Oct 202014
 

LUXEMBURG, Luxembourg, October 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Foreign Affairs Council meeting

The Council adopted the following conclusions:

“1. The European Union remains deeply concerned at the ongoing conflicts in Sudan, notably in Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile and the accompanying violations of humanitarian and human rights law, as well as a serious humanitarian emergency all of which continue to cause enormous human suffering and internal displacements and pose a risk to regional stability. There can be no military solution to conflicts in Sudan. The EU therefore supports the African Union Peace and Security Council’s repeated call for a holistic approach to

Sudan’s multiple challenges and the need to tackle comprehensively the political, economic and social causes of persisting conflict.

2. The initiated National Dialogue process is currently the best opportunity to make progress towards this goal and to pave the way towards internal peace, reconciliation and democratic governance. The EU welcomes recent signs of a political momentum, in particular the

Agreements on the National Dialogue and Constitutional Process signed in Addis Ababa on

4 September 2014. It calls on all groups to renounce violence as a means for political change and to seize this opportunity for a political solution to Sudan’s challenges through dialogue and negotiation without delay.

3. The EU considers that for the National Dialogue to succeed and to achieve legitimate results, it should be

• inclusive: Space should be given for a meaningful participation of the opposition parties and armed movements as well as civil society, including women’s, groups. The dialogue should include stakeholders from all of Sudan’s regions and reflect the full ethnic, religious and cultural diversity of Sudan;

• comprehensive: To address Sudan’s internal conflicts, issues such as socio-economic

marginalisation, unequal distribution of resources, political exclusion and lack of access to public services need to be tackled. The dialogue should provide mechanisms for the way forward for peace and development in all regions in conflict. It should provide for a platform on which to discuss issues of national importance, including identity and social equality, agree new and inclusive governance arrangements, a definitive constitution and a roadmap for the holding of national elections; 2/2

• held in a conducive environment: The freedoms of expression, of media, of association and assembly must be guaranteed. Political prisoners must be released, and practices of arbitrary detention – like those across the anniversary of the September 2013 protests – stopped;

• accompanied by confidence-building measures: These should include, first and foremost an immediate, sustained and verifiable cessation of hostilities and free and unhindered humanitarian access to all civilians in the conflict areas. This is of relevance both to the Government of Sudan and to the armed movements;

• transparent about the process, the objectives, the timeframe and the way forward, so that the Sudanese people at large can own the process and accept its outcomes.

4. The EU stands ready to support a National Dialogue process as set out above and encourages all stakeholders inside and outside Sudan to join efforts towards such a process.

5. The EU reiterates its full support to the work of the AU High Level Implementation Panel

(AUHIP) and commends its chairman President Mbeki on his recent efforts to promote a genuine National Dialogue process on a broad basis. The EU calls on all international stakeholders to rally behind the AUHIP to reinforce its role and strengthen its voice. The EU supports current efforts to create a comprehensive platform for the facilitation of the National

Dialogue that will integrate the different peace and dialogue processes for Sudan’s regional conflicts.

6. Sudan stands at an important crossroad. A genuine National Dialogue would help enhance confidence between Sudan and international partners such as the EU. It would also create a peaceful environment in which tangible and sustained progress in addressing Sudan’s main political and economic challenges, needed to secure debt relief under the HIPC process, could be achieved. The EU therefore calls on the Government of Sudan, the opposition and the armed movements to rise to the occasion and demonstrate the leadership necessary to put Sudan on a path to peace, prosperity and justice. In this respect, the EU recalls the importance of fighting impunity.

7. In the face of the worsening humanitarian situation the EU is very concerned by access restrictions still imposed for international humanitarian agencies and organisations. It reiterates its call on the Government of Sudan, as well as on armed movements to guarantee safe, timely and unhindered humanitarian access to all areas by humanitarian agencies, in particular in conflict-affected areas in line with international humanitarian principles. Civilians, humanitarian staff and assets must be protected.

8. The EU reiterates its commitment to support Sudan and the Sudanese people in their transition to an internally reformed democracy, living in peace with itself and with its

neighbours.”

Oct 202014
 

LUXEMBURG, Luxembourg, October 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Foreign Affairs Council meeting

The Council adopted the following conclusions:

“1. The European Union remains deeply concerned at the ongoing conflicts in Sudan, notably in Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile and the accompanying violations of humanitarian and human rights law, as well as a serious humanitarian emergency all of which continue to cause enormous human suffering and internal displacements and pose a risk to regional stability. There can be no military solution to conflicts in Sudan. The EU therefore supports the African Union Peace and Security Council’s repeated call for a holistic approach to

Sudan’s multiple challenges and the need to tackle comprehensively the political, economic and social causes of persisting conflict.

2. The initiated National Dialogue process is currently the best opportunity to make progress towards this goal and to pave the way towards internal peace, reconciliation and democratic governance. The EU welcomes recent signs of a political momentum, in particular the

Agreements on the National Dialogue and Constitutional Process signed in Addis Ababa on

4 September 2014. It calls on all groups to renounce violence as a means for political change and to seize this opportunity for a political solution to Sudan’s challenges through dialogue and negotiation without delay.

3. The EU considers that for the National Dialogue to succeed and to achieve legitimate results, it should be

• inclusive: Space should be given for a meaningful participation of the opposition parties and armed movements as well as civil society, including women’s, groups. The dialogue should include stakeholders from all of Sudan’s regions and reflect the full ethnic, religious and cultural diversity of Sudan;

• comprehensive: To address Sudan’s internal conflicts, issues such as socio-economic

marginalisation, unequal distribution of resources, political exclusion and lack of access to public services need to be tackled. The dialogue should provide mechanisms for the way forward for peace and development in all regions in conflict. It should provide for a platform on which to discuss issues of national importance, including identity and social equality, agree new and inclusive governance arrangements, a definitive constitution and a roadmap for the holding of national elections; 2/2

• held in a conducive environment: The freedoms of expression, of media, of association and assembly must be guaranteed. Political prisoners must be released, and practices of arbitrary detention – like those across the anniversary of the September 2013 protests – stopped;

• accompanied by confidence-building measures: These should include, first and foremost an immediate, sustained and verifiable cessation of hostilities and free and unhindered humanitarian access to all civilians in the conflict areas. This is of relevance both to the Government of Sudan and to the armed movements;

• transparent about the process, the objectives, the timeframe and the way forward, so that the Sudanese people at large can own the process and accept its outcomes.

4. The EU stands ready to support a National Dialogue process as set out above and encourages all stakeholders inside and outside Sudan to join efforts towards such a process.

5. The EU reiterates its full support to the work of the AU High Level Implementation Panel

(AUHIP) and commends its chairman President Mbeki on his recent efforts to promote a genuine National Dialogue process on a broad basis. The EU calls on all international stakeholders to rally behind the AUHIP to reinforce its role and strengthen its voice. The EU supports current efforts to create a comprehensive platform for the facilitation of the National

Dialogue that will integrate the different peace and dialogue processes for Sudan’s regional conflicts.

6. Sudan stands at an important crossroad. A genuine National Dialogue would help enhance confidence between Sudan and international partners such as the EU. It would also create a peaceful environment in which tangible and sustained progress in addressing Sudan’s main political and economic challenges, needed to secure debt relief under the HIPC process, could be achieved. The EU therefore calls on the Government of Sudan, the opposition and the armed movements to rise to the occasion and demonstrate the leadership necessary to put Sudan on a path to peace, prosperity and justice. In this respect, the EU recalls the importance of fighting impunity.

7. In the face of the worsening humanitarian situation the EU is very concerned by access restrictions still imposed for international humanitarian agencies and organisations. It reiterates its call on the Government of Sudan, as well as on armed movements to guarantee safe, timely and unhindered humanitarian access to all areas by humanitarian agencies, in particular in conflict-affected areas in line with international humanitarian principles. Civilians, humanitarian staff and assets must be protected.

8. The EU reiterates its commitment to support Sudan and the Sudanese people in their transition to an internally reformed democracy, living in peace with itself and with its

neighbours.”

Oct 202014
 

LUXEMBURG, Luxembourg, October 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Foreign Affairs Council meeting
The Council adopted the following conclusions:
“1. The EU welcomes the political and security progress made in Somalia since the signing of …

Oct 202014
 

DAKAR, Sénégal, October 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the Sahel, Mrs. Hiroute Guebre Sellassie, paid her first official visit to Chad from 15 to 17 October 2014.

During her visit, the Special Envoy met with President Idriss Deby Itno and Chadian authorities and discussed the various challenges facing the Sahel region. In this regard, she welcomed the contribution of Chad to stability in the Sahel, including the deployment of a Chadian contingent to support the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

Mrs. Guebre Sellassie thanked President Deby for his support to the implementation of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, and stressed the need to strengthen the coordination between the various strategies and initiatives as well as between regional and International partners working in the Sahel.

“The various strategies and initiatives for the Sahel will benefit to the countries of the region if they are coordinated and are subject to national and regional ownership,” she said.

For his part, President Deby expressed his personal support to the Special Envoy in her mission and reiterated the commitment of his country to work with the United Nations.

President Deby and Mrs. Guebre Sellassie agreed on the importance of regional ownership and the need to strengthen the coordination in particular between the G5 and the Ministerial Coordination Platform for the Sahel strategies.

During her visit, Mrs. Guebre Sellassie met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, and the Minister of Economy, Trade and Tourism development, Mr. Aziz Mahamat Saleh.

She also met with the technical and financial partners and the United Nations country team.

Oct 202014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Situation assessment – 20 October 2014

The lines on the tabular situation reports, sent to WHO headquarters each day by its country office in Nigeria, have now been full of zeros for 42 days.

WHO officially declares that Nigeria is now free of Ebola virus transmission.

This is a spectacular success story that shows that Ebola can be contained. The story of how Nigeria ended what many believed to be potentially the most explosive Ebola outbreak imaginable is worth telling in detail.

Such a story can help the many other developing countries that are deeply worried by the prospect of an imported Ebola case and eager to improve their preparedness plans. Many wealthy countries, with outstanding health systems, may have something to learn as well.

The complete story also illustrates how Nigeria has come so close to the successful interruption of wild poliovirus transmission from its vast and densely-populated territory.

As sometimes fortunately happens in public health, one success breeds others when lessons and best practices are collected and applied.

Earlier this year, WHO confirmed that Nigeria had eradicated guinea-worm disease – another spectacular success story. When the eradication initiative was launched, Nigeria was the epicentre of this disease, with more than 650 000 cases reported each year.

A shocked public health community – worldwide

When laboratory confirmation of the country’s first Ebola case, in Lagos, was announced on 23 July, the news rocked public health communities all around the world.

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and its newest economic powerhouse. For a disease outbreak, it is also a powder keg. The number of people living in Lagos – around 21 million – is almost as large as the populations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone combined.

Lagos, Africa’s largest city, is also characterized by a large population living in crowded and unsanitary conditions in many slums.

Thousands of people move in and out of Lagos every day, constantly looking for work or markets for their products in a busy metropolis with frequent gridlocks of vehicle traffic.

“How can contact tracing be done under such conditions?” This was the main concern raised at the beginning, shortly after the first confirmed case was announced.

As the United States Consul General in Nigeria, Jeffrey Hawkins, said at the time, “The last thing anyone in the world wants to hear is the 2 words, ‘Ebola’ and ‘Lagos’ in the same sentence. ” As he noted, that single juxtaposition conjured up images of an “apocalyptic urban outbreak”.

That never happened. With assistance from WHO, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and others, government health officials reached 100% of known contacts in Lagos and 99.8% at the second outbreak site, in Port Harcourt, Nigeria’s oil hub.

Federal and State governments in Nigeria provided ample financial and material resources, as well as well-trained and experienced national staff.

Isolation wards were immediately constructed, as were designated Ebola treatment facilities, though more slowly. Vehicles and mobile phones, with specially adapted programmes, were made available to aid real-time reporting as the investigations moved forward.

Unlike the situation in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, all identified contacts were physically monitored on a daily basis for 21 days. The few contacts who attempted to escape the monitoring system were all diligently tracked, using special intervention teams, and returned to medical observation to complete the requisite monitoring period of 21 days.

The “index” case: how it all started

The Ebola virus entered Lagos on 20 July via an infected Liberian air traveller, who died 5 days later. At the departure airport, he was visibly very ill, lying on the floor of the waiting room while awaiting the flight.

He vomited during the flight, on arrival and, yet again, in the private car that drove him to a private hospital. The protocol officer who escorted him later died of Ebola.

At the hospital, he told staff that he had malaria and denied any contact with an Ebola patient. As was learned later, his sister was a confirmed case who had died from the disease in Liberia. The traveller visited his sister while in hospital and attended her traditional funeral and burial ceremony.

As malaria is not transmitted from person to person, no staff at the hospital took protective precautions. Over the coming days, 9 doctors and nurses became infected and 4 of them died.

The second outbreak site: Port Harcourt

The virus entered the country’s oil hub, Port Harcourt, on 1 August, when a close contact of the index case flew there seeking care from a private physician. That doctor developed symptoms on 10 August and died of Ebola on 23 August. Laboratory tests confirmed the city’s first case on 27 August.

An investigation undertaken by a team of epidemiologists from the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme and the State Ministry of Health, assisted by WHO, revealed an alarming number of high-risk and very high-risk exposures for hundreds of people.

Again, all the ingredients for an explosion of new cases were in place. Dr Rui Vaz, the head of WHO’s country office in Nigeria, visited Rivers State (where Port Harcourt is located) to assess the situation there. He informed the State’s Governor of the potentially explosive situation and made his advice crystal clear: “All required resources must be immediately mobilized to stop this outbreak.”

Fortunately, the State’s Governor heeded WHO’s advice and that “explosive situation did not happen.

Today, exactly 42 days (twice the maximum incubation period for Ebola virus disease) after the country’s last infectious contact with a confirmed or probable case occurred, the chains of transmission have been broken.

The virus is gone – for now. The outbreak in Nigeria has been defeated.

What accounts for this great news?

To a large extent, the answer is straightforward: the country’s strong leadership and effective coordination of the response. The Nigerian response to the outbreak was greatly aided by the rapid utilization of a national public institution (NCDC) and the prompt establishment of an Emergency Operations Centre, supported by the Disease Prevention and Control Cluster within the WHO country office.

Another key asset was the country’s first-rate virology laboratory affiliated with the Lagos University Teaching Hospital. That laboratory was staffed and equipped to quickly and reliably diagnose a case of Ebola virus disease, which ensured that containment measures could begin with the shortest possible delay.

In addition, high-quality contact tracing by experienced epidemiologists expedited the early detection of cases and their rapid movement to an isolation ward, thereby greatly diminishing opportunities for further transmission.

How a highly contagious virus was stopped dead in its tracks

Dr Rui Vaz and the WHO country team of epidemiologists, clinicians, logisticians and administrators have identified a number of specific lessons that may be useful for other countries facing their first imported Ebola case or preparing for one. They have also carefully documented a large number of “best practices” for containing an Ebola outbreak quickly.

The most critical factor is leadership and engagement from the head of state and the Minister of Health. Generous allocation of government funds and their quick disbursement helped as well. Partnership with the private sector was yet another asset that brought in substantial resources to help scale up control measures that would eventually stop the Ebola virus dead in its tracks.

Health and government officials fully appreciated the importance of communication with the general public. They rallied communities to support containment measures.

House-to-house information campaigns and messages on local radio stations, in local dialects, were used to explain the level of risk, effective personal preventive measures and the actions being taken for control. On his part, the President reassured the country’s vast and diversified population through appearances on nationally televised newscasts.

The full range of media opportunities was exploited – from social media to televised facts about the disease delivered by well-known “Nollywood” movie stars.

Polio strategies “repurposed” for Ebola control

For some time now, with dedicated and enthusiastic support from President Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria has been running one of the world’s most innovative polio eradication campaigns, using the very latest satellite-based cutting-edge GPS technologies to ensure that no child misses out on polio vaccination.

The country, which passed through the high-transmission season with only 1 single case of polio detected by a finely-tuned and sensitive surveillance system, is on track to interrupt wild poliovirus transmission from its borders before the end of this year.

When the first Ebola case was confirmed in July, health officials immediately repurposed polio technologies and infrastructures to conduct Ebola case-finding and contact-tracing.

The use of cutting-edge technologies, developed with guidance from the WHO polio programme, put GPS systems to work as support for real-time contact tracing and daily mapping of links between identified chains of transmission.

This is a good public health story with an unusual twist at the end. As part of preparedness for an imported case, several advanced countries with good health systems are now studying technologies “made in Nigeria”, with WHO support, to improve their own contact tracing capacities.

The story has another very clear message, as noted by Dr Margaret Chan, the WHO Director-General. “If a country like Nigeria, hampered by serious security problems, can do this – that is, make significant progress towards interrupting polio transmission, eradicate guinea-worm disease and contain Ebola, all at the same time – any country in the world experiencing an imported case can hold onward transmission to just a handful of cases.”

World-class epidemiological detective work would eventually link every single one of the country’s 19 confirmed cases back to direct or indirect contact with that 20 July air traveller from Liberia.

In another strategy, traditional, religious and community leaders were engaged early on and played a critical role in sensitizing the public. Like many others, the strategy drew on successful experiences in the polio programme.

The awareness campaigns that worked so well to create public acceptance of polio immunization were likewise repurposed to encourage early reporting of symptoms, backed by the message that early detection and supportive care greatly increase an Ebola patient’s prospects of survival.

All of these efforts were supported by social mobilization experts from UNICEF, CDC and Médecins sans Frontières, while the staff from the WHO Nigeria office, the Regional Office for Africa and headquarters boosted outbreak investigation, risk assessment, contact tracing and clinical care.

In the end, Nigeria confirmed a total of 19 cases, of whom 7 died and 12 survived, giving the country an enviable case fatality rate of 40% – much lower than the 70% and higher seen elsewhere.

Finally, to help maintain the confidence of citizens and foreign companies and investors alike, the government undertook the screening of all arriving and departing travellers by air and by sea in Lagos and Rivers State. The average number of travellers screened each day rose to more than 16 000.

Vigilance remains high

Nigerian government and health officials, including staff in the WHO country office, are well aware that the country will remain vulnerable to another imported case as long as intense transmission continues in other parts of West Africa.

The surveillance system remains on guard, at a level of high alert. Moreover, the country’s success, including its low fatality rate, has created another problem that calls for a high level of alert.

Many desperate people in heavily affected countries believe that Nigeria must have some especially good – maybe even “magical” – treatments to offer.

WHO’s Dr Vaz and others see a real risk that patients and their families from elsewhere will come to Nigeria in their quest for first-rate, live-saving care.

Based on the experience gained from the response in the 2 affected States, the national preparedness and response plan has also been revised and refined.

This strengthened response plan further boosts confidence that Nigeria’s well-oiled machinery has a good chance of working miracles again should another traveller – by land, air or sea – carry the Ebola virus across its borders again.

Oct 202014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Ghana’s record on women’s rights will be examined by the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) on Friday 24 October 2014 in meetings that will be webcast live.

Ghana is one of the 188 States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and is required to submit regular reports to the Committee of 23 independent experts on how it is implementing the Convention.

Among the issues likely to be discussed by the Committee and the delegation of the government of Ghana are: measures to eliminate harmful practices against women, such as widowhood rites, FGM, ritual or customary slavery, polygamy, child marriage; measures to tackle violence against women believed to be witches; challenges in investigating and prosecuting cases of domestic violence; steps taken to ensure the effective political participation of women at all levels; cross-border and internal trafficking in women and girls; women’s land, property and housing rights.

Location: Room XVI, Palais des Nations, Geneva

Time and date: 10.00 – 17:00 (08:00 – 15:00 in Accra), 24 October

The webcast of the session will be at http://www.treatybodywebcast.org/.

Ghana’s report and a full list of issues that are likely to come up can be found here: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=816&Lang=en

A news conference is scheduled for 7 November at 13:30, Palais des Nations, to discuss CEDAW’s concluding observations on Ghana and the other countries being reviewed – Venezuela; Poland; China, China (Hong Kong) and China (Macao); Belgium; Brunei Darussalam; Guinea; and Solomon Islands. The concluding observations will be published on 7 November here: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=816&Lang=en

Oct 202014
 

NEW YORK, October 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Sunday said he regretted and condemned the decision of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to order his top official in the country to leave within 48 hours, and the serious intimidation aimed at other human rights staff in DRC.

“Not only has my highly experienced and respected representative in DRC, Scott Campbell, been told to leave, but two other staff working in his team have been seriously threatened in recent days. This is unacceptable,” Zeid said.

The decision to declare Scott Campbell, the director of the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office, persona non grata was initially made public by the Ministry of the Interior on Thursday, a day after the publication of a UN report* detailing serious human rights violations by Congolese security forces, for which the Ministry is responsible. The decision was officially confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday, despite a concerted effort by Martin Kobler, the Head of the UN mission in DRC (MONUSCO), to persuade the Government to reconsider its decision.

The report, based on investigations conducted by the UN Joint Human Rights Office, documents the killing of at least nine civilians and the enforced disappearance of at least 32 others by Congolese National Police agents. It was shared with the Ministers of Interior and of Justice and Human Rights on 18 August, and the responses of the Minister of Interior were annexed to the published version of the report.

“The report was published jointly by MONUSCO and my Office,” Zeid said. “And I join wholeheartedly with Mr. Kobler in supporting its conclusions and recommendations. It describes a range of very serious violations including summary and extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances, committed against civilians by Congolese security forces. The Government of the DRC should be investigating its deeply disturbing findings and bringing alleged perpetrators to justice rather than seeking to punish the leader of the team that researched and produced the report.”

“Over the past few years, under the guidance of Mr. Campbell, the UN Joint Office for Human Rights in the DRC has been at the forefront of the fight to promote and protect human rights and combat impunity,” the High Commissioner said. “The fact that their work, mandated by the Security Council, has led to these acts of reprisal is a very disturbing development indeed.”

The High Commissioner urged the Government of DRC to reconsider its decision against Mr. Campbell, investigate continuing intimidation and threats against other UN human rights staff, and hold those responsible accountable. “With these acts of intimidation and reprisal, the Congolese authorities risk setting back years of strenuous efforts by UN human rights staff and some sectors of the Congolese authorities to assist victims of human rights violations and strengthen the rule of law,” Zeid said.

Mr. Campbell left the DRC on Friday for long planned holidays.

Oct 172014
 

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, October 17, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy Said Djinnit completed a two day visit to Tanzania in continuation of familiarization visits to signatory countries of the Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework for the Democratic Republic of Congo and the region. While in Tanzania, the Special Envoy met with Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania and Hon. Bernard Kamilius Membe, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation.

The Special Envoy and the President discussed issues pertaining to the implementation of the PSC-Framework including the urgent need to tackle the issue of all negative forces in eastern DRC, in particular, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and the repatriation of former

M23 combatants from Uganda and Rwanda in line with a peace deal signed in Nairobi, Kenya, in December 2013. Special Envoy Djinnit and President Kikwete exchanged views on the forthcoming Joint Ministerial meeting of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) scheduled on 20 October in Luanda, Angola, to assess progress on the FDLR voluntary disarmament process. They also discussed the need to strengthen regional cooperation and build how to confidence. “As member of the ICGLR, SADC and EAC, Tanzania is central to the region and has been a key player in all initiatives meant to find peaceful solutions to the regional problems,” Mr. Djinnit said.

He further congratulated the President for the country’s role as a peace broker in the region. According to SESG Djinnit, “Tanzanian troops in the United Nations Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) have contributed immensely in maintaining stability in eastern DRC, and I commend the dedication of men and women of the FIB troops contributing countries assigned to this crucial task.”

SESG Djinnit also expressed his gratitude to the people and Government of Tanzania for offering asylum, support and protection to refugees from different countries in the Great Lakes. He welcomed in particular the recent decision to grant citizenship to about 165.000 Burundian refugees who have been in the country since 1972. “Tanzania has been a peaceful, stable, and hospitable nation for the people in distress in the region since its independence and the naturalization of Burundians refugees, especially on the occasion of the celebration of Julius Nyerere Day is a wonderful gesture which is in line with the core values of the country,”

Mr. Djinnit said.

After Tanzania, Mr. Djinnit travelled to Bujumbura, Burundi, to meet with the country’s authorities.

Oct 172014
 

WASHINGTON, October 17, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Remarks on the U.S. Response to Ebola for Members of the Diplomatic Corps

Remarks

John Kerry

Secretary of State

Benjamin Franklin Room

Washington, DC

October 17, 2014

Thank you, Nancy. Good morning, everybody. Thank you very much for being here, and thank you, Ambassador Powell, for all you’re doing to lead on this effort.

I know that there’s no shortage of demands on all of your time, so we really do appreciate and I know President Obama appreciates your coming in here this morning for this very important briefing. And I’m particularly grateful to Nancy Powell, who’s leading our efforts against Ebola at the State Department, and you’ll hear from her and from others who are on the front lines of our efforts to respond to this challenge. We thought it was critically important to bring everybody here together so you could hear from the experts and really get a chance to understand and report back to your governments about our efforts and where we’re heading.

We are very privileged in Washington, in the United States, to have here one of the most distinguished diplomatic corps that is posted anywhere in the world. Few cities are home to so many ambassadors with so much experience, which is why you come here, and so much global expertise and influence, frankly. So that’s why coming together here this morning really does represent a special opportunity to deal with this moment. Meeting this crisis is going to require that we draw on each other’s collective experience and our collective capacities. No one country, no individual group of nations is going to resolve this problem by themselves. This is going to take a collective, global response – all hands on deck. That’s the only way to get it done. And we believe that coming together here this morning can be an important beginning in really creating the kind of global response necessary.

Now I know you don’t need me to tell you what we’re up against, and I’m sure you’ve heard it from your own capitals, and every time you turn on the television or the radio, you hear or see gripping scenes that tell us in real terms about this challenge. There’s no way to describe the scenes from West Africa other than just heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching. And the images of a pregnant woman being turned away from a hospital on the – and she’s on the verge of collapse, or of men and women dying on the streets, their children orphaned, and a lot of hopeful nations working to plant the seeds of prosperity and open societies now suddenly battling a brutal epidemic.

So it’s not just the suffering that we see or the potential risks that we face that make this a different kind of crisis for us as diplomats. We live in a world of a lot of close calls, tough decisions on a daily basis, difficult and contentious issues where you can have an honest disagreement about what the best course of action is or about what the facts are or the results of your decision may be.

Ebola is not one of them. It should not be contentious with respect to the facts or what is needed or how we proceed. We know the risks. We know the science. We know the medical certainties. We know what is required to beat back this epidemic. And right now, we know that this is a time for nothing less than brutal honesty with each other about what we need, in both the capabilities that we need in order to meet this crisis and the real ways on the ground and the kinds of cash contributions – yes, cash contributions – that we need to fund these efforts for the months to come. And the fact is we haven’t begun yet to fully meet the challenge at hand.

So there are specific needs that we can meet right now. We need 200 flatbed trucks and 350 of so-called soft-skinned vehicles for transport of aid and resources. We need more helicopters and capable crews who can get to work right away. We need more mobile laboratories, treatment centers and beds. We need more incinerators and more generators. Most of all, we need more of the courageous healthcare workers that we see making an incredible contribution right now on the ground, and we need to do everything that we can to provide these men and women the protective equipment and the treatment that they need.

Now, we know this – the things that we can do and that we need to do. We know even in the cases of Texas, for instance, know that protocols are perhaps not followed in some instance or another. So there are ways, because we have plenty of people working who are treating people who are not getting it, and plenty of people who have been surrounding and around it who don’t get it. So the fact is that you have to come in contact. And as long as you can make certain that that is not happening during those critical periods of incubation, there are ways to contain this.

As President Obama has said repeatedly, we approach this with humility and we approach this with a huge sense of purpose, but we know that no matter what we do, we’re not going to be able to do it alone. We’re proud of the fact that we’ve contributed $258 million most recently and we’re also delivering support in some very unique ways that only the U.S. military can provide, and that’s why we’re sending as many as 4,000 troops to the region. And that’s why we’re allocating up to one billion more for our armed forces for this purpose. And that’s why we’re creating 17 Ebola treatment units and providing support right now for the mobile laboratories and the communications infrastructure.

We are using every instrument of American power in order to try to get this job done, and as many of you know, I’ve been making a number of phone calls each day to my counterparts from your countries in order to encourage concrete steps. And we’ve been raising this issue in every single bilateral meeting that I have, but we know that nothing that one, two, three countries do together is going to solve it. We have to all be engaged in this. There is no country that is exempt from being able to do something to be able to contribute to this effort and help make a difference. And everything we do depends on how we coordinate our efforts as partners in how we contribute together.

Now already we are seeing nations large and small stepping up in impressive ways to make a contribution on the frontlines. Timor-Leste has donated $2 million. Cuba, a country of just 11 million people has sent 165 health professionals, and it plans to send nearly 300 more. We want to thank France for committing 70 million euro and for those response in Guinea, where they’ve taken on special responsibilities. And we want to thank the United Kingdom for the Ebola treatment units that they are building in Sierra Leone, and Germany has significantly stepped up its efforts, including offering their facilities to treat healthcare workers. The European Union is organizing medevac capacity and contributing 140 million euro, and the World Bank and IMF have committed more than $678 million. The African Union is moving to send trained emergency responders to West Africa.

But no matter what we have already committed, it is clear, every one of us, that we have to do more, and we have to do it quickly. So of the one billion in needs that are estimated by the UN, I regret to say we are barely a third of the way there. If we don’t adequately address this current outbreak now, then Ebola has the potential to become a scourge like HIV or polio, that we will end up fighting, all of us, for decades. And we shouldn’t kid ourselves. Winning this fight is going to be costly, it is going to take all of our efforts, and it is not risk-free. Nobody knows that better than the healthcare workers on the front lines right now. And whatever the differences there are between us in this room on one issue or another, on one attitude or another, the fact is everyone I know respects and admires the courage of any healthcare worker who is undertaking this challenge.

So let’s make sure that those healthcare workers aren’t hanging out there by themselves. Let’s make sure that we’re pulling together the resources, the equipment, the commitment, the cash to support their efforts. And let’s make sure that their courage is motivating us every step of the way. For these men and women to succeed, they need nothing less than our full commitment, which is why we’ve asked you to come forward here today. This is a matter of real people, real lives, in countries that were beginning to take off, countries that were beginning to see the future and feel it, and suddenly they’ve been hit by this. This engages all of us, and it is a real test of global citizenship. So today in this room, we have a unique opportunity to try to come together to make important contributions. I’ve touched on some of the urgent needs. There is nobody, frankly, who can more competently explain where we stand, who knows what is at stake better than Ambassador Nancy Powell.

A lot of you know her very, very well because she has served alongside you. She’s one of the very few five-time ambassadors at the State Department. And partly because of what she has already done once before to spread – to help prevent the spread of a pandemic, which she did – she’s already one of the most accomplished people to have to deal with this challenge and one of the best diplomats we could think of in order to help us all do what we need to do. So ladies and gentlemen, Nancy Powell. (Applause.)