Sudanese forces fire live ammunition at student protesters killing one student and injuring six others in El Geneina, West Darfur

The Government of Sudan must condemn in the strongest terms the excessive use of force by its police and security forces in El Geneina, West Darfur on Sunday 7 January and conduct an immediate independent and impartial investigation into the death of one student and injury of six others and hold those responsible to account.

On 7 January 2018 at 10 AM, in Al Madaris neighborhood, El Geneina, hundreds of secondary school students organized a peaceful procession to condemn the increase of the price of bread. As the students marched towards the office of the state governor, located close to the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) office, they came across a fleet of armored vehicles of the joint forces of NISS, Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and Police who fired live ammunition into the crowd to disperse them. Seven students sustained gunshot wounds, one of whom was shot in the chest and died on spot. According to eyewitness accounts, the deceased is said to have been shot by an officer of the RSF. The RSF is a paramilitary government force under the command of the NISS.

In Sudan, the police are in charge of policing demonstrations, however, in some cases, the NISS and armed forces have concurrent powers during demonstrations as provided by article 6 (2) of the Armed Forces Act 2007 and article 50 (1) of the National Security Act 2010. The use of force to disperse assemblies is authorized in the Criminal Procedure Act 1991 and the Police Act 2008. In a news article by BBC, Babikir Digna, the Sudanese Minister of State for Internal Affairs is quoted to have said that the authorities would deal firmly with any acts of sabotage and chaos.

All seven students were taken to El Geneina hospital for medical attention. The six injured students are currently at El Geneina hospital receiving medical treatment.

Name of the deceased:

  • Alzubair Ahmed Alsukairan, 19 years old, a student at Noor Almaarif secondary school, from Alnaseem neighbourhood.

Names of injured persons who sustained gunshot wounds:

  1. Issam Basshir Yahia, (m), 15 years old, secondary school student, lives in Umdewin, sustained gunshot wound on his arm.
  2. Muhammad Salih Abdullah, (m), 16 years old secondary school student, lives in Alkifah neighborhood, sustained gunshot wound on his leg.
  3. Ibrahim Aboot Yousif, (m), 15 years old, secondary school student, lives in Aljabel neighborhood, sustained gunshot wound.
  4. Azza Hamdan, (f) 15 years old, secondary school student, lives in Alsafia neighborhood, sustained gunshot wound on her arm.
  5. Safa Altigani Khalil Suleiman, (f), 15 years old, secondary school student, lives in Alsafia neighborhood, sustained gunshot wound on her thigh.
  6. Albdulhaleem Salih Zain Alabideen, (m), 16 years old, secondary school student, lives in Alshaty neighborhood, sustained gunshot wound on his head.

At about 3 PM, a number of people gathered at the hospital to receive the body of the deceased for the arranged funeral ceremony however the police fired tear gas at the crowd and only allowed the family of the deceased to receive the body.

The Minister of Education for West Darfur issued a decree suspending study for all students of primary and secondary schools for a week, beginning 7 January until 14 January.

ACJPS reiterates its calls for the security forces responsible for killing and injuring protesters to be held to account. Sudan should stop violently suppressing protests and demonstrations and guarantee the right to freedom of expression, association and assembly, as provided under Sudanese and international law. The Government of Sudan should ensure that security forces carry their mandate in accordance with the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials. Ensure in particular that security forces refrain from using excessive and disproportionate force against demonstrators and that reports of such violations are thoroughly and independently investigated with a view to bringing those responsible to justice promptly.

Background

The Government of Sudan increased the import dollar rate from 6.7 Sudanese pounds to 18 Sudanese pounds. As a result of this, prices on basic commodities drastically increased to double or triple the price. The first attempt by the Government to increase the import dollar rate occurred in November 2016 which resulted into a call for civil disobedience from the Sudanese public.

Over the years, a deteriorating economy and other austerity measures have fuelled popular discontent amongst the Sudanese people, leading to a surge in demonstrations across the country. These demonstrations have been met with excessive use of force by authorities to disperse protests and public gathering in recent years. The unnecessary use of force by authorities to suppress protests has resulted into killing and injuring of many protestors.

In September 2017, ACJPS documented the killing of at least five people and injury of 29 others after Sudanese forces opened live ammunition on a crowd of protestors at Kalma camp of internally displaced persons in Nyala, South Darfur on 22 September, shortly before a planned visit by President Omar al-Bashir.

In January 2016, at least seven people, including one child, were killed when security forces opened live ammunition at a crowd of protestors outside the West Darfur state governor’s office. The crowd had gathered to demand protection after the nearby village of Mouli was looted and burned to the ground. The following day, three people were killed and seven others sustained gunshot wounds when security forces again fired live ammunition at the funeral for the deceased.

In September 2013, at least 185 people were killed around the country when government forces shot at anti-austerity protestors. Human rights defenders and victims’ rights groups calling for justice and accountability for the 2013 protest killings were subjected to arbitrary arrests and harassment

The protest killings have taken place in a climate of total impunity. Immunities provided in law to government officials, including members of the NISS, SAF and the police have prevented effective investigations into allegations of the excessive use of force and resulted in a lack of prosecutions for the perpetration of these and other human rights violations. This includes the failure, three years on, to hold anyone to account for the killing of 185 people during the protests in 2013.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS).

Media files

Download logo

Source:: Sudanese forces fire live ammunition at student protesters killing one student and injuring six others in El Geneina, West Darfur

      

Categories: AFRICA | Tags: | Leave a comment

South Africa and China celebrate 20 years of diplomatic relations

Having established formal ties on 01 January 1998, the Republic of South Africa and the People’s Republic of China have reached the important milestone on 01 January 2018 of 20 years of formal diplomatic relations.

Over the past 20 years, the two countries achieved a significant number of bilateral cooperation agreements in areas including trade, investment, economic and people-to-people relations.

In the previous two decades, amongst others, the countries have assumed increased strategic significance, starting with a Partnership in 2000, to a Strategic Partnership in 2004 and ultimately to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) since the signing of the Beijing Declaration in 2010.

The year 2017 saw South Africa and China strengthening friendship through the inaugural of South Africa-China High-Level People-to-People Exchange Mechanism which took place in Pretoria, South Africa, in April 2017. South Africa advanced the China-Africa partnership by continuing to co-chair the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), and working towards the implementation of the outcomes of the 2015 FOCAC Johannesburg Summit. China successfully hosted the ninth BRICS Summit in Xiamen, with South Africa scheduled to host the tenth BRICS Summit in 2018.

On behalf of the government of South Africa and the citizens, President Jacob Zuma expressed his well wishes on the occasion of twenty year diplomatic relations to further reinforce the well-established relations and explore more opportunities that will continue to create win-win cooperation for both Republics. President Jacob Zuma said “the Government and the people of the Republic of South Africa join me in conveying to the Government and people of the People’s Republic of China our warmest greetings.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

Media files

Download logo

Source:: South Africa and China celebrate 20 years of diplomatic relations

      

Categories: AFRICA | Tags: | Leave a comment

First Ever Google Developers Group (GDG) Festival- DevFest Kicks off in Addis

Google Developers Group (GDG), held the first ever Developers’ Festival, dubbed DevFest-Addis, on January 6, 2018 in Addis Ababa at the U.S. Embassy American Center.

Developers’ Festivals (DevFests) are large, community-run developer events that take place around the globe focused on community building and learning about Google’s technologies. The event covered multiple product areas such as Android, Firebase, Google Cloud Platform, Design Sprint, Machine Learning, Mobile Web, and Artificial intelligence.

Speaking at the opening of DevFest-Addis, Embassy Spokesperson Nick Barnett said, “Technology can be a powerful tool for giving people a voice and the means to improve their societies through innovation. The U.S. Embassy is proud to be a partner for this event and hopes that participants will find resources here at our American Center that allow them to continue to pursue their interests.”

The U.S. Embassy American Center at the National Archive and Library Agency is equipped with state-of-the-art resources and serves as an innovation center for budding entrepreneurs, students and young professionals and offers public access to multi-media resources, programs, and technology. The Center was named after African-American Col. John C. Robinson, who was a pioneer flight engineer and the father of Ethiopian modern aviation.

Google Developers Group (GDG) Festival is sponsored by Google and aims at creating a space for software developers, IT enthusiasts to get new ideas, learn from industry experts, engage with peers, use Google Technologies, and other developer tools.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Media files

Download logo

Source:: First Ever Google Developers Group (GDG) Festival- DevFest Kicks off in Addis

      

Categories: AFRICA | Tags: | Leave a comment

South Africa – Higher Education Committee Chairperson Calls for Political Consensus as Agreed in the National Development Plan

The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training has welcomed the policy shift in government, following the President’s announcement of a fee-free dispensation for poor students at universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges.

“The decision by Government echoes in part the Constitution that states that the state through reasonable means, must make higher education accessible. It is our duty to hold Government accountable and we will make further recommendations to ensure sustainability of the policy” said the Committee Chairperson Ms. Connie September.

“The Committee will double its oversight efforts and make sure that skills development, equity redress and participation in tertiary colleges is doubled” said Ms September

She said the private sector should be encouraged to continue offering scholarships and bursaries to the needy students to ensure that the nation has enriched human resource.

President Jacob Zuma announced in December 2017 that starting in 2018 poor students will not be required to pay fees.

Ms. September said the NDP states that in order to build technical capacity in education requires political consensus and a commitment to work together to advance the goals of improving the quality of education.

She said many South Africans agree that education is crucial as it also plays a major role in the development of quality moral fibre of the society and empowering the people to develop a nation in its diversity.

Ms. September said the Committee noted with appreciation some Universities that already took steps to accommodate deserving students and urges TVET Colleges to do the same.

She said the Committee is happy that government is enhancing opportunities that are aimed at broadening access to higher education for students who could not ordinarily afford to attain post school education.

“The Committee is particularly happy with the focus on the TVET College sector. The policy shift must enable change in a curriculum that does not speak to society needs and does not translate into innovation. The increase in government contribution to higher education as a percentage of GDP is one of the ways to address the underfunding problem in higher education and training as our report suggested,” Ms September said.

She said the Department and relevant institutions must brief the Committee and if there is a need to change legislation to enable the policy as announced for 2018.

“The policy shift provides us with an opportunity to heed the call on the National Development Plan to seek consensus. Such commitment must be made again by all,” stressed Ms September.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.

Media files

Download logo

Source:: South Africa – Higher Education Committee Chairperson Calls for Political Consensus as Agreed in the National Development Plan

      

Categories: AFRICA | Tags: | Leave a comment