Statement by the Press Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, on the Presidential Election in the Republic of Madagascar

TOKYO, Japan, January 24, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — 1. A new President was elected after the presidential elections in the Republic of Madagascar in a format that reflected the consensus of its citizens. Japan expresses its respect to the people of Madagascar, the country’s interim government and the institutions concerned, for having overcome a political crisis over around five years. In addition, Japan extends its congratulations to Mr. Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who was elected to the new Presidency.

2. Japan conducted independent election monitoring activities in the first and second round of voting in the presidential elections as well as in the parliamentary election, which showed that all those votes were carried out in peace, with transparency, and in a free and fair manner. Japan also welcomes the fact that the Malagasy Independent National Electoral Commission of the Transition (CENI-T) and the Malagasy Special Electoral Court (CES) carried out their required tasks within the scheduled timetable and decided the final result of these presidential elections based on the constitution and the election law.

3. This result should be accepted by all parties concerned in Madagascar and the prompt and peaceful establishment of the constitutional order is strongly expected.

4. In order to support this progress, Japan is considering reopening new bilateral economic cooperation after the inauguration of the new government. It will support Madagascar to establish political stability and to achieve economic reconstruction under the new President, expecting that Madagascar will restore its rightful place in the international community.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

The 24th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the AU officially opens on Monday 27 January 2014

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 24, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The 24th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the AU officially opens on Monday 27 January 2014

WHAT: 24th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union (AU).

THEME: Year of Agriculture and Food Security in Africa

WHEN: 27- 28 January 2014 January 2014 at 10 a.m.

WHERE: African Union Headquarters, Addis Ababa Ethiopia, Large Conference Hall (plenary) /AUCC

WHY: In the context of the 22nd Summit of the AU, the twenty fourth (24th) Ordinary Session of the Executive Council will deliberate on the different reports of the ministerial meetings organised by the AU Commission during the last six months. The Ministers of External Affairs and other ministers or authorities designated by the governments of AU Member States will consider the activity report of the Commission; the recommendations of the PRC on the implementation of previous Decisions of the Executive Council and the Assembly; and the report of the ministerial committee on candidatures.

The Executive Council will also consider the report on the implementation of the of the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA); the report of the Commission on the Situation in the Middle East and Palestine as well as the report of the Commission on implementation of Assembly Decision on granting competence to the African Court of Justice and Human Rights to deal with International Crimes.

One of the high moments during the Executive Council meeting will be the election of the ten members of the Peace and Security Council for a two year mandate, as well as the election of the president and vice president of the Pan-African University Council.

The ministers will in turn pass on their decisions and recommendations to the Heads of State and Government who will meet in their 22nd ordinary session from 30 to 31 January.

JOURNALISTS ARE INVITED TO COVER THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE 24th ORDINARY SESSION OF THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL ON MONDAY 27 JANUARY 2014, AT 10:00 AM.

According to the draft program of the Executive Council, the official opening ceremony will feature among others, welcome remarks by the Chairperson of the Executive Council, a statement by the Chairperson of the AU Commission, a statement by the UN Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UNECA and a group Photo for Ministers. Camera people are invited to cover the photo session immediately after the opening ceremony in front of the plenary hall of the AUC Conference Center.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

EU AND UNODC MARK the LAUNCH OF a new MARITIME SECURITY PARTNERSHIP in MAURITIUS

PORT-LOUIS, Mauritius, January 24, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On 27 January at La Plantation Hotel in Balaclava, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) will celebrate the renewal of their partnership under the EU-funded Programme to Promote Regional Maritime Security in the Eastern and Southern Africa – Indian Ocean region, better known under its acronym MASE.

The EU and UNODC have agreed to take the opportunity of an important training session in Mauritius to celebrate the renewal of their partnership under the Programme to Promote Regional Maritime Security (MASE programme) in the presence of officials from the Government of Mauritius and criminal justice agencies, as well as representatives from the Indian Ocean Commission. Mr Guy Samzun, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the European Union Delegation to the Republic of Mauritius and Mr. Robert McLaughlin, senior legal advisor and counter-piracy expert representing UNODC will deliver statements on this occasion.

UNODC Maritime Crime Programme is dedicated to supporting States in the East African and Indian Ocean regions to combat maritime crime, with a focus on capacity building and criminal justice development. As part of the overarching MASE programme, the EU signed an agreement with UNODC in November 2013 to the amount of EUR 5 million to continue supporting States in the Eastern and Southern Africa-Indian Ocean region to develop and strengthen national/regional legal, legislative and infrastructural capability for arrest, transfer, detention and prosecution of pirates. This is a continuation of the ongoing European Union support to the valuable work of UNODC.

Under the EU-UNODC MASE partnership, the EU will provide funding for UNODC to continue its support to combating maritime crime for Eastern and Southern African and Indian Ocean States, including Mauritius. This support takes many forms and includes training of Judges, lawyers, police and prison staff; provision of new equipment; legislative support; infrastructural development, mentoring and support to maritime crime prosecutions. Such assistance is contingent upon the cooperation of national partners. The EU and UNODC have enjoyed an excellent working relationship with national criminal justice agencies in Mauritius and see this as a key component of the success of the new partnership under the MASE programme.

The implementation of the MASE programme requires regional ownership and responsibility, solidarity and intra-regional burden-sharing, effective communication and information-sharing mechanisms as well as collaboration with other implementing partners with expertise and experience. Therefore, the MASE programme will be implemented under the leadership of the Regional Organisations of the Eastern and Southern Africa – Indian Ocean in collaboration with other implementing partners including UNODC and INTERPOL. The new partnership between the EU and UNODC will be implemented under the framework of Result 2 of the MASE programme “Development and strengthening of national and regional legal, legislative and infrastructural capabilities” which is led by the East African Community.

Background

The European Union (EU) is stepping up its support to fight maritime crime in the Indian Ocean. Piracy, drugs and arms smuggling, human trafficking, illegal fishing and maritime pollution are serious threats that can undermine peace and stability and which increase the cost of doing business. In 2013, the EU launched the MASE programme, a new and crucial programme to combat maritime crime and promote maritime security in the Eastern and Southern Africa-Indian Ocean region. The MASE programme will provide support to reduce and prosecute maritime crimes in line with the Regional Strategy against Piracy and for Promoting Maritime Security adopted in October 2010 in Mauritius during the 2nd High Level Regional Ministerial Conference on Maritime Piracy It will thus secure trade routes in the Eastern and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean Region. The MASE Programme, which amounts to a total of EUR 37.5 million from the 10th European Development Fund, will be implemented over five years under the leadership of four Regional Organisations, namely IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority for Development), COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa), EAC (East African Community) and IOC (Indian Ocean Commission).

Under the EU – UNODC partnership, UNODC will be responsible for working to strengthen the ‘maritime criminal justice system’ in Eastern and Southern Africa and

Indian Ocean states such as Mauritius. This is achieved through training, capacity building, and support to maritime crime prosecutions. Maritime crimes include piracy, trafficking of human beings, and smuggling of drug and weapons. Once suspects are arrested for maritime crimes, trials can be extremely difficult to conclude. This is because suspects and witnesses are often from countries other than the one in which the trial takes place, due to the international nature of maritime activities. UNODC works hand in hand with national governments to overcome these challenges and bring criminals to justice. In doing so, it provides assistance to the core national criminal justice institutions; assistance which is not limited to maritime security but has wider-ranging benefits.

In addition to the MASE partnership, the UNODC Maritime Crime Programme is also engaged in capacity building activities in Somalia, with a view to strengthening Somalia’s own ability to combat and ultimately prosecute maritime crime, particularly piracy. A core component of Maritime Crime Programme’s work is providing for prisoners that have been convicted for piracy in courts across the East African / Indian Ocean region to be transferred to prisons in Somalia where they can complete their sentences in their home country. UNODC is involved in the construction, maintenance and monitoring of these prisons to ensure that detainees are kept in secure and humane detention conditions.

In addition to the MASE programme, the European Union has a number of

programmes in support maritime security. Complementary to the work that UNODC undertakes, the EUCAP Nestor operation also has a mandate to support capacity development in national criminal justice systems. The combined actions of many countries and agencies in securing the Indian Ocean have proved effective in addressing piracy.

The programme complements a number of other EU actions including the two other missions of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy in the region, the

European Union Naval Force Somalia – Operation Atlanta, a naval operation that provides more direct support to secure safety on the high seas, and the EU military Training Mission (EUTM) for Somalia.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

THE AFRICAN CHARTER ON THE RIGHTS AND WELFARE OF THE CHILD: 25 YEARS IN 2015

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 24, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A campaign for the universal ratification and reporting on the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC)

Addis Ababa, 23 January, 2014. – Alongside the 22nd AU Summit (21 – 31 January, 2014), on 29 January, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) is launching the Campaign for the Universal Ratification of and Reporting on the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC). The campaign marks the 25th Anniversary of the adoption of the ACRWC on 11 July 1990. The campaign aims at securing a universal ratification of and reporting on the implementation of the ACRWC.

Presently the number of ratification stands at 47 out of 54 AU Member States. The remaining seven countries which are yet to ratify the ACRWC are: Central Africa Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Federal Republic of Somalia, Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, Republic of South Sudan, and Tunisia. Similarly, only 20 out of 47 state parties have complied duly to their obligations to submit initial reports to the committee as stipulated in Article 43 of the ACRWC, among which only two, Burkina Faso and Kenya, have submitted their periodical reports.

For the committee to effectively undertake its mandate, all African countries are expected to ratify the charter and report on its implementation accordingly. Upon ratification the state parties have the obligation to protect, promote and fulfill the rights enshrined under the ACRWC. State parties to the charter are also obliged to recognize the rights, freedoms and duties enshrined in the ACRWC and shall undertake to the necessary steps to adopt such legislative or other measures as may be necessary to give effect to the provisions of this charter. States parties to the ACRWC are required to report on the implementation of the provisions so the reporting mechanism is a means of monitoring compliance of the state with its child rights obligations.

The campaign is planned to be conducted within a two-year period culminating on 29 November, 2015, with a series of activities and outreach events across the continent. The campaign, inter alia, aims at achieving universal ratification and respect for states parties’ fulfillment of their reporting obligations by 2015 and increasing the visibility of the ACRWC and its monitoring body. It also promotes the effective implementation of the ACRWC and advocates for the withdrawal of reservations.

A press conference will be held on 29 January, 2014 at 10:30 in the Briefing Room 1 of the African Union headquarters.

Media are invited to attend this event.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

Uganda Supports US Airlift Missions

ENTEBBE, Uganda, January 24, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — As U.S. airlift missions operating at the request of the French government and African Union authorities continue, Uganda maintains their role as a key U.S. strategic partner.

In just two months, the Ugandans allowed the U.S. military to stage at least three essential missions out of Entebbe.

“The Ugandans have been invaluable,” Col. William Wyatt, Office of Security Cooperation Uganda chief said. “Both the Civil aviation authority and Ugandan People’s Defense Force have been instrumental in helping us stage important missions out of Entebbe.”

Most recently, the U.S. Air Force has been staging two C-17 Globemaster III aircraft out of Uganda to provide airlift support to a Rwandan mechanized battalion. The U.S. military is transporting equipment and soldiers to the Central African Republic in support of the African Union’s effort to confront destabilizing forces and violence.

The ability to stage missions out of Uganda has been vital to mission success.

“Every day we coordinate with the Entebbe Handling Service and they provide us with crew buses and maintenance towing capabilities,” said Maj. Micah Vander Veen Contingency Response Element Commander, and overall mission commander for the Entebbe stage. “They provide us with everything we need around the airfield, including security services.”

The U.S. began the Rwandan airlifting mission January 16, 2014, and is scheduled to continue through the month.

In December of last year, the U.S. staged a Burundi airlift mission out of Uganda in support of the same African Union operation. The duration of the operation was approximately 10 days.

“With the rapid pace of events in East Africa the additional presence of the U.S. military was felt at Entebbe,” said Wyatt. “However the Government of Uganda was very helpful in allowing U.S. forces to conduct these important missions in support of the African Union for the Central African Republic and evacuation of noncombatants from South Sudan.”

The most notable support the Ugandans have shown to the U.S. occurred when three CV-22 Ospreys were forced to divert to Entebbe after being fired upon, wounding four personnel onboard. The aircraft were attempting to land in Bor, to evacuate Americans from South Sudan.

During this diversion the Ugandans were conducting their own noncombatant evacuation operations out of Juba, South Sudan.

“When the U.S. had to emergency land in Entebbe, they were forced to occupy the only area on the airfield with lights,” said Wyatt. “It was difficult for the Ugandans to process their people in the dark.”

The civil aviation authorities and Ugandan’s People Defense Air Force worked closely with U.S. Department of Defense authorities to make this mission and others a success.

Uganda is located in the geographical heart of Africa and it is evident they have played a critical role in past and current operations.

Vander Veen echoed positive sentiments as he spoke about the current airlift operation with the Rwandan soldiers, “Things are going extremely well, and the Ugandans have been strong partners in this operation.”

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

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