC) in the east of the country.

The US diplomats observed a speedboat training of ten PNC trainers organized by IOM and the Uruguayan Riverine Patrol Company (URPAC) in Bukavu-South Kivu province, supported by the United States Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).

“This is an important initiative towards improving the security along DRC’s frontier with its eastern neighbors, and I am supportive of INL’s involvement,” said Special Envoy Feingold.

In addition to funding the training, INL has also paid for repairs to PNC boats used on the rivers and lakes that form the eastern DRC’s borders.

IOM has expressed its readiness to widen the scope of the project to build the capacity and equip 12 PNC river units comprising 280 trained marine police. The force would be deployed along all DRC river and lake frontiers as part of the DRC’s border management strategy for 2014-2017.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

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