UNICEF and WFP respond to needs of drought-affected people in Somaliland & Puntland

In northern Somalia, UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) are stepping up efforts to help communities cope with a severe drought exacerbated by El Niño conditions in Somaliland and Puntland.

The two agencies have adopted a unified response to halt the deteriorating food insecurity and rising malnutrition in the affected areas, by providing an integrated package of life-saving humanitarian assistance. This includes food assistance, nutrition programmes, and health services, as well as support to help communities access safe water and improve sanitation and hygiene conditions. Amid rising school dropouts and forced migration, the focus is also on keeping children in schools and protecting them from family separation, violence and abuse.

“The communities have lived through four successive poor rainy seasons. Their ability to cope with the drought has been stretched to the limit,” said UNICEF Representative for Somalia, Steven Lauwerier. “Our concerted efforts are needed now to save the lives of tens of thousands of children and their families. Any delay from the international community will put their lives further at risk of hunger and disease.”

In addition to increased malnutrition cases and enrollment in nutrition programmes in the most affected areas, malnutrition-related deaths have been reported in areas such as Awdal region bordering Ethiopia. In response, UNICEF is strengthening services at community level, deploying joint mobile health and nutrition teams to reach pastoral and other hard-to-reach groups. Malnourished children will receive an essential package of primary health care interventions, including emergency immunization. UNICEF is also providing 50,000 households with access to safe water via vouchers in the affected areas, and have repaired seven boreholes.

“The people of Somalia know all too well the dangers of drought, but a drought does not have to mean a disaster – the world must recognize that we can save lives if we act in time,” said WFP Country Director Laurent Bukera. “It is absolutely critical that we are able to sustain assistance to the people affected by this crisis, so we can stem the damage of undernutrition for mothers and children before it has lifelong consequences.”

So far, WFP’s emergency response has provided food assistance and nutrition support for 147,000 vulnerable people in the areas worst affected by the drought, and WFP continues to provide food or cash-based assistance to help families make it through the dry season. Together, the two agencies provide specialized nutrition support to prevent and treat malnutrition in pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and young children.

Emergency health supplies have also been pre-positioned in regional hospitals, health facilities and with partners to support the response. In Puntland, UNICEF pre-positioned nutrition supplies, including 500 cartons of BP-5 – a high energy biscuit. In Somaliland, 15,000 cartons of ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) were provided to the Ministry of Health.

With thousands of children at risk of dropping out of school due to the drought, the two agencies are also working together to keep children and teachers in schools, and prevent exposure of children to the risks of family separation, early marriage, child labour and abuse. This is particularly pertinent as families continue to be forced into migration, in search of food, aid, and pasture for their livestock.

The UN has appealed for US$105 million to provide humanitarian and livelihood assistance to some 1.7 million people, most of them pastoralists and agro-pastoralists who make up three quarters of the population in Somaliland and Puntland. Among them, 385,000 need immediate assistance, while another 1.3 million are on the brink of slipping into a deeper crisis if rains continue to fail and aid is too slow to come.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of World Food Programme (WFP).

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Categories: AFRICA

Afrique : L’ONU prévient que répondre aux besoins humanitaires est de plus en plus difficile

A l’occasion d’une réunion de l’Assemblée générale des Nations Unies sur la réponse humanitaire en Afrique, des hauts responsables des Nations Unies ont prévenu vendredi 08 avril 2016 qu’il était de plus en plus difficile de répondre aux besoins et qu’il fallait développer des façons de travailler différemment.

“Le contexte humanitaire a changé. Il y a dix ans, nous étions tous concentrés sur la réinstallation et la résilience», a souligné la Directrice exécutive du Programme alimentaire mondial (PAM), Ertharin Cousin, lors de cette réunion. “Dix ans plus tard, l’augmentation des conflits et de la violence à laquelle s’ajoute l’impact du changement climatique, et même El Nino, prolonge non seulement les crises existantes mais crée de nouveaux déplacements à l’intérieur de l’Afrique et dans les régions voisines».

“Les besoins croissants qui en sont la conséquence, ainsi que les contraintes en matière de capacités et de ressources menacent notre sécurité collective, qui exige, au minimum, que nous répondions aux besoins de base des gens en situation de détresse», a-t-elle ajouté.

Mme Cousin a cité les crises en Somalie, au Soudan du Sud, au Soudan, en République démocratique du Congo, en République centrafricaine et en Erythrée.

“Il nous faut prévenir l’Assemblée que répondre à la fois aux besoins des nouvelles populations de réfugiés et à ceux des réfugiés dans des situations prolongées est de plus en plus difficile», a-t-elle insisté.

Selon la Directrice exécutive du PAM, au-delà des besoins en ressources supplémentaires, il est nécessaire de galvaniser l’innovation et les nouvelles façons de travailler. Cela veut dire promouvoir l’autosuffisance et la génération de revenus.

Mme Cousin a ainsi indiqué qu’elle s’était rendue récemment au Tchad et que 20% des réfugiés dans ce pays ont obtenu un accès à des terres arables. Elle a aussi pris pour exemple de nouvelles procédures d’identification biométrique au Kenya qui réduisent le coût mensuel des besoins alimentaires.

Elle a également jugé nécessaire de combattre les problèmes de long terme avec des solutions de long terme. C’est ainsi, selon elle, que les gens “élargiront leurs capacités non seulement à devenir résilients mais à assurer leur sécurité alimentaire».

Le Président de l’Assemblée générale, Mogens Lykketoft, a rappelé de son côté que sur les 60 millions de personnes déplacées dans le monde entier, 17 millions sont en Afrique.

“De toute évidence, le déficit de financement global a un impact direct sur les populations extrêmement vulnérables», a-t-il dit, ajoutant que ce déficit contribuait également à plus grande instabilité dans les régions affectées.

Selon lui, il faut réformer l’approche globale en termes de réponse humanitaire, ” adopter une approche à long terme à la fois en termes de financement et de renforcement de la résilience; investir dans la réduction des risques de catastrophe; briser les barrières entre le développement et l’action humanitaire; et améliorer l’efficacité de notre réponse globale ».

“C’est la tâche du Sommet humanitaire mondial le mois prochain et j’espère que la réunion d’aujourd’hui peut éclairer les délibérations lors du Sommet et créer une dynamique pour des engagements réels et une véritable réforme», a-t-il conclu.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Centre d’Information des Nations Unies (CINU) Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

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Categories: AFRICA

UNMISS Weekly Press Briefing TUESDAY 12 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. Exceptionally this week, the press briefing will be held on Tuesday April 12.

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 for this week’s press briefing will be Mr. Salah Zaki KHALED, Head of Office and UNESCO Representative to South Sudan.

Date: Tuesday, 12 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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Source:: UNMISS Weekly Press Briefing TUESDAY 12 April, 2016

Categories: AFRICA

Hotel development in Africa jumps 30% to 64,000 rooms

The number of planned hotel rooms in Africa has soared to 64,000 in 365 hotels, up almost 30% on the previous year, according to new figures from the annual W Hospitality Group Hotel Chain Development Pipeline Survey.

The increase is largely down to strong growth in sub-Saharan Africa, which is up 42.1% on 2015 and is significantly outstripping North Africa which achieved only a modest 7.5% pipeline increase this year.

A major shake-up in the rankings by country saw Angola, never before listed among the top 10, push Egypt out of second place, due to a major deal there signed by AccorHotels.

The W Hospitality Group survey is published ahead of the African Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) (www.Africa-Conference.com), which is organised by Bench Events. The conference attracts all the major international hotel investors in Africa and is being held for the first time in Lomé on 21-22 June. A second AHIF will also take place in Kigali, Rwanda on 4-6 October.

Trevor Ward, W Hospitality Group managing director, said: “The evidence from our survey is clear – investors remain confident about the future of the hospitality industry on the continent. Even when pummelled daily by low commodity prices, exchange rate problems, political challenges and poor infrastructure, Africa remains resilient.”

The IMF forecast for economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is for an increase of 4% this year and 4.7% in 2017, up from 3.5% in 2015. Overall this is down on the 5-6% increase enjoyed over the past decade, but it’s still double or more the forecast for the world’s advanced economies, such as Europe, the USA and Japan.

Matthew Weihs, managing director of Bench Events, said: “Africa is still on the up. For business, trade and capital investment, the continent remains an attractive proposition, leading to continuing demand for accommodation and other hospitality services.”

Detailed analysis

This is the eighth annual pipeline survey, widely recognised as the most authoritative source on hotel industry growth in Africa, particularly in revealing data on international chains signing new deals.

The 2016 survey provides a full picture of hotel development across the continent – 36 hotel chains and 86 brands with more than 64,000 rooms in 365 hotels.

In comparison to figures from the inaugural survey in 2009, it’s possible to see how far hotel development in Africa has come. In 2009 there were 19 international and regional hotel chains contributing, with a pipeline of 144 hotels and just under 30,000 rooms.

Overall in the 2016 report, it’s Angola that dominates. In July last year, AccorHotels signed with AAA Activos LDA for the management of 50 hotels with around 6,200 rooms. All are under construction and many are ready to open.

Across the continent, the north-south divide on hotel development continues. In 2011, the number of pipeline rooms in the five countries of North Africa was about 25 per cent higher than that in sub-Saharan Africa. Today, it is less than half.

Trevor Ward explained: “There are two reasons why development activity in North Africa is now somewhat subdued. Firstly, the markets there are more mature and have already seen much development, so there are fewer opportunities for new hotels. Secondly, there is the political turmoil – in Libya, which has seen a 40% drop in the pipeline, and also Egypt, parts of which are experiencing drastic reductions in the number of tourists.”

Table 1: Hotel Chain Development Pipelines in Africa 2016 – Regional Summary:

Table 1: Hotel Chain Development Pipelines in Africa 2016

Regional Summary

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Hotels

Rooms

Hotels

Rooms

Hotels

Rooms

Hotels

Rooms

Hotels

Rooms

North Africa

77

17,217

73

18,065

73

16,449

79

18,565

87

19,971

Sub-Saharan Africa

100

17,109

115

18,191

142

23,283

191

31,150

278

44,260

TOTAL

177

34,326

188

36,256

215

39,732

270

49,715

365

64,231

Chart 1: Hotel Chain Development Pipelines in Africa 2016 – Regional Summary: See multimedia content: http://www.apo.af/hQaRLy

Nigeria remains the country with the most rooms in the pipeline, up 20% on 2015. Together with Angola, the two countries account for 17,782 rooms between them, almost 30% of the total pipeline and 40% of the signed rooms in sub-Saharan Africa.

Table 5: Hotel Chain Development Pipelines in Africa 2016 – Top 10 Countries by Number of Rooms:

Table 5: Hotel Chain Development Pipelines in Africa 2016

Top 10 Countries by Number of Rooms

Hotels

Rooms

Average Size

1

Nigeria

61

10,222

168

2

Angola

56

7,560

135

3

Egypt

19

6,660

351

4

Morocco

33

5,681

172

5

Algeria

15

3,263

218

6

Tunisia

15

2,976

198

7

Kenya

16

2,956

185

8

Ethiopia

12

2,460

205

9

South Africa

11

2,058

187

10

Senegal

13

1,943

149

Chart 3: Hotel Chain Development Pipelines in Africa 2016 – Top 10 Countries by Number of Planned Rooms and Average Size: See multimedia content: http://www.apo.af/hQaRLy

Despite the promising 2016 survey findings, Trevor Ward cautioned on the number of hotel deals that have been signed but have so far not opened, for a variety of reasons but primarily a lack of finance. “Between 2006 and 2013, 104 deals with 21,377 rooms, over 30% of the total, were signed and should now be open, or at least well under construction”.

Chart 11: Hotel Chain Development Pipelines in Africa 2016 – Years the Deals Were Signed – Number of Hotels: See multimedia content: http://www.apo.af/hQaRLy

Trevor Ward said: “If all those involved – the investors, chains, consultants and lenders – can bring these deals to fruition, the pipeline of the future will result in the much-needed expansion of Africa’s hotel industry.”

Table 12: Hotel Chain Development Pipelines in Africa 2016 – Anticipated Opening Years of Pipeline Deals:

Table 12: Hotel Chain Development Pipelines in Africa 2016

Anticipated Opening Years of Pipeline Deals

Hotels

Rooms

Cumulative New Rooms Open

2016

119

16,934

2017

99

16,540

33,474

2018

75

13,920

47,394

2019

37

8,625

56,019

2020

22

4,989

61,008

2021

2

383

61,391

Not Known

10

2,840

64,231

The 2016 survey will be discussed in detail at AHIF in Lomé in June. Matthew Weihs, said: “The 30% increase in the hotel development pipeline is astonishing and clearly demonstrates that Africa still has fantastic potential for further growth.”

AHIF is the pre-eminent event for international investors in hotels in Africa. It takes place in Lomé, Togo on 21-22 June 2016, at the new flagship Radisson Blu Hotel du 2 Février. The second AHIF will take place on 2-4 October at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Center, Kigali, Rwanda. For more information, visit www.Africa-Conference.com.

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

Further Information

For further information and high resolution images, please visit http://www.Africa-Conference.com or contact:

  • Anja Eckervogt, Tarsh Consulting, Email: Anja@tarsh.com, Tel: +44 (0) 3301222648, Cel: +44 (0) 7871 040 170.
  • David Tarsh, Tarsh Consulting, Email: David@Tarsh.com, Tel: +44 (0) 20 7602 5262, Cel: +44 (0) 7770 816 070.

About W Hospitality Group
The W Hospitality Group, a member of Hotel Partners Africa, specialises in the provision of advisory services to the hotel, tourism and leisure industries, providing a full range of services to clients who have investments in the sector, or who are looking to enter them through development, acquisition or other means. In sub-Saharan Africa the W Hospitality Group is regarded as the market leader due to the market and financial expertise of its staff, its worldwide knowledge, and its commitment to its clients. In Africa, W Hospitality Group has to date worked in 39 countries on the continent, from its Lagos and Addis Ababa offices.

The Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF)
AHIF is the premier hotel investment conference in Africa, attracting many prominent international hotel owners, investors, financiers, management companies and their advisers. It is organised by Bench Events (www.BenchEvents.com), which is known for producing, alongside Questex Travel + Hospitality and MEED Events, several other top-level hotel conferences around the world including Berlin (IHIF), Dubai (AHIC), Istanbul (CATHIC) and Moscow (RHIC).

Sponsors of AHIF Togo 2016 are: Host Partners: Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Private Sector Promotion and Tourism of Togo and Groupe Kalyan; Platinum sponsors: AccorHotels; Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group; Hilton Worldwide; Marriott Gold Sponsors; Rwanda Development Board Gold Sponsors: Areen Hospitality Interior Design; Colliers International, DEG; France Kitchen; Horwath HTL; Hotel Partners Africa; HVS; Hyatt; JLL; Kempinski Hotels; Kinza Yapi; Louvre Hotels; Onlime Business Communications; Source Interior Brand Architecture; Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc.; STR Global; Swiss Education Group; Wyndham Hotel Group and ZPC Group.

Sponsors of AHIF Rwanda 2016 are: Host Sponsors: Rwanda Development Board, Rwanda Convention Bureau and Remarkable Rwanda; Platinum sponsors: AccorHotels; Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group; Hilton Worldwide; Marriott Gold Sponsors: Areen Hospitality Interior Design; Colliers International, DEG; France Kitchen; France 24; Horwath HTL; Hotel Partners Africa; HVS; Hyatt; JLL; Kempinski Hotels; Kinza Yapi; Louvre Hotels; Movenpick; Onlime Business Communications; Source Interior Brand Architecture; Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc.; STR Global; Swiss Education Group; Wyndham Hotel Group and ZPC Group.

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Categories: AFRICA

UN Committee against Torture to review France, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Philippines, Israel

The UN Committee against Torture is meeting in Geneva from 18 April to 13 May to review the following countries in sessions that will be webcast live: France (19-20 Apr); Tunisia (20-21 Apr); Saudi Arabia (22 and 25 Apr); Turkey (26-27 Apr); Philippines (27-28 Apr); Israel (3-4 May).

The above are among the 159 States parties to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and so are required to undergo regular reviews by the Committee on how they are implementing the Convention and the Committee’s previous recommendations.

The Committee, which is composed of 10 independent experts, will engage in a dialogue with the respective government delegations. The public sessions, held at Palais Wilson in Geneva, begin at 10:00 Geneva time and continue at 15:00 the following day. The sessions will be webcast live at: http://www.treatybodywebcast.org/.

Further information is available at: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=1011&Lang=en

The Committee will publish its findings, officially known as concluding observations, on the respective states here on Friday 13 May. A news conference to discuss the findings is scheduled for 12:30 on 13 May at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

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Source:: UN Committee against Torture to review France, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Philippines, Israel

Categories: AFRICA

Human Rights Watch response to expulsion of Jason Stearns from DR Congo

“Human Rights Watch strongly condemns the expulsion of Jason Stearns from the Democratic Republic of Congo on April 7. This comes in the context of a broader crackdown against critical voices of the government. Stearns is a widely respected and well-known researcher, scholar, and expert who has worked on the country for the past 15 years. Government officials said he was expelled for his ‘undesirability’, and also raised concerns about a report his organization, the Congo Research Group, recently published about massacres in the Beni region of eastern Congo.

In the lead-up to presidential elections, originally scheduled for November 2016, government authorities and security force officers have sought to silence those who oppose attempts to extend President Joseph Kabila’s stay in power beyond the end of his constitutionally-mandated two-term limit – firing on peaceful demonstrators and arresting and intimidating activists and political opposition supporters.”

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

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Categories: AFRICA

Sudan: U.S. Expresses Serious Concern Regarding Darfur Referendum

Press Statement

Mark C. Toner
Deputy Department Spokesperson

Washington, DC

April 9, 2016

The United States expresses serious concern regarding the Government of Sudan’s plans to conduct a referendum on April 11-13 over the political future of Darfur. If held under current rules and conditions, a referendum on the status of Darfur cannot be considered a credible expression of the will of the people of Darfur. Moreover, it will undermine the peace process now under way.

Insecurity in Darfur and inadequate registration of Darfuris residing in internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps prohibit sufficient participation. Furthermore, the Darfur Referendum Commission’s recent announcement that Darfuris residing outside of Darfur will be ineligible to vote disenfranchises millions of Darfuris, refugees, and IDPs.

Lasting peace in Sudan will only be attained through a political process that addresses the underlying causes of the Darfur conflict, secures a lasting cessation of hostilities, and creates the space for meaningful participation of Darfuri groups and all Sudanese in an inclusive and genuine national dialogue. The announced Darfur Referendum will contradict these key objectives and the broader goal of peace and stability in Darfur.

The United States will continue to support the people of Sudan who wish to advance peaceful governance and inclusive participatory politics for long-term stability in Sudan.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Department of State.

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AU Head of Mission calls for an impartial Presidential Election in the Republic of Chad

The Observation Mission of the AUEOM arrived in Chad on the 6th of April 2016 at Kempinski hotel N’Djamena Chad. The two days induction process was led by H.E. Dioncounda Traore, transition President of the Republic of Mali and supported by his team of 34 observers from 23 different African Countries.

Speaking at the opening H.E. Dioncounda Traore, Head of Mission thanked the host country for the invitation to the AU to observe the election and added that is within the context of African solidarity, in the same vain the African Union has decided to dispatch the observation mission team to further unite the efforts of democracy.

The Head of mission reiterated that the primary rule of the mission is to observe the election and learn lessons from the electoral process. In addition, he underscored the purpose is to ensure true democracy within the continent. The transition to democracy is a process that takes time; just like the other democratic countries Africa as a continent is transiting into a democratic continent he reckoned.

H.E. Dioncounda Traore concluded by “I admonish all of you observes to carry out your duties in a professional manner knowing that you are impartial and remain objective in the observation process”.

The observers will be deployed tomorrow the 9th April to 18 of the 22 regions of the Chad Republic. The 18 teams of the AU will be present all throughout the process after undergoing a tedious orientation process from the 7th to the 8th April 2016. The observers were taken carefully through the political and security analysis of the country to facilitate their operations and prepare them for the 10th of April the day of the Presidential election. The AU delegation will observe the situation in the country till the last day of the political campaign, which is Friday 8th April by midnight.

In order to achieve its goal of having an independent, honest, professional and impartial observation based on transparency, integrity, fairness and regularity of the elections, the Mission will meet with various political authorities in the countries such as institutions in charge of elections, political parties in contention, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Constitutional courts in the Republic of Chad.

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

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April 10, 2016 presidential election in Chad republic

African Union Commission (AUC) announces the arrival of its Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) in Chad republic. The Chairperson of African Union Commission (AUC), HE Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has decided to send this mission for the first round of 10th April 2016, presidential election in Chad, and consequently monitor and report on the progress of the electoral process in the country.

The mission, led by H.E. Dioncounda Traore, former Transition President of the Republic of Mali, includes 34 observers and is made up of ambassadors to the African Union in Addis Ababa, Pan- African Parliamentarians, leaders of elections management bodies, members of civil society and human rights. The observers come from 23 different countries, namely: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Seychelles, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.

The Mission will monitor the progress of the electoral process in the light of relevant provisions of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance adopted in 2007 and entered into force in 2012, which aims to improve the electoral processes in Africa, strengthen electoral institutions and the conduct of fair, free and transparent elections ; the Declaration of the OAU / AU Declaration on the Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa 2002; AU Guidelines for observation missions and monitoring of elections of 2002 and other relevant international instruments governing the conduct of democratic elections in Africa, including the African Mechanism Peer Review. The observation will also build on the existing legal framework for the organization of the presidential election in the Republic of Chad.

To achieve its goal of making an independent, honest, professional and impartial observation based on transparency, integrity, fairness and election reliability , the Mission will meet with various political authorities, such as the institutions in charge of elections, the candidates, the Foreign Affairs Ministry , the Public Security Ministry, the Constitutional Court and civil society. The Mission will also interact with other Electoral Observation and Diplomatic Missions present in Chad.

After the elections, the Mission will present its preliminary findings on the conduct of the election and make recommendations during a press conference to be held on the 12th April 2016 at 14:00 hours at Hotel Kempinski in N’djamena. At the end of the electoral process, the AUEOM will issue a final report containing a detailed analysis of the conduct of the electoral process in the Republic of Chad.

The AUEOM arrived in Chad on the 6th of April 2016 and will stay there until the 14th April 2016.

The Mission’s Secretariat is located at Kempinski hotel.

African Union Electoral Observation Mission thanked the authorities of the Republic of Chad for all the provisions that they are willing to make in order to facilitate our work on the field.

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

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Source:: April 10, 2016 presidential election in Chad republic

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African Union Commission Chairperson approves the deployment of a Short-Term Technical Observation Mission to the Republic of Sudan’s Administrative Referendum in Darfur.

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, authorized the deployment of an African Union (AU) short-term technical election observation mission to the Darfur Administrative referendum in the Republic of the Sudan, which is scheduled to take place from 11 to 13 April 2016.

The deployment of the AU election observation mission to the referendum in Darfur follows a consultative meeting between the Sudanese delegation led by the Chairman of the Darfur Regional Authority, Dr. Tijani Sisei held with the AUC Chairperson on Wednesday 9 March 2016, and the recommendations of the AU Pre-referendum Assessment Mission to the country that took place from 30 March to 3 April 2016.

The decision of the Chairperson of the Commission is in line with the relevant AU instruments, notably paragraph VI (d) of OAU/AU Declaration on the Principles Governing Democratic Elections and paragraph 4.6 of the AU Guidelines for Elections Observation and Monitoring Missions, as well as in accordance with the special role of the AU as one of the moral guarantors of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) signed in July 2011 between the Government of the Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM).

The Mission comprises a team of ten (10) independent election experts from nine (9) AU member states and staff from the African Union Commission. The Mission will deploy to Sudan from 8 to 18 April 2016.

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission also encourages the hybrid African Union-United Nations Mission to Darfur (UNAMID) to provide, within its mandate and capabilities, the necessary logistical assistance requested by the Government of the Sudan in support of the referendum process.

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

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Source:: African Union Commission Chairperson approves the deployment of a Short-Term Technical Observation Mission to the Republic of Sudan’s Administrative Referendum in Darfur.

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Joint Statement Encouraging Sudanese Parties to Agree on the AUHIP Roadmap

The Troika (Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States) supports the efforts of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) to create a Roadmap Agreement for ending conflict in Sudan.

While we welcome the Government of Sudan’s signing of the Roadmap agreement, we urge the Government to clarify its commitments regarding the inclusion of other relevant stakeholders in the National Dialogue and to uphold the results of any National Dialogue preparatory meetings arranged by the AUHIP between the 7+7 Committee and opposition groups. Once that is done, we would urge the Justice and Equality Movement, the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minnawi, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), and the National Umma Party to sign the Roadmap. If agreed to by all parties to the conflicts, the AUHIP Roadmap could allow genuine political dialogue at both regional and national levels that is needed to address the underlying causes of the armed conflicts that have plagued Sudan for so long.

We are deeply concerned about the increase in fighting between Government forces and the SPLM-N in both Blue Nile and South Kordofan and urge both sides to show restraint and avoid ambushes, military offensives, rocket attacks, and aerial bombardments that negatively affect civilian populations. We call on both sides to renew their unilateral cessation of hostilities commitments and to fully respect those commitments in order to create a more conducive environment for implementation of the AUHIP Roadmap. There is no military solution to Sudan’s conflicts. Further violence only serves to increase the suffering of the Sudanese people. The Troika countries call on all parties at conflict in Sudan to seize this opportunity to end the wars and find a path towards lasting peace.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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Source:: Joint Statement Encouraging Sudanese Parties to Agree on the AUHIP Roadmap

Categories: AFRICA

The 588th meeting of the AU Peace and SecurityCouncil on the situation in Western Sahara

The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), at its 588th meeting held on 6 April 2016, adopted the following decision on the situation in Western Sahara:

Council,

1. Takes note of the briefing provided by the Commissioner for Peace and Security on the situation in Western Sahara, of the update provided by the Special Envoy of the Chairperson of the Commission for Western Sahara, former President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique. Council also takes note of the statement made by the Minister for African Affairs of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR,) as well as by the representatives of Senegal, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, New Zealand, Spain, France, United Kingdom and United States of America, United Nations (UN), and European Union (EU);

Recalls its earlier decisions on the situation in Western Sahara, namely Communiqué PSC/PR/COMM/1.(CDXCVI) and Press Statement PSC/PR/COMM.2(DII) adopted at its 496th and 503rd meetings held on 27 March and 30 April 2015, respectively. Also recalls Communiqué PSC/AHG/COMM.4(DXLVII) adopted at the 547th meeting of the Council held on 26 September 2015, in New York, at the level of Heads of State and Government, in which it urged the UN Security Council to fully assume its responsibilities, and take all necessary measures to rapidly resolve the Western Sahara conflict and find an effective response to issues related to respect for human rights and the illegal exploitation of natural resources of the territory;

Further recalls decision Assembly/AU/Dec.598(XXVI), adopted by the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union, held in Addis Ababa, from 30 to 31 January 2016, reiterating AU’s call for the early resolution of the four-decade long conflict in Western Sahara, in line with international legality, and appealing, once again, to UN Security Council to fully assume its responsibility in this respect with the view to achieving a fair, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, in the context of arrangements consistent with the UN principles and purposes, as well as reiterating calls to the UN General Assembly regarding the determination of a date for the holding of the self-determination referendum for the people of Western Sahara and protection of the integrity of the Western Sahara as a non-self-governing Territory from any act, which may undermine it, including the preservation of its natural resources;

Notes with deep concern that, in spite of the sustained efforts made, including by the successive Personal Envoys of the UN Secretary-General, no progress has been made in the search for an effective solution to the conflict in Western Sahara, which has been in a stalemate for more than four decades;

5. Commends the efforts of UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, in the search for a settlement to the conflict in Western Sahara and welcomes his visit undertaken to Western Sahara and the region, from 2 to 7 March 2016. Council strongly encourages the UN Secretary-General to prevail in his efforts and reassures him of full support of the AU;

Condemns strongly the decision by Morocco to expel 84 international civil servants, including AU personnel, from the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) and for denying the visit of UN Secretary-General to Rabat, and to Laayoune, capital city of occupied Western Sahara and MINURSO’s Headquarters, which constitutes a very dangerous precedent in that it challenges and undermines the mandate of the UN Security Council in maintaining international peace and security. In this regard, Council emphasizes that the presence and operation of MINURSO in Western Sahara is pursuant to UN Security Council resolution 690 of 29 April 1991. Furthermore, Council stresses that the decision by Morocco further complicates the current deadlock in the peace process, rekindle tensions in Western Sahara, and threaten regional security at a time when the international community is mobilizing to find a solution to the conflict in Western Sahara in accordance with international legality, including relevant OAU/AU and UN Security Council resolutions;

Calls on the UN Security Council to fully assume its responsibility in the matter, by acting under Chapter VII, to demand Morocco to annul its decision to expel MINURSO personnel. Furthermore, Council urges the UN Security Council to reaffirm the full mandate of MINURSO, including the organization of Referendum for self-determination of the people of Western Sahara and stresses the need for the international community as a whole, to continue to provide support to the ongoing efforts by UN Secretary-General, Ban-Ki Moon, and his Personal Envoy, Christopher W. S. Ross, towards materializing the solution to the conflict in accordance with international legality;

Looks forward to the renewal of the mandate of MINURSO at the expiration of its current mandate, on 30 April 2016, as decided by the Security Council in resolution 2218 (2015) of 28 April 2015. Council urges the UN Security Council to take the necessary steps to provide MINURSO with a human rights mandate, taking into account the need to ensure sustained, independent and impartial monitoring of human rights in both the Territory and the refugee camps. In this respect, Council requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights to take appropriate steps in this respect. Council further reiterates its request to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) to undertake, as soon as possible, a mission to Western Sahara and to the refugee camps in Tindouf, to assess the human rights situation and make recommendations to Council. In this regard, Council urges the Government of Morocco to extend full cooperation to the ACHPR, in particular, by allowing it to access the Territory;

Notes with deep concern the acute humanitarian situation in which the people of Western Sahara are living, the violation of human rights and the continuous illegal exploitation of the territory’s natural resources, regardless of the relevant multiple opinions and decisions of the AU, as well as of international and regional organizations, on the matter;

Commends the EU Court of Justice for its recent ruling issued on 10 December 2015, annulling the trade deal in agricultural and fisheries products, concluded in March 2012, between the Kingdom of Morocco and the EU, due to its inclusion of Western Sahara and calls upon all concerned to respect the Court’s ruling and desist from entering into any agreement that would violate the Sahrawi people’s permanent sovereignty over their natural resources;

Reiterates its decision PSC/PR/COMM/1.(CDXCVI) it adopted at its 496th meeting held on 27 March 2015, to establish an International Contact Group for Western Sahara (ICG-WS), in order to keep the issue on the international agenda and to mobilize the necessary support for the early resolution of the conflict, as well as to reactivate the Ad hoc Committee of Heads of State and Government on the conflict in Western Sahara, established pursuant to resolution AHG/Res.92(XV), adopted at the 15th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the OAU, held in Khartoum, Sudan, from 18 to 22 July 1978. Councilrenews its call in regard, to the Chairperson of the Commission to undertake the necessary consultations to this end as well as to urgently undertake the necessary consultations for the finalization of the composition and the operationalization of the Ad hoc Committee;

Also reiterates paragraph 24 of decision Assembly/AU/Dec.598(XXVI), adopted by the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union, which requests the African members of the UN Security Council (A3), to work with the Commission, including the AU Permanent Observer Mission to the UN, to present reports, through the PSC, to the Assembly of the Union, on their efforts within the UN Security Council and the extent to which they managed to promote African positions as articulated by the Council and further requests the Council to provide timely guidance to the A3 to facilitate consistency in the promotion and defense of African positions on issues of concern to the continent. In this regard, Council urges the A3 to comply with the Assembly of the Union and the Council decisions in their activities within the UN Security Council;

Also reiterates the AU’s commitment to continue to work towards the early resolution of the conflict in Western Sahara on the basis of international legality and relevant OAU/AU’s decisions, and to cooperate closely with the UN. In this respect, Council encourages the Chairperson of the Commission to pursue and intensify her efforts, including through her AU Special Envoy for Western Sahara for Western Sahara, former President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, towards effective follow-up of the relevant provisions of this communiqué. In particular, Council:

(i) Requests the AU Special Envoy for Western Sahara for Western Sahara to urgently undertake consultation mission to the UN Secretariat in order to reiterate the AU position and to be informed on the latest developments with regard to the UN engagements to overcome the impasse in the peace process as well as the operational situation of MINURSO, whose mandate expires on 30 April 2016; and

(ii) Also requests the UN Security Council and all its members to facilitate the AU Special Envoy for Western Sahara’s mission to New York, including granting to him audience to address the UN Security Council during its forthcoming meeting on Western Sahara;

Looks forward to its 10th Annual Joint Consultative meeting with the UN Security Council, in May 2016, and stresses the need to use the opportunity of the meeting to discuss, among others, the issue of Western Sahara;

Also looks forward with great interest to the holding in Geneva of the Donors’ Conference on Saharawi refugees and expresses its full support to the UN Secretary-General efforts aiming to ensure its early organization and success, to meet the needs and expectations of the Saharawi refugees;

Welcomes the forthcoming Saharawi High Level Solidarity Seminar and Photo Exhibition to be hosted by the AU Commission and OXFAM, from 25 to 28 April 2016, at the AU Headquarters under the theme “40 Faces, 40 Years – A lifetime in Exile”, aimed at highlighting the humanitarian socio-economic and human rights tragedy of the Saharawi’s living in exile, on the occasion of the 40 year anniversary;

Requests the Chairperson of the Commission to forward the present communiqué to the two Parties, namely the POLISARIO Front and the Kingdom of Morocco for their information and action as appropriate. Council further requests the Chairperson of the Commission to transmit the communiqué to the UN Secretary-General and to request that it be circulated as an official UN Security Council document for its forthcoming meeting on Western Sahara, as well as to other relevant international stakeholders;

Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

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

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Source:: The 588th meeting of the AU Peace and SecurityCouncil on the situation in Western Sahara

Categories: AFRICA