IOM, Partners Begin Construction of New Border Posts in Senegal

IOM Senegal, today (19/04) began construction of the first of five new border posts along its frontiers with Mauritania and Mali, with funding from the European Union. The border posts are designed to enhance Senegal’s migration and border management capacities, while increasing security in the region.

The first post is being constructed in Dagana, a small village on the southern bank of the Senegal River, marking the boundary between Mauritania and Senegal. While thousands of travellers cross the river at the official border crossing a few kilometres downstream, others make the crossing in small dugout canoes, or pirogues, in areas that are not as well monitored. Given the border’s porous nature, security officials struggle to control migration flows and keep illegal activity in check.

With the construction of a new border post in Dagana, Senegalese security officials will have greater capacity to monitor activities along the border and manage the flow of migration in the area.

The construction of the border post in Dagana is part of a EUR 2.5 million, 30-month project: “Support for Border Management” funded by the European Union and implemented by IOM in partnership with the Senegalese Ministry of Interior and in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy and Finance (Customs), Ministry of Health, Ministry of Defence (Gendarmerie) and other departments.

The project calls for the construction of at least four other border posts in remote areas along Senegal’s northern border with Mauritania and Mali (Podor and Kidira), while other border posts in Rosso and Diama, will be renovated.

“The border control posts will not only provide a place for border police and customs officials to operate,” explained Massimo Ramanzin, project manager at IOM Senegal. “They will also offer space for other Senegalese authorities, who need to be present at the post, including medical, phytosanitary or veterinary workers.”

The new facilities will allow National Police, Customs, Gendarmerie and health officials to work together to help secure border regions.

Ramanzin added: “We are helping build the capacity of Senegalese government institutions to improve border management and cross-border cooperation to better manage security and identify risks. With this project, we hope to facilitate the free movement of people and goods, while enhancing the security of border regions in Mali, Mauritania and Senegal.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Office of Migration (IOM).

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Remarks to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by UN Peacekeepers

Ambassador Isobel Coleman

U.S. Representative to the UN for UN Management and Reform

U.S. Mission to the United Nations

Washington, DC

April 13, 2016

AS DELIVERED

Thank you Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Cardin and distinguished members of the Committee for inviting me to testify today on the urgent, and shameful, issue of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN Peacekeepers.

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to travel with Ambassador Power to the Central African Republic to witness the peaceful handover of power to the country’s newly-elected president. In many ways, the trip underscored both the best, and the very worst, of UN peacekeeping. The presence of UN peacekeepers has been crucial in stanching the ethnic violence that has wracked the Central African Republic, resulting in thousands of deaths and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people.

Yet as we all know, some MINUSCA troops have also been implicated in allegations of horrific sexual abuses, preying on the very people they have been sent to protect. During my time in CAR, Ambassador Power and I traveled to Bambari and visited with the families of some of the victims of that abuse. Their descriptions of the violence their loved ones have suffered at the hands of peacekeepers were powerful personal accounts that, for me, cut through all the statistics, the handwringing and frankly, the excuses about why this scourge has continued to happen.

Sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers is not a new problem. It has plagued missions from Bosnia to Haiti, to the DRC to the Central African Republic. Let me read to you just one passage from an internal UN report documenting sexual abuse among peacekeepers: “Some young girls …. talked of “rape disguised as prostitution”, in which they said they were raped and given money or food afterwards to give the rape the appearance of a consensual transaction.”

These words, I’m sorry to say, are from the Zeid Report, published by the UN in 2005. We know from the scope of current allegations that now, more than a decade later, these very same offenses are still occurring. Despite years of UN leaders insisting on “zero tolerance,” a culture of impunity has been allowed to fester.

When Ambassador Power asked me last year to lead our mission’s efforts in helping to establish a new paradigm for tackling this scourge, it was clear that an unacceptable lack of transparency and accountability were at the heart of the problem. Yes, the UN published an annual report tallying the numbers and types of sexual abuses by peacekeeping mission, but under pressure from the troop contributing countries themselves, it withheld the nationality of alleged perpetrators. That made it difficult for Member States to take collective action on tracking the status of investigations and the outcome of disciplinary action to hold perpetrators to account. In short, without transparency, real accountability was, at best, inconsistent. This, finally, is changing.

Last year, USUN led negotiations in the General Assembly for a breakthrough on transparency, gaining consensus among Member States to support the Secretary General in his intent to name countries in his annual report – a long-overdue step. As of early March, the UN now posts credible allegations on its website, along with the nationality of the alleged perpetrators. With this information, we are pursuing a comprehensive approach as outlined earlier by Ambassador Jacobson, to track individual cases and follow up with the appropriate authorities.

In March, USUN brought the issue of sexual abuse to the Security Council, which adopted Resolution 2272 – another significant step forward for accountability. The resolution endorses the Secretary General’s decision to repatriate peacekeeping units that have demonstrated a pattern of abuse – which is a clear indication of insufficient command and control. Going further, Security Council Resolution 2272 empowers the Secretary General to repatriate all troops from a mission from a particular troop or police contributing country whose personnel are the subject of an allegation if that country has not taken appropriate steps to investigate allegations against its personnel, has not held perpetrators accountable or has not sufficiently informed the Secretary General of the progress of its investigations.

Our goal is to see Resolution 2272 implemented fully as a means of powerful prevention by ending once and for all the culture of impunity for sexual abuse in peacekeeping that has persisted for too long. Already, we are seeing positive signs of change, with the UN having repatriated military units from MINUSCA for sexual abuse.

The other part of this strategy, as also noted earlier, is to increase the overall supply of peacekeepers such that when military units or contingents are repatriated, others that are well trained and vetted are available to deploy quickly to take their place.

The UN has come a long way in responding to the scourge of sexual abuse, with strong support from the United States. It has built up its investigative capabilities, increased training and vetting of troops, implemented greater community outreach to increase awareness about sexual abuse, instituted penalties for offenders, and is improving victim’s assistance. Clearly, given the shocking scale and gravity of the sexual abuse incidents being reported from CAR and other missions, these actions by themselves are not sufficient to address the crisis. The UN’s recent commitments to greater transparency and accountability must result in a long-overdue sea change that ends impunity. Our work is not done. We continue to make it our highest priority both in New York and bilaterally to see perpetrators held to account and sorely lacking integrity restored to peacekeeping.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Africa Regional Media Hub.

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U.S. U.N. Permanent Representative Remarks at Press Availability in Cameroon

Ambassador Samantha Power

U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations

U.S. Mission to the United Nations

Maroua, Cameroon

April 18, 2016

AS DELIVERED

Good afternoon – or good evening, everybody. Thank you for your patience here, we’re a little late. I just want to start by reporting to you with great sorrow that as we, the United Nations, and Cameroonian officials drove to Mokoko this morning, a vehicle in the convoy that we were a part of struck a young boy. Although he received immediate medical care from an ambulance in our convoy, he died shortly thereafter.

This afternoon, I joined the governor of the area – the Cameroonian governor, the leading UN official who manages the humanitarian and development response, and Ambassador Hoza, and we visited with the boy’s family to offer our profound condolences and to express our grief and heartbreak over what the family is going through. So I wanted to share that immediately.

In terms of the rest of the trip today, which of course was very clouded by what had happened on the journey to visit with IDPs and with refugees, we met with families who described for us the human consequences of Boko Haram’s terror. In the refugee camp we visited with, virtually every family you encountered has some horrific memory of Boko Haram coming into their village – whether that’s Nigerians who have come across the border to Cameroon, or Cameroonians who’ve been attacked in their own homes here in this country, IDPs. Vivid memories of soldiers coming in, burning everything, stealing livestock, killing the men, abducting the girls, killing often the girls and the boys, as well. So, none of us needed a reminder of Boko Haram’s brutality, but to go into a camp and to see so many people affected by this terror only deepens and reinforces our commitment to the people of Cameroon, to the people of Nigeria, Niger, Chad – all of you who are attempting to fight this terror. The United States stands with you, and we will look to support you economically as well as through providing intelligence and military and other support.

One of the young women that we met with today was a 14-year-old Nigerian girl who is living now in a camp with her younger sister, who’s been reunited, mercifully, with her mother. She had Boko Haram come to her village and tell her “either you marry me, and effectively become my slave, or I kill you and the rest of your family.” Imagine what it would be like. Even though she managed to escape finally, and even though the people who did this to her and the man who enslaved her, effectively, is now in jail – what she carries, the trauma she carries, the scars that she carries, are scars the likes of which I can’t even imagine. So we also will do everything we can to support the UN and the Cameroonian authorities and NGOs and others who provide psycho-social services, because these wounds are going to be very long in healing and it’s extremely important for the cause of reconciliation that we support beautiful young women like this young girl that we met in the camp.

I just want to underscore that America’s support for this effort is one that cuts across all areas. We cannot defeat Boko Haram only using military force. Of course, military force has to be part of it; they have guns, they have suicide vests, they have armored vehicles – they have those things, and we will fight them. And we will join you and support your fight against them. But we also have to ensure that as we take the fight to Boko Haram with us supporting you, that we do so in a manner that respects the lives of civilians in the areas where Boko Haram is operating.

The last thing we want to do is neutralize one Boko Haram soldier and create five or 10 people who want to become part of Boko Haram as we support your military efforts. So this is a really important message. It’s also extremely important that parts of Cameroon and Nigeria that have suffered economically – and suffered more now because of Boko Haram, because the border is closed – that those communities get economic support, that they obtain it of course from the international community – emergency support and development support – but also that the governments in the region that are fighting Boko Haram understand the centrality of political inclusion and economic development to the long-term ability to keep Boko Haram not just out of territory, but to defeat Boko Haram in the long-term.

Your militaries in the region are capable of clearing Boko Haram out of territory, but it is extremely important that communities are able to go back to those lands; that they can hold the territory, and then that they can build on those lands. And to do that, we have to have a comprehensive strategy, one that includes respect for human rights, inclusion – political inclusion – economic development, and of course, physical security provided by the police and on the borders by military forces. So I thank you and thank you for welcoming me to your country. Thank you.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Africa Regional Media Hub.

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Viber Offers Users More Control Over Their Communications, Launching Full End-to-End Encryption and ‘Hidden Chats’

Viber (http://www.Viber.com), one of the world’s leading messaging apps with more than 711 million unique users worldwide, today announces complete end-to-end encryption across all devices including Android™ and iPhone®, iPad®, Android tablets, PC and Mac desktops. This feature will be available over the coming weeks to all users who have the latest version of Viber. It includes strengthened security in every voice or video call, message, video and photo, in both group messages and one-to-one communication. As part of this update, Viber also launches ‘Hidden Chats’ allowing users to hide specific chats from the main screen so no-one but the user knows they exist. These chats can only be accessed using a four digit PIN, providing an optional additional layer of privacy to users’ personal communications.

We take our users’ security and privacy very seriously, and it’s critical to us that they feel confident and protected when using Viber,” said Michael Shmilov, COO of Viber. “Because of this, we have spent a long time working on this latest update to ensure that our users have the most sophisticated security available and maximum control over their communications. We will continue to make this an ongoing priority as digital communication evolves.

Full End-to-end encryption

Rolling out globally over the coming weeks, users will automatically be protected by end-to-end encryption in all communications on their smartphone once they have upgraded to the latest version of Viber – v6.0 or higher. Users who are also using Viber on an iPad, Android tablet or desktop will be prompted to re-connect it to their phone using a QR code.

All communications can benefit from an additional layer of security through account verification. Users will see a color-coded lock on the right hand side of the screen indicating the level of security:

  • Grey Lock: During an end-to-end encrypted conversation and call users will see a grey padlock icon. Tapping on this icon will display a tooltip letting users know that messages sent by the participants are encrypted.
  • Green Lock: Users also have the option of manually authenticating their contacts by selecting that they are ‘trusted’. This means that the selected contact’s authentication key will be monitored for future changes so users can be certain that they’re talking to the right person at all times. Tapping on the green padlock will display a tooltip letting users know that messages sent by the participants are encrypted and your contact is verified.
  • Red Lock: If there is a problem with the authentication key of a previously trusted user, the padlock will turn red. The breach may simply mean that a user has changed their primary phone; however, it can also indicate a man-in-the-middle-attack. To solve a possible breach state, the participant needs to be re-trusted. Tapping on the red icon will display a tooltip noting that Viber cannot verify this number.

Hidden Chats

Users will now also be able to hide specific one-on-one or group conversations from the ‘chats’ screen so that no-one knows they exist and access them using a four digit PIN. Users can hide the conversation by tapping on the info screen for a particular chat. It will then ask for a four digit PIN or, for iOS users, provide an option for a fingerprint. Users will be notified of a message in a Hidden conversation without the text of the message, or who it is from, appearing on the screen.

This is not bi-directional, meaning if one user hides the conversation, nothing will be changed on the recipient’s side.

This latest update, along with the ‘Delete’ feature – which allows users to delete messages on the recipient’s phone even after they’ve sent them whether the person has seen it or not – demonstrates Viber’s increased focus on putting its users in control of their privacy and personal communications.

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

For media enquiries, please contact media@viber.com

About Viber:
Part of the Rakuten family, Viber (http://www.Viber.com) freely connects users around the world with the people that matter to them most. With more than 711 million unique users on the platform, Viber allows people to connect in the way that works best for them, whether that’s through individual messaging, video calls, group chats, or following brands and celebrities on Public Chats. Viber can be used on iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phones and tablets, Windows Phone, Windows®, Windows 8®, Mac, Linux and Symbian devices over mobile or WiFi connections.

Source:: Viber Offers Users More Control Over Their Communications, Launching Full End-to-End Encryption and ‘Hidden Chats’

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African Union Commission Chairperson sends condolences to victims of fatal bus accident

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has expressed deep sadness and shock after receiving the news of a fatal bus accident that occurred on Sunday 17 April 2016 in South Africa wherein ten Africans being ferried from Port Elizabeth lost their lives in the Free State Province.

Whereas the South African authorities are still investigating the details of the accident, it is the hope of the AUC Chairperson that the investigations will be undertaken expediently and that any (if any) responsible parties will face the appropriate sanctions.

The Chairperson extends her condolences to the families, colleagues, comrades, and friends of the deceased.

Lalani ngoxolo!!

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

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Kofi Annan to African leaders: Leave when your time is up

Former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan has urged African leaders to leave when their mandated time is up and to avoid excluding opposing voices if elections are to cease contributing to conflicts on the continent.

The renowned international diplomat said that while unconstitutional changes to government on the continent had reduced, exclusionary politics threatened to reverse the gains made.

“I think Africa has done well, by and large the coups have more or less ended, generals are remaining in their barracks, but we are creating situations which may bring them back,” the Nobel laureate said in an interview at the 5th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa (http://www.TanaForum.org).

“If a leader doesn’t want to leave office, if a leader stays on for too long, and elections are seen as being gamed to suit a leader and he stays term after term after term, the tendency may be the only way to get him out is through a coup or people taking to the streets.

“Neither approach can be seen as an alternative to democracy, to elections or to parliamentary rule. Constitutions and the rules of the game have to be respected.”

Annan, the keynote speaker at the forum this year, said winner-take-all approaches to elections on the continent had the effect of leaving out citizens for holding an opposing view, raising tensions around elections.

Annan, who chairs the Africa Progress Panel and the Nelson Mandela-founded The Elders grouping, said he had been the first to tell the African Union not to accept coup leaders among their midst [during an OAU heads of state summit in Lusaka in 2001].

Annan also said that solutions to the problems the continent has must come from within. However, the continent must build up its ability to do so, including in financing its institutions.

“We cannot always pass a hat around and insist we want to be sovereign, we want to be independent. We should lead and get others to support us—that support will be much more forthcoming when they see how serious and committed we are.”

The African Union has struggled to get members to pay their dues to allow it run its operations and programmes efficiently, a recurrent theme addressed by leaders at the forum in the Ethiopian city of Bahir Dar.

Annan said such budgetary concerns were constraining the work of the continent in strengthening stability and required creative ways of resourcing.

“I was happy to hear them [African leaders] say ‘we must be prepared to pay for what we want; we must be prepared to put out our own money on the table and fund issues that are of great importance to us.’”

The forum, now in its fifth year, is an inspiration of the late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and is organised by the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) of Addis Ababa University.

An invitation-only event, it is chaired by former Nigeria president Olusegun Obasanjo and seeks to provide a platform for current and former leaders to interact with key stakeholders in an informal setting to tackle contemporary issues facing the continent.

It does not make decisions but is becoming an African ‘brand’ of note where local solutions are innovatively explored as the region seeks to carve out its place in a global security architecture dominated by western and emerging powers.

Leaders and experts at the Tana Forum also noted that the continent was not isolated.

“As Africa faces increasing security challenges, so does the rest of the world. The continent is well placed to provide innovative solutions to these security challenges,” Obasanjo said.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Togo’s Faure Gnassingbe, Somalia’s Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud and Sudan’s Omar al Bashir were among the heads of state and government present.

Former leaders Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Festus Mogae of Botswana, Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, Pierre Buyoya of Burundi and Joyce Banda of Malawi were also in attendance.

“I think it is a very good idea that ex-leaders come together with current leaders to share experience and try to talk very frankly about the challenges facing the continent and also about our relations with the international community,” Annan, who was attending the annual forum for the first time, said.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa.

Media contact:

Michelle Mendi Muita
T: +251 929 169 936
E: m.muita@ipss-addis.org

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INTL FCStone Inc. Seminar on Commodity Price Risk Management in Nigeria to be opened by the Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission

INTL FCStone Inc. (NASDAQ:INTL) (https://www.INTLFCStone.com), a leader in the development of specialized financial services in commodities, securities, global payments, foreign exchange and other markets, today announced that Mr. Mounir Gwazo, Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission in Nigeria will deliver the keynote address at the Commodity Trading and Risk Management Seminar on April 19-20, 2016 at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, Nigeria. The seminar is being run by its London-based subsidiary, INTL FCStone Ltd, in partnership with AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited (AFEX).

Nigeria is richly endowed with agricultural resources that have been underexploited. Fifty years ago it was the world’s leading exporter of palm oil and peanuts, and it has the potential both to recover these markets and to become a major producer of other products that could either be exported or consumed locally to cut food import costs. To realize the potential of its agricultural resources, Nigeria needs modern and efficient markets in which processors and exporters can access produce and smallholder producers can access fair prices and secure loan finance so they can invest and modernise production.

INTL FCStone and AFEX are bringing together a team of leading practitioners in the world’s major commodity markets and capacity-building specialists with experience in African financial markets to run a unique seminar focusing on building skills in commodity trading and hedging and risk management. “The focus and interest in developing Nigeria’s agriculture sector has never been higher so now is the right time to run this seminar and support everyone in trying to build a modern and efficient market for agricultural produce” states Stuart Ponder, INTL FCStone’s Senior Vice President for Africa.

The participants in the seminar will gain insight into how a structured commodity market works and how a commodity exchange can support the development and progress of Nigeria’s agriculture and non-oil export sectors.

For enquiries regarding the seminar, please contact AgroNigeria +234 809 778 2665, +234 803 332 1575, or by email contactagronigeria@gmail.com.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of INTL FCStone Inc..

CONTACT:
INTL FCStone Inc.
Kent Coughlin
Director of Public Relations
+615-234-2756
kent.coughlin@intlfcstone.com

Richard-Mark Mbaram
CEO AgroNigeria
+234-8099207555
Legalmark2002@yahoo.com

About AFEX
AFEX’s vision is to create lasting institutions that will capitalize on Africa’s agricultural potential, support African farmers, achieve food security, provide energy security, and improve Africa’s overall global trade competitiveness. AFEX’s goal is to establish or transform commodity and securities exchanges in sub-Saharan Africa in support of capital market development.

About INTL FCStone Inc.
INTL FCStone Inc. (https://www.INTLFCStone.com), including its subsidiaries, is a leader in the development of specialized financial services in commodities, securities, global payments, foreign exchange and other markets. Its revenues are derived primarily from financial products and advisory services that fulfill clients’ needs and provide bottom-line benefits to their businesses. INTL creates added value for clients by providing access to global financial markets using industry and financial expertise, deep partner and network relationships, insight and guidance, and integrity and transparency. INTL’s client-first approach engenders trust, and has enabled INTL to establish leadership positions in a number of complex fields in financial markets around the world. INTL FCStone Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of INTL FCStone Inc., is authorized & Regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority.

Further information on INTL FCStone is available at www.INTLFCStone.com.

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UNICEF Statement on the abduction of Ethiopian Children

UNICEF condemns in the strongest possible terms the abduction on Friday of some 100 children in western Ethiopia during a brutal attack on their community by armed assailants, allegedly cattle raiders from South Sudan. Unverified reports indicate that children are also among the dead and wounded.

Our staff are assessing the situation of children affected by this horrific act of unbridled violence, and stand ready to support the community.

Any attack on children, for whatever reason and in any context, is a violation of human rights and an assault on our common humanity. As the Ethiopian government works to obtain the release of these children, UNICEF joins in calling for their swift and unconditional release to their families.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

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Central African Republic: EU military training mission approved for two years

On 19 April 2016, the Council approved the establishment of a military training mission in the Central African Republic (EUTM RCA) to contribute to the country’s defence sector reform.

The mission will be based in Bangui and operate for an initial period of two years. Following up an EU military advisory mission (EUMAM RCA), it will work towards a modernised, effective, inclusive and democratically accountable Central African Armed Forces (FACA). It will provide strategic advice to the CAR’s Ministry of Defence and the general staff, as well as education and training to the FACA.

EUTM RCA will operate in accordance with political and strategic objectives set out in the crisis management concept approved by the Council on 14 March 2016.

EUMAM RCA was established on 19 January 2015. In close cooperation with the United Nations multidimensional integrated stabilization mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), EUMAM RCA advises the military authorities of the CAR on the reforms necessary to transform the country’s armed forces into a professional, democratically controlled and ethnically representative army. Its mandate expires on 16 July 2016.

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

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UNMISS Weekly Press Briefing Wednesday 20 April, 2016

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) cordially invites you to attend its weekly press briefings brought to you by the Spokesperson and Media Relations Unit.

The briefing will cover a number of issues, and serve to inform and bring you up to date on the activities of the Mission on a weekly basis. Occasionally the Spokesperson will be joined by guest speakers of the Mission who will brief on other areas of the Mission’s work.

Our special guest this week will be Mr. Sam Muhumure, Senior Coordination Officer of the Relief, Reintegration & Protection (RRP) Section of UNMISS.

Date: Wednesday, 20 April, at UN House.

Venue: Yei Conference Room – UN House

Time: 10:10am

PLEASE NOTE:

UNMISS will provide transportation for the invited journalists to the press briefing and back to town after the event as follows:

Bus 1: departing from Custom Dire Petroleum – Customs Market area –departure time: 09:20am

Bus 2: departing from Juba University – 09:20am

Journalists who wish to arrive to UN House by their own means are invited to present themselves at the gates with a valid press card/ID not later than 09:50am.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

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UNMISS Weekly Press Briefing Wednesday 20 April, 2016

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) cordially invites you to attend its weekly press briefings brought to you by the Spokesperson and Media Relations Unit.

The briefing will cover a number of issues, and serve to inform and bring you up to date on the activities of the Mission on a weekly basis. Occasionally the Spokesperson will be joined by guest speakers of the Mission who will brief on other areas of the Mission’s work.

Our special guest this week will be Mr. Sam Muhumure, Senior Coordination Officer of the Relief, Reintegration & Protection (RRP) Section of UNMISS.

Date: Wednesday, 20 April, at UN House.

Venue: Yei Conference Room – UN House

Time: 10:10am

PLEASE NOTE:

UNMISS will provide transportation for the invited journalists to the press briefing and back to town after the event as follows:

Bus 1: departing from Custom Dire Petroleum – Customs Market area –departure time: 09:20am

Bus 2: departing from Juba University – 09:20am

Journalists who wish to arrive to UN House by their own means are invited to present themselves at the gates with a valid press card/ID not later than 09:50am.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

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IPU welcomes progress on human rights cases in DRC and Iraq

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) has welcomed several positive developments on three cases involving the abuses of the human rights of MPs in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Iraq. IPU’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians has been working on the cases to seek redress and protection of the MPs.

In the DRC, IPU has greeted a decision by authorities that enables former MP Pierre Jacques Chalupa to travel abroad for urgently-needed medical attention and then return to the country. IPU had made a fresh appeal for travel documents to be granted to Chalupa in a resolution adopted recently at its Assembly in Lusaka, Zambia.

Chalupa received his passport after the intervention of the Speaker of the National Assembly Aubin Minaku, following the IPU call for action in Lusaka. The former MP had in effect been left stateless after being found guilty of forgery and use of falsified documents. IPU, which has been examining Chalupa’s case for four years, believes the 2012 trial was characterized by serious irregularities.

IPU is particularly pleased by the positive role parliamentary authorities, including the Speaker of the National Assembly, have played in the positive outcome.

“We sincerely hope that the granting of a passport signals that the issue of Mr. Chalupa’s statehood has been resolved, and his Congolese nationality has been formally recognized,” says IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong.

The reported release from prison of former Iraqi MP Mohamed Al-Dainy and the granting of prison visits to family and lawyers of MP Ahmed Al-Alwani, have also been applauded by IPU.

IPU continues to call for the lifting of the death sentence against Al-Alwani. The MP was convicted of terrorism for killing two soldiers during a raid on his home in 2013 to arrest him. He has strongly denied the charges and was allegedly tortured in detention before his trial

IPU hopes the release of former MP Mohamed Al-Dainy following a presidential pardon last month will also mark the end of all outstanding proceedings against him. Al-Dainy, who had actively investigated the existence of secret detention facilities and detention conditions in Iraq as a member of the Iraqi Parliament’s human rights committee, had had his parliamentary immunity lifted following accusations that he masterminded a suicide bombing of parliament in 2007. He was subsequently convicted on terrorism charges and sentenced to death in 2010 in a trial which IPU had declared a travesty of justice.

The Iraqi Parliament reached similar conclusions after establishing a parliamentary commission of inquiry. In 2012, it recommended that his case be reviewed by the High Judicial Council. A retrial last year found Al-Dainy innocent. However, he had been kept in detention while other charges and investigations were still pending against him.

IPU’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, which works to protect or seek redress for MPs whose rights have been abused, is currently investigating more than 280 cases around the world.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

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Source:: IPU welcomes progress on human rights cases in DRC and Iraq

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