Oct 092014
 

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, October 9, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Brigadier General Alfonso García-Vaquero Pradal was today appointed Mission Commander for the EU training mission in Mali (EUTM Mali).

Alfonso García-Vaquero Pradal, from Spain, will take up his duties on 24 October 2014. He will succeed Brigadier General Marc Rudkiewicz, who had been in the position since 18 March 2014.

EUTM Mali, launched in February 2013, supports the training and reorganisation of the Malian Armed Forces. It aims to help improve the military capacity of the Malian Armed Forces in order to allow, under civilian authority, the restoration of the country’s territorial integrity. The mission’s personnel is around 560 staff at its headquarters in Bamako and its training camp in Koulikoro. The mandate currently runs until 18 May 2016.

Today’s decision was taken by the EU’s Political and Security Committee.

Annex: Curriculum vitae of Brigadier General Alfonso García-Vaquero Pradal

GENERAL Alfonso GARCÍA-VAQUERO PRADAL

Brigadier General Alfonso García-Vaquero Pradal was born on 20 March 1958 in Madrid and joined the Spanish Army in 1976. He was graduated from the Spanish Military Academy as an Infantry Lieutenant in 1981. He then joined the Spanish Legion and served as Platoon Leader in Infantry and Special Operations Units.

He was promoted to Captain in 1984 and served as Company Commander in Special Operations, Mountain and Legion Units. On promotion to Major in 1993, he was selected for the two-years General Staff Course in the Spanish Army War College.

After his graduation from the War College, he was appointed to the

Spanish Rapid Reaction Force HQ and posted as intelligence analyst. This period included a tour in the Implementation Force (IFOR) HQ (Sarajevo 1996) as intelligence operations, working closely with different national intelligence cells.

Since April 1999 he served in ARRC HQ (UK framework nation), in Rheindahlen as G2 current operations officer and training and exercises. He deployed initially to KOSOVO, (Pristina, 1999) within the Forward ARRC HQ, where he worked as theatre collection manager in G2 CCIRM.

During his appointment in AARC HQ, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in July 2001.

Returning to Spain in August 2002, he was appointed to the Spanish Army Staff in Madrid, working in the intelligence branch. He returned to the Spanish Legion as Commander of 10 Bandera* in the 4 Tercio* from March 2005 to March 2008. In September 2006 he was in Marjayoun for a new operational tour as Commander of the first Spanish Battle Group in the United Nation Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) deployed along the Blue Line. He took operational control over the Nepalese, Indonesian and Malaysian Battalions until their full operational capability.

After completion of his duties in the Spanish Legion, he was posted as Chief of Staff in the Armed Forces Intelligence Centre (CIFAS) in Madrid. He was the point of contact for NATO Intelligence Board and Deputy Head of delegation for intelligence matters. During this assignment he was promoted to Colonel in July 2008. After this period in the CIFAS, he came back to the Legion in June 2010 and assumed command of 2 Tercio* in Ceuta.

He was promoted to Brigadier General in February 2012. Thereafter, he assumed command of

16 Light Infantry Brigade in Canary Islands, and also the role of Military Commander of the Province of Las Palmas.

General García-Vaquero speaks English and is bilingual in French. He is married to Nieves and they have two daughters Nieves (28) and Pilar (22). He enjoys skiing, running and reading.

*’Bandera and Tercio are Spanish historic names of the Legion Units. They are equivalent to Battalion and Regiment, respectively.

Oct 092014
 

CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa, October 9, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — DHL Express SSA (http://www.dpdhl.com) has been certified as a Top Employer in Africa for its outstanding employee offerings across the region. This is in addition to six African countries – South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Ghana that were also certified Top Employers in their local markets.

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Photo Charles Brewer: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/photos/charles-brewer-1.jpg (Charles Brewer, Managing Director for DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa)

Independent research by the Top Employers Institute shows the company looks after its people exceptionally well and DHL Express is one of the select few companies to achieve the exclusive Top Employers Africa 2015 certification in various African regions in which they operate.

According to Charles Brewer, MD of DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa, this achievement is an acknowledgement of the business’s strong focus on employee engagement, development and training on the African continent.

Top Employers is a global and annual programme that certifies organizations which successfully demonstrate exceptional HR environments and employee offerings. The programme is an audited and research based process that assesses employee offerings as well as the conditions employers create for staff to develop.

Brewer says that this accolade is testament to their dedication of having motivated employees, which is a key focus pillar of their strategy. “Understanding the need to drive a common culture across 220 countries, we launched a Certified International Specialists training program for all 3,500 staff in Africa. Everyone from the Global CEO to a Courier in any country has gone through this training program reinforcing our core competencies as an organization. CIS training has been central to our staff retention and development globally.”

The Top Employers Institute assessed DHL Express’ employee offerings on various criteria, including talent strategy, workforce planning, employee on, learning & development, performance management, leadership development, career & succession management, compensation & benefits and company culture.

Crucial to the Top Employers process is that participating companies must meet the required high standard in the research in order to achieve the certification. Only organizations that achieve certification in at least four countries within the region deserve the special Top Employers Africa 2015 recognition. The independent research has verified DHL Express’ outstanding employee conditions in all certified countries.

Judith Oude Sogtoen, Director of International Business Development for the Top Employers Institute: “Our extensive research concluded that DHL Express forms part of a select group of employers that advance employee conditions worldwide. Their people are well taken care of. Now that they have received the Top Employers Africa 2015 certification, they can truly consider themselves at the top of an exclusive group of the world’s best employers. A reason to celebrate!”

“We truly value external recognition and believe that it affirms our position as the International Specialists in Africa,” concludes Brewer.

To learn more about the Top Employers Institute and the Top Employers certification visit: http://www.top-employers.com.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Deutsche Post DHL.

Media Contact:

Megan Collinicos. Head: Advertising & Public Relations, Sub-Saharan Africa

DHL Express

Tel +27 21 409 3613 Mobile +27 76 411 8570

megan.collinicos@dhl.com

DHL – The logistics company for the world

DHL (http://www.dpdhl.com) is the global market leader in the logistics and transportation industry and “The logistics company for the world”. DHL commits its expertise in international express, national and international parcel delivery, air and ocean freight, road and rail transportation as well as contract and e-commerce related solutions along the entire supply chain. A global network composed of more than 220 countries and territories and around 315,000 employees worldwide offers customers superior service quality and local knowledge to satisfy their shipping and supply chain requirements. DHL accepts its social responsibility by supporting environmental protection, disaster management and education.

DHL is part of Deutsche Post DHL. The Group generated revenues of more than 55 billion euros in 2013.

For more information: www.dpdhl.com

Stock images available: http://www.dpdhl.com/en/media_relations/media_library.html

Oct 092014
 

ROME, Italy, October 9, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Food markets are more stable and prices for most agricultural commodities are sharply lower than they have been in recent years, according to the latest edition of FAO’s biannual Food Outlook report and a new update to the Organization’s monthly Food Price Index, both out today.

Bumper harvests and abundant stockpiles are key factors helping drive down international cereal prices, according to the report.

World wheat production in 2014 is forecast to reach a new record, it says.

For coarse grains, prospects for near-record production levels, combined with already-high inventories point to a very comfortable world supply and demand balance in 2014/15, especially for maize.

While rice outputs could decline slightly this year, stockpiles remain “huge” and are sufficient to cover over one-third of projected consumption during the 2015-16 period.

All told, world cereal production in 2014 is anticipated to reach 2 523 million tonnes (2.5 billion tonnes) — an upward revision of 65 million tonnes from FAO’s initial forecast in May. World cereal stocks should hit their highest level in 15 years by the end of the cropping season in 2015.

Global output of oilseeds is also forecast to exceed last season’s record due to further expansion of soybean production.

Meanwhile, world production of cassava looks to be on track to achieving another record high, driven by sustained growth in Africa, where the tuber is a strategic crop for food security and poverty alleviation.

Today’s Food Outlook anticipates that world sugar production will increase in 2015-16, as well.

Meat production is set to grow moderately in 2014, but not enough to ease prices from their current high levels, while milk production continues to grow steadily in many countries.

Production of fish is also on the rise, driven largely by aquaculture and less-than-expected El Niño impacts.

Price drops across the board – almost

The FAO Food Price Index (FPI), also released today, has registered its sixth consecutive monthly drop — the longest period of continuous decline in the value of the index since the late 1990s — averaging 191.5 points in September 2014.

Among the FPI sub-indices, sugar and dairy fell most sharply, followed by cereals and oils, while meat remained firm (more).

Although meat prices remain high they could be stabilizing: the September Meat Price index remains 22 points up versus the same time last year, a historic high, but registered only a slight increase over August (0.3 of a point) after months of steady hikes.

High meat prices and large trade volumes for products in the animal protein category, including meat, dairy and fish, mean that the global food import bill — that is, the aggregate amount that all countries spend on imported foodstuffs — will surpass $1 trillion again this year, for the fifth year in a row.

The FAO FPI is a trade-weighted index that measures prices of five major food commodities on international markets.

While price trends for these commodities at the macro level are a useful indicator of global trends and can signal when consumer food prices might be at risk, they are not always directly mirrored in national, regional and local markets.

Regional differences highlighted in second report

To help spot food price spikes affecting consumers in the developing world, particularly in low-income food-deficit countries (LIFDCs), FAO recently launched a new website that reports abnormally high prices of staple foods in markets in 85 different countries.

Additionally, the Organization produces a quarterly report, Crop Prospects and Food Situation, that focuses on developments affecting food security in developing countries and LIFDCs.

The latest edition, published today alongside Food Outlook and the October FPI, highlights a number of hot-spots of particular concern.

The Ebola virus disease outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone has disrupted markets, farming activities and livelihoods, seriously affecting the food security of large numbers of people, it says. And irregular rains in several areas of the Sahelian belt will result in mixed production prospects.

Food crop production in the Central African Republic is up from 2013’s sharply reduced output, but still remains well below average due to the impact of widespread civil insecurity, the report adds.

In Eastern Africa, the overall food security situation is improving as harvesting has started in several countries. But while food prices in the region are generally stable or declining, they are at record high levels in Somalia and the Sudan.

Meanwhile, drought conditions in Central America have significantly reduced the 2014 main first season harvest in key producing countries.

Drought conditions have also been a problem in the Near East, leading to a below-average cereal harvest for the region, while the conflicts in Syria and Iraq continue to significantly degrade food security.

Oct 092014
 

NEW YORK, October 9, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the appointments of Marcel Rudasingwa of Rwanda as Ebola Crisis Manager for Guinea, Peter Jan Graaff of the Netherlands as Ebol…

Oct 082014
 

VATICAN, Holy See, October 8, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The general debate continued during the fourth general Congregation, following the order of the Instrumentum Laboris. The theme was “The Pastoral Program for the Family: Various Proposals Underway” (Part II, Chapter 1).

Firstly, the link between the crisis of faith and the crisis of the family was underlined: it was said that the first generates the second. This is because faith is seen mostly as a set of doctrinal mores, whereas it is primarily a free act by which one entrusts oneself to God. This gave rise, among other things, to the suggestion of devising a “Vademecum” dedicated to the catechesis of the family, so as to strengthen its evangelising mission. Furthermore, the weakness of the faith of many baptised persons was underlined; this often leads to the marriage of couples who do are not appropriately aware of what they are undertaking.

Secondly, a great challenge facing families today was mentioned: that of the “dictatorship of unitary thought” that aims to introduce into society those countervalues that distort the vision of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The crisis of values, atheist secularism, hedonism, and the ambition of power destroy families today, distorting it, weakening people and consequently rendering society fragile. It is therefore important to recover in the faithful the awareness of belonging to the Church, as the Church grows by attraction and the families of the Church attract other families.

For its part, the Church, an expert in humanity, must underline the beauty and the need everyone has for the family, as it is indispensable. It is necessary to reawaken in humanity the sense of belonging to the family unit. In addition, as a reflection of God’s love, which is never an isolated love, the family opens one to relationships and bonds with others, thus becoming the foundation for society.

Mention was also made of the link between priests and families: they accompany families in all the most important stages of their lives, sharing in their joys and difficulties; families, in turn, help priests to experience celibacy as a full and balanced emotional life, rather than as a sacrifice. In addition, the family was defined as the “cradle of vocations” as it is precisely within the domestic walls, in common prayer, that the call to the priesthood is frequently heard.

A further link that was underlined is that between baptism and marriage: without a serious and in-depth Christian initiation, the meaning of the sacrament of marriage is diminished. Therefore, it is to be emphasised that Christian marriage cannot be seen solely as a cultural tradition or a social need, but rather must be understood as a vocational decision, undertaken with suitable preparation that cannot be improvised in a few meetings, but must be carried out over a period of time.

Attention then turned to how work affects the dynamics of the family: these are two dimensions that must be reconciled, through increasingly flexible working hours, new contractual models, and attention to geographical distances between home and work. Furthermore, technology can lead to work being brought home, making family dialogue difficult.

Numerous interventions, especially in relation to Africa, drew attention to the many challenges the family must face in this continent: polygamy, levirate marriage, sects, war, poverty, the painful crisis of migration, international pressure for birth control, and so on. These are problems that undermine family stability, placing it in crisis. In the face of such challenges, it is necessary to respond with in-depth evangelisation, able to promote the values of peace, justice and love, an adequate promotion of the role of women in society, thorough education of children and the protection of rights for all victims of violence.

In the hour dedicated to open discussion – from 6 to 7 p.m. – attention returned to the need for a new language in the proclamation of the Gospel, with particular reference to the new media technologies. With regard to the indissolubility of marriage, it was highlighted that today it would appear that the law is opposed to the good of the person. In reality, the truth of the conjugal bond and its stability is inscribed within the person, and therefore it is not a question of setting the law and the person in opposition to each other, but rather of understanding how to help the person not to betray his or her own truth.

Further reflection was proposed in relation to families who have not received the gift of children despite wishing for them, and those in regions affected by the Ebola virus.

Finally, the image of the Church as light was recalled, in the hope that this may be not only the light of a beacon, that remains constant and illuminates from afar, but also a torch, or rather a “soft light” that accompanies humanity on its path, step by step.

The Pontifical Council for the Family donated to the members of the Synod a copy of the extensive Enchiridion on the family.

Oct 082014
 

YOKOHAMA, Japan, October 8, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Nissan (http://www.nissan-global.com) is proud to announce Yaya Touré, three-time African Footballer of the Year and UEFA Champions League winner, as its newest global ambassador. The Manchester City and Ivory Coast midfielder has agreed to a deal which will see him work alongside Nissan’s global UEFA Champions League and Orange Africa Cup of Nations 2015 partnerships.

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Yaya joins Nissan’s star-studded team of UEFA Champions League ambassadors, which includes the recently announced Barcelona and Spain midfielder, Andrés Iniesta and PSG and Brazil defender, Thiago Silva. The UEFA Champions League ambassadors will work with the company as part of the Engineers of Excitement program, which aims to enhance the experience of football fans through a range of activities including the exclusive Goal of the Week competition. Touré will also star in a series of new television and print advertisements for the UEFA Champions League due to premiere in February 2015.

Yaya Toure said, “I’m proud to be partnering with Nissan across its UEFA Champions League and Orange Africa Cup of Nations 2015 sponsorships. I have been fortunate enough to win lots of trophies in my career, but the Orange Africa Cup of Nations has always been my target as an African, so I am really looking forward to it and to working with Nissan to help bring the excitement around both of these fantastic tournaments to fans around Africa and the rest of the world.”

As the face of Nissan’s advertising campaign in Africa, Yaya Touré will play a key role around Nissan’s Orange Africa Cup of Nations 2015 sponsorship, further connecting football fans with the brand and helping increase excitement around its innovative range of products.

“Nissan is delighted that Yaya Touré has joined our team as a global ambassador,” said Roel de-Vries, Corporate Vice President, Global Head of Marketing, Communications and Brand – Nissan. “As one of the greatest midfielders of his generation, Yaya Touré is the perfect ambassador for our brand as he possesses great all round skills combining pace, power and high technical ability – features Nissan incorporates into its vehicles.”

As well as being named African Footballer of the Year on three occasions, Yaya Touré has also won the UEFA Champions League with Barcelona and five league titles across four countries including England and Spain. With over 80 caps for Ivory Coast, Yaya Touré was recently named captain of the national team and will lead his country in qualification to reach his sixth Orange Africa Cup of Nations 2015 in January.

Takashi Hata, Senior Vice President, Africa, Middle East and India – Nissan added, “As a three-time African Footballer of the Year, Yaya Touré is an icon to millions of people across the continent. As Nissan looks to further increase its market presence in the region, our partnership with Yaya Touré will help bring Nissan closer to the fans around Africa’s biggest football tournament and further strengthen our brand in a region to which we have been committed for over four decades.”

Nissan is the official global automotive sponsor of the UEFA Super Cup and UEFA Champions League, with a four season deal that will cover the period 2014/2015 to 2017/2018. Nissan is the official global automotive supplier to the Orange Africa Cup of Nations 2015. The tournament is now in its 30th year and kicks off in Morocco on January 17, 2015.

In July 2014, Nissan extended its connections in world football by agreeing a global partnership to become the Official Automotive Partner of City Football Group (CFG). The five-year deal represents a first for CFG, with Nissan becoming the first global partner of the football network, an organisation including Nissan majority owned Yokohama F. Marinos alongside Barclays Premier League Champions, Manchester City FC, Manchester City Women’s FC, New York City FC and Melbourne City FC.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Katherine Zachary, Corporate Communications, Nissan Europe

Telephone: +41 79 701 85 16

Email: kzachary@nissan-europe.com

Sara Jenkins, Corporate Communications, Nissan Europe

Telephone: +41 79 808 33 97

Email: sjenkins@nissan-europe.com

Roland Buerk, Communications, Africa, Middle East and India

Telephone: +971(0)48032667

Email: roland@nissan-me.ae

Ikue Matsuura, Communications, Africa, Middle East and India

Telephone: +81(0)455235652

Email: i-matsuura@mail.nissan.co.jp

About Nissan Motor Co.

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (http://www.nissan-global.com), Japan’s second-largest automotive company, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, and is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 244,500 employees globally, Nissan sold almost 5.2 million vehicles and generated revenue of 10.5 trillion yen (USD 105 billion) in fiscal 2013. Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of more than 60 models under the Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun brands. In 2010, Nissan introduced the Nissan LEAF, and continues to lead in zero-emission mobility. The LEAF, the first mass-market, pure-electric vehicle launched globally, is now the best-selling EV in history with almost 50% share of the zero-emission vehicle segment.

For more information on our products, services and commitment to sustainable mobility, visit our website at http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/

About Nissan in Europe

Nissan has one of the most comprehensive European presences of any overseas manufacturer, employing more than 14,500 staff across locally-based design, research & development, manufacturing, logistics and sales & marketing operations. Last year Nissan plants in the UK, Spain and Russia produced more than 635,000 vehicles including mini-MPVs, award-winning crossovers, SUVs, commercial vehicles and the Nissan LEAF, the world’s most popular Electric Vehicle with 97% performance satisfaction and 95% of customers willing to recommend the car to friends. Nissan now offers 24 diverse and innovative products for sale in Europe today, and is positioned to become the number one Asian brand in Europe.

About Nissan in Africa

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. supplies innovative and exciting cars across the hatchback, SUV, sedan and pickup segments in Africa and is targeting significant growth in the continent. Nissan has two operational hubs in Egypt and South Africa with long established factories, and is developing manufacturing in Nigeria as a third hub. In April Nissan, together with local partner Stallion Group, became the first automaker to build cars in Nigeria after the Government introduced new policies to stimulate the local industry. Nissan is revitalizing its sales network and expanding its product range in many countries with launches of new vehicles like the award-winning Qashqai and X-Trail. The Nissan LEAF is Africa’s first electric vehicle, bringing zero emissions motoring to the continent. In 2014 the Datsun brand is returning to Africa with the launch of the Datsun GO in South Africa. In fiscal year 2013 Nissan sold nearly 110,000 units in Africa.

Oct 082014
 

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, October 8, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — APO (African Press Organization) (http://www.apo-opa.com) today, releases 2 videos on press conference services helping you deliver more for your budget: 1) Online press conference and 2) Interactive Webcast ; both of which are considered as the future for media relations in Africa.

Watch the video infographic on Online press conferencing: http://goo.gl/iu945x

Watch the video infographic on Interactive webcast: http://goo.gl/BVCzuE

Fifty percent of budget dedicated to press conferences are usually allocated towards travel expenses and venue rentals. Venue costs obviously also incur other unexpected extra costs such as beverages, audio sound equipments and most often, it is not usual to be required to pay journalists transportation fees and per diem for each.

Over the past five years, APO’s online press conferencing and interactive webcast solutions have been used by some of the world’s largest companies, institutions and organizations, out of which Western Union, Ernst & Young, the European Commission, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the African Development Bank, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the African Union, and the GAVI Alliance to name a few.

These press events have brought together hundreds of media worldwide, including Thomson Reuters, Associated Press, Bloomberg News, BBC World News, XINHUA News, Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA), South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), Agence France Presse (AFP), Panafrican News Agency (PANA), along with many more local and international media corporations.

“PR professionals are facing budget reductions, and therefore are unable to have face-time with journalists from all 54 African countries. Most African journalists cannot afford air tickets and accommodation to attend an international press conference. With online press conferencing and interactive webcast, journalists now can participate to a press conference without having to leave their desk! That is the reason why Online Press Conference and Interactive Webcast can save 50% of your costs when doing a press conference”, says Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, Founder and CEO of APO (African Press Organization).

Online press conferencing makes possible for a large number of journalists from different countries to participate in a press conference without travelling. It’s cost and time-effective, climate friendly, and a unique way to disseminate messages across a large number of countries, in real-time.

Interactive webcast allows journalists based remotely to interact in a press conference held anywhere in the world. Not only journalists are able to attend the press conference in real-time, from any country and any computer connected to the internet, but they also are able to interact by asking questions.

APO is the creator of Africa Wire®, the newswire service for press release distribution and monitoring in Africa. This reaches over 50,000 media outlets, bloggers and social networks, and redistributes content to more than 50 African websites, as well as to Bloomberg Terminal, Thomson Reuters, Lexis Nexis, Dow Jones Factiva, 250 million mobile subscribers in 30 countries, and more.

Used by some of the world’s top companies, PR agencies, institutions and organizations, APO Africa Wire® has a potential reach of 600 million and guarantees the most extensive outreach in Africa, where clients can directly target audiences in all corners of the continent and to the world.

Download brochure: http://www.apo-mail.org/apo-brochure.pdf

About APO media reach: www.apo-opa.com/Press_Release_Distribution.pdf

More information: http://www.apo-opa.com/services.php

Contact:

Aïssatou Diallo

bdm@apo-opa.org

+41 22 534 96 97

About APO

APO (African Press Organization) (http://www.apo-opa.com) is the sole press release newswire in Africa and is a global leader in media relations relating to Africa.

With offices in Senegal, Switzerland, Dubai, Hong Kong, India, and Seychelles, APO owns a media database of over 100,000 contacts and is the main online community for Africa-related news.

It offers a complete range of services, including press release distribution and monitoring, online press conferences, interactive webcasts, media interactions, strategic advice, public diplomacy, government relations and events promotion. To find out more, please visit http://www.apo-opa.com.

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Oct 082014
 

PARIS, France, October 8, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Uhuru Kenyatta’s presence at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on 8 October 2014, as ordered by the Trial Chamber Judges, must be seen as the opportunity to place victims’ right to truth and justice at the center of the ongoing debates on the fate of this case, our organizations said today. The Kenyan authorities must ensure full cooperation with the ICC and conduct genuine investigations and prosecutions at the national level so that the victims of the 2007/2008 post-election violence get justice and redress.

On 7 and 8 October 2014, the International Criminal Court (ICC) is holding two status conferences concerning the case against Kenya’s acting President Uhuru Kenyatta. These hearings will discuss the status of cooperation between the Prosecution and the Kenyan Government and are intended to enable the ICC Trial Chamber to decide on the future of the case.

The ICC Office of the Prosecutor claims that Kenyan authorities are not entirely complying with their obligation to cooperate by withholding requested material that would be necessary to establish Kenyatta’s culpability in crimes committed during the post-election violence as alleged in the case instituted against him.

“These conferences are not about the determination of the guilt or innocence of Uhuru Kenyatta, but about hearing all parties on specific issues relating to the extent of cooperation of Kenya with the ICC Office of the Prosecutor, which has a direct and considerable impact on the ICC proceedings” , stated our organizations. “While President Uhuru Kenyatta has thus far appeared to abide by his obligations to the Court, he has in parallel engaged in a series of diplomatic and judicial strategies aimed at questioning both the legitimacy and credibility of the Court’s process and which have had the effect of undermining the ultimate objective of justice for victims” , they added.

FIDH and KHRC further recall that “the intervention of the ICC is all the more crucial in light of the fact that victims of the crimes committed during the post-election violence in Kenya have not obtained adequate and holistic redress at the national level. The current developments in the proceedings before the ICC also demonstrate that no-one, not even a sitting Head of State, is above the law” .

Despite the start of a national judicial process, the 2007/2008 post elections crimes have to a large extent remained unpunished. There have been few prosecutions of mid-level perpetrators of the violence and most of them have ended in acquittals on account of poor investigations, which have failed to yield credible and sufficient evidence to sustain convictions.

Background information

Following a challenged electoral result, Kenya erupted into violence in December 2007. In the ensuing period, Kenya witnessed unprecedented violence that resulted in at least 1133 deaths, 900 cases of sexual and gender based violence, over 350,000 displaced persons, numerous victims of grievous harm and destruction of property.

In the past year, there have been almost no efforts by the government to establish a credible or effective process for investigating and prosecuting the crimes or for securing meaningful justice for victims. Due to the lack of credible local processes, the ICC has continued to receive notable support by Kenyans as the only accountability process that can effectively deliver justice for victims.

For further information, see in particular FIDH-KHRC report “Kenya: One Year in Office for Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto; Human Rights Record Marred by Abuses”, April 2014.

Oct 082014
 

ROME, Italy, October 8, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — FAO today launched a new programme to urgently assist 90 000 vulnerable households in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone whose food supplies and livelihoods are threatened by the disruptive effect the Ebola epidemic is having on rural economies, agricultural activities and markets.

Error! Filename not specified.The Regional Response Programme for West Africa will scale-up the work FAO is currently doing with governments, United Nations partners and local networks of agriculture, veterinary and forestry workers, to help stop the spread of the disease, meet immediate and long-term food and nutrition security needs and build resilience.

FAO is urgently calling for $30 million to support activities linked to the programme over the next 12 months. Programme activities are organized around four key objectives:

• contribute to saving lives by stopping the spread of the disease through social mobilization, training and awareness raising;

• boost incomes and agricultural production to safeguard livelihoods;

• build resilience of communities to disease threats; and

• strengthen coordination for improved response.

“Our comprehensive response is part of overall United Nations efforts to save lives and protect livelihoods,” said Vincent Martin, Head of FAO’s Dakar-based Subregional Resilience Hub, the office coordinating FAO’s response. “We’re following a twin-track approach to help our United Nations partners halt the tragic loss of life while at the same time protecting incomes, nutrition levels and food security.”

Activities include mobilizing communities to reduce their risk of infection through awareness campaigns; boosting food and cash crops, livestock and fisheries production, introducing microfinance strategies to safeguard rural incomes; and setting up early warning and response systems to reduce Ebola risks at the human-animal interface. The programme will also ensure countries are coordinated and resourced by filling gaps in expertise, increasing knowledge sharing on best-practices and building collaborative networks.

“These actions cannot wait,” said Bukar Tijani, Assistant Director-General/Regional Representative, Regional Office for Africa. “The outbreak is already reducing the purchasing power of vulnerable households, which means less food on their plates and increased nutritional risks for families already on subsistence diets. Fear and stigmatization also threaten to reduce agricultural activities, thereby placing food security at risk.”

Early results from rapid assessments point to a worrisome situation. In Sierra Leone, for example, 47 percent of the respondents said Ebola was considerably disrupting their farming activities. In Lofa county, the most affected rural county in Liberia, the prices of commodities, including food, increased from 30 to 75 percent just in August 2014.

If not addressed now, the current impact of the outbreak on livelihoods could lead to long-lasting impacts on farmers’ livelihoods and rural economies.

FAO mobilized its own funds to support United Nations’ and governments’ efforts. However, much more is needed and right away. FAO is calling for urgent support to enable the Organization to continue assisting vulnerable communities in affected and at-risk countries while also safeguarding their futures.