GENEVA, Switzerland, December 13, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Within the scope of its ongoing European Union-funded project “Stabilizing at-risk communities and enhancing migration management to enable smooth transitions in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya” (START), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is currently carrying out a collaborative series of trainings with the Egyptian Government’s National Coordinating Committee for Combating Human Trafficking and Illegal Migration (NCC).
The three-day training workshop being held in Alexandria is targeting 60 judges from Alexandria, Marsa Matrouh, Tanta, Kafr Elsheikh and Damanhour, exposing these to the issues of trafficking, migrant protection and international migration law. The aim of the training is to raise the awareness of judges of various governorates of Egypt on human trafficking, with a focus, among others, on the Egypt’s Law 64 on counter trafficking.
As part of its commitment to fighting human trafficking, IOM strengthens the capacities of its government counterparts by setting operational standards to achieve sustainable results that will provide protection to victims, raise awareness and understanding of the issue and bring justice to trafficked persons.
Through an effective investigation and prosecution, the judges participating in this training can help victims regain their dignity and stop perpetuators from committing this human violation.
The workshop provided background information about trafficking, including the links to their root causes and reviewed international standards as well as the Egyptian law that defines the crime of human trafficking. In addition, participants were provided practical tools including a checklist of indicators for identifying victims.
“Trainings such as these are very important for us especially given that Law 64 is relatively new and most of us were not aware of its existence,” said Counselor Mohammed Hammad, a participant of the workshop. “It would also be very useful for us if IOM would hold such workshops in the future and include members of the Ministry of Interior as well as colleagues from the office of the Prosecutor General so that we can all discuss a more effective method of identifying victims of trafficking and ensuring that the criminals involved are properly reprimanded.”
IOM’s three-year EU-funded START program seeks to stabilize at-risk-communities throughout Libya, Egypt and Tunisia by strengthening migration management, providing timely and critical relief to irregular migrants and by building capacities of relevant government bodies to enable them to anticipate and address emerging migration challenges.
GENEVA, Switzerland, December 13, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On the 10th and 11th of December 2013, IOM Sudan arranged for the safe departure of 60 Eritrean refugees to be resettled to Canada from Sudan. IOM Staff from Sudan escorted the refugees to Calgary and Toronto.
The Government of Canada is the first in the top five resettlement countries accepting refugees from Sudan. A total of 711 refugees have been assisted for resettlement from Sudan to Canada in 2013. The other countries on the top five are Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Australia.
One refugee traveling on 11 December said he felt “happy yet a bit sad departing to the new country, as I do not know what is waiting for me in Canada, but I am sure I will be OK and will adapt soon.”
Prior to the departure to the resettlement countries, refugees received cultural orientation to prepare themselves to adjust and reintegrate in Canada. The IOM Migration Health Unit performed medical screening to ensure that all refugees moving under the auspices of IOM were fit to travel and that they received appropriate medical attention and assistance during all phases of the travel.
IOM in Sudan has been providing a safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation arrangement for refugees in Sudan accepted for resettlement since 2005. There were three hundred fifty two (352) refugees resettled to Canada, Australia and Europe in 2005.
In the time span of 8 years, the number of resettlement countries who joined in providing a durable solution for refugees in Sudan increased to 16. By the end of November 2013, a total of 12,134 refugees, majority being Eritrean refugees, have departed to Canada, Norway, Sweden, Australia, Switzerland, USA, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Italy, New Zealand, Denmark, France, Belgium, Germany and Spain.
The refugees are accepted for resettlement under the Government Refugee Quota and Family Reunification Programmes. IOM Sudan works in close coordination with the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Commission for Refugees (COR) and the Alien Department of the Ministry of Interior (MOI), Khartoum International Airport Authority in all stages of the pre departure preparation and processing for accepted refugees and their final travel departure from Sudan.
“IOM hopes that more countries will contribute offering a durable solution approach for refugees in Sudan,” said Ester T. Gigir, IOM Programme Cooordinator for Movement and Migration Management.
UNHCR reported that more than 150.000 refugee are in Sudan. This number consists of protracted refugees and new arrival refugees in which Eritrean represents the majority of the caseloads.
CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa, December 13, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Op-ed by Lindlyn Moma, Regional Advocacy Manager for WaterAid in Southern Africa (http://www.wateraid.org)
Logo WaterAid: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/wateraid.jpg
Photo Lindlyn Moma: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=769 (Lindlyn Moma is Regional Advocacy Manager for WaterAid in Southern Africa)
Photo 2: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=770 (Victoria Miandrisoja, 9, smiles with friends whilst washing in clean water from the tap installed at school, Ampanasana Public Primary school, Miandrivazo, Madagascar, 2012 (Credit: Anna Kari/WaterAid)
Africa’s leaders have in their hands a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape the international development agenda, not just for their continent but for the whole globe.
The continent’s leaders are in the midst of negotiating the Africa Common Position (ACP) on what the UN framework for development will look like after 2015. The outcome will be hugely influential.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has pointed out that we are the first generation that has the resources and know-how to end extreme poverty. We must ensure that no one is left behind.
As we debate how to achieve this, we must not forget about the work yet to be completed on the UN Millennium Development Goals. These eight ambitious goals, set in 2000 to address hunger, extreme poverty and other issues crippling the developing world, run out in 2015.
Sanitation is the most off track of all of these goals. UN figures show some 70% of sub-Saharan Africans do not have access to adequate sanitation, while over a quarter — nearly 230 million people — practise open defecation.
This has devastating consequences for the continent. Over a thousand African children under the age of five die every day because of this lack of safe drinking water and poor sanitation.
Last month, Secretary-General Ban called upon the world to “urgently step up” its efforts and put sanitation at the heart of post-2015 development.
Failing to do so will carry measurable financial costs.
UN estimates suggest about 5% of the continent’s wealth is being lost from this lack of access to water and sanitation. If everyone had access to these services, it would add $33 billion US a year to the continent’s economies, according to a conservative 2012 estimate by economists at the World Health Organisation.
Ghana alone, for instance, according to a World Bank assessment, loses $290 million US each year to a lack of sanitation services. Kenya loses $324 million, Nigeria a staggering $3 billion.
Making access to sanitation and safe water a top priority in the African Common Position presents an opportunity for Africa’s children, and for economic growth. This is also in line with the Africa Water Vision 2025.
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, along with the UN-established High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, has already called for a new UN development goal of universal access to water and sanitation. In following that lead, African leaders can be seen to be listening to the voices of its citizens, including women and girls, who are calling for the prioritisation of water and sanitation post-2015.
As we now mourn the loss of Nelson Mandela, the ultimate symbol of justice for the African people, we also remember his calls for an African Renaissance.
Safe water and better sanitation can help address so many of the challenges Africa faces today, from reducing the HIV transmission rate to improving child health and school attendance. As Mandela himself said: “Water is central in the social, economic and political affairs of the African continent.”
By prioritising safe water and sanitation, Africa’s leaders can also ensure the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals is dealt with strategically. Africa’s leaders can set the continent onto a trajectory so that by 2030, everyone has access to this basic right to sanitation.
If we miss this opportunity, we risk leaving hundreds of millions of people on the continent behind, stranding them far from that promise of an African Renaissance.
Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of WaterAid.
BERN, Switzerland, December 13, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Federal Council has approved a contribution of CHF 60 million for the 2014-2016 period for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM). Switzerland was one of the founders of the Geneva-based fund in 2002 and has been one of its key partners since the beginning. Malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis remain the leading causes of death in sub-Saharan Africa. These three diseases are among the most important factors hampering development.
Three diseases – malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis – are among the most frequent causes of death worldwide, and especially in Africa. Malaria remains the leading parasitic disease worldwide. In 99 countries, approximately 219 million new cases are registered every year. About half of the world’s population lives in areas affected by malaria. The WHO estimates that in countries in Africa with endemic malaria the disease lowers economic growth by 1.3 percentage points per year.
Some 2.5 million people are still becoming newly infected with HIV every year and more than 1.7 million people die of AIDS-related illnesses every year worldwide. In the case of tuberculosis, the estimated number of annual deaths is 1.4 million. HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis frequently occur in combination, making them very difficult to treat in developing countries.
Nevertheless, considerable progress has been made in the fight against these three diseases over the past ten years. For example, new HIV infections declined by 33% worldwide, and by more than 50% among children in medium-income countries. Some 8 million people in Africa are currently receiving antiretroviral therapy – a twenty-fold increase from 2003. Significant progress has also been made in the fight against tuberculosis: the TB mortality rate has fallen by approximately 41% since 1990. The UN’s millennium development goal of stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other major diseases by 2015 and gradually reversing their incidence is thus within reach.
The fight against malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis is a high priority for international development cooperation as well as for Switzerland. The significant progress achieved so far can no doubt be attributed amongst others to the efforts of GFATM, which is the biggest backer in the fight against these three diseases.
ABUJA, Nigeria, December 13, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — ECOWAS is deploying 50 election observers to Mali for the country’s second-round Parliamentary polls on 15th December 2013 following an inconclusive first-round balloting on 24 November 2013.
The regional Observation Mission will be headed by Prof. Amos Sawyer, former President of Liberia’s Interim Government of National Unity, who also led the 100-strong ECOWAS observers to the first round voting. He will be supported this time by Ambassador Leopold Ouedraogo, a Member of the ECOWAS Council of the Wise.
Provisional results from the first-round elections which featured more than 1,140 candidates fielded by the ruling and opposition coalitions and independents, showed that the country’s three main political parties secured less than 20 seats out of the 147 available in the National Assembly. Turnout was put officially at 38.4 percent.
Mali’s electoral law provides for a run-off to be decided by a simple majority vote in a situation where no independent candidate or list of coalition candidates secured the mandatory 50 percent plus one vote in the first round.
In its Preliminary Declaration, the ECOWAS Election Observation Mission which observed the first round balloting across Mali’s eight regions and the Municipalities of the capital, Bamako, adjudged the conduct as credible and transparent.
The Mission also noted the low turnout, saying the shortcomings it observed, including the inadequate sensitization of voters and late display of Voters Lists at several polling stations “did not in any significant way, affect the conduct of the election in line with globally acceptable standards.”
Following the July/August successful presidential elections, the deployment of the ECOWAS Observation Mission for the legislative polls, is in furtherance of efforts aimed at helping Mali conclude the ECOWAS-facilitated transitional road map for the restoration of full constitutional order and the country’s territorial integrity in the aftermath of last year’s military coup and separatist insurrection in the north.