The African Union High-Level Panel for Egypt undertakes a mission to Cairo

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, April 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — As part of the implementation of its mandate, the African Union (AU) High-Level Panel for Egypt is undertaking a visit to Cairo from 6 to 9 April 2014. During this visit, which follows the missions undertaken from 27 July to 5 August 2013 and from 28 August to 5 September 2013, the Panel will meet with the relevant Egyptian government officials and other stakeholders.

It should be recalled that the AU High-Level Panel for Egypt was established on 8 July 2013 by the Chairperson of the Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, following the communiqué on the situation in Egypt adopted by the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) on 5 July 2013. It is led by former President Alpha Oumar Konare of Mali and comprises former President Festus Gontebanye Mogae of Botswana and former Djibouti Prime Minister Dileita Mohamed Dileita.

The Panel submitted a progress report to the 416th meeting of the PSC, held on 29 January 2014 in Addis Ababa. The PSC, in turn, adopted a communiqué in which it expressed its full support to the Panel and requested it to actively pursue the implementation of its mandate.

Source: APO

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Obhrai Attends Commemoration of 20th Anniversary of Rwandan Genocide

OTTAWA, Canada, April 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Honourable Deepak Obhrai, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and for International Human Rights, is visiting Kigali from April 6 to 8 to represent Canada at ceremonies marking the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda and honouring its victims.

“As we gather to remember all of those who fell victim to this madness 20 years ago, it is important to look back at how Rwanda and the international community could have prevented the tragedy,” said Mr. Obhrai. “Learning these lessons and reflecting on this tragedy may at least help us to prevent similar atrocities in the future.”

The commemoration ceremonies on April 7 will bring together the Rwandan people, foreign dignitaries and members of the Rwandan diaspora. Other events that day will include the lighting of a flame of mourning, a remembrance walk created by young Rwandans as a way to stand against genocide and a candlelight vigil to remember the victims.

Source: APO

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The African Union welcomes the launching of the SPLM Intra-Party Dialogue Forum

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, April 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, welcomes the launching, yesterday, in Addis Ababa, under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn of Ethiopia, Chairperson of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) Intra-Party Dialogue Forum. She commends the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and the African National Congress (ANC) for having accepted to facilitate the Forum.

The Chairperson of the Commission underlines the importance of this process, which should enable the SPLM leadership to examine in-depth the underlying causes of the crisis facing their party and of the conflict in South Sudan. She urges all the stakeholders to take advantage of the intra-party talks, which are expected to run concurrently with the IGAD-led mediation efforts, to advance the cause of peace, security, stability, reconciliation and good governance in South Sudan.

The Chairperson of the Commission seizes this opportunity to reiterate AU’s deep concern at the continued conflict in South Sudan and the untold suffering inflicted on the civilian population. She renews AU’s full support to the IGAD mediation, and, once again, appeals to the parties to the conflict to put the interest of their country and people above any other consideration and to extend unreserved cooperation to the team of Special Envoys led by Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin.

Source: APO

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Declaration by the High Representative, Catherine Ashton, on behalf of the European Union, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the start of the genocide in Rwanda

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, April 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The European Union joins the Republic of Rwanda and the people of Rwanda in solemn commemoration of the 20thanniversary of the genocide of 1994 and of the horror inflicted upon more than 800,000 defenceless men, women and children who perished in one of the most brutal and systematic atrocities in history.

We must never forget our collective failure to protect the victims.

The EU pays tribute to the strength and determination of the people of Rwanda who have rebuilt their lives and their country against enormous odds. We salute the efforts made to achieve national reconciliation and to secure justice as the new foundations of the Rwandan nation. These efforts must continue and must be recognised and supported by the international community.

The Great Lakes region which has suffered for too long from conflict should benefit from the lessons of this reconciliation process. The European Union considers Rwanda essential for the stability of the region. The commemoration should be a time of remembrance but also a time to draw lessons and look at the future, not only for Rwanda but also for the region as a whole.

The European Union is committed to promoting core values of human dignity, rule of law and respect for human rights. Since its inception, the EU has endorsed the principle of Responsibility to Protect, adopted by the World Summit in 2005. The EU works within the international community, as well as in partnership with local institutions, citizens and communities, to strengthen the collective ability to prevent and respond decisively to mass atrocities and genocide.

Close attention to early warning signs and to timely and effective prevention of conflict, and sustained efforts to end hatred, intolerance and tyranny are all required if we are never again to allow crimes of such magnitude to occur.

We must avoid any group becoming a common target, and we must end impunity of those responsible for atrocities. In this respect we want to pay tribute to the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Furthermore, a number of landmark verdicts in national courts within the EU against those responsible for acts of genocide in

Rwanda are testimony to the supremacy of justice in pursuing perpetrators of the tragedy of 1994, from which Rwanda has gradually but purposefully recovered.

The European Union renews at this occasion its commitment to the people of Rwanda and pledges continued support to national reconciliation, justice and sustainable development.

Source: APO

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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda

GENEVA, Switzerland, April 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Twenty years after the beginning of the genocide in Rwanda, the horror has not diminished. As a former judge for over eight years on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), I am still haunted by the testimony I heard from victims and witnesses, of the brutal violence, the killings, rapes and maiming.

The figures are so vast that they are difficult to fathom. More than 800,000 dead and many more injured, scarred, orphaned, widowed and severely traumatised. We must remember, on this day, that each of those individuals experienced unthinkable atrocities – the mothers who saw their children being butchered by their neighbours, the children forced to hide under cover of dead bodies in order to survive.

On this anniversary, we must reflect not only on the massive scale of the killings and other atrocities during those 100 days of genocide, but also on what led to the annihilation of social values, and law and order, which allowed genocide to occur.

As well as examining why the horrific violations took place, we must continue to reflect on our collective failure to stop them. At the ICTR, we made a point of ensuring that our judgements laid out the root causes of the genocide, which were grounded in the manipulation and exploitation of ethnic differences by political and military leaders. It is crucial on this day to reflect on how the ethnic tensions were slowly and steadily stoked by such leaders, as well as media such as Radio Mille Collines, until the country exploded into mass violence.

The ICTR’s judgements also acknowledged many instances when Hutus risked their lives to protect Tutsis from the tide of genocide sweeping across the country. And the question remains, why do some people manage to resist the collective frenzy, and why do so many others fail to do so, or zealously take an active role in it? It is not simply a question of bravery.

We must ensure that we persist with efforts to bring perpetrators to justice, both within Rwanda and outside. Impunity adds insult to the grave injury, physical and emotional, suffered by the victims. It is important to note that shortly after the genocide, the new Government of Rwanda itself prioritised justice and accountability, not least by asking the Security Council to establish an international tribunal. They recognised that justice and accountability are indispensable for long-term stability.

We must support Rwandan efforts to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights for all, and efforts to move towards reconciliation and rehabilitation.

We must also reflect, on this day, upon the adequacy of our efforts to resolve current human rights crises, both in their embryonic and their advanced stages, so that we are not doomed to go on repeating the chronic failures of the past.

Source: APO

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