Mali: Armed groups learn about international humanitarian law

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 1, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Members of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and of the High Council for the Unity of Azawad (HCUA) are attending a course on international humanitarian law which is being given by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Kidal today.

“This is one session in a series that began a few weeks ago. So far, we’ve raised awareness of international humanitarian law among more than 200 fighters of the MNLA, the HCUA and the Arab Movement of Azawad in Ménaka, Ber and Kidal,” said Christoph Luedi, head of the ICRC delegation in Mali. “The long-term goal is to make these armed groups aware of their responsibilities in terms of respect for international humanitarian law, and to help them to better understand the rules of behaviour applicable in conflict situations.”

The participants are made aware in particular of issues relating to the protection of civilians and people no longer taking part in hostilities, the treatment of people who have been captured, and respect for humanitarian principles. International humanitarian law is a set of rules designed to limit the effects of armed conflict. It protects people who are not or are no longer taking part in hostilities and restricts the means and methods of warfare.

“It’s because of the good relations we have had for many years with the leadership of these various armed groups that we are able to give this course,” said Mr Luedi. “In accordance with its mandate, the ICRC has dialogue with all parties to the conflict and provides them with the support they need in the area of international humanitarian law.”

The ICRC, in its capacity as a neutral and impartial humanitarian organization, has contacts with everyone involved in the conflict in Mali. For several years it has helped all armed forces achieve a better understanding of and show greater respect for international humanitarian law.

Categories: AFRICA

UN Human Rights Committee to review Burundi’s rights record

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 1, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Burundi’s human rights record will be reviewed by the UN Human Rights Committee for the second time on Wednesday 8 October and Thursday 9 October in meetings in Geneva that will be webcast live.

As a State Party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Burundi is required to undergo regular review by the Committee of 18 international independent experts on how it is implementing the ICCPR.

Burundi, which is one of the 168 states parties to the ICCPR, has submitted a report on implementation of its human rights obligations to the Committee and a number of non-governmental organisations have also sent reports for the Committee’s consideration. The Committee will engage in a dialogue with the delegation from Burundi on questions relating to the promotion and protection of human rights in the country.

Time and date: 15:00-18:00 on 8 October; 10:00-13:00 on 9 October.

Venue: Palais Wilson, Geneva. Live webcasts of the public sessions can be viewed at http://www.treatybodywebcast.org/.

A news conference is scheduled for Thursday 30 October at 13.30 at Palais des Nations in Geneva to discuss the Committee’s concluding observations on Burundi and the other countries being reviewed – Sri Lanka, Haiti, Malta, Montenegro, and Israel.

The country reports and full list of issues can be found here:

http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=811&Lang=en

The concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee will be made available on Thursday 30 October at:

http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=811&Lang=en

Categories: AFRICA

UN Human Rights Committee to review Burundi’s rights record

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 1, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Burundi’s human rights record will be reviewed by the UN Human Rights Committee for the second time on Wednesday 8 October and Thursday 9 October in meetings in Geneva that will be webcast live.

As a State Party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Burundi is required to undergo regular review by the Committee of 18 international independent experts on how it is implementing the ICCPR.

Burundi, which is one of the 168 states parties to the ICCPR, has submitted a report on implementation of its human rights obligations to the Committee and a number of non-governmental organisations have also sent reports for the Committee’s consideration. The Committee will engage in a dialogue with the delegation from Burundi on questions relating to the promotion and protection of human rights in the country.

Time and date: 15:00-18:00 on 8 October; 10:00-13:00 on 9 October.

Venue: Palais Wilson, Geneva. Live webcasts of the public sessions can be viewed at http://www.treatybodywebcast.org/.

A news conference is scheduled for Thursday 30 October at 13.30 at Palais des Nations in Geneva to discuss the Committee’s concluding observations on Burundi and the other countries being reviewed – Sri Lanka, Haiti, Malta, Montenegro, and Israel.

The country reports and full list of issues can be found here:

http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=811&Lang=en

The concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee will be made available on Thursday 30 October at:

http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=811&Lang=en

Categories: AFRICA

AU-UN Joint Special Representative/Joint Chief Mediator’s message on the occasion of Eid Al-Adha and the Haj

EL FASHER (DARFUR), Sudan, October 1, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On behalf of the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur, I wish the people and the Government of Sudan a peaceful and joyous Eid Al-Adha and Haj Mabroor to the lucky ones.

As we commemorate this occasion, we should all remember the message of peace and sacrifice that this occasion symbolises and draw lessons from the story of Ibrahim and his son (Peace Be Upon Them).

The road to achieving peace is fraught with hurdles, hardships, tests and sacrifice. It is only when we have the will and the resolve that we are able to achieve this condition, to which we all aspire; and which holds so many benefits for all.

The ritual of Haj in its essence is a quest for peace and redemption. Redemption from worldly desires and a renewal of our commitment to Almighty to be fair and compassionate in our relationships with each other. It is also a unique lesson in the value of unity as you see millions congregating in the holy sites to know each other, trade and develop peaceful relationships.

While celebrating this year’s Eid, fresh hopes are looming in the horizon. The prospects of an inclusive national dialogue and the recent discussions with armed movements in Addis Ababa breathe fresh air in the quest for peace in Darfur, and indeed all of Sudan. The progress of Darfuri internal dialogue is yet another positive step in the direction of peace stability and development of Darfur. We hope that all these efforts shall converge to achieve strides in the search for sustainable peace, democracy and development for this historic country and its good people.

On this day, we also remember our courageous peacekeepers, the men and women who sacrificed their lives for the people of Darfur.

May the goodwill of this most holy occasion inspire us all to intensify our search for an all-inclusive, just and durable peace in Darfur and, indeed, all of Sudan.

Eid Mubarak to all and Haj Mabroor to those who are participating this year!

Mohamed Ibn Chambas

UNAMID Joint Special Representative / Joint Chief Mediator for Darfur

Categories: AFRICA

Republic of Congo expels another journalist from the country

ABUJA, Nigeria, October 1, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Congolese authorities’ decision to expel a Cameroonian journalist from the country. Elie Smith, who was attacked in his home in September, is the second journalist whom authorities have expelled from the Republic of Congo in a week.

Police on Friday went to Smith’s office in the capital, Brazzaville, and ordered him to leave the country, citing an expulsion order signed by the interior minister forbidding him from returning to the Congo, according to news reports. The police accused Smith of unspecified seditious and subversive acts and comments and of working against the interest of the government in favor of foreign powers, news reports said. Smith works for the pro-government broadcaster MNTV, which is owned by Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso’s brother.

Smith told journalists in Cameroon that he believes he was forced to leave the country because he had demanded that police continue their investigation into the September 10 attack on him and his family. He said he had been told that the attack was likely in retaliation for his coverage of the opposition. Smith said that the assailants who raided his home and attacked his sister were on the phone with someone the entire time. Police later arrested suspects identified as Congolese security personnel but did not apprehend the mastermind, according to news reports.

CPJ contacted Interior Minister Raymond Mboulou by phone today, but the minister disconnected the call after CPJ asked him what specific seditions and subversive acts and comments Smith was accused of making. CPJ did not receive a response to a text message sent to the minister.

“Someone tried to silence journalist Elie Smith by attacking him and his family, but it didn’t work. Now authorities have tried to silence him by expelling him from the country,” said Peter Nkanga, CPJ’s West Africa representative. “We call on the authorities to thoroughly investigate the attack on Smith and his family and bring all perpetrators, including the mastermind, to justice. We further call on them to allow Smith and all other journalists in the Republic of Congo to do their jobs without fear of retaliation.”

Smith is the second journalist to be expelled from the Congo in a week. On September 23, police forced freelance journalist Sadio Kante to leave the country, accusing her of disturbing the peace, drug consumption and illegal residence, according to CPJ research. Kante denied the allegations and said she was born in Brazzaville of a Malian father and Senegalese mother. Kante said that her coverage of the attack on Smith had angered police and that she had received threats after her stories were published, according to news reports. She did not elaborate on the kind of threats she received.

Categories: AFRICA

Consultative meeting of ECOWAS/AU/UN/CPLP/EU and the OIF on Guinea Bissau

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, October 1, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — 1. The Consultative Meeting of the international partners (ECOWAS/AU/UN/CPLP/EU/OIF) was held in the margins of the 69th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), on 26 September 2014, in New York. The meeting was convened to discuss the Report of the third Joint Assessment Mission, which was led by the African Union (AU), and deployed to Bissau from 15 to 18 September 2014.

2. The Partners heard Statements presented by the Prime Minister of Guinea Bissau, the President of the Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, the Executive Secretary of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), the Commissioner for Peace and Security of the AU, the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs of the United Nations (UN), as well as representatives of the European Union (EU), and the International Organization of la Francophonie (OIF). The Chairman of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, H.E Hannah Tetteh and the Chairman of the CPLP Council of Ministers, H.E Jose Luis Guteres attended the Opening Session of the Meeting.

The partners:

3. Look forward to the finalization and issuance of the Report of the Third Joint Assessment Mission to Guinea Bissau.

4. Take note of the recommendation to extend the presence of the ECOWAS Security Mission in Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB) beyond 31st December 2014, and urge all partners to provide necessary support.

5. Strongly appeal to all international and bilateral partners to support the Government in the implementation of its Defence and Security Sector Reform (DSSR) Programme, and all other reforms aimed at the sustainable development of Guinea Bissau.

6. Agree to mobilise support for the Donors’ Roundtable, particularly with respect to technical and capacity support to the Government of Guinea Bissau in the preparation and holding of this important event scheduled for the beginning of 2015.

7. Encourage the Government of Guinea Bissau to exert every effort to implement reforms, particularly in the areas of DSSR, the fight against impunity, economic development and national reconciliation. Also commend the inclusiveness in the composition of the Government, as well as the unanimous adoption of the Government’s Programme by the Popular National Assembly (PNA).

8. Call for the re-vitalization of the International Contact Group on Guinea Bissau (ICG-GB) as an effective and sustainable mechanism for Partners’ coordination and follow-up and request ECOWAS, the AU and the CPLP to take immediate and necessary steps towards its operationalization.

9. Take note of the progress recorded so far by the new Bissau-Guinean Government in areas of security, political stability and prioritization of Reforms in a Three-Phased Framework encompassing the Emergency, Contingency and Development Plans.

Done in New York, this 26th Day of September 2014

Categories: AFRICA