Nigeria regional conflict: Ten-fold increase in number of children used in ‘suicide’ attacks

The number of children involved in ‘suicide’ attacks in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger has risen sharply over the past year, from 4 in 2014 to 44 in 2015, according to UNICEF data released today. More than 75 per cent of the children involved in the attacks are girls.

“Let us be clear: these children are victims, not perpetrators,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa. “Deceiving children and forcing them to carry out deadly acts has been one of the most horrific aspects of the violence in Nigeria and in neighbouring countries.”

Released two years after the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls in Chibok, the report Beyond Chibok shows alarming trends in four countries affected by Boko Haram over the past two years:

Between January 2014 and February 2016, Cameroon recorded the highest number of suicide attacks involving children (21), followed by Nigeria (17) and Chad (2).
Over the past two years, nearly 1 in 5 suicide bombers was a child and three quarters of these children were girls. Last year, children were used in 1 out of 2 attacks in Cameroon, 1 out of 8 in Chad, and 1 out of 7 in Nigeria.
Last year, for the first time, ‘suicide’ bombing attacks in general spread beyond Nigeria’s borders. The frequency of all suicide bombings increased from 32 in 2014 to 151 last year. In 2015, 89 of these attacks were carried out in Nigeria, 39 in Cameroon, 16 in Chad and 7 in Niger.

The calculated use of children who may have been coerced into carrying bombs, has created an atmosphere of fear and suspicion that has devastating consequences for girls who have survived captivity and sexual violence by Boko Haram in North East Nigeria.

Children who escaped from, or were released by, armed groups are often seen as potential security threats, as shown in recent research by UNICEF and International Alert. Children born as a result of sexual violence also encounter stigma and discrimination in their villages, host communities, and in camps for internally displaced persons.

“As ‘suicide’ attacks involving children become commonplace, some communities are starting to see children as threats to their safety,” said Fontaine. “This suspicion towards children can have destructive consequences; how can a community rebuild itself when it is casting out its own sisters, daughters and mothers?”

Beyond Chibok assesses the impact conflict has had on children in the four countries affected by Boko Haram. The report notes that:

Nearly 1.3 million children have been displaced;
About 1,800 schools are closed – either damaged, looted, burned down or used as shelter by displaced people;
Over 5,000 children were reported unaccompanied/separated from their parents.

UNICEF is working with communities and families in Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger to fight stigma against survivors of sexual violence and to build a protective environment for former abductees.

Together with partners, UNICEF provides safe water and life-saving health services; helps to restore access to education by creating temporary learning spaces; and delivers therapeutic treatment to malnourished children. UNICEF also provides psychosocial support to children to help them cope with emotional distress.

The response to this crisis remains severely underfunded. This year, only 11 per cent of the US$97 million needed for UNICEF’s humanitarian response has been received. UNICEF is calling for increased commitment from donors to support conflict affected children and women in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

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

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Source:: Nigeria regional conflict: Ten-fold increase in number of children used in ‘suicide’ attacks

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The 586th meeting of the AUPSC on the situation in Somalia

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 586th meeting held on 31 March 2016, received an update on the situation in Somalia.

Council took note of the update provided by the AU Commission, on the situation in Somalia. Council also took note of the statements made by the representatives of Somalia, Ethiopia (in its capacity as Chair of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)), Egypt, Senegal, Italy (co-Chair of IGAD Partners Forum), China, France, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, as well as by the League of Arab States, the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU).

Council recalled its previous pronouncements on the situation in Somalia, particularly communiqué PSC/PR/COMM. (DLXXIX) adopted at its 579th meeting held on 29 February 2016.

Council, while reiterating its serious concern about the financial gap caused by the untimely 20% EU funding cut to AMISOM, as well as its previous calls for the UN to utilize assessed contributions to bridge the resultant funding gap, once again, emphasized that, in line with Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, in deploying AMISOM in a particularly challenging environment, the AU is acting on behalf of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.

Council welcomed the outcomes of the meeting of the AU-UN Joint Task Force held on 22 March 2016, in New York, USA, and looks forward to the speedy implementation of the outcomes of the meeting.

Council, once again, urged the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and all other Somali stakeholders, working in a spirit of inclusiveness and national unity, to show the necessary commitment and to spare no efforts in ensuring the full and urgent implementation of Vision 2016, including its commitments to the Djibouti Declaration adopted by the Summit of the Troop and Police Contributing Countries (TCCs/PCCs), held on 28 February 2016, as well as the outcomes of the High-Level Partnership Forum for Somalia, held in Istanbul, Turkey, from 23 to 24 February 2016. In the same spirit, Council stressed the need for the FGS to ensure that the elections scheduled for August and September 2016 are held in line with a consensual electoral model.

Council underscored the need for the FGS to ensure that the people of Somalia enjoy the peace dividends in areas liberated from Al Shabaab, including through the provision of basic public services and implementation of quick impact and peace strengthening projects. In the same context, Council stressed the need for enhancing the capacity of the Somali national defence and security forces, bearing in mind that they will eventually have to take full and effective control of areas liberated from Al Shabaab, in order to prevent the return of those areas back into the hands of the terrorist group. In this context, Council reiterated the imperative need for enhanced adherence to the command and control structure of AMISOM, in line with the Declaration of the Djibouti Summit of the TCCs/PCCs.

Council expressed serious concern over the reports of continuous shipment of arms for non-state actors in Somalia, in violation of the existing UN arms embargo. In this regard, Council requested the Commission, in collaboration with the UN Monitoring Group to urgently undertake thorough investigations and to submit the findings to the Council.

Council, deeply concerned about the prevailing humanitarian situation, which has been compounded by the El-Nino-related drought, appealed to the international community and to humanitarian agencies to enhance their assistance to the population in need.

Council reiterated its appeal to the international community to continue to provide the necessary support to the FGS and its institutions, in order to consolidate the gains made and facilitate the completion of the transition process. Furthermore, Council underscored the importance of coordinated efforts, under the leadership of the AU, in order to avoid duplications and to further enhance synergies on the ground.

Council re-affirmed the AU’s commitment to continue to assist the FGS in its preparations for the elections, as well as in the stabilization and reconstruction efforts in Somalia. Council further re-affirmed its continued support to the tireless efforts of the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission and AMISOM Head of Mission.

Council agreed 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 586th meeting of the AUPSC on the situation in Somalia

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South Sudan: U.S. Condemns Recent Attacks by SPLA

Press Statemen

Mark C. Toner
Deputy Department Spokesperson

Washington, DC

April 11, 2016

The United States condemns recent attacks by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), which destroyed a declared opposition cantonment site at Numatina in Wau County, South Sudan. These attacks followed a surge of SPLA troops and military equipment into the area. This action is in clear violation of the permanent ceasefire provisions that apply nationwide and were agreed to by all peace agreement signatories.

We take note of credible reports that the opposition and associated armed actors have recently attacked government forces and civilians in the area. We condemn such actions, which also constitute a violation of the permanent ceasefire provisions. We call on the parties to provide access for the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM) to investigate the circumstances surrounding these incidents.

We urge all parties to resolve disputes through dialogue. Disputes related to ceasefire implementation and cantonment should be referred to the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) and other relevant mechanisms outlined in the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan.

There is no military solution to the conflicts in South Sudan. We call on all parties to fulfill their commitments to implement the provisions of the peace agreement in full.

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

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Djibouti Elections

Press Statement

Mark C. Toner
Deputy Department Spokesperson

Washington, DC

April 11, 2016

The United States commends the Djiboutian people for peacefully exercising their right to vote during their country’s April 8 presidential election.

While elections are an integral component of all democratic societies, democracy is also built on the foundation of rule of law, civil liberties, and open political discourse between all stakeholders. We encourage the Government of Djibouti to support the freedoms of peaceful assembly, association, and expression for all of Djibouti’s citizens.

The United States has a strong partnership with Djibouti. We look forward to advancing our shared interests and helping Djiboutians build a more prosperous, secure, and democratic future. We take note of the reports released by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the African Union, and others and the recommendations by the African Union on improving future electoral processes in Djibouti. We hope to work with the Government of Djibouti to advance those recommendations.

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

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Djibouti Elections

Press Statement

Mark C. Toner
Deputy Department Spokesperson

Washington, DC

April 11, 2016

The United States commends the Djiboutian people for peacefully exercising their right to vote during their country’s April 8 presidential election.

While elections are an integral component of all democratic societies, democracy is also built on the foundation of rule of law, civil liberties, and open political discourse between all stakeholders. We encourage the Government of Djibouti to support the freedoms of peaceful assembly, association, and expression for all of Djibouti’s citizens.

The United States has a strong partnership with Djibouti. We look forward to advancing our shared interests and helping Djiboutians build a more prosperous, secure, and democratic future. We take note of the reports released by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the African Union, and others and the recommendations by the African Union on improving future electoral processes in Djibouti. We hope to work with the Government of Djibouti to advance those recommendations.

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

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Council President Aliu Highlights ICAO Aviation Security and Facilitation Priorities at African Ministerial in Namibia

African Ministers responsible for aviation security and facilitation met in Windhoek, Namibia, last week to address challenges concerning aviation security and facilitation in Africa through the implementation of the Comprehensive Regional Implementation Plan for Aviation Security and Facilitation in Africa (AFI SECFAL PLAN).

During his address to the assembled dignitaries and high-level officials, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, President of the ICAO Council, noted that “Recent incidents illustrate that there is no doubt that aviation is, and remains, a target of choice for terrorists, and the global policy and regulatory framework have become much more responsive to this very aspect of today’s dynamic risk context. This response was enabled by ICAO’s steadfast commitment to aviation security and facilitation, which also enabled our Member States to realize greater benefit from our capacity-building and targeted technical assistance activities. This work is a key priority for us today under our No Country Left Behind initiative.”

In her opening statement, Mrs. Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, Right Honourable Prime Minister of the Republic of Namibia, underscored the importance of security in the development of any economic sector, including air transport and tourism. She also recognized that Africa is not immune from emerging threats such as cyber threat and other acts of unlawful interference to civil aviation, and highlighted that the implementation of the ICAO AFI SECFAL Plan will play an important role in near-term and long term aviation security and facilitation progress.

African Ministers responsible for aviation security and facilitation adopted the Windhoek Declaration and Targets during the event, stressing they would seek to effectively implement ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and enhance the oversight thereof towards the targets’ attainment. The two instruments will be forwarded by the African Union Commission (AUC) and will eventually be considered for endorsement at the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and governments scheduled for this July in Kigali, Rwanda.

“ICAO expects that today’s event will eventually be looked upon as a milestone in the evolution of civil aviation security and facilitation in Africa,” President Aliu confirmed. “ICAO’s AFI SECFAL Plan has now become a framework through which African States, donor States, organizations and industry coordinate their efforts and activities, and this event presented us with a unique opportunity to agree on the establishment of sustainable targets and goals in order to reach a comprehensive political commitment.”

Dr. Aliu thanked Namibia for hosting the Conference, expressing his gratitude at its offer to champion the implementation of the Windhoek Declaration in the coming years, and to promote the ICAO AFI SECFAL Plan as a suitable cooperation and coordination mechanism for all related initiatives. He held bilateral meetings with the Namibian Minister of Works and Transport, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, and the Director of its Civil Aviation Department.

He also undertook follow-up discussions with the Nigerian Minister of State Aviation, the Director General of the Nigerian CAA, and other officials on implementing the Action Plan on the conclusions of an earlier meeting with the President of Nigeria.

Dr. Aliu was joined by the President and Secretary General of AFCAC while in Namibia to discuss, inter alia, continuing collaboration with ICAO to enhance aviation safety, security and capacity building, and its help in assuring the rapid endorsement of the Windhoek Declaration and Targets by the next summit of AU Heads of State and Government.

During the Conference the ICAO Council President also met with Mr. Sergio Mujica, Deputy Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Mr. Francis Rwego, Assistant Director, NCB Regional Police Services (INTERPOL Regional Bureau, Nairobi), and Mr.Gilbert Faure, Director General of Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA). The discussions covered matters of mutual interest including joint training and capacity building programmes, coordination with INTERPOL, and tailored assistance to enhance effective implementation of aviation security and facilitation oversight systems, respectively.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

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Source:: Council President Aliu Highlights ICAO Aviation Security and Facilitation Priorities at African Ministerial in Namibia

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IMF East AFRITAC’s Steering Committee Applauds the Center’s Crucial Support for Building Stronger Economic Institutions in Member Countries

The Steering Committee of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s Africa Regional Technical Assistance Center East (East AFRITAC) met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on April 3–5, 2016 to assess the Center’s operations since May 2015, the first year of its fourth five-year program cycle (Phase IV, 2015–2020). The Committee discussed strategic issues, including the Center’s contribution to furthering the Sustainable Development Goals and the Financing for Development Agenda and reviewed the work plan for the coming fiscal year (2017). Officials from six of the seven member countries attended, together with development partner representatives (the European Union, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, United States, African Development Bank, European Investment Bank) and IMF staff.

In their remarks, H.E. Neway Gebre-Ab, Advisor to the Prime Minister, Ahmed Shide, State Minister of Finance and Economic Cooperation, and Yohannes Ayalew, Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia, praised the contributions the Center had made to building institutional and human capacity in the region, highlighting the important role of macroeconomic knowledge transfer for Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plans. Development partner officials set out their strategic priorities and expectations of the Center, including in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals and on operational issues. Member countries highlighted the important impact of technical assistance and training provided by the Center, including support for domestic resource mobilization; accountable and transparent public spending; efficient public investment; regional economic integration; strengthening financial sector stability; modernizing monetary policy frameworks; and improving macroeconomic statistics as a basis for better economic policy decision-making.

Steering Committee members appreciated the scale and range of work delivered over the past year (fiscal year 2016). They welcomed the determined implementation of the independent mid-term evaluation’s recommendations. The Committee endorsed the FY 2017 work plan, while expressing concerns over the impact of uncertainty of the Center’s funding on program planning and execution. They stressed the importance and urgency of securing full financing for Phase IV given the region’s substantial macroeconomic capacity building needs. These are very much related to the 2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development—domestic revenue mobilization, high-quality public spending, sustainable scaling up of infrastructure, and financial market development—and have been rendered even more pressing by global economic headwinds affecting the region. Development partners reaffirmed their efforts to secure the required financing. Member countries confirmed they would swiftly follow through on their commitment to double their own contributions to the Center.

The Steering Committee also lauded the Center’s support for peer learning through various modalities, took note of complementary initiatives undertaken by IMF headquarters and development partners, recognized efforts to improve donor coordination, and praised the Center’s new outreach initiatives. The next Steering Committee meeting will take place in Malawi in early 2017.

Background

East AFRITAC, located in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, is one of nine regional IMF technical assistance centers around the world and serves Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. It provides capacity-building assistance in core areas of expertise of the International Monetary Fund including: revenue administration; public financial management; macro-fiscal analysis; financial sector regulation and supervision; monetary policy and operations; financial market infrastructures and payments; national accounts and price statistics; and government finance statistics. Its Steering Committee, which is composed of the member countries, the IMF, and development partners, oversees and provides strategic guidance to the Center. Development partners currently financing the Center are the EU, UK, Netherlands and Switzerland.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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Source:: IMF East AFRITAC’s Steering Committee Applauds the Center’s Crucial Support for Building Stronger Economic Institutions in Member Countries

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Terrorist attacks in Tunisia: support for people affected

Ministerial committee

Following the terrorist attack in Sousse on 26 June 2015, and the attack at the Bardo Museum in Tunis on 18 March 2015, the Prime Minister asked Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood to chair a ministerial committee.

The committee was set up to ensure that all British nationals affected by the attacks are properly supported by the government. It will also oversee arrangements for memorial events relating to the Tunisia attacks, including a permanent memorial.

The committee met for the first time on 22 July 2015. A cross-government unit will support the ministerial committee in ensuring that families get the right help.

Read more about the committee and its members.

Sources of support

People bereaved in the Tunisia attacks are being supported by Police Family Liaison Officers.

Anyone feeling unwell, or overwhelmed and unable to cope as a result of their experience should speak to their GP or call NHS 111.

People bereaved or injured in the attacks may be entitled to compensation under the Victim of Overseas Terrorism Compensation Scheme. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority can provide further advice on applying for compensation.

Those affected can also contact the Victims’ Information Service for information on their entitlements to support, and the local arrangements for its provision. The information line 0808 168 9293 (freephone) provides immediate emotional and practical assistance, whilst referring victims to local arrangements as quickly as possible.

People who returned to the UK early as a result of the Tunisia attacks should contact their tour operator to find out what additional support is available.

For all those affected by the attacks, practical and emotional support is available from a range of other organisations.

The Tunisia Help Sheet lists sources of support. People affected can access this support directly or contact the unit: sousse@fco.gov.ukor 020 7008 7641 for help.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Initially when someone has been exposed to traumatic events and showing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), they should be assessed by a General Practitioner (GP) who will then refer the patient on to a specialist service. For the first few weeks, the intervention from the professional providing mental health care is ‘watchful waiting’. This is because two thirds of people with PTSD recover in the first few weeks.

After that, the patient may receive psychotherapy, usually either Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or Eye Movement Desensitization Therapy (EMDR). CBT tends to be useful for a wide range of mental health problems while EMDR is a treatment specifically designed for people with PTSD.

Both therapies can be provided through local Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services, community mental health services or through Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Please note that in CAMHS, CBT is available in most places but EMDR is not commonly used in CAMHS.

For children and young people with PTSD, trauma-focused CBT is usually recommended. This will normally involve a course of 8-12 sessions that have been adapted to suit the child’s age, circumstances and level of development. Where appropriate, treatment will include consulting with and involving the child’s family. Treatment with medication is not usually recommended for children and young people with PTSD.

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

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Source:: Terrorist attacks in Tunisia: support for people affected

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Pan African University Validates Curricula for Academic Programs in Governance, Humanities and Social Sciences

African experts in Governance, Humanities and Social Sciences as well as staff of the Department of Human Resources, Science and Technology (HRST) and the Pan African University (PAU) have concluded a four-day curriculum validation workshop at the AUC Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The workshop was the culmination of efforts to review existing curricula and develop new ones for the PAU Institute for Governance, Humanities and Social Sciences (PAUGHSS) in Yaounde, Cameroon.

The exercise covered Masters and PhD programs in Governance and Regional Integration, Translation and Interpreting as well as Gender and Human Rights, and History of Africa, both mandatory courses for all PAU students. The curriculum exercise was underpinned by the need to align PAU curricular with the highest standards of global practice and ensure congruence between learning outcomes of Masters and successive PhD courses. It was also inspired by the drive to infuse PAU curricula with the African perspective and embed the University’s programs with relevant courses that reflect the continent’s objective realities.

Speaking at the opening of the workshop, the Acting Director of Human Resources, Science and Technology, Dr. Mahama Ouedraogo, described the curriculum exercise as a process fundamental to revitalizing programs of the Pan African University, which has the crucial mandate to provide essential training to the new generation of African leaders in areas critical to the continent’s future development. Dr. Mahama said Governance, Humanities and Social Sciences are core concerns of Agenda 2063, and that the range of programs offered at PAU is a reflection of the intent to position the University as a driver of educational innovation and a contributor to the realization of Africa’s development aspirations.

The President of the PAU Council, Professor Tolly S. Mbwette, said the workshop is important for fostering the vision and actualizing the mandate of the Pan African University to nurture quality and exemplify excellence in African higher education. He posited that the workshop has come at a time when the University is undergoing a transformative process, to implement its policy, governance and institutional architecture.

PAU programs are designed to be an expression of African renaissance and contribute to strengthening Africa’s position not only as a consumer, but also as a generator of global knowledge and culture. The academic programs will enable African students to develop research opportunities and skills, obtain postgraduate degrees, and participate in robust thematic research, addressing the AU ideals of good governance, peace, security and development, as well as strengthening the inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary research capacity of the next generation of African scholars.

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

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Source:: Pan African University Validates Curricula for Academic Programs in Governance, Humanities and Social Sciences

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Darfur votes in referendum to determine its administration status

Darfur votes in the referendum to determine its administration status. The voting that commences on Monday 11th April 2016 will be held for the next three days. The referendum would give the electorate a choice between either the creation of a unified Darfur region composed of the region’s five States or the retention of the status quo of five States.

Organized and supervised by the Sudanese National Election Commission, through Darfur Referendum Commission (DRC), the voting will take place in about 1,400 registration and polling centers in all 65 localities of Darfur’s five States. According to the DRC, 3. 5 million out of 4 million people, who are eligible to vote in the region, have registered for the referendum. The results are expected to be announced within ten days after the end of the vote.

The referendum is a fulfillment of Abuja peace deal of 2006 and the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur of 2011, signed between the Sudanese government and the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) Minni Minnawi faction and with the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), respectively. Both peace agreements called for the conduct of a referendum in Darfur and that its result is to be included in the country’s permanent constitution.

The referendum offers two outcomes for the citizens of Darfur: for the region to return to one administrative unit or to continue as five separate states.

Upon receipt of an official invitation from the Government of the Sudan, the African Union (AU) has deployed an AU Technical Election Observation Mission to the referendum in Darfur, comprising a team of ten independent election experts from nine AU member states.

The deployment of AUEOM follows a consultative meeting between the Sudanese delegations led by the Chairman of the Darfur Regional Authority, Dr. Tijani Sisei held with the AUC Chairperson, H.E Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma 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.

AUEOM have been on the ground since the 8th of April 2016 and will be there till 18th April. Its objective is to make an independent, objective and impartial assessment of the organization and conduct of referendum in Darfur.

The deployment of AUEOM comes 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).

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

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Source:: Darfur votes in referendum to determine its administration status

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AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture Speaks at the 29th FAO Regional Conference for Africa

The Ministerial Session of the 29th Session of the FAO Conference for Africa opened in Abidjan with statements from the Prime Minister of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Daniel Kablan Duncan, the Director General of FAO, Dr. Jose Graziano Da Silva, AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Mrs. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, the Chair of the Committee on World Food Security, H.E. Amira Gornass, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Sudan to the Rome-based UN Agencies, the Cote d’Ivoire Minister of Agriculture and the Mayor of Cocody Municipality in Abidjan.

Convened under the theme “Transforming African Agri-food systems for inclusive growth and a shared prosperity”, the conference brought together 51 ministers of agriculture among over 300 delegates, including African ambassadors to Italy and Permanent Representatives to the Rome-based UN agencies, senior government officials and representatives of the civil society and other international organisations.

In her remarks Commissioner Tumusiime stated that “Africa is opening a new chapter in the script of economic development, as seen in the recent firm commitments by its leaders to turn the continent’s natural, human and physical resources for improvement of African’s livelihoods”. She underlined the different decisions and commitments by world and African leaders, which suggest that they have done their part and that the onus on African institutions and development partners to work together toward delivery of the services to the people.

“We should take the steering wheel to drive planning and laying the building blocks toward achievement of progress against the defined targets linked with priority areas”, she added. In the light of recent AU Summit decisions, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Africa Agenda 2063, the declaration on “Ending Hunger in Africa by 2025”, among others, Commissioner Tumusiime underscored that the AU Commission has committed itself to facilitate and support Member States in the process of planning, implementation and monitoring of progress toward achievement of these goals.

The Commissioner also acknowledged the efforts FAO is exerting with regard to implementation of the Malabo Declaration on “Accelerated Africa Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Growth and Improved Livelihood”, committing resources and supporting the Commission, Regional Economic Communities and Member States. She singled out the recently launched FAO Regional Initiative for Africa as a worthy intervention, confirming that her department will coordinate continental efforts and rally partnerships for the success of the programme.

On his part, the FAO Director General recognized the new gains in Africa’s economic performance. However, urged that more efforts need to be exerted to avert the new challenges of vulnerability to climate change, post-harvest losses and depletion of natural resources.

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

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Source:: AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture Speaks at the 29th FAO Regional Conference for Africa

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Foreign Minister Steinmeier calls Libyan Prime Minister

On the fringes of Foreign Minister Frank‑Walter Steinmeier’s visit to China, a Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson issued the following statement this evening (9 April) in Changsha, Hunan, the evening before the G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Hiroshima:

Foreign Minister Frank‑Walter Steinmeier has just been on the phone to Libyan Prime Minister Sarraj. He congratulated him on his decision to take office in Tripoli and on his first successes in de facto assuming power.

To lend concrete support, Foreign Minister Steinmeier made a pledge of 3 million euros of emergency aid to Prime Minister Sarraj to enable the new Libyan Government to put in place security infrastructure that is urgently required. Minister Steinmeier also indicated that a further 10 million euros were now available for a stabilisation fund to be used by the Government to implement immediate and visible reconstruction projects.

Tomorrow’s G7 meeting in Hiroshima is a good and timely opportunity to coordinate the international community’s support for the new Libyan Government.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Germany – Federal Foreign Office.

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Source:: Foreign Minister Steinmeier calls Libyan Prime Minister

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