The 604th meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council on the situation in Guinea Bissau

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The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), at its 604th meeting, held on 9 June 2016, was briefed by the Commissioner for Peace and Security on the situation in Guinea Bissau. Council also received the statements made by the representatives of Senegal, African member of the United Nations Security Council, and of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Council, recalling its previous pronouncements on the situation in Guinea-Bissau, including Communiqué PSC/PR /COMM/2. (DLXXXVI), adopted at its 586th meeting held on 31 March 2016, following its mission to that country, from 16 to 21 March 2016, expressed its deep concern about the latest developments in the political and institutional crisis in Guinea Bissau. Council noted, with regret, that despite numerous mediation efforts made by the international community, particularly the AU, ECOWAS, the Community of Portuguese?speaking Countries (CPLP) and many other actors, the differences deepened between the main political authorities of the country, especially between the President of the Republic and the leadership of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), after the dissolution of the Government by Presidential Decree, on 12 May 2016.

Council stressed, with deep concern, that the political and institutional crisis has the potential to undermine the fragile gains made by the country, since the 2014 elections, on the path to peace and stability, as well as the hopes of improving the socio-economic situation, raised by the financial commitments, to the tune of $ 1.5 billion, made by the partners at the Round Table in Brussels, in March 2015.

Council appealed to the President of the Republic to promote compliance with the Constitution and reiterated the deep conviction of the AU that only a genuine and inclusive dialogue, based on mutual respect, would enable the Guinea Bissau stakeholders to find a consensual solution to the crisis in their country and to establish the necessary conditions to consolidate peace and stability in Guinea Bissau. Council urged all political actors in Guinea Bissau to exercise maximum restraint, to place the supreme interests of their country above any personal or partisan considerations. In this regard, Council urged them to strive, actively and in good faith, with the support of the neighbouring countries, ECOWAS, the AU and the rest of the international community, for an inclusive dialogue with a view to resolving their political differences, and to make every effort to preserve the gains made on the path to stability in Guinea Bissau.

Council noted with satisfaction the exemplary behaviour of the armed forces of Guinea Bissau, which, so far, have refrained from any intervention in this political and institutional crisis. Council encouraged the military leaders to continue to stay out of the political disputes and to demonstrate professionalism and respect for the constitution of their country. Council, once again, stressed the urgent need to reform the Defence and Security sector to ensure lasting peace and stability in Guinea Bissau.

Council welcomed the efforts made by ECOWAS, particularly through the work done by its outgoing Chairman, President Macky Sall of Senegal, and of former President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, in his capacity as Special Envoy of ECOWAS. Council took note, with appreciation, of the initiatives taken by the 49th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS on 4 June 2016, in Dakar, notably the decision to dispatch incessantly to Bissau a Delegation of Heads of State, composed of Senegal, Guinea and Sierra Leone, to meet with the stakeholders in Guinea Bissau, in order to help find a negotiated solution to the crisis. Council, recognising, once again, the importance of the presence of the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB) in stabilising the country, also welcomed the decision of the ECOWAS Summit to extend the mandate of the ECOMIB for an additional period of 12 months. Council also expressed its appreciation to the CPLP for its efforts to promote peace and stability in Guinea Bissau.

Council underscored the need to mobilise adequate resources to help the people of Guinea Bissau to address the major challenges they are facing in order to achieve the restoration of peace and stability, particularly through reform of the defence, security and justice sectors, within a context marked by violent extremism and transnational organised crime.

Council reaffirmed the readiness of the AU, in close cooperation with ECOWAS, to support the ongoing process to revise the Constitution in order to clarify, among others, the powers of the sovereign organs of the State so as to enhance the rule of law, the separation of powers and to maintain the balance of the national political system, including the establishment of a Constitutional Court.

Council agreed to remain actively seized of the situation.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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Source:: The 604th meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council on the situation in Guinea Bissau

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Kaspersky Lab announces availability in Nigeria of its Advanced Solution to Detect Targeted Attacks

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Kaspersky Lab (www.Kaspersky.co.za) has announced a major expansion of its enterprise security product portfolio with a solution designed to detect targeted attacks. The Kaspersky Anti Targeted Attack Platform is a premium solution based on the most advanced technology to date that draws on Kaspersky Lab’s expertise in the detection and analysis of the world’s most sophisticated threats. The solution is now available in Nigeria.

Businesses all over the world, including Nigeria, have become victim to numerous targeted attacks, including those discovered (https://apt.securelist.com) by Kaspersky Lab (e.g. Equation, Red October, Careto, Flame, Turla, Epic Turla, Wild Neutron, Poseidon, Desert Falcons). According to the IT Security Risks Survey 2015, conducted by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International, 9% of organisations globally said they have experienced a targeted attack in the last year.

“Kaspersky Lab has vast experience in threat intelligence and a long history of discovering some of the world’s most high-profile advanced persistent threats”, says Christian A. Christiansen, IDC Program Vice President, Security Products. “IDC’s Specialized Threat Analysis and Protection Market (STAP) quantifies the opportunity for countering advanced persistent threats and targeted attacks. IDC believes the market will grow to over $3 billion by 2019, with a 5-year CAGR of 28%. This high growth rate is driven by significant adoption of STAP products to address the growing need for advanced threat detection.”

Conventional protection technologies are very good at preventing generic threats and attacks from breaching the corporate perimeter. Although the number of such threats is still growing, businesses are becoming more concerned about targeted attacks and advanced cyber-weapons used for the purposes of cyber-espionage or the disruption of business activity. While these threats represent a tiny fraction (less than 1%) of the entire landscape, they present the highest risk to companies worldwide. What is even more important, the number of such attacks is growing steadily, and the price-per-attack is diminishing.

Solving the “one percent” problem requires advanced technology and proper security intelligence that has either been accumulated within the company or requested from a security vendor. The Kaspersky Anti Targeted Attack Platform is designed to identify and highlight unusual actions that constitute strong evidence of malicious intent.

“One of many challenges that businesses face nowadays is a requirement to overcome an array of cyberthreats, including very advanced ones, for which they need knowledge of possible attack vectors, indicators of compromise, and the ability to distinguish normal operations from malicious activity. In order to win this battle organisations need to have strong security expertise combined with technology that is capable of spotting a criminal act in the avalanche of daily activity in a large corporation. This challenge is being addressed with the Kaspersky Anti Targeted Attack Platform, together with the security services aimed at sharing security intelligence with our customers faster than ever before”, commented Riaan Badenhorst, Managing Director, Kaspersky Lab Africa.

The Kaspersky Anti Targeted Attack Platform

The Kaspersky Anti Targeted Attack Platform analyses data collected from different points of the corporate IT infrastructure. The solution’s sensors are responsible for data acquisition over network traffic, web and e-mail as well as endpoints. This allows the solution to detect complex attacks at any stage, even when no malicious activity is taking place, like data exfiltration. Suspicious events are then processed via different engines, including an Advanced Sandbox and a Targeted Attack Analyzer for a final verdict.

The Advanced Sandbox provides a safe, isolated and virtualised environment for analysing suspicious objects and detecting their intent. The Targeted Attack Analyzer utilises data processing and machine learning technologies to assess and combine verdicts from different analysis engines. This is where the final decision to alert the staff is made. Additional technologies that help to reduce false positive alerts include Kaspersky Lab’s own anti-malware engine to rule out generic attacks that can be blocked by traditional solutions; URL analysis; threat data feeds delivered from Kaspersky Lab’s cloud security network; an Intrusion Detection System; and support for custom rules to detect specific activity in a corporate network.

The Kaspersky Anti Targeted Attack Platform is available as an independent solution or in combination with expert services aimed at rapid incident detection and response. The availability of intelligence services also enables customers to adapt the solution to specific business needs.

Learn more about Kaspersky Anti Targeted Attack Platform at our website: http://www.Kaspersky.co.za/enterprise-security/anti-targeted-attacks

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Kaspersky.

For further information please contact:
Princess Tsambo| Orange Ink (http://www.OrangeInk.co.za)|
Cell: +27 76 544 6703 Tel: +27 11 465 4075; +27 11 465 4030
[email protected]

About Kaspersky Lab:
Kaspersky Lab (www.Kaspersky.co.za) is one of the world’s fastest-growing cyber-security companies and the largest that is privately-owned. The company is ranked among the world’s top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users (IDC, 2014). Since 1997 Kaspersky Lab has been an innovator in cyber-security and provides effective digital security solutions and threat intelligence for large enterprises, SMBs and consumers. Kaspersky Lab is an international company, operating in almost 200 countries and territories across the globe. Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky Lab technologies worldwide. Learn more at www.Kaspersky.co.za.

Follow us:
https://www.facebook.com/kasperskylabafrica
http://twitter.com/KasperskyAfrica
http://www.youtube.com/user/Kaspersky
http://instagram.com/kasperskylab
http://blog.kaspersky.com/
http://www.securelist.com/

Source:: Kaspersky Lab announces availability in Nigeria of its Advanced Solution to Detect Targeted Attacks

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Kaspersky Lab announces availability in Nigeria of its Advanced Solution to Detect Targeted Attacks

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Kaspersky Lab (www.Kaspersky.co.za) has announced a major expansion of its enterprise security product portfolio with a solution designed to detect targeted attacks. The Kaspersky Anti Targeted Attack Platform is a premium solution based on the most advanced technology to date that draws on Kaspersky Lab’s expertise in the detection and analysis of the world’s most sophisticated threats. The solution is now available in Nigeria.

Businesses all over the world, including Nigeria, have become victim to numerous targeted attacks, including those discovered (https://apt.securelist.com) by Kaspersky Lab (e.g. Equation, Red October, Careto, Flame, Turla, Epic Turla, Wild Neutron, Poseidon, Desert Falcons). According to the IT Security Risks Survey 2015, conducted by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International, 9% of organisations globally said they have experienced a targeted attack in the last year.

“Kaspersky Lab has vast experience in threat intelligence and a long history of discovering some of the world’s most high-profile advanced persistent threats”, says Christian A. Christiansen, IDC Program Vice President, Security Products. “IDC’s Specialized Threat Analysis and Protection Market (STAP) quantifies the opportunity for countering advanced persistent threats and targeted attacks. IDC believes the market will grow to over $3 billion by 2019, with a 5-year CAGR of 28%. This high growth rate is driven by significant adoption of STAP products to address the growing need for advanced threat detection.”

Conventional protection technologies are very good at preventing generic threats and attacks from breaching the corporate perimeter. Although the number of such threats is still growing, businesses are becoming more concerned about targeted attacks and advanced cyber-weapons used for the purposes of cyber-espionage or the disruption of business activity. While these threats represent a tiny fraction (less than 1%) of the entire landscape, they present the highest risk to companies worldwide. What is even more important, the number of such attacks is growing steadily, and the price-per-attack is diminishing.

Solving the “one percent” problem requires advanced technology and proper security intelligence that has either been accumulated within the company or requested from a security vendor. The Kaspersky Anti Targeted Attack Platform is designed to identify and highlight unusual actions that constitute strong evidence of malicious intent.

“One of many challenges that businesses face nowadays is a requirement to overcome an array of cyberthreats, including very advanced ones, for which they need knowledge of possible attack vectors, indicators of compromise, and the ability to distinguish normal operations from malicious activity. In order to win this battle organisations need to have strong security expertise combined with technology that is capable of spotting a criminal act in the avalanche of daily activity in a large corporation. This challenge is being addressed with the Kaspersky Anti Targeted Attack Platform, together with the security services aimed at sharing security intelligence with our customers faster than ever before”, commented Riaan Badenhorst, Managing Director, Kaspersky Lab Africa.

The Kaspersky Anti Targeted Attack Platform

The Kaspersky Anti Targeted Attack Platform analyses data collected from different points of the corporate IT infrastructure. The solution’s sensors are responsible for data acquisition over network traffic, web and e-mail as well as endpoints. This allows the solution to detect complex attacks at any stage, even when no malicious activity is taking place, like data exfiltration. Suspicious events are then processed via different engines, including an Advanced Sandbox and a Targeted Attack Analyzer for a final verdict.

The Advanced Sandbox provides a safe, isolated and virtualised environment for analysing suspicious objects and detecting their intent. The Targeted Attack Analyzer utilises data processing and machine learning technologies to assess and combine verdicts from different analysis engines. This is where the final decision to alert the staff is made. Additional technologies that help to reduce false positive alerts include Kaspersky Lab’s own anti-malware engine to rule out generic attacks that can be blocked by traditional solutions; URL analysis; threat data feeds delivered from Kaspersky Lab’s cloud security network; an Intrusion Detection System; and support for custom rules to detect specific activity in a corporate network.

The Kaspersky Anti Targeted Attack Platform is available as an independent solution or in combination with expert services aimed at rapid incident detection and response. The availability of intelligence services also enables customers to adapt the solution to specific business needs.

Learn more about Kaspersky Anti Targeted Attack Platform at our website: http://www.Kaspersky.co.za/enterprise-security/anti-targeted-attacks

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Kaspersky.

For further information please contact:
Princess Tsambo| Orange Ink (http://www.OrangeInk.co.za)|
Cell: +27 76 544 6703 Tel: +27 11 465 4075; +27 11 465 4030
[email protected]

About Kaspersky Lab:
Kaspersky Lab (www.Kaspersky.co.za) is one of the world’s fastest-growing cyber-security companies and the largest that is privately-owned. The company is ranked among the world’s top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users (IDC, 2014). Since 1997 Kaspersky Lab has been an innovator in cyber-security and provides effective digital security solutions and threat intelligence for large enterprises, SMBs and consumers. Kaspersky Lab is an international company, operating in almost 200 countries and territories across the globe. Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky Lab technologies worldwide. Learn more at www.Kaspersky.co.za.

Follow us:
https://www.facebook.com/kasperskylabafrica
http://twitter.com/KasperskyAfrica
http://www.youtube.com/user/Kaspersky
http://instagram.com/kasperskylab
http://blog.kaspersky.com/
http://www.securelist.com/

Source:: Kaspersky Lab announces availability in Nigeria of its Advanced Solution to Detect Targeted Attacks

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On the Day of the African Child, Learner’s Booklets launched to help children protect themselves from violence and conflict

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As Uganda celebrates the Day of the African Child (DAC), Learner’s Booklets that will help children protect themselves from all forms of violence, conflict and disasters have been launched by the Government of Uganda.

The child-friendly Learners’ Booklets provide children with information, knowledge and skills in preventing conflict, violence and disasters in their schools and communities.

“These booklets are a great resource for children to learn about their rights and, importantly, the actions they can take to protect their rights,” stated Ms. Aida Girma, UNICEF’s Representative in Uganda. “We encourage all children to study these booklets so they can gain key knowledge that will help them better protect and secure a better future for themselves,” she added.

With the theme of ‘Protecting children’s rights: A call to action’, the Day of the African Child this year is bringing attention to the damage that violence, conflict and disasters inflict on children.

The first booklet that was launched is the ‘Say No To Violence’ learner’s booklet. Considering the often devastating impact violence has on children, the booklet equips children with tips to identify acts of violence, report on the acts to authorities and, ultimately, help put an end to the violence they experience.

The second booklet, ‘Know your risk! Prepare to Act,’ equips children with the necessary information, knowledge and skills to prevent conflict, violence and disasters like floods, fire, strong winds, lightening, earthquakes, landslides and droughts. The booklet also provides children with information on how to identify risks and what they can do to help themselves and others from harm.

During today’s commemorations in Masaka, a space for children to read the booklets and interact with each other about them has been established. Copies of the booklets have also been made available to all children and their teachers at the event.

The detailed booklets can further be accessed from the links below:

Learner’s Booklet: Say No to Violence – For Post Primary Schools and Institutions
Learner’s Booklet: Facts and tips on keeping safe in schools
Conflict and Disaster Risk Management: Booklet for Learners in Post Primary Institutions and Communities in Uganda
Conflict and Disaster Risk Management: Booklet for Pupils in Upper Primary Schools and Communities in Uganda
Conflict and Disaster Risk Management: Teacher’s Guide

Today, 40 percent of children in Uganda suffer from physical violence; 2.4 million children are engaged in exploitative child labour; more than half of 15-19 year old adolescent girls have experienced physical or sexual violence and corporal punishment remains rampant in schools.

About UNICEF
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of UNICEF Uganda.

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Source:: On the Day of the African Child, Learner’s Booklets launched to help children protect themselves from violence and conflict

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Ethiopia: Protest Crackdown Killed Hundreds

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Ethiopian security forces have killed more than 400 protesters and others, and arrested tens of thousands more during widespread protests in the Oromia region since November 2015, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Ethiopian government should urgently support a credible, independent investigation into the killings, arbitrary arrests, and other abuses.

The 61-page report. “‘Such a Brutal Crackdown’: Killings and Arrests in Response to Ethiopia’s Oromo Protests,” details the Ethiopian government’s use of excessive and unnecessary lethal force and mass arrests, mistreatment in detention, and restrictions on access to information to quash the protest movement. Human Rights Watch interviews in Ethiopia and abroad with more than 125 protesters, bystanders, and victims of abuse documented serious violations of the rights to free expression and peaceful assembly by security forces against protesters and others from the beginning of the protests in November 2015 through May 2016.

“Ethiopian security forces have fired on and killed hundreds of students, farmers, and other peaceful protesters with blatant disregard for human life,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The government should immediately free those wrongfully detained, support a credible, independent investigation, and hold security force members accountable for abuses.”

Human Rights Watch found that security forces used live ammunition for crowd control repeatedly, killing one or more protesters at many of the hundreds of protests over several months. Human Rights Watch and other organizations have identified more than 300 of those killed by name and, in some cases, with photos.

The November protests were triggered by concerns about the government’s proposed expansion of the capital’s municipal boundary through the Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master Plan. Protesters feared that the Master Plan would displace Oromo farmers, as has increasingly occurred over the past decade, resulting in a negative impact on farm communities while benefiting a small elite.

As protests continued into December, the government deployed military forces for crowd-control throughout Oromia. Security forces repeatedly fired live ammunition into crowds with little or no warning or use of non-lethal crowd-control measures. Many of those killed have been students, including children under 18.

The federal police and military have also arrested tens of thousands of students, teachers, musicians, opposition politicians, health workers, and people who provided assistance or shelter to fleeing students. While many detainees have been released, an unknown number remain in detention without charge and without access to legal counsel or family members.

Witnesses described the scale of the arrests as unprecedented. Yoseph, 52, from the Wollega zone, said: “I’ve lived here for my whole life, and I’ve never seen such a brutal crackdown. There are regular arrests and killings of our people, but every family here has had at least one child arrested.”

Former detainees told Human Rights Watch that they were tortured or mistreated in detention, including in military camps, and several women alleged that they were raped or sexually assaulted. Some said they were hung by their ankles and beaten; others described having electric shocks applied to their feet, or weights tied to their testicles. Video footage shows students being beaten on university campuses.

Despite the large number of arrests, the authorities have charged few individuals with any offenses. Several dozen opposition party members and journalists have been charged under Ethiopia’s draconian anti-terrorism law, while 20 students who protested in front of the United States embassy in Addis Ababa in March were charged with various offenses under the criminal code.

Access to education – from primary school to university – has been disrupted in many locations because of the presence of security forces in and around schools, the arrest of teachers and students, and many students’ fear of attending class. Authorities temporarily closed schools for weeks in some locations to deter protests. Many students told Human Rights Watch that the military and other security forces were occupying campuses and monitoring and harassing ethnic Oromo students.

There have been some credible reports of violence by protesters, including the destruction of foreign-owned farms, looting of government buildings, and other destruction of government property. However, the Human Rights Watch investigations into 62 of the more than 500 protests since November found that most have been peaceful.

The Ethiopian government’s pervasive restrictions on independent human rights investigations and media have meant that very little information is coming from affected areas. The Ethiopian government has also increased its efforts to restrict media freedom. Since mid-March it has restricted access to Facebook and other social media. It has also restricted access to diaspora television stations.

In January, the government announced the cancellation of the Master Plan. By then, however, protester grievances had widened due to the brutality of the government response.

While the protests have largely subsided since April, the government crackdown has continued, Human Rights Watch found. Many of those arrested over the past seven months remain in detention, and hundreds have not been located and are feared to have been forcibly disappeared. The government has not conducted a credible investigation into alleged abuses. Soldiers still occupy some university campuses and tensions remain high. The protests echo similar though smaller protests in Oromia in 2014, and the government’s response could be a catalyst for future dissent, Human Rights Watch said.

Ethiopia’s brutal crackdown warrants a much stronger, united response from concerned governments and intergovernmental organizations, including the United Nations Human Rights Council, Human Rights Watch said. While the European Parliament has passed a strong resolution condemning the crackdown and a resolution has been introduced in the United States Senate, these are exceptions in an otherwise severely muted international response to the crackdown in Oromia. The UN Human Rights Council should address these serious abuses, call for the release of those arbitrarily detained and support an independent investigation.

“Ethiopia’s foreign supporters have largely remained silent during the government’s bloody crackdown in Oromia,” Lefkow said. “Countries promoting Ethiopia’s development should press for progress in all areas, notably the right to free speech, and justice for victims of abuse.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Human Rights Watch (HRW).

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Ethiopia: Protest Crackdown Killed Hundreds

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Ethiopian security forces have killed more than 400 protesters and others, and arrested tens of thousands more during widespread protests in the Oromia region since November 2015, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Ethiopian government should urgently support a credible, independent investigation into the killings, arbitrary arrests, and other abuses.

The 61-page report. “‘Such a Brutal Crackdown’: Killings and Arrests in Response to Ethiopia’s Oromo Protests,” details the Ethiopian government’s use of excessive and unnecessary lethal force and mass arrests, mistreatment in detention, and restrictions on access to information to quash the protest movement. Human Rights Watch interviews in Ethiopia and abroad with more than 125 protesters, bystanders, and victims of abuse documented serious violations of the rights to free expression and peaceful assembly by security forces against protesters and others from the beginning of the protests in November 2015 through May 2016.

“Ethiopian security forces have fired on and killed hundreds of students, farmers, and other peaceful protesters with blatant disregard for human life,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The government should immediately free those wrongfully detained, support a credible, independent investigation, and hold security force members accountable for abuses.”

Human Rights Watch found that security forces used live ammunition for crowd control repeatedly, killing one or more protesters at many of the hundreds of protests over several months. Human Rights Watch and other organizations have identified more than 300 of those killed by name and, in some cases, with photos.

The November protests were triggered by concerns about the government’s proposed expansion of the capital’s municipal boundary through the Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master Plan. Protesters feared that the Master Plan would displace Oromo farmers, as has increasingly occurred over the past decade, resulting in a negative impact on farm communities while benefiting a small elite.

As protests continued into December, the government deployed military forces for crowd-control throughout Oromia. Security forces repeatedly fired live ammunition into crowds with little or no warning or use of non-lethal crowd-control measures. Many of those killed have been students, including children under 18.

The federal police and military have also arrested tens of thousands of students, teachers, musicians, opposition politicians, health workers, and people who provided assistance or shelter to fleeing students. While many detainees have been released, an unknown number remain in detention without charge and without access to legal counsel or family members.

Witnesses described the scale of the arrests as unprecedented. Yoseph, 52, from the Wollega zone, said: “I’ve lived here for my whole life, and I’ve never seen such a brutal crackdown. There are regular arrests and killings of our people, but every family here has had at least one child arrested.”

Former detainees told Human Rights Watch that they were tortured or mistreated in detention, including in military camps, and several women alleged that they were raped or sexually assaulted. Some said they were hung by their ankles and beaten; others described having electric shocks applied to their feet, or weights tied to their testicles. Video footage shows students being beaten on university campuses.

Despite the large number of arrests, the authorities have charged few individuals with any offenses. Several dozen opposition party members and journalists have been charged under Ethiopia’s draconian anti-terrorism law, while 20 students who protested in front of the United States embassy in Addis Ababa in March were charged with various offenses under the criminal code.

Access to education – from primary school to university – has been disrupted in many locations because of the presence of security forces in and around schools, the arrest of teachers and students, and many students’ fear of attending class. Authorities temporarily closed schools for weeks in some locations to deter protests. Many students told Human Rights Watch that the military and other security forces were occupying campuses and monitoring and harassing ethnic Oromo students.

There have been some credible reports of violence by protesters, including the destruction of foreign-owned farms, looting of government buildings, and other destruction of government property. However, the Human Rights Watch investigations into 62 of the more than 500 protests since November found that most have been peaceful.

The Ethiopian government’s pervasive restrictions on independent human rights investigations and media have meant that very little information is coming from affected areas. The Ethiopian government has also increased its efforts to restrict media freedom. Since mid-March it has restricted access to Facebook and other social media. It has also restricted access to diaspora television stations.

In January, the government announced the cancellation of the Master Plan. By then, however, protester grievances had widened due to the brutality of the government response.

While the protests have largely subsided since April, the government crackdown has continued, Human Rights Watch found. Many of those arrested over the past seven months remain in detention, and hundreds have not been located and are feared to have been forcibly disappeared. The government has not conducted a credible investigation into alleged abuses. Soldiers still occupy some university campuses and tensions remain high. The protests echo similar though smaller protests in Oromia in 2014, and the government’s response could be a catalyst for future dissent, Human Rights Watch said.

Ethiopia’s brutal crackdown warrants a much stronger, united response from concerned governments and intergovernmental organizations, including the United Nations Human Rights Council, Human Rights Watch said. While the European Parliament has passed a strong resolution condemning the crackdown and a resolution has been introduced in the United States Senate, these are exceptions in an otherwise severely muted international response to the crackdown in Oromia. The UN Human Rights Council should address these serious abuses, call for the release of those arbitrarily detained and support an independent investigation.

“Ethiopia’s foreign supporters have largely remained silent during the government’s bloody crackdown in Oromia,” Lefkow said. “Countries promoting Ethiopia’s development should press for progress in all areas, notably the right to free speech, and justice for victims of abuse.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Human Rights Watch (HRW).

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Source:: Ethiopia: Protest Crackdown Killed Hundreds

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Ethiopia: Protest Crackdown Killed Hundreds

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Ethiopian security forces have killed more than 400 protesters and others, and arrested tens of thousands more during widespread protests in the Oromia region since November 2015, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Ethiopian government should urgently support a credible, independent investigation into the killings, arbitrary arrests, and other abuses.

The 61-page report. “‘Such a Brutal Crackdown’: Killings and Arrests in Response to Ethiopia’s Oromo Protests,” details the Ethiopian government’s use of excessive and unnecessary lethal force and mass arrests, mistreatment in detention, and restrictions on access to information to quash the protest movement. Human Rights Watch interviews in Ethiopia and abroad with more than 125 protesters, bystanders, and victims of abuse documented serious violations of the rights to free expression and peaceful assembly by security forces against protesters and others from the beginning of the protests in November 2015 through May 2016.

“Ethiopian security forces have fired on and killed hundreds of students, farmers, and other peaceful protesters with blatant disregard for human life,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The government should immediately free those wrongfully detained, support a credible, independent investigation, and hold security force members accountable for abuses.”

Human Rights Watch found that security forces used live ammunition for crowd control repeatedly, killing one or more protesters at many of the hundreds of protests over several months. Human Rights Watch and other organizations have identified more than 300 of those killed by name and, in some cases, with photos.

The November protests were triggered by concerns about the government’s proposed expansion of the capital’s municipal boundary through the Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master Plan. Protesters feared that the Master Plan would displace Oromo farmers, as has increasingly occurred over the past decade, resulting in a negative impact on farm communities while benefiting a small elite.

As protests continued into December, the government deployed military forces for crowd-control throughout Oromia. Security forces repeatedly fired live ammunition into crowds with little or no warning or use of non-lethal crowd-control measures. Many of those killed have been students, including children under 18.

The federal police and military have also arrested tens of thousands of students, teachers, musicians, opposition politicians, health workers, and people who provided assistance or shelter to fleeing students. While many detainees have been released, an unknown number remain in detention without charge and without access to legal counsel or family members.

Witnesses described the scale of the arrests as unprecedented. Yoseph, 52, from the Wollega zone, said: “I’ve lived here for my whole life, and I’ve never seen such a brutal crackdown. There are regular arrests and killings of our people, but every family here has had at least one child arrested.”

Former detainees told Human Rights Watch that they were tortured or mistreated in detention, including in military camps, and several women alleged that they were raped or sexually assaulted. Some said they were hung by their ankles and beaten; others described having electric shocks applied to their feet, or weights tied to their testicles. Video footage shows students being beaten on university campuses.

Despite the large number of arrests, the authorities have charged few individuals with any offenses. Several dozen opposition party members and journalists have been charged under Ethiopia’s draconian anti-terrorism law, while 20 students who protested in front of the United States embassy in Addis Ababa in March were charged with various offenses under the criminal code.

Access to education – from primary school to university – has been disrupted in many locations because of the presence of security forces in and around schools, the arrest of teachers and students, and many students’ fear of attending class. Authorities temporarily closed schools for weeks in some locations to deter protests. Many students told Human Rights Watch that the military and other security forces were occupying campuses and monitoring and harassing ethnic Oromo students.

There have been some credible reports of violence by protesters, including the destruction of foreign-owned farms, looting of government buildings, and other destruction of government property. However, the Human Rights Watch investigations into 62 of the more than 500 protests since November found that most have been peaceful.

The Ethiopian government’s pervasive restrictions on independent human rights investigations and media have meant that very little information is coming from affected areas. The Ethiopian government has also increased its efforts to restrict media freedom. Since mid-March it has restricted access to Facebook and other social media. It has also restricted access to diaspora television stations.

In January, the government announced the cancellation of the Master Plan. By then, however, protester grievances had widened due to the brutality of the government response.

While the protests have largely subsided since April, the government crackdown has continued, Human Rights Watch found. Many of those arrested over the past seven months remain in detention, and hundreds have not been located and are feared to have been forcibly disappeared. The government has not conducted a credible investigation into alleged abuses. Soldiers still occupy some university campuses and tensions remain high. The protests echo similar though smaller protests in Oromia in 2014, and the government’s response could be a catalyst for future dissent, Human Rights Watch said.

Ethiopia’s brutal crackdown warrants a much stronger, united response from concerned governments and intergovernmental organizations, including the United Nations Human Rights Council, Human Rights Watch said. While the European Parliament has passed a strong resolution condemning the crackdown and a resolution has been introduced in the United States Senate, these are exceptions in an otherwise severely muted international response to the crackdown in Oromia. The UN Human Rights Council should address these serious abuses, call for the release of those arbitrarily detained and support an independent investigation.

“Ethiopia’s foreign supporters have largely remained silent during the government’s bloody crackdown in Oromia,” Lefkow said. “Countries promoting Ethiopia’s development should press for progress in all areas, notably the right to free speech, and justice for victims of abuse.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Human Rights Watch (HRW).

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HR/VP Federica Mogherini met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn

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Today, the HR/VP Federica Mogherini and European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides met Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, in Brussels, at the margins of the European Development Days.

This meeting follows up the signature yesterday, by Prime Minister Hailemariam and President Juncker, of a Joint Declaration “Towards an EU-Ethiopia Strategic Engagement”.

HR/VP Mogherini and Prime Minister Hailemariam had constructive talks about the Strategic Engagement, including the six sectoral dialogues which are part of the new relationship: regional peace and security; countering terrorism and violent radicalisation; migration; social and economic development, investment and trade; governance and human rights; climate change and environmental cooperation.

Both discussed on the migration challenges commonly shared by the EU and Ethiopia. HR/VP Mogherini reminded that Ethiopia currently hosts the largest refugee community in Africa, and welcomed the ongoing cooperation under the Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility, signed in November last year at the margins of the Valletta Summit on Migration. The recent Commission’s proposal to work towards Migration Compacts with priority partner countries, including Ethiopia, was also discussed. Both sides agreed on the need to further implement commitments made in Valletta, notably protecting people’s lives, ensuring effective returns and helping tackling the root causes of irregular migration. In this context, the HRVP confirmed that implementation of three actions under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa for an amount of € 97 million would start shortly, with a particular focus on support to refugees and host communities; job creation for potential migrants and returnees; and building resilience of most vulnerable communities.

The situation in the Horn of Africa and the wider Red Sea region was on the agenda. The HRVP recognised Ethiopia’s crucial role on regional peace and security. On the recent military actions on the Ethiopia-Eritrea border, HR/VP Mogherini called for restraint from both sides and reiterated that only a peaceful resolution will lead to a lasting solution of the border conflict.
Governance and human rights were also on the agenda, as HR/VP Mogherini highlighted the need for inclusiveness, accountability and open dialogue. On the situation in Oromia, including the fate of individuals arrested in the context of the recent protests, HR/VP Mogherini recalled the EU readiness to support broadening the democratic environment.

Finally, The HRVP and the Ethiopian Prime Minister also discussed the upcoming EU-Ethiopia Business Forum which should be held in Brussels by the end of 2016, with a view to increase private sector’s involvement in the country.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of European Union.

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HR/VP Federica Mogherini met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn

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Today, the HR/VP Federica Mogherini and European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides met Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, in Brussels, at the margins of the European Development Days.

This meeting follows up the signature yesterday, by Prime Minister Hailemariam and President Juncker, of a Joint Declaration “Towards an EU-Ethiopia Strategic Engagement”.

HR/VP Mogherini and Prime Minister Hailemariam had constructive talks about the Strategic Engagement, including the six sectoral dialogues which are part of the new relationship: regional peace and security; countering terrorism and violent radicalisation; migration; social and economic development, investment and trade; governance and human rights; climate change and environmental cooperation.

Both discussed on the migration challenges commonly shared by the EU and Ethiopia. HR/VP Mogherini reminded that Ethiopia currently hosts the largest refugee community in Africa, and welcomed the ongoing cooperation under the Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility, signed in November last year at the margins of the Valletta Summit on Migration. The recent Commission’s proposal to work towards Migration Compacts with priority partner countries, including Ethiopia, was also discussed. Both sides agreed on the need to further implement commitments made in Valletta, notably protecting people’s lives, ensuring effective returns and helping tackling the root causes of irregular migration. In this context, the HRVP confirmed that implementation of three actions under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa for an amount of € 97 million would start shortly, with a particular focus on support to refugees and host communities; job creation for potential migrants and returnees; and building resilience of most vulnerable communities.

The situation in the Horn of Africa and the wider Red Sea region was on the agenda. The HRVP recognised Ethiopia’s crucial role on regional peace and security. On the recent military actions on the Ethiopia-Eritrea border, HR/VP Mogherini called for restraint from both sides and reiterated that only a peaceful resolution will lead to a lasting solution of the border conflict.
Governance and human rights were also on the agenda, as HR/VP Mogherini highlighted the need for inclusiveness, accountability and open dialogue. On the situation in Oromia, including the fate of individuals arrested in the context of the recent protests, HR/VP Mogherini recalled the EU readiness to support broadening the democratic environment.

Finally, The HRVP and the Ethiopian Prime Minister also discussed the upcoming EU-Ethiopia Business Forum which should be held in Brussels by the end of 2016, with a view to increase private sector’s involvement in the country.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of European Union.

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Source:: HR/VP Federica Mogherini met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn

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UN Security Council Press Statement on the Situation in Guinea Bissau

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1- The members of the Security Council were briefed on 14 June 2016 by the Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea Bissau (UNIOGBIS), Mr. Modibo Ibrahim Touré, on the situation in Guinea-Bissau.

2- The members of the Security Council expressed their serious concern over the latest political developments in Guinea-Bissau.

3- The members of the Security Council encouraged national actors to abide by the Constitution and the rule of law, while striving to find a political solution to the crisis. Notably, the members of the Security Council commended the security forces of Guinea-Bissau for their non-interference in the political situation and the restraint shown in this regard. The members of the Security Council reminded the security and defense services of the need to continue abiding by civilian control.
4- The members of the Security Council further commended the peaceful way in which Guinea-Bissau’s population is following the political situation in the country.

5- The members of the Security Council welcomed the decision taken by the 49th Ordinary Summit of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government held in Dakar on June 2016, to designate a presidential mission comprising the Heads of State of Guinea, Senegal and Sierra Leone to meet and conduct discussions with those involved in the political crisis in Guinea-Bissau. They encouraged these regional leaders to further engage in addressing the current political situation of the country. They also welcomed the decision to extend for one year the mandate of the ECOWAS Security Mission in Guinea-Bissau. In this respect, they commended the decision of the European Union to provide financial support to this Mission.

6- The members of the Security Council commended the important efforts of ECOWAS and encouraged ECOWAS to continue extending its political support to the authorities and political leaders of Guinea-Bissau through the use of good offices and mediation.

7- The members of the Security Council recalled resolution 2267 (2016) and stressed the importance of national reconciliation, inclusive dialogue and good governance. They also stressed the need for the Government of Guinea-Bissau to continue to take concrete steps towards peace, security and stability in the country, by effectively reforming the security sector and tackling corruption. They urged relevant Bissau-Guinean actors to uphold and proceed with continuous and constructive dialogue, within the established constitutional parameters and with respect for the separation of powers, in order to strengthen democratic governance and work towards consensus on key political issues, particularly with regards to the urgent implementation of necessary reforms.

8- The members of the Security Council recalled their full commitment to support the consolidation of peace and stability Guinea-Bissau and noted that the pledges made at the Brussels International Donor Conference of March 2015 required a stable political environment in order to materialize. The members of the Security Council further noted that courageous and inclusive political steps are needed to help fulfill these pledged commitments, in the best interests of all the people of Guinea-Bissau.

9- The members of the Security Council welcomed the joint efforts by international partners, in particular the UN, AU, ECOWAS, EU and CPLP, to enhance cooperation in support of the Government in Guinea-Bissau and encouraged them to continue to work together towards the country’s stabilization in accordance with the key structural reforms established by the Government. In this regard, they acknowledged the role of the Peacebuilding Commission in enhancing these efforts to support long-term peacebuilding priorities of Guinea-Bissau.

10- The members of the Security Council welcomed the joint statement adopted on 9 June 2016 by the UN, AU, ECOWAS, EU and CPLP on the institutional crisis.

11- They further highlighted the efforts of Presidents Macky Sall of Senegal, Alpha Condé of the Republic of Guinea, and Olusegun Obasanjo, Special Envoy of President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, to facilitate dialogue in Guinea-Bissau.

12- The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support for the key role and active engagement of SRSG Touré, including his good offices and close coordination with the international community.

13- The members of the Security Council encouraged ECOWAS and the CPLP to take the necessary steps towards organizing a meeting of the international contact Group on Guinea-Bissau, in consultation with the UN, EU and all concerned stakeholders.

14- The members of the Security Council reiterated their commitment to continue to monitor the current political crisis and expressed their readiness to take necessary measures to respond to further worsening of the situation in Guinea-Bissau.

15 June 2016

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations – Security Council.

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UN Security Council Press Statement on the Situation in Guinea Bissau

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1- The members of the Security Council were briefed on 14 June 2016 by the Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea Bissau (UNIOGBIS), Mr. Modibo Ibrahim Touré, on the situation in Guinea-Bissau.

2- The members of the Security Council expressed their serious concern over the latest political developments in Guinea-Bissau.

3- The members of the Security Council encouraged national actors to abide by the Constitution and the rule of law, while striving to find a political solution to the crisis. Notably, the members of the Security Council commended the security forces of Guinea-Bissau for their non-interference in the political situation and the restraint shown in this regard. The members of the Security Council reminded the security and defense services of the need to continue abiding by civilian control.
4- The members of the Security Council further commended the peaceful way in which Guinea-Bissau’s population is following the political situation in the country.

5- The members of the Security Council welcomed the decision taken by the 49th Ordinary Summit of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government held in Dakar on June 2016, to designate a presidential mission comprising the Heads of State of Guinea, Senegal and Sierra Leone to meet and conduct discussions with those involved in the political crisis in Guinea-Bissau. They encouraged these regional leaders to further engage in addressing the current political situation of the country. They also welcomed the decision to extend for one year the mandate of the ECOWAS Security Mission in Guinea-Bissau. In this respect, they commended the decision of the European Union to provide financial support to this Mission.

6- The members of the Security Council commended the important efforts of ECOWAS and encouraged ECOWAS to continue extending its political support to the authorities and political leaders of Guinea-Bissau through the use of good offices and mediation.

7- The members of the Security Council recalled resolution 2267 (2016) and stressed the importance of national reconciliation, inclusive dialogue and good governance. They also stressed the need for the Government of Guinea-Bissau to continue to take concrete steps towards peace, security and stability in the country, by effectively reforming the security sector and tackling corruption. They urged relevant Bissau-Guinean actors to uphold and proceed with continuous and constructive dialogue, within the established constitutional parameters and with respect for the separation of powers, in order to strengthen democratic governance and work towards consensus on key political issues, particularly with regards to the urgent implementation of necessary reforms.

8- The members of the Security Council recalled their full commitment to support the consolidation of peace and stability Guinea-Bissau and noted that the pledges made at the Brussels International Donor Conference of March 2015 required a stable political environment in order to materialize. The members of the Security Council further noted that courageous and inclusive political steps are needed to help fulfill these pledged commitments, in the best interests of all the people of Guinea-Bissau.

9- The members of the Security Council welcomed the joint efforts by international partners, in particular the UN, AU, ECOWAS, EU and CPLP, to enhance cooperation in support of the Government in Guinea-Bissau and encouraged them to continue to work together towards the country’s stabilization in accordance with the key structural reforms established by the Government. In this regard, they acknowledged the role of the Peacebuilding Commission in enhancing these efforts to support long-term peacebuilding priorities of Guinea-Bissau.

10- The members of the Security Council welcomed the joint statement adopted on 9 June 2016 by the UN, AU, ECOWAS, EU and CPLP on the institutional crisis.

11- They further highlighted the efforts of Presidents Macky Sall of Senegal, Alpha Condé of the Republic of Guinea, and Olusegun Obasanjo, Special Envoy of President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, to facilitate dialogue in Guinea-Bissau.

12- The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support for the key role and active engagement of SRSG Touré, including his good offices and close coordination with the international community.

13- The members of the Security Council encouraged ECOWAS and the CPLP to take the necessary steps towards organizing a meeting of the international contact Group on Guinea-Bissau, in consultation with the UN, EU and all concerned stakeholders.

14- The members of the Security Council reiterated their commitment to continue to monitor the current political crisis and expressed their readiness to take necessary measures to respond to further worsening of the situation in Guinea-Bissau.

15 June 2016

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations – Security Council.

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Source:: UN Security Council Press Statement on the Situation in Guinea Bissau

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Mali: calling for a stronger UN Mission

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In view of the renewal of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) on June 30, FIDH and AMDH urge the United Nations Security Council to provide the mission with the necessary means to defend its mandate in an extremely deteriorated security situation, that challenges the implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali, already undermined by the lack of political will of the signatory parties.

Indeed, since the peace agreement was signed in May and June 2015, security has been declining substantially; the civilian population and the MINUSMA personnel have been increasingly exposed to armed attacks, particularly in the North of the country, and many human rights violations have been committed by terrorist armed groups, as well as pro-government groups and the Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA).

In this regard, FIDH and AMDH urge the Security Council to retain a strong mandate on protection of civilians and to provide the MINUSMA with the necessary means to defend its mandate. Also, the mission’s military rules of procedure should be clarified in the mandate and its operational capacities enhanced, especially through appropriate training of the troops before their deployment to such asymmetric contexts, and the reinforcement of air and land-based military equipment.

The center of the country, in particular the region of Mopti, is still witnessing important human rights violations in counter-terrorism context, and acute incitement to communal violence. Arbitrary detentions and arrests, kidnappings and murder of civilians, mainly targeting the Peul community, are allegedly perpetrated by the Malian armed forces which are currently fighting against the Macina Liberation Front, linked to the terrorist group Ansar El Din.

In that regard, FIDH and AMDH recommend a stronger presence of the MINUSMA in the region, by deploying an international police force in order to ensure the return to stability and the restoration of State authority.

As they reminded the UNSC member-states during a series of bilateral meetings held in New-York in May 2016, and in the advocacy note published herewith, our organizations, who represent many victims of crimes against humanity and war crimes perpetrated during the Malian conflict that erupted in January 2012, expect the Malian authorities to take responsibility and ensure effective access to justice for victims.

Considering that the security conditions do not allow for magistrates to return and work in the north and because the prosecution of those responsible for the most serious crimes is crucial for the establishment of a sustainable peace, FIDH and AMDH suggest the creation of a specialized judicial division for grave human rights violations perpetrated in the north and ask for the immediate establishment of the international commission of inquiry planned in the Ouagadougou and Alger agreements.

The MINUSMA should also encourage the Malian government to adopt the necessary measures to ensure protection of victims and witnesses.

Last but not least, our organizations recommend that the Security Council provide the MINUSMA with the mandate to accompany the Malian authorities in the preparation and the organization of local elections to be held in the Fall, an essential step for the redeployment of the state authority on the whole territory, as soon as possible.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH).

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