Nov 072014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The United Nations Special Rapporteurs Christof Heyns and Juan Méndez have been prevented from completing a torture and killing investigation during the first visit ever to The Gambia by experts of the independent fact-finding mechanism of the Human Rights Council Special Procedures.

The two UN human rights experts carried out an official mission* to the country to examine the current level of protection of the right to life in law and in practice, and assess the situation and identify challenges regarding torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in The Gambia, among other things.

In a remarkable and encouraging step, the Gambian Government invited the two UN Special Rapporteurs earlier this year to conduct a joint visit from 3 to 7 November 2014.

Unfortunately, and despite a written agreement accepting the Terms of Reference of the two mandates, once the investigators arrived, the Government denied them access to certain sections of the first prison the two mandate holders attempted to visit. They offered instead a guided tour to parts of the prison, informing that under no circumstances would they be allowed to visit the Security Wing, where inter alia the death row prisoners are held.

“The prospect of departing from the principle of unrestricted access in one country but not in others we have or will visit, would clearly display double standards and undermine the mandates entrusted to us by the UN Human Rights Council,” the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan Méndez, said.

“Due to denial of access to the Security Wing of Mile 2 prison to visit those sentenced to lengthy sentences, including the death penalty, an inference must be drawn that there is something important to hide. This incident forced us to suspend this integral part of the visit,” the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, added.

Since they had to suspend visits to all places of detention, the two experts were not able to assess independently the conditions in any of the prisons or police stations, though they were still able to meet with people who have been detained or served their sentences in those prisons.

“Throughout the visit, we received many testimonies from people who did not want to be identified out of fear for either their own safety or their families, and we have therefore asked the Government to reaffirm its commitment not to engage in any reprisals,” the experts said.

The seemingly arbitrary re-introduction of executions for a couple of days in August 2012 and then its subsequent suspension shocked the world and tainted the Gambian justice system and its approach to the right to life. On 23 August 2012, nine death row prisoners were executed. According to available evidence, the death sentences were imposed in violation of international fair trial standards, including the most serious crimes provisions.

“Prior to these events, the last official execution in the country took place in 1985 and the country actively participated in the region’s efforts to abolish in law and practice the death penalty, with a moratorium on the death penalty for 27 years and the abolition of capital punishment for drug offences in April 2011,” Mr. Heyns noted.

“However, the executions undermined these efforts and represented a major step backwards for the country, and for the protection of the right to life in the world as a whole,” he added.

“During our visit, we also received reports of extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances against those who are deemed to be opponents of the regime, members of security forces, journalists and human rights defenders,” the experts said. “We would like to recall the duty of the Government to take measures to prevent and punish deprivation of life by criminal acts, and to prevent arbitrary killing by their own security forces.”

We received many reports that there are para-military hit-squads in the country that go by names such as the ‘Jungulars’. These are serious matters that will expose those behind it to criminal prosecution, if proven to be correct. We call on the Government to appoint a judicial Commission of inquiry to investigate these allegations.

“During my investigation I found that torture is a consistent practice carried out by the National Intelligence Agency. In cases where there is a real or perceived threat to national security there is a corresponding increase in acts of torture and ill-treatment during the detention and arrest process” Mr. Méndez noted.

The Government has an obligation to investigate, prosecute and punish every incident of torture and ill-treatment and the obligation to prevent such occurrences. “It would be important for judges and prosecutors to take it upon themselves, under a sense of legal obligation, to visit places of detention to locate detainees subject to a petition for habeas corpus relief or for bail; to order medical examinations by qualified forensic as soon as any suspicion of mistreatment arises and to initiate prosecutions against whomever may be responsible for mistreating an inmate,” he explained.

“While the standards for detention and arrest by the police appear to be consistent with international law, we are concerned that in practice, arrests pursuant to a warrant are the exception and not the rule,” the Special Rapporteurs stressed.

“The ‘reasonable suspicion’ standard is seldom if ever examined to determine whether reasonable grounds existed, and the evidence obtained pursuant to an otherwise illegal arrest is challenged even less frequently. As a result, police arrest to investigate, rather than investigate to arrest,” they stated.

When The Gambia appeared before the Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council last week it appeared that a fruitful dialogue on human rights could help The Gambia re-engage with the international community.

“This was our hope when we committed ourselves to this visit in good faith. While our visit has experienced serious challenges regarding unrestricted access and an overriding atmosphere of apprehension and even fear from many who engaged with us, we welcome the assurances we have received from officials at the highest level that there will be no reprisals and hope that the Government will find our observations helpful for continued engagement on human rights,” the experts said.

“We will continue to engage with the Government and all relevant stakeholders to receive more information and clarifications before we present our respective final reports on our visit to the UN Human Rights Council in March and June 2015.”

“We wish to conclude by reiterating our appreciation to the Government for having invited us to visit the country. We hope that our visit leads to a fruitful cooperation between our mandates and The Gambia,” Mr. Heyns and Mr. Méndez underscored.

(*) Check the full end-of-mission statement: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15265&LangID=E

Nov 072014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The United Nations Special Rapporteurs Christof Heyns and Juan Méndez have been prevented from completing a torture and killing investigation during the first visit ever to The Gambia by experts of the independent fact-finding mechanism of the Human Rights Council Special Procedures.

The two UN human rights experts carried out an official mission* to the country to examine the current level of protection of the right to life in law and in practice, and assess the situation and identify challenges regarding torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in The Gambia, among other things.

In a remarkable and encouraging step, the Gambian Government invited the two UN Special Rapporteurs earlier this year to conduct a joint visit from 3 to 7 November 2014.

Unfortunately, and despite a written agreement accepting the Terms of Reference of the two mandates, once the investigators arrived, the Government denied them access to certain sections of the first prison the two mandate holders attempted to visit. They offered instead a guided tour to parts of the prison, informing that under no circumstances would they be allowed to visit the Security Wing, where inter alia the death row prisoners are held.

“The prospect of departing from the principle of unrestricted access in one country but not in others we have or will visit, would clearly display double standards and undermine the mandates entrusted to us by the UN Human Rights Council,” the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan Méndez, said.

“Due to denial of access to the Security Wing of Mile 2 prison to visit those sentenced to lengthy sentences, including the death penalty, an inference must be drawn that there is something important to hide. This incident forced us to suspend this integral part of the visit,” the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, added.

Since they had to suspend visits to all places of detention, the two experts were not able to assess independently the conditions in any of the prisons or police stations, though they were still able to meet with people who have been detained or served their sentences in those prisons.

“Throughout the visit, we received many testimonies from people who did not want to be identified out of fear for either their own safety or their families, and we have therefore asked the Government to reaffirm its commitment not to engage in any reprisals,” the experts said.

The seemingly arbitrary re-introduction of executions for a couple of days in August 2012 and then its subsequent suspension shocked the world and tainted the Gambian justice system and its approach to the right to life. On 23 August 2012, nine death row prisoners were executed. According to available evidence, the death sentences were imposed in violation of international fair trial standards, including the most serious crimes provisions.

“Prior to these events, the last official execution in the country took place in 1985 and the country actively participated in the region’s efforts to abolish in law and practice the death penalty, with a moratorium on the death penalty for 27 years and the abolition of capital punishment for drug offences in April 2011,” Mr. Heyns noted.

“However, the executions undermined these efforts and represented a major step backwards for the country, and for the protection of the right to life in the world as a whole,” he added.

“During our visit, we also received reports of extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances against those who are deemed to be opponents of the regime, members of security forces, journalists and human rights defenders,” the experts said. “We would like to recall the duty of the Government to take measures to prevent and punish deprivation of life by criminal acts, and to prevent arbitrary killing by their own security forces.”

We received many reports that there are para-military hit-squads in the country that go by names such as the ‘Jungulars’. These are serious matters that will expose those behind it to criminal prosecution, if proven to be correct. We call on the Government to appoint a judicial Commission of inquiry to investigate these allegations.

“During my investigation I found that torture is a consistent practice carried out by the National Intelligence Agency. In cases where there is a real or perceived threat to national security there is a corresponding increase in acts of torture and ill-treatment during the detention and arrest process” Mr. Méndez noted.

The Government has an obligation to investigate, prosecute and punish every incident of torture and ill-treatment and the obligation to prevent such occurrences. “It would be important for judges and prosecutors to take it upon themselves, under a sense of legal obligation, to visit places of detention to locate detainees subject to a petition for habeas corpus relief or for bail; to order medical examinations by qualified forensic as soon as any suspicion of mistreatment arises and to initiate prosecutions against whomever may be responsible for mistreating an inmate,” he explained.

“While the standards for detention and arrest by the police appear to be consistent with international law, we are concerned that in practice, arrests pursuant to a warrant are the exception and not the rule,” the Special Rapporteurs stressed.

“The ‘reasonable suspicion’ standard is seldom if ever examined to determine whether reasonable grounds existed, and the evidence obtained pursuant to an otherwise illegal arrest is challenged even less frequently. As a result, police arrest to investigate, rather than investigate to arrest,” they stated.

When The Gambia appeared before the Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council last week it appeared that a fruitful dialogue on human rights could help The Gambia re-engage with the international community.

“This was our hope when we committed ourselves to this visit in good faith. While our visit has experienced serious challenges regarding unrestricted access and an overriding atmosphere of apprehension and even fear from many who engaged with us, we welcome the assurances we have received from officials at the highest level that there will be no reprisals and hope that the Government will find our observations helpful for continued engagement on human rights,” the experts said.

“We will continue to engage with the Government and all relevant stakeholders to receive more information and clarifications before we present our respective final reports on our visit to the UN Human Rights Council in March and June 2015.”

“We wish to conclude by reiterating our appreciation to the Government for having invited us to visit the country. We hope that our visit leads to a fruitful cooperation between our mandates and The Gambia,” Mr. Heyns and Mr. Méndez underscored.

(*) Check the full end-of-mission statement: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15265&LangID=E

Nov 072014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A new WHO protocol for safe and dignified burial of people who die from Ebola virus disease emphasizes inclusion of family members and encouraging religious rites as an essential part of safe burials.

“At least 20% of new Ebola infections occur during burials of Ebola deceased patients. By building trust and respect between burial teams, bereaved families and religious groups, we are building trust and safety in the response itself.” says Dr. Pierre Formenty, one of WHO’s top Ebola experts. “Introducing components such as inviting the family to be involved in digging the grave and offering options for dry ablution and shrouding will make a significant difference in curbing Ebola transmission.”

Ebola infections occur during burials when family and community members perform religious rites that require directly touching or washing the body, which still contains high levels of Ebola virus; and when family members distribute personal property of the loved one, which may be infected with the virus.

Developed by an interdisciplinary team at WHO, in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and faith-based organizations including World Council of Churches, Islamic Relief, Caritas Internationalis and World Vision, this updated protocol outlines step-by-step processes for safe and dignified burials. The protocol encourages inclusion of family and local clergy in the planning and preparation of the burial, as well as at the burial event itself, giving specific instructions for Muslim and Christian burials.

“We are becoming known for ‘dead body management’, but we do not ‘manage’ dead bodies. We safely, respectfully and in a dignified manner, accompany our deceased fellow human beings and help to prepare them, in accordance with their cultures, for their last resting places. It is in this spirit that our volunteers carry out their difficult work” says Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General, IFRC.

“It is clear from Islamic juristic ruling that the necessity of religious washing of the body before burial of patients who die from Ebola is over-ruled,” says Rehanah Sadiq, a Muslim chaplain with University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust who served as consultant to WHO on the protocol. “However, it is vital to help bereaved families grieve and find closure by ensuring that sacred rites, such as performing a dry ablution, shrouding the body, and praying over the deceased are represented in Muslim funerals. Providing safe alternatives for families to maintain deeply-cherished practices helps them be part of the decision-making process, which is critical particularly during a time when they may be feeling helpless.”

“Giving the family an opportunity to view the body of the deceased, ensuring that the grave is appropriately labelled, and allowing religious leaders to offer prayers and family members the option to throw the first soil – these are important incentives for encouraging families to continue to find strength in their faith, and to keep other family members safe from becoming infected,” said Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Head of Delegation, Caritas Internationalis.

A team of medical anthropologists also contributed meaningful, safe alternatives for touching and bathing dead bodies, developed from research into the cultural significance and values of burial practices in affected countries. The research included consultations with religious leaders in affected countries to define what is meant by “dignified burial” in both the Muslim and Christian context.

The protocol also includes ways for Ebola burial teams to carry out their work safely while respecting family sensitivities. These include abstaining from wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) when first meeting with the family, and asking the family if there are specific requests for managing the burial and personal effects of the deceased. As the protocol is applied in affected countries, feedback from religious leaders, communities and people managing burials will be used to update and improve the protocol.

The link to Safe and Dignified Burial Protocol:

http://www.who.int/csr/resources/publications/ebola/safe-burial-protocol/en/

Nov 072014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A new WHO protocol for safe and dignified burial of people who die from Ebola virus disease emphasizes inclusion of family members and encouraging religious rites as an essential part of safe burials.

“At least 20% of new Ebola infections occur during burials of Ebola deceased patients. By building trust and respect between burial teams, bereaved families and religious groups, we are building trust and safety in the response itself.” says Dr. Pierre Formenty, one of WHO’s top Ebola experts. “Introducing components such as inviting the family to be involved in digging the grave and offering options for dry ablution and shrouding will make a significant difference in curbing Ebola transmission.”

Ebola infections occur during burials when family and community members perform religious rites that require directly touching or washing the body, which still contains high levels of Ebola virus; and when family members distribute personal property of the loved one, which may be infected with the virus.

Developed by an interdisciplinary team at WHO, in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and faith-based organizations including World Council of Churches, Islamic Relief, Caritas Internationalis and World Vision, this updated protocol outlines step-by-step processes for safe and dignified burials. The protocol encourages inclusion of family and local clergy in the planning and preparation of the burial, as well as at the burial event itself, giving specific instructions for Muslim and Christian burials.

“We are becoming known for ‘dead body management’, but we do not ‘manage’ dead bodies. We safely, respectfully and in a dignified manner, accompany our deceased fellow human beings and help to prepare them, in accordance with their cultures, for their last resting places. It is in this spirit that our volunteers carry out their difficult work” says Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General, IFRC.

“It is clear from Islamic juristic ruling that the necessity of religious washing of the body before burial of patients who die from Ebola is over-ruled,” says Rehanah Sadiq, a Muslim chaplain with University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust who served as consultant to WHO on the protocol. “However, it is vital to help bereaved families grieve and find closure by ensuring that sacred rites, such as performing a dry ablution, shrouding the body, and praying over the deceased are represented in Muslim funerals. Providing safe alternatives for families to maintain deeply-cherished practices helps them be part of the decision-making process, which is critical particularly during a time when they may be feeling helpless.”

“Giving the family an opportunity to view the body of the deceased, ensuring that the grave is appropriately labelled, and allowing religious leaders to offer prayers and family members the option to throw the first soil – these are important incentives for encouraging families to continue to find strength in their faith, and to keep other family members safe from becoming infected,” said Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Head of Delegation, Caritas Internationalis.

A team of medical anthropologists also contributed meaningful, safe alternatives for touching and bathing dead bodies, developed from research into the cultural significance and values of burial practices in affected countries. The research included consultations with religious leaders in affected countries to define what is meant by “dignified burial” in both the Muslim and Christian context.

The protocol also includes ways for Ebola burial teams to carry out their work safely while respecting family sensitivities. These include abstaining from wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) when first meeting with the family, and asking the family if there are specific requests for managing the burial and personal effects of the deceased. As the protocol is applied in affected countries, feedback from religious leaders, communities and people managing burials will be used to update and improve the protocol.

The link to Safe and Dignified Burial Protocol:

http://www.who.int/csr/resources/publications/ebola/safe-burial-protocol/en/

Nov 072014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM and UNDP have hosted a two-day workshop in Khartoum to bring together 45 Sudanese NGOs from Blue Nile, South Kordofan and West Kordofan States to discuss their role in stre…

Nov 072014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM and UNDP have hosted a two-day workshop in Khartoum to bring together 45 Sudanese NGOs from Blue Nile, South Kordofan and West Kordofan States to discuss their role in stre…

Nov 072014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM Angola this week organized a three-day workshop on Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) for 25 disaster management officials from Angola’s Civil Protection Service and Ministry of Social Assistance.

The aim of the workshop was to explore how to address the displacement of people by natural disasters; the roles and responsibilities in managing a camp; the protection of the most vulnerable; the participation of communities; and recovery strategies and solutions for displaced people, in line with international CCCM standards.

Southern Africa is a region prone to natural disasters, including floods, cyclones, earthquakes, droughts and bush fires. Countries in this part of the continent are experiencing climate change characterized by extreme weather conditions resulting in population displacement in both rural and urban settings.

Angola suffers from recurrent dry spells and flooding, which have become increasingly destructive, resulting in forced displacement, destruction of economic assets and livelihoods, massive damage to infrastructure, deaths and injuries, as well as occasional outbreaks of waterborne and hygiene-related diseases.

The camp management workshop was tailored to the Angolan context and will be followed in the coming weeks by a “Training for Trainers” programme.

The project is part of an IOM regional programme, funded by USAID/OFDA, targeting six countries in the region (Mozambique, Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, and Zambia) to enhance their national capacity to respond before, during and after natural disasters. In Angola, the project is implemented in close partnership with the National Commission for Civil Protection (CNPC).

Nov 072014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM Angola this week organized a three-day workshop on Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) for 25 disaster management officials from Angola’s Civil Protection Service and Ministry of Social Assistance.

The aim of the workshop was to explore how to address the displacement of people by natural disasters; the roles and responsibilities in managing a camp; the protection of the most vulnerable; the participation of communities; and recovery strategies and solutions for displaced people, in line with international CCCM standards.

Southern Africa is a region prone to natural disasters, including floods, cyclones, earthquakes, droughts and bush fires. Countries in this part of the continent are experiencing climate change characterized by extreme weather conditions resulting in population displacement in both rural and urban settings.

Angola suffers from recurrent dry spells and flooding, which have become increasingly destructive, resulting in forced displacement, destruction of economic assets and livelihoods, massive damage to infrastructure, deaths and injuries, as well as occasional outbreaks of waterborne and hygiene-related diseases.

The camp management workshop was tailored to the Angolan context and will be followed in the coming weeks by a “Training for Trainers” programme.

The project is part of an IOM regional programme, funded by USAID/OFDA, targeting six countries in the region (Mozambique, Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, and Zambia) to enhance their national capacity to respond before, during and after natural disasters. In Angola, the project is implemented in close partnership with the National Commission for Civil Protection (CNPC).

Nov 072014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM Tanzania this week convened a three-day “Migration Dialogue” conference to respond to the ever-evolving and complex dynamics of migration flows from the Horn of Africa, through Kenya and Tanzania to South Africa.

Twenty-four senior representatives from the governments of Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa and Ethiopia, and from IOM and UNCHR, met in Zanzibar to discuss the migration challenges facing the region and how to address them. The event was funded by the Government of Japan, as part of IOM’s ‘Voluntary Return Assistance to Migrants in Tanzania’ project.

International migratory movements in Africa have become more complex and mixed in recent years, with flows comprising asylum seekers, refugees and irregular migrants. The exodus of migrants from the Horn of Africa (mainly Ethiopia) to South Africa is a central issue.

Each year, thousands of mainly young Ethiopians risk their lives in an attempt to reach South Africa, where they hope to establish better lives for themselves and their families. Migrants often sacrifice their life savings to pay smugglers amounts of up to USD 4,000 to facilitate the journey.

Human smuggling has become a thriving multi-billion dollar industry, which feeds off people’s desperation to improve their lives. Migrants are loaded into trucks by smugglers or left in ‘safe’ houses in the jungle in Tanzania for days or weeks without food or water. Kenya and Tanzania are significant transit countries and many migrants are intercepted by the authorities en route.

“Migrants are above all human beings and have the same human rights as anyone else. They should not be exposed to situations in which their lives are threatened. But the root causes of migration from the Horn to South Africa must be addressed by the governments concerned in order to come up with sustainable solutions to this migration crisis,” said Damien Thuriaux, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Tanzania.

This week’s meeting follows a 2010 regional conference on refugee protection and international migration, during which 13 African states met to discuss mixed movements and irregular migration from the East, Horn and Great Lakes sub-regions to Southern Africa.

IOM’s ‘Voluntary Return Assistance to Migrants in Tanzania’ project has returned over 220 detained Ethiopian migrants this year and is planning to return a total of up to 800 by year end. Since 2009, IOM Tanzania has helped over 2,500 Ethiopian detainees to return home.

Nov 072014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM Tanzania this week convened a three-day “Migration Dialogue” conference to respond to the ever-evolving and complex dynamics of migration flows from the Horn of Africa, through Kenya and Tanzania to South Africa.

Twenty-four senior representatives from the governments of Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa and Ethiopia, and from IOM and UNCHR, met in Zanzibar to discuss the migration challenges facing the region and how to address them. The event was funded by the Government of Japan, as part of IOM’s ‘Voluntary Return Assistance to Migrants in Tanzania’ project.

International migratory movements in Africa have become more complex and mixed in recent years, with flows comprising asylum seekers, refugees and irregular migrants. The exodus of migrants from the Horn of Africa (mainly Ethiopia) to South Africa is a central issue.

Each year, thousands of mainly young Ethiopians risk their lives in an attempt to reach South Africa, where they hope to establish better lives for themselves and their families. Migrants often sacrifice their life savings to pay smugglers amounts of up to USD 4,000 to facilitate the journey.

Human smuggling has become a thriving multi-billion dollar industry, which feeds off people’s desperation to improve their lives. Migrants are loaded into trucks by smugglers or left in ‘safe’ houses in the jungle in Tanzania for days or weeks without food or water. Kenya and Tanzania are significant transit countries and many migrants are intercepted by the authorities en route.

“Migrants are above all human beings and have the same human rights as anyone else. They should not be exposed to situations in which their lives are threatened. But the root causes of migration from the Horn to South Africa must be addressed by the governments concerned in order to come up with sustainable solutions to this migration crisis,” said Damien Thuriaux, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Tanzania.

This week’s meeting follows a 2010 regional conference on refugee protection and international migration, during which 13 African states met to discuss mixed movements and irregular migration from the East, Horn and Great Lakes sub-regions to Southern Africa.

IOM’s ‘Voluntary Return Assistance to Migrants in Tanzania’ project has returned over 220 detained Ethiopian migrants this year and is planning to return a total of up to 800 by year end. Since 2009, IOM Tanzania has helped over 2,500 Ethiopian detainees to return home.

Nov 072014
 

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, November 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Council today extended the European Union military operation in the Central African Republic (EUFOR RCA) until 15 March 2015. This follows a request by the authorities of the Central African Republic (CAR) and a renewed mandate from the UN Security Council. The prolongation is intended to ensure an effective transition to the UN-led peace operation MINUSCA.

EUFOR RCA is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to the many challenges of the Central African Republic. As a bridging operation facilitating the smooth build-up of MINUSCA, it contributes to helping ensure a secure environment in the Central African Republic. The operation successfully assumed responsibility for the security of M’Poko airport and the 3rd and 5th districts of Bangui. The operation will continue most of these activities in 3rd and 5th districts during the extended mandate, whereas the responsibility for M’Poko airport will be handed over to MINUSCA at the end of this year.

Since its establishment in February 2014, the operation has been led by Major General Philippe Pontiès and the Operational Headquarters is situated in Larissa, Greece. The common costs are estimated at €5.7 million for the period from 16 December 2014 until 15 March 2015.

The EU’s comprehensive approach to the Central African Republic includes action focused on security, humanitarian aid, stabilisation and development cooperation. Since 2013, the EU has committed more than €360 million of new funding to respond to the crisis in CAR.

Nov 072014
 

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, November 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Council today extended the European Union military operation in the Central African Republic (EUFOR RCA) until 15 March 2015. This follows a request by the authorities of the Central African Republic (CAR) and a renewed mandate from the UN Security Council. The prolongation is intended to ensure an effective transition to the UN-led peace operation MINUSCA.

EUFOR RCA is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to the many challenges of the Central African Republic. As a bridging operation facilitating the smooth build-up of MINUSCA, it contributes to helping ensure a secure environment in the Central African Republic. The operation successfully assumed responsibility for the security of M’Poko airport and the 3rd and 5th districts of Bangui. The operation will continue most of these activities in 3rd and 5th districts during the extended mandate, whereas the responsibility for M’Poko airport will be handed over to MINUSCA at the end of this year.

Since its establishment in February 2014, the operation has been led by Major General Philippe Pontiès and the Operational Headquarters is situated in Larissa, Greece. The common costs are estimated at €5.7 million for the period from 16 December 2014 until 15 March 2015.

The EU’s comprehensive approach to the Central African Republic includes action focused on security, humanitarian aid, stabilisation and development cooperation. Since 2013, the EU has committed more than €360 million of new funding to respond to the crisis in CAR.