Egypt: Worsening crackdown on protest, a further setback to human rights – UN experts

Three United Nations human rights experts today urged the Egyptian Government to put an end to the disproportionate reactions against the exercise of the rights to assembly and expression in the country.

“The worsening crackdown on peaceful protest and dissent in Egypt represents a further setback for an open political environment and a vibrant civil society,” today said the UN Special Rapporteurs on freedom of expression, David Kaye; on freedom of peaceful assembly and association, Maina Kiai; and on human rights defenders, Michel Forst.

“The use of force against civil society and against the expression of dissenting views on political issues contribute to a deteriorating climate for the promotion and protection of fundamental rights that form the essential components of a democratic society,” they stressed.

The rights experts condemned the authorities’ harsh response to the largest protests in Egypt in the past two years with mass arrests and use of force in a continued clampdown on peaceful protestors, journalists, lawyers and human rights defenders. They also criticised the storming of Egypt’s Journalists’ Syndicate by security forces on 1 May 2016, a first since its founding 75 years ago.

On 15 and 25 April, protest took place across Egypt and security forces responded with tear gas and use of force to disperse the protestors. Over 380 protestors, journalists and human rights defenders were arrested during the demonstrations. Security forces also stopped pedestrians in Cairo and inspected their social media accounts for ‘anti-Government publications’ and ‘inciting pictures”.

The UN human rights experts reiterated their call on the Egyptian authorities to cease curtailing public freedoms and instead take active steps to encourage the peaceful and legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of expression and assembly in the country.

In addition, they voiced particular concern over the use of national security provisions and counterterrorism legislation to target individuals exercising their rights, in particular journalists and human rights activists.

“Security concerns should not be used as a pretext to harass journalists, lawyers and protestors and ban peaceful political opposition, which will undermine not only public debate and fundamental rights, but security and long-term stability,” the experts stressed.

(*) Mr. Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mr. David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression and Mr. Maina Kiai, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity

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

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APO Ramps up Multimedia Press Release Distribution in Africa with CDNetworks

CDNetworks (www.CDNetworks.com), the global content delivery network (CDN) with fully integrated Cloud Security solution, has been chosen by APO (http://www.APO-opa.com), the sole press release newswire in Africa, to accelerate its press release distribution platform www.Africa-Newsroom.com, and bolster the online visibility of its clients’ multimedia press releases in Africa and the world.

CDNetworks provides journalists, consumers, and target audiences with an optimized experience by making www.Africa-Newsroom.com load three times faster, speeding up access to multimedia press releases.

By using CDNetworks, static content is cached locally, close to the end user, thus reducing distance-induced latency from APO’s local servers. In addition, CDNetworks enables APO to quickly and reliably deliver dynamic content to users around the world. This decreases Time to First Byte (TTFB) – the time it takes from a user to make an HTTP request to the first byte of the page being received by the user’s browser – of www.Africa-Newsroom.com from 133ms to 7ms. At the same time, CDNetworks accelerates the downloading of press releases with multimedia content (videos, photos, documents and audio-files). These rich Africa-related multimedia press releases are now available to all journalists around the globe within a fraction of a second.

Adding multimedia content to a press release results in read rates well above industry standards when compared to a simple text-only news release. APO gives its customers the option to enrich their press releases – free of charge – by adding multimedia content such as photos, videos, audio files, links, and documents. CDNetworks will enable APO to deliver this content efficiently and meet the growing demand for multimedia press release distribution in Africa by consolidating its technological and commercial leadership.

Africa-Newsroom.com is the undisputed source of press releases and multimedia files related to Africa, publishing press releases, videos, photos, documents and audio-files for companies such as Samsung, Facebook, DHL, Visa, MoneyGram, PwC, Hitachi, Ecobank, Novartis, Caterpillar, Orange, and much more (Source list:http://www.APO.af/DJbGqJ).

“Accelerating global websites into emerging markets is one of our specialties. We are very happy that APO has entrusted us to speed up their unique platform for press release distribution and integrated marketing dedicated to Africa globally,” said Alex Nam, Managing Director EMEA at CDNetworks.

According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Africa’s internet capacity is growing, however it remains slow when compared to other countries in the developing world. This makes it difficult for internet users to download rich multimedia press releases with high-quality images, video, documents and audio files, unless the content delivery process is supported by a high performance CDN.

CDNetworks’ unique position as the only multinational CDN with expertise and infrastructure in China, Russia and other emerging markets enables CDNetworks to be a trusted partner in local markets, while serving as foremost experts on extending into global markets.

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

Media contact:
Franziska Moser
franziska.moser@cdnetworks.com

About CDNetworks

CDNetworks (http://www.CDNetworks.com) is a global content delivery network (CDN) with fully integrated Cloud Security DDoS protection and web application firewall. Our mission is to transform the Internet into a secure, reliable, scalable, and high-performing Application Delivery Network. CDNetworks accelerates more than 40,000 websites and cloud services over a network of 160+ global PoPs in established and emerging markets including China and Russia. We have been serving enterprise customers for 15 years across industries such as gaming, finance, ecommerce, high tech, manufacturing, and media. CDNetworks offices are located in the U.S., UK, South Korea, China, Japan, and Singapore.

For more information, please visit http://www.CDNetworks.com.

Source:: APO Ramps up Multimedia Press Release Distribution in Africa with CDNetworks

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APO Ramps up Multimedia Press Release Distribution in Africa with CDNetworks

CDNetworks (www.CDNetworks.com), the global content delivery network (CDN) with fully integrated Cloud Security solution, has been chosen by APO (http://www.APO-opa.com), the sole press release newswire in Africa, to accelerate its press release distribution platform www.Africa-Newsroom.com, and bolster the online visibility of its clients’ multimedia press releases in Africa and the world.

CDNetworks provides journalists, consumers, and target audiences with an optimized experience by making www.Africa-Newsroom.com load three times faster, speeding up access to multimedia press releases.

By using CDNetworks, static content is cached locally, close to the end user, thus reducing distance-induced latency from APO’s local servers. In addition, CDNetworks enables APO to quickly and reliably deliver dynamic content to users around the world. This decreases Time to First Byte (TTFB) – the time it takes from a user to make an HTTP request to the first byte of the page being received by the user’s browser – of www.Africa-Newsroom.com from 133ms to 7ms. At the same time, CDNetworks accelerates the downloading of press releases with multimedia content (videos, photos, documents and audio-files). These rich Africa-related multimedia press releases are now available to all journalists around the globe within a fraction of a second.

Adding multimedia content to a press release results in read rates well above industry standards when compared to a simple text-only news release. APO gives its customers the option to enrich their press releases – free of charge – by adding multimedia content such as photos, videos, audio files, links, and documents. CDNetworks will enable APO to deliver this content efficiently and meet the growing demand for multimedia press release distribution in Africa by consolidating its technological and commercial leadership.

Africa-Newsroom.com is the undisputed source of press releases and multimedia files related to Africa, publishing press releases, videos, photos, documents and audio-files for companies such as Samsung, Facebook, DHL, Visa, MoneyGram, PwC, Hitachi, Ecobank, Novartis, Caterpillar, Orange, and much more (Source list:http://www.APO.af/DJbGqJ).

“Accelerating global websites into emerging markets is one of our specialties. We are very happy that APO has entrusted us to speed up their unique platform for press release distribution and integrated marketing dedicated to Africa globally,” said Alex Nam, Managing Director EMEA at CDNetworks.

According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Africa’s internet capacity is growing, however it remains slow when compared to other countries in the developing world. This makes it difficult for internet users to download rich multimedia press releases with high-quality images, video, documents and audio files, unless the content delivery process is supported by a high performance CDN.

CDNetworks’ unique position as the only multinational CDN with expertise and infrastructure in China, Russia and other emerging markets enables CDNetworks to be a trusted partner in local markets, while serving as foremost experts on extending into global markets.

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

Media contact:
Franziska Moser
franziska.moser@cdnetworks.com

About CDNetworks

CDNetworks (http://www.CDNetworks.com) is a global content delivery network (CDN) with fully integrated Cloud Security DDoS protection and web application firewall. Our mission is to transform the Internet into a secure, reliable, scalable, and high-performing Application Delivery Network. CDNetworks accelerates more than 40,000 websites and cloud services over a network of 160+ global PoPs in established and emerging markets including China and Russia. We have been serving enterprise customers for 15 years across industries such as gaming, finance, ecommerce, high tech, manufacturing, and media. CDNetworks offices are located in the U.S., UK, South Korea, China, Japan, and Singapore.

For more information, please visit http://www.CDNetworks.com.

Source:: APO Ramps up Multimedia Press Release Distribution in Africa with CDNetworks

Comoros : Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

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The Secretary-General is following closely political developments in Comoros in the wake of the recent judgment of the Constitutional Court ordering a partial re-run of the elections for President and for Governor of Anjouan. The new polls are scheduled for 11 May 2016.
The Secretary-General reiterates his commitment to supporting the efforts of the Comorian authorities to create a climate of confidence, conducive to peaceful, inclusive and credible elections. The United Nations will work together with the African Union in this regard.
The Secretary-General urges the Government and all the actors involved in the electoral process to respect the legislation and the established rules, in conformity with the protocole d’accord of 15 March 2016.

 

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Source:: Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the situation in Comoros

The Union of the Comoros is a sovereign archipelago island nation in the Indian Ocean located at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel off the eastern coast of Africa between northeastern Mozambique and northwestern Madagascar. Other countries near the Comoros are Tanzania to the northwest and the Seychelles to the northeast. Its capital is Moroni, on Grande Comore.(Wikipedia)

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Kenya: Reckless closure of world’s biggest refugee camp will put lives at risk

Refugee camps closing

The Kenyan government’s decision to close down two large refugee camps, including the world’s biggest at Dadaab, is likely to put thousands of innocent lives at risk, said Amnesty International today.

“This reckless decision by the Kenyan government is an abdication of its duty to protect the vulnerable and will put thousands of lives at risk,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“It could lead to the involuntary return of thousands of refugees to Somalia and other countries of origin, where their lives may still be in danger. This would be in violation of Kenya’s obligations under international law.”

In a statement, the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, Dr Karanja Kibicho, said the decision to close Dadaab and Kakuma camps was due to “immense security challenges such as the threat of Al-Shabaab.”

He said Kenya had hosted more than 600,000 refugees for over a quarter of a century and had shouldered a “very heavy economic, security and environmental burden.”

He also asked for the support of the international community to expedite the process.

“While it is true that resettlement to third countries has been slow, Kenya should itself consider permanent solutions towards the full integration of refugees, some of whose stay in Kenya is now over generations,” said Muthoni Wanyeki. “Forced return to situations of persecution or conflict is not an option.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Amnesty International.

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27th ordinary session of the African committee of experts on the rights and welfare of the child

The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) held its 27th Ordinary Session and 11th Pre-Session on 02-06 May, 2016, at the New Conference Centre of the African Union Commission Headquarters, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

At the core of this Session was the discussion on the adoption of an Africa’s Children Agenda 2040. The development of this Agenda is informed by the outcome of the conference on the Status of Children’s Rights in Africa, organized to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Adoption of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (20-21 November, 2015). The Agenda aims to assess the achievements and challenges towards the implementation of the African Children’s Charter and extract mechanisms that can galvanize efforts for a better protection of children’s rights in Africa. Its presents measurable goals and priority areas summarized into 10 Aspirations to which the African Union and its Member States commit themselves for the coming 25 years. UN Agencies, International Organizations and Civil Societies Organizations represented at the Session, were able to further input the draft Agenda to be adopted by the African Union Policy Organs.

Another core moment of the Session was the discussions on the findings of the ACERWC Continental Study on the impact of armed conflicts on children. The Report will be presented during the upcoming Joint Open Session ACERWC-PSC on Children in armed conflicts (10 May, 2016), to identify the gaps and improve the protection of children during conflicts situation.

Other activities include the consideration of admissibility of a number of Communications (complaints) against State Parties, consideration of complementary reports by COSs, and consideration of the joint General Comment by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) and the ACERWC on child marriage. The 27th Ordinary Session also witnessed the swearing in of a new Committee member, Mr. Mohamed Ould Ahmedoudit H’Meyada, from Mauritania, who was appointed by the Assembly of Heads of State and Governments of the African Union at the last 26th Ordinary Summit.

N.B: Media are invited to attend the Open Session on children and armed conflicts with the Peace and Security Council, on 10 May, at 10:00 AM, in the Conference Room of the Old Building.

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

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Members of the African Union Executive Council meet in Nairobi to brainstorm on the paradox of rich Africa, poor Africans and changing mindsets

The 4th Retreat of the African Union (AU) Executive Council opened on Friday 6 May 2016 in Nairobi, the capital city of the Republic of Kenya. During the Retreat, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs from the AU Member States discussed “ the paradox of rich Africa, poor Africans, on changing mind-set and other relevant issues.” The Ministers exchanged their views on most of the socio-economic and political issues aimed at developing the continent in a very convivial, and heated fruitful debates during the two days meeting.

In her opening remarks, H.E Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), highlighted concrete actions that must be taken by this generation in order to resolve the African paradox, of” a continent rich in human, natural and other resources, yet its people are poor”. Dr. Dlamini Zuma called on the Ministers to situate this paradox in its historical context and to understand its economic, social, cultural and political dimensions so as to better address the issue why a rich continent like Africa should have poor citizens. She stressed on the importance to understand the local and global circumstances that continue to shape this paradox, saying, there is need for changing mindsets to reverse this situation and make Africans become rich by benefitting from their rich resources. Quoting late Nobel Price winner, Wangari Maathai, the AUC Chairperson said “You cannot continue to enslave a mind that knows itself, that values itself, that understands itself”.

Dr. Dlamini Zuma thanked the Government and people of Kenya for hosting the AU Ministerial Retreat as well as appreciated the high level presentations and frank discussions by the Members of Executive Council on the various thematic issues. She noted that Agenda 2063 will help to address this paradox given that the Agenda advocates for the African skills revolution and the need “to re-orientate our education systems towards sciences, mathematics, technology and engineering, to enable youth drive transformation and innovation across the continent”. The AUC Chairperson further emphasized that the expectations of Africans is that African institutions should lead the way in creating a better life for all African. She acknowledged that while there are advances in infrastructure, education and health and in building inclusive, democratic and peaceful societies, much more needs to be done in order to transform the continent and build a better life for all Africans. She concluded by noting that the ministerial retreats are used to reflect on the strategic interventions that are necessary to move Agenda 2063 forward and consequently encourage critical discussions to spur action for the transformation of the continent. “Nairobi is indeed an appropriate setting to have these discussions – with its rich history founded at the crossroads of the railways that connect the region, its links to cities and towns across the continent, from Addis Ababa, Kampala, and Cairo to Kimberley and Cape Town. It is home to the cultural, ethnic, language and religious diversity of our beautiful continent, and was at the centre of the national movement against colonialism. Today, it represents both the seeds of the Africa we want: a bustling, growing city powered by the creativity and innovations of its entrepreneurs, and artists, its city government and activists; its resilient, men, women and young people, and the African paradox in the contrast between its beautiful skyscrapers, its lush landscapes, fertile soil and its slums”. (See complete speech of the AUC Chairperson on the AU website: www.au.int )

Speaking on behalf of the Government of Kenya, H.E Ambassador (Dr) Amina C. Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade welcomed Ministers and participants to the 4th Ministerial Retreat of the African Union Executive Council. She noted that the retreat offered a unique opportunity to discuss at length and at depth topical issues to advance the union. She further noted the necessity of translating the dreams of Africa’s development into concrete programs and actions. She highlighted the paradox of the continent’s natural resource abundance in the context of its lack of development and she emphasized the need to be able to direct Africa’s resources towards the continent’s development goals. She therefore concluded by emphasizing the importance of effectively following up on the implementation of Agenda 2063. “The African paradox is a reality that we must confront if we are to achieve the African Union Agenda 2063. We must find a way to free our resources and direct them towards achieving our development goals”. Said Cabinet Secretary Amina. “The important question we must ask and answer for is: how is it that our natural resources have created wealth for others, while we on the continent remain poor? In answering that question we should also discuss what it is that we need to do differently” .

Meanwhile, H.E Amina appreciated Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and her team for the critical role in running the affairs of our Union and its Organs. “Madam Chairperson your dream is gradually translating into programs and action plans. As the only Female President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said ‘If your dream does not scare you then it is not big enough’. Concluded the Cabinet Secretary. (See complete speech of C.S Amina on the AU website: www.au.int ).

The Chairperson of the Executive Council the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Libya on his part noted that the AU Ministerial Retreats has become an important platform for reflection and discussions on important issues aimed at developing the continent, notably Agenda 2063 and its Ten Years Implementation Plan. He congratulated the countries that have domesticated Agenda 2063 into their national development plans and called on the countries that have not yet done so to do same.

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

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Members of the African Union Executive Council meet in Nairobi to brainstorm on the paradox of rich Africa, poor Africans and changing mindsets

The 4th Retreat of the African Union (AU) Executive Council opened on Friday 6 May 2016 in Nairobi, the capital city of the Republic of Kenya. During the Retreat, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs from the AU Member States discussed “ the paradox of rich Africa, poor Africans, on changing mind-set and other relevant issues.” The Ministers exchanged their views on most of the socio-economic and political issues aimed at developing the continent in a very convivial, and heated fruitful debates during the two days meeting.

In her opening remarks, H.E Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), highlighted concrete actions that must be taken by this generation in order to resolve the African paradox, of” a continent rich in human, natural and other resources, yet its people are poor”. Dr. Dlamini Zuma called on the Ministers to situate this paradox in its historical context and to understand its economic, social, cultural and political dimensions so as to better address the issue why a rich continent like Africa should have poor citizens. She stressed on the importance to understand the local and global circumstances that continue to shape this paradox, saying, there is need for changing mindsets to reverse this situation and make Africans become rich by benefitting from their rich resources. Quoting late Nobel Price winner, Wangari Maathai, the AUC Chairperson said “You cannot continue to enslave a mind that knows itself, that values itself, that understands itself”.

Dr. Dlamini Zuma thanked the Government and people of Kenya for hosting the AU Ministerial Retreat as well as appreciated the high level presentations and frank discussions by the Members of Executive Council on the various thematic issues. She noted that Agenda 2063 will help to address this paradox given that the Agenda advocates for the African skills revolution and the need “to re-orientate our education systems towards sciences, mathematics, technology and engineering, to enable youth drive transformation and innovation across the continent”. The AUC Chairperson further emphasized that the expectations of Africans is that African institutions should lead the way in creating a better life for all African. She acknowledged that while there are advances in infrastructure, education and health and in building inclusive, democratic and peaceful societies, much more needs to be done in order to transform the continent and build a better life for all Africans. She concluded by noting that the ministerial retreats are used to reflect on the strategic interventions that are necessary to move Agenda 2063 forward and consequently encourage critical discussions to spur action for the transformation of the continent. “Nairobi is indeed an appropriate setting to have these discussions – with its rich history founded at the crossroads of the railways that connect the region, its links to cities and towns across the continent, from Addis Ababa, Kampala, and Cairo to Kimberley and Cape Town. It is home to the cultural, ethnic, language and religious diversity of our beautiful continent, and was at the centre of the national movement against colonialism. Today, it represents both the seeds of the Africa we want: a bustling, growing city powered by the creativity and innovations of its entrepreneurs, and artists, its city government and activists; its resilient, men, women and young people, and the African paradox in the contrast between its beautiful skyscrapers, its lush landscapes, fertile soil and its slums”. (See complete speech of the AUC Chairperson on the AU website: www.au.int )

Speaking on behalf of the Government of Kenya, H.E Ambassador (Dr) Amina C. Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade welcomed Ministers and participants to the 4th Ministerial Retreat of the African Union Executive Council. She noted that the retreat offered a unique opportunity to discuss at length and at depth topical issues to advance the union. She further noted the necessity of translating the dreams of Africa’s development into concrete programs and actions. She highlighted the paradox of the continent’s natural resource abundance in the context of its lack of development and she emphasized the need to be able to direct Africa’s resources towards the continent’s development goals. She therefore concluded by emphasizing the importance of effectively following up on the implementation of Agenda 2063. “The African paradox is a reality that we must confront if we are to achieve the African Union Agenda 2063. We must find a way to free our resources and direct them towards achieving our development goals”. Said Cabinet Secretary Amina. “The important question we must ask and answer for is: how is it that our natural resources have created wealth for others, while we on the continent remain poor? In answering that question we should also discuss what it is that we need to do differently” .

Meanwhile, H.E Amina appreciated Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and her team for the critical role in running the affairs of our Union and its Organs. “Madam Chairperson your dream is gradually translating into programs and action plans. As the only Female President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said ‘If your dream does not scare you then it is not big enough’. Concluded the Cabinet Secretary. (See complete speech of C.S Amina on the AU website: www.au.int ).

The Chairperson of the Executive Council the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Libya on his part noted that the AU Ministerial Retreats has become an important platform for reflection and discussions on important issues aimed at developing the continent, notably Agenda 2063 and its Ten Years Implementation Plan. He congratulated the countries that have domesticated Agenda 2063 into their national development plans and called on the countries that have not yet done so to do same.

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

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UNSG Ban Ki-moon bids farewell following historic visit to Seychelles

The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon has departed earlier today following the successful completion of a two-day visit to the Republic of Seychelles.

President James Michel and Vice President Danny Faure bid the Secretary-General and his delegation farewell at the Seychelles International Airport this afternoon, accompanied by a high-level Seychelles delegation.

“Mr Ban Ki-moon’s visit to Seychelles is a testament to the excellent relationship that Seychelles has established with the United Nations. It also an acknowledgment of Seychelles’ leadership role in the international arena on numerous issues facing in particular Small Island Developing States. Mr Ban and I share a common aspiration for an equitable future for all peoples and a world, for which we will find innovative solutions to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change. It was a great honor for us to receive his Excellency and Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, which will serve to strengthen our friendship and our determination to build a better world for future generations,” said President Michel.

During his visit Mr. Ban had the opportunity to engage with various government officials, parliamentarians, youth and environmentalists as well as gain a greater understanding of the socio-economic, political and judicial development of Seychelles.

On Saturday, Mr. Ban visited the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Vallée de Mai on Praslin Island, where he walked through the largest intact Coco de Mer palm forest, endemic to the Seychelles islands.

Prior to his departure the Secretary-General visited the Courts of Justice. He also met with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Patrick Herminie. Mr. Ban then visited the Seychelles Coast Guard Base and the Botanical Gardens where he planted a Coco de Mer palm.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Judiciary of Seychelles, have collaborated closely especially in the prosecution of Somali piracy offenders, involved in maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia that were apprehended by Seychelles and international maritime forces. At the Supreme Court, the United Nations Secretary-General met with the Chief Justice, Dr. Mathilda Twomey as well as other members of the judiciary where he viewed video links with Montagne Possee prison and he was given a presentation of the demonstration of the cooperation between UNODC and judiciary in terms of prosecution and disposal of piracy cases of which there has seen over 140 pirates tried.

The UNSG praised Seychelles for having embraced the challenge of prosecuting international crimes and looked forward to new and enlarged cooperation to tackle human and drug trafficking.

Mr. Ban addressed an extraordinary session of the National assembly where he remarked that Seychelles is an inspiring example of sustainable development, which has succeeded in steadily raising the standard of living. He also drew attention to Seychelles impressive record on achieving most of the Millennium Development Goals which demonstrates that it is possible to thrive economically, while improving healthcare and education, caring for the most vulnerable and protecting the environment.

In his address the Secretary-General commended Seychelles and the National Assembly on its strong record on democracy demonstrated most recently by the reduction in presidential terms to a maximum of two terms, serving as an example to the region.

The Secretary-General also praised the National Assembly for the high number of women representatives. He said that trend is positive and Seychelles ranked second for gender equality on the African continent.

Mr. Ban visited the Seychelles Coast Guard Base and viewed the various local capabilities in not only policing Seychelles’ vast maritime territory but ensuring that the western Indian Ocean remains a zone of security and peace.

The Secretary-General also visited the Botanical Gardens and reiterated that for islands like Seychelles action on climate change and sustainable development are a matter of survival. Seychelles has enacted programs to protect Seychelles fragile ecosystem and endemic flora and fauna.

On his departure the Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon expressed that he was impressed by Seychelles’ sense of responsibility in the world and reiterated that the county might be small but its ideas where vast. Mr. Ban noted that he was confident that the country’s leadership would continue to build on Seychelles’ record as vibrant and strong democracy and thanked the Government and people for Seychelles’ leadership role key international issues.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles.

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Readout of the Secretary-General’s meeting with H.E. Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of the Republic of Mauritius

The Secretary-General met today with H.E. Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of the Republic of Mauritius.

They discussed the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, efforts to combat climate change and, in particular, the situation of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The Secretary-General commended the leadership and the advances achieved by Mauritius in these areas. The Secretary-General and the President further exchanged views on Mauritius’ participation in the 2016 High Level Political Forum.

The Secretary-General also thanked the President for accepting his invitation to co-chair the UN-World Bank High-Level Panel on Water.

Port-Louis, Mauritius, 9 May 2016

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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U.S. Embassy Condemns Helwan Attack

The U.S. Embassy strongly condemns the terrorist attack in Helwan that killed several courageous members of the Egyptian police services, and we offer our sympathies to the families and friends of the victims. The U.S. continues to stand with the Egyptian government and people in confronting terrorism

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Embassy – Cairo.

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Commonwealth to send an Election Observer Mission

Commonwealth Deputy Secretary General (political and Human Rights) Dr. Josephine Ojiambo has said the Commonwealth Secretariat is ready to send an Election Observer Mission team to observe the August elections and experts to assist in strengthening the capacity of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) as requested by the Zambian Government.

And Dr. Ojiambo said that the Commonwealth Secretariat was following with keen interest President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s leadership role in women empowerment and was happy with Zambia’s leadership in eliminating Child marriages.

During a meeting when she paid a courtesy call on Her Honour the Vice President of the Republic of Zambia, Mrs Inonge Wina in London last month, Dr. Ojiambo recalled the meeting between the then Secretary General of the Commonwealth Kamalesh Sharma and President Lungu on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 70) where the President requested the active participation of the Commonwealth in complementing government efforts in the Constitution Reform process, strengthening of the electoral system and support to the women empowerment agenda.

In the meeting, the Deputy Secretary-General acknowledged receipt of a letter from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Harry Kalaba, extending an invitation to the Commonwealth Secretariat to send an Election Observer Team for the August 11 elections.

Dr. Ojiambo said that the Commonwealth Secretariat was in the process of putting together a pre-election assessment visit to Zambia that will be followed by an election observer mission adding that the Commonwealth Secretariat was ready to help strengthen the capacity of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) in order to ensure broader participation and dialogue among stakeholders.

And Mrs Wina said Zambia had maintained a reputable record of peaceful and democratic elections and its electoral system was among a few truly independent systems on the continent. She assured the Commonwealth that the August 11 general election will be free and fair, saying a credible and independent electoral system was firmly in place.

In the meeting, the Vice President said that the Zambian Government considered international elections observers as key to ensuring a credible electoral outcome that would be representative of the will of the people.

She informed Dr. Ojiambo that the preparations of the elections were progressing well and stated that any assistance offered to strengthen the ECZ was welcome adding that the Zambian Government was committed to ensuring transparency in the conduct of the elections and that the ECZ operated independently without any interference from Government.

“Sometimes when you hear people talk negative about Zambia’s electoral system you wonder which Zambia they are referring to. All political stakeholders, political parties, NGOs, the civil societies, security wings and all interest groups are fully involved at every stage of the electoral system. All political parties have representation in all stages of the electoral system starting from the polling station, counting of results, verification and signing of results before they are transmitted. We are calling on the Commonwealth to help bring all political stakeholders together and provide an opportunity for training and dialogue to gain consensus on electoral issues,” she said.

She said people casting doubt over the electoral system should be dismissed with the contempt they deserve.

And the Vice President further informed the Commonwealth Secretariat that President Lungu had demonstrated political will towards empowering women to fully participate in elections. She said that President Lungu had directed that at least 40 percent of people aspiring to be leaders at Local Government and Parliamentary level should be women.

“The President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu is a champion of women’s rights and he is committed to have 40 percent of parliamentary seats being held by women. The Zambian Government has taken the initiative to work with the civil societies, traditional leaders and other stakeholders to raise awareness about women and girls-women’s rights and the response is encouraging. We are inviting the commonwealth Secretariat to partner with the Government of the Republic of Zambia in the fight against vices such as early and forced marriages and gender-based violence, among other issues affecting women,” she said.

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

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Source:: Commonwealth to send an Election Observer Mission

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