Sep 102014

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Business enterprises, governments, civil society and national human rights institutions from across Africa will meet in Addis Ababa from 16 to 18 September to discuss key business and human rights challenges for the continent.

The African Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights is convened by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights with the support of the African Union, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. It will bring together 250 participants.

“This meeting has no precedent in the region. It is the first time such a wide range of stakeholders will gather to openly discuss how better to ensure that human rights, business and economic development work together. It is a unique opportunity to promote national and regional action plans on business and human rights and the scaling up of responsible business practice,” said Michael K. Addo, who chairs the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights.

“African economies have experienced impressive growth and attracted rising investment in recent decades. At the same time there is increasing attention to the adverse impact on human rights. Preventing and addressing such impacts is key,” said Margaret Jungk, vice-chair of the UN Working Group.

The Regional Forum will look at initiatives, opportunities and challenges to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In particular, it will focus on issues such as ensuring access to remedy for victims, development of regional and national action plans on business and human rights, and challenges related to extractive industries, land investment, human rights defenders and conflict situations.

The event follows last year’s Regional Forum for Latin America and the Caribbean and it will feed into the 2014 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights to be held in Geneva from 1 to 3 December.

The African Regional Forum is open to the media. For press accreditation, please contact:

The UN Working Group will give a press conference together with some of the participants and supporting organizations at 2 pm on Thursday 18 September 2014 at the UN Conference Centre (Press Briefing Room), Addis Ababa.

Sep 102014

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia should not sign a new Criminal Code amendment that would increase the punishment for “aggravated homosexuality” to life in prison, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today. The measure would further add to the climate of fear for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in Gambia.

Several provisions of the law violate international human rights law and amount to persecution on the basis of real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Sections of the law are similar to the harsh homophobic legislation that was annulled in August 2014 in Uganda.

“President Jammeh should not approve this profoundly damaging act that violates international human rights law,” said Stephen Cockburn, deputy regional Director for West and Central Africa director at Amnesty International. “Gambia’s National Assembly and the President should not endorse state-sponsored homophobia.”

The National Assembly passed the bill for the Criminal Code (Amendment) Act 2014 on August 25.The president has 30 days from that date to sign the law or return it to the National Assembly for further review.

Consensual sex between same-sex adults is already a crime in Gambia, in violation of international human rights law. However, the proposed amendment introduces even harsher sentences for those suspected of being lesbian, bisexual or gay.

The charge of “aggravated homosexuality” carries a life sentence. The charge is vaguely worded and could enable wide-ranging abuses by the authorities. Among those who could be charged with “aggravated homosexuality” and imprisoned for life are “repeat offenders” and people living with HIV who are suspected to be gay or lesbian.

“This new law will only heap further stigma on people who are already marginalized and living in a climate of deep fear and hate in Gambia,” said Graeme Reid, LGBT rights director at Human Rights Watch.

President Jammeh has made numerous public statements attacking LGBTI rights, including at the United Nations General Assembly in 2013, where he declared: “Those who promote homosexuality want to put an end to human existence, it is becoming an epidemic and we Muslims and Africans will fight to end this behavior.” In February, he stated, “We will fight these vermin called homosexuals or gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes – if not more aggressively.”

In May, President Jammeh threatened Gambians seeking asylum as a result of discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation, telling the African news service APA, “If I catch them I will kill them.”

In 2012, the authorities arrested 18 men and two women during a raid on a nightclub. They were charged with attempting to commit “unnatural acts” and “conspiracy to commit a felony.” Their pictures and names were displayed in the newspapers. The charges against them were eventually dropped due to lack of evidence.

In May, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights adopted a resolution on the Protection against Violence and other Human Rights Violations against Persons on the basis of their real or imputed Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity. The resolution condemned “the situation of systematic attacks by State and non-state actors against persons on the basis of their imputed or real sexual orientation or gender identity.”

For more Amnesty International reporting on LGBTI rights, please visit:

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on LGBTI rights, please visit:

Sep 102014

NAIROBI, Kenya, September 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Briefing on the Trade and Development Report 2014

What : Briefing on the Trade and Development Report 2014, with a special focus on the situation…

Sep 102014

LUSAKA, Zambia, September 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Zamtel ( and NEC Corporation (, global leader in the integration of IT and network technologies, have agreed to build a new digital microwave radio transmission network to boost mobile coverage and capacity for citizens, enterprises and tourists across Zambia.

Photo of the signing ceremony held on Wednesday morning in Lusaka: (Dr Nobuhiro Endo, President at NEC Corporation, and Dr Mupanga Mwanakatwe, Chief Executive Officer at Zamtel, during the signing ceremony on Wednesday morning in Lusaka)

Logo NEC:

Logo Zamtel:

The turnkey deal, which includes the supply, delivery, installation, testing and commissioning of NEC’s microwave transmission network equipment, is expected to be completed within 12 months and will cost 18,329,326 US dollars. NEC will upgrade Zamtel’s existing backbone and access systems and commission new links to connect its macro base stations and core network wirelessly.

This investment in Zamtel transmission infrastructure aims to upgrade and modernize the company’s digital microwave transmission backbone network in order to meet current and foreseeable future growth in mobile data demand, while supporting the company’s LTE rollout plan.

“This partnership will see NEC design, manufacture, supply, deliver, install, test, migrate and commission a native Ethernet microwave backbone and access radios specifically tailored to Zamtel’s requirements,” said the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Mupanga Mwanakatwe.

Dr Mwanakatwe said the new digital microwave backbone and access project will include the installation of 2Gbps, 600Mbps, 300Mbps and 150Mbps backbone and access networks based on native Ethernet microwave radio network technologies, adding that on completion, the investment will lead to the realization of a state-of-the-art national IP microwave backbone and access network.

Dr Nobuhiro Endo, President at NEC Corporation commented, “By boosting the coverage and capacity of its wireless backhaul network, Zamtel will be able to meet the ever rising demand for mobile broadband services from local citizens, enterprises and tourists across the country. NEC’s highly reliable and cost-effective solution will enable Zamtel to support continued economic growth and underpin emerging services, such as mobile money and high definition mobile TV, in both rural and urban locations.”

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

For more information, contact:

NEC Europe Ltd

Helen McInnes

+44 (0)7748 761 041 / +44 (0)208 836 2346


Kennedy Mambwe

Manager- Corporate Communications

+260 (0) 950-00-33-33


Notes to Editors

About NEC Corporation

NEC Corporation ( is a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies that benefit businesses and people around the world. By providing a combination of products and solutions that cross utilize the company’s experience and global resources, NEC’s advanced technologies meet the complex and ever-changing needs of its customers. NEC brings more than 100 years of expertise in technological innovation to empower people, businesses and society. For more information, visit NEC at

NEC is a registered trademark of NEC Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Other product or service marks mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners. ©2014 NEC Corporation.

About Zamtel

Zamtel ( is Zambia’s only total communication solutions provider. Zamtel is 100 percent owned by the Zambian Government, providing voice, data, fixed, internet, MPLS and business continuity services to businesses and individual customers in Zambia.

Zamtel is committed to make a difference and empower communities as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility. The major thrust of Zamtel’s CSR program is anchored on providing safe drinking water in the communities where we operate through Water for Life campaign.

For more information, please visit

Sep 102014

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — With high malnutrition rates, prolonged displacement and health-care facilities under enormous pressure, the humanitarian situation in South Sudan remains bleak. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is therefore asking donors for an additional 18 million Swiss francs (approximately 19 million US dollars) to boost its capacity to address the country’s immense needs.

“Despite other crises currently unfolding around the world, it’s important not to forget increasingly silent tragedies like the one taking place in South Sudan,” said Eric Marclay, the ICRC’s head of operations for East Africa.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and still live in camps or temporary settlements, and some are scattered in remote places far from any services. “Displacement has disrupted people’s very ability to survive,” said Mr Marclay. “People have been unable to plant their crops. They have lost their cattle. They lack fishing equipment, seed and tools.”

In several parts of the country, malnutrition is widespread, particularly among children. Because the rainy season will last until the end of the year, and the security situation remains fragile, food currently needs to be brought in by air. “It’s critical to continue to help people and to have a firm and immediate response from the donor community,” said Mr Marclay.

The additional funding will bring the ICRC’s annual budget for South Sudan – already the site of the ICRC’s second biggest operation in the world, after Syria – to 130 million Swiss francs (approximately 139 million US dollars). The money will mainly serve to provide food for 150,000 people until the end of the year. Since mid-December, food has been distributed to more than 500,000 people in several South Sudanese states.

Sep 102014

Abu Dhabi, UAE, September 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Yahsat (, the UAE-based satellite operator, has announced the manufacturing and launch partners for the Company’s recently announced third satellite, Al Yah 3, set to be launched in Q4 2016. This third satellite, within a decade of operation by Yahsat, extends the company’s commercial Ka-band coverage to an additional 17 countries and 600 million users across Africa and Brazil.


Photo 1: (From right David W. Thompson,Masood M. Sharif Mahmood and Stéphane Yvon Laurent I.)

Photo 2: (Al Yah 3 with Earth)

In line with Yahsat’s strategy of working with the world’s leading organisations and positioning the UAE as the region’s satellite communications hub, Yahsat has announced a partnership – with Orbital Sciences Corporation (“Orbital”), which will manufacture Al Yah 3, and Arianespace which will launch the new satellite into orbit from French Guiana. The agreements supplement Yahsat’s world-class partnership model and knowledge-sharing vision which aims at bringing UAE technology and home-grown services to some of the world’s most unconnected and underserved regions. The selection also supports Yahsat’s objective of finding the right balance between cost, innovation and reliability for this crucial next step in the execution of the company’s growth strategy.

Commenting on the appointment of partners Orbital and Arianespace, Masood M. Sharif Mahmood, Chief Executive Officer at Yahsat, said: “After a rigorous selection process, Yahsat has chosen two industry-leading organisations that will manufacture and launch our third satellite in late 2016. Having worked with Arianespace for the launch of Y1A, one of the world’s most advanced satellites currently in orbit, and with Orbital’s impressive track record of building over 150 satellites that have amassed over 1,000 years of in-orbit experience, both companies have proven their ability to meet and exceed our expectations for world class connectivity in Africa and Brazil.”

“Looking ahead as development and launch plans progress, Yahsat will continue to explore ground partners and distributors across both Africa and Brazil. Our aim is not just to launch a satellite, but also provide a 360 degree service platform to facilitate the distribution of broadband and connectivity services in our target markets. Part of this exercise is to ensure we build the right distribution and operational platforms within each of our markets, and we are actively engaged in identifying strong partners across both continents.”

Both partnerships support Yahsat’s objective of supporting the UAE national development agenda by providing a unique on the job training platform for Yahsat’s employees and UAE students throughout the build and launch process.

Headquartered in the United States in Dulles, Virginia Orbital is one of the world’s preeminent space technology companies. It is a leading supplier of advanced small- and medium-class satellites and rockets for customers around the world. Founded in 1982, Orbital has built, delivered or now has under contract over 1,000 space systems, including more than three dozen commercial communications satellites for geosynchronous orbit missions.

David W. Thompson, Orbital’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “We are honored to have been selected as Yahsat’s partner to design, build, test and deliver the Al Yah 3 satellite for launch in late 2016. Being a part of this program is very important to our team because it enables us to contribute to the development of the advanced technology industry in the UAE. We look forward to working with the Yahsat team on this high-throughput/light-weight GEOStar satellite.”

Arianespace was founded in 1980 as the world first commercial satellite launch company. Since its creation, Arianespace has signed contracts with 85 customers worldwide carrying out close to 250 launches. More than half of the commercial satellites in service today were launched by Arianespace.

Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël, added: “On behalf of Arianespace, I feel honored of Yahsat’s renewed trust in Arianespace’s tailor made launch solutions, after the successful launch in April 2011 of its first satellite, Yahsat-1A, by Ariane 5. Al Yah 3 launch contract marks the continuation of a long-term partnership between Yahsat and Arianespace in support of Yahsat’s growth as a global operator based in the Middle East. Being selected by Yahsat is also a true recognition of the quality and competitiveness of Arianespace’s offer. Besides, Al Yah 3 will be the 28th satellite manufactured by Orbital and launched by Arianespace: we are eager to work with Orbital again for mission integration and launch.”

Al Yah 3 will be an all Ka-band high throughput satellite, with a unique design that optimizes cost, capacity, coverage and flexibility. It will enable delivery of affordable broadband, directly or indirectly to over 600 million users in both continents, specifically covering more than 95% of the population in Brazil and 60% of the population in Africa. This is in line with Yahsat’s goal to encourage social and economic development by providing people with a platform to access information, enabling them to enter the digital sharing stage as well as facilitate businesses to expand their network and help create jobs.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Al Yah Satellite Communications Company PrJSC “Yahsat”.

Media contact

• Masa Milhem– , Tel: +971 (50) 4536710

• Noura Charaf –, Tel: +971 (0)2 507 6138

• Barron Beneski, VP of Public Relations –, Tel: 703-406-5528

• Mario de Lépine –, Tel : +33 (0) 1 60 87 60 15

About Al Yah Satellite Communications Company PrJSC “Yahsat”

Yahsat ( provides multipurpose satellite solutions (government and commercial) for broadband, broadcast, government, and communications use across the Middle East, Africa, and Europe in addition to Central and South West Asia. Based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, and wholly owned by Mubadala Development Company, the investment vehicle of the Government of Abu Dhabi, Yahsat is the first company in the Middle East and Africa to offer multi-purpose satellite services including:

• YahClick – offers home solutions, business solutions and transportable solutions

• YahService – offers managed solutions and government capacity

• YahLink – offers IP trunking solutions, corporate networking capacity and backhauling capacity

• Yahlive – a joint venture between Yahsat and SES, a leading global satellite operator, offers a selective choice of premium TV channels

Yahsat’s first satellite Y1A was successfully launched in April 2011, and the company’s second satellite Y1B was successfully launched in April 2012. Yahsat has announced plans to launch its third satellite, Al Yah 3, in 2016, extending their commercial Ka-band coverage across Africa and, for the first time, in Brazil.

For more information visit or

About Orbital

Orbital develops and manufactures small- and medium-class rockets and space systems for commercial, military and civil government customers. The company’s primary products are satellites and launch vehicles, including low-Earth orbit, geosynchronous-Earth orbit and planetary exploration spacecraft for communications, remote sensing, scientific and defense missions; human-rated space systems for Earth-orbit, lunar and other missions; ground- and air-launched rockets that deliver satellites into orbit; and missile defense systems that are used as interceptor and target vehicles. Orbital also provides satellite subsystems and space-related technical services to U.S. Government agencies and laboratories. More information about Orbital can be found at Follow the company on Twitter @OrbitalSciences.

About Arianespace

Arianespace is the world’s leading satellite launch company. Founded in 1980, Arianespace deploys a complete family of three launchers, Ariane, Soyuz and Vega, to meet the needs of both commercial and government customers, with more than 250 launches already. Backed by its 21 shareholders and the European Space Agency, Arianespace is the only company in the world capable of launching all types of payloads into all orbits, from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana. As of August 27, 2014, Arianespace had carried out 218 Ariane launches, 35 by Soyuz (9 at the Guiana Space Center and 26 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, via Starsem) and 3 by Vega. Arianespace is headquartered in Evry, near Paris, and has a facility in Kourou, French Guiana, plus local offices in Washington D.C. (United States), Tokyo (Japan) and Singapore.