Statement Attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the situation in the Central African Republic

NEW YORK, April 1, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Secretary-General is concerned by the latest upsurge in violence in the Central African Republic. This further deterioration of the security situation in the country has resulted in additional fatalities, a high number of injured, and increased hardship for the population.

The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest possible terms all acts of violence against civilians, and against international forces working in the Central African Republic to re-establish peace and order. He stresses the fundamental importance of protecting civilians at all times.

The Secretary-General reminds all those who are involved in spreading the violence, including those directly or indirectly supporting or otherwise facilitating the actions of armed groups, that they will be held accountable for their actions and brought to justice. In this regard, he stresses the importance of quickly establishing a list of individuals who act to undermine peace, stability and security in the Central African Republic, as called for by Security Council resolution SCR 2127 (2013).

The Secretary-General reaffirms the full commitment of the United Nations to help the Central African Republic emerge from the ongoing crisis and to build peace.

Source: APO

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IOM Trains Officials, NGOs in Aid to Human Trafficking Victims in Puntland, Somalia

GENEVA, Switzerland, April 1, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM, in collaboration with UNICEF and the Ministry of Women’s Development and Family Affairs (MoWDFA), has organized a training in Puntland, Somalia on assistance to and referral of victims of human trafficking.

The training targeted 53 participants from international and local NGOs, Puntland ministries and UN agencies involved in protection issues, including gender-based violence (GBV) and child protection.

“Human trafficking is a social problem that needs to be urgently addressed in Puntland. MoWDFA supports and will continue to collaborate with partners to implement referral mechanisms and standard operating procedures (developed by IOM) to help victims,” said Ms. Amina Mohamoud Noor, Director of Child Protection at MoWDFA.

“The government of Puntland and MoWDFA will make sure that strong coordination among different actors is observed in the process of using this referral instrument established (to help) victims of trafficking,” said MoWDFA Minister Mr. Anisa Haji.

Puntland is a transit route for migrants from the Horn of Africa and the studies conducted by IOM indicate that trafficking of migrants is a major concern.

IOM supported the establishment of a Counter-Trafficking Board within the Puntland Authority to co-ordinate the actions of different ministries. It has also helped the police to set up a counter-trafficking unit in Garowe to investigate cases of human trafficking.

Since 2012, IOM through financial and technical support to the Puntland Authority and civil society organizations has assisted a total of 17 victims of trafficking, of whom 15 were girls under 18 years old.

“We believe that this is a tip of the iceberg. There are complicated scenarios where smuggling mutates into human trafficking. By raising awareness and understanding of human trafficking and strengthening the support network in Puntland, through this type of training, we can reach more of those who need help,” said IOM counter trafficking programme manager Hiroko Nishino.

IOM Somalia’s counter trafficking project is funded by Japan and the European Union.

Source: APO

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Japan Supports IOM’s Work with Flood-Affected Communities in Mozambique

GENEVA, Switzerland, April 1, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM has received USD 1 million from Japan to improve displacement tracking and disaster preparedness in Mozambique’s southern province of Gaza, which was badly affected by flooding in 2013.

The project, in close cooperation with Mozambique’s National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) and local police, will help to register and track internally displaced persons (IDPs) in relocation sites established after the 2013 floods.

Of 150,000 people displaced in 2013, some 34,000 have been allocated land in safer areas on higher ground, but a full registration of those who have received land and those who have not, has yet to be completed. People also continue to move between their new land and old land located in the flood plain.

The project will also seek to improve disaster preparedness by developing evacuation plans and establishing emergency transit centres for people displaced by future flooding.

The project will also focus on building the capacity of the Women and Children’s Assistance Unit (GAMC) of the Gaza provincial police to meet the special protection needs of women and children in emergencies, when there are heightened risks of exploitation and human trafficking.

IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), which was successfully deployed in Gaza in 2013 to track displaced people and assess their needs, will also be rolled out countrywide to improve national disaster preparedness.

Source: APO

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Rwandan Government Takes Over IOM Returnee Reintegration Programme

GENEVA, Switzerland, April 1, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM has handed over to the Rwandan government the final tranche of a four-year programme that has helped over 11,000 returnees from neighbouring countries and vulnerable people in host communities to reintegrate into Rwanda’s society and economy.

The programme, funded by Japan and implemented in partnership with Rwanda’s Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR), was launched in 2010 and targeted 20 high return districts.

Most of the beneficiaries fled Rwanda around the time of the 1994 genocide and returned home from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Since March 2013, the IOM programme has helped over 5,000 direct beneficiaries with vocational skills training and small business start-up capital, livestock or shelter assistance.

Vocational skills training included tailoring, mechanical engineering, welding, carpentry and knitting. Livestock aid was in the form of goats, sheep or pigs. Housing assistance included CGI roofing sheets, nails, windows and doors.

Another 10,000 people benefited from 10 community projects in high return areas. They included four schools, seven health posts and one transit centre.

IOM also implemented a public awareness campaign with MIDIMAR at both local and national levels to sensitize the population to the rights and challenges facing the returnees.

Over three million Rwandan refugees have returned home since the 1994 genocide. Another 70,000 are expected to return by 2015, due to ongoing instability in the DRC and the June 2013 cessation of their DRC refugee status.

Most of the returnees are desperately poor and need livelihood skills and resources to restart their lives. IOM Rwanda is urgently seeking funding to continue to help them, particularly in the area of vocational training, in close coordination with the government and UN agencies.

Source: APO

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IOM Ethiopia Relocates 57,000 Refugees from South Sudan Border

GENEVA, Switzerland, April 1, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM Ethiopia has moved some 57,000 South Sudanese refugees from the South Sudan border to camps inside Ethiopia since violence broke out between South Sudan’s government and opposition forces in December 2013.

In Ethiopia’s Gambella province, IOM boats have moved up to 450 people a day from Akobo-Tergol. Road convoys have moved up to another 2,000 people a day from Pagak. Destinations include Fugnido, Leitchor and Kule (former Tierkidi) refugee camps, where the refugees are provided with shelter and food.

The camps are quickly reaching their maximum capacity. Leitchor, which is located in a flood zone, faces additional challenges, and aid agencies and the Ethiopian authorities are racing to identify new sites, while asylum seekers continue to pour into the country through Pagak and Akobo-Tergol.

Most of the refugees are women and children. Many have walked for seven to 10 days to reach the border, living on wild fruit, and are destitute. Many families have also been separated in the chaos.

Ojulu Obutha, 36, a community leader in Akobo town in South Sudan, was separated from his wife and children when they crossed over to Akobo-Tergol on December 18th. He remained behind, hoping that the situation would calm down. But security deteriorated and he decided to follow them to Gambella.

“There was fighting in the Denaka area and when they (the rebels) came back, they started looting Akobo town… A friend and I were the last Agnuaks to leave,” he says.

He hopes to be reunited with his wife soon. “When the fighting started, a lot of women crossed over to Akobo-Tergol on foot. I don’t know where she is, but I hope that she is waiting for me in Fugnido,” he said, after registering with IOM, a day before his relocation by boat.

Source: APO

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