EU-Africa Summit

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, March 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The fourth EU-Africa summit will take place in Brussels on 2-3 April under the theme “Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace”. Building on the spirit of their 2007 Joint

Strategy, Africa and the European Union will discuss as equal partners how to deepen cooperation under these three areas.

Africa and the EU are jointly committed to foster human capital through education and training, to create additional incentives for investment, and to find ways of stimulating growth that will create jobs in particular for young people. They work closely together for peace and security, which are prerequisites for prosperity and growth. .

The European Union will be represented by President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso. The summit will bring together the Heads of State and Government of the European Union and the African continent, together with the leaders of the EU and African Union institutions.

A range of high-ranking international observers will also be associated.

“Both Africa and the European Union will come together to address the challenges that each of our continent faces and the ones that face the world as a whole. The theme we have chosen addresses the everyday concerns of our citizens– their safety and security, their job prospects, and their future as families and individuals. I am looking forward to a summit that will further reinforce our partnership and contribute to improve the quality of hope of our population “, said President Van Rompuy. President Barroso ahead of the meeting said: “Fulfilling the vision set out in the Joint

Africa-EU Strategy, the summit will deepen our partnership of equals and seize further cooperation opportunities by expanding political, economic, investment and trade ties.

This includes the pursuit of durable and sustainable economic growth generating jobs for all our citizens”.

Source: APO

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European Parliament – Pan-African Parliament summit to be held in Brussels

STASBOURG, France, March 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — European Parliament will host a summit with the members of the Pan-African Parliament on 31 March and 1 April in room JAN 6Q2. Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, and Bethel Nnaemeka Amadi, President of the Pan-African Parliament, will officially open the summit on Monday at 10:30.

The summit will assess the perspectives of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) with experts and prepare a declaration for the 4th EU-Africa summit held in Brussels on 2-3 April 2014.

Venue

European Parliament, József Antall Building, Room 6Q2

31 March 2014 (10:30) – 1 April (12:30)

Source: APO

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IOM Trains Libyan Civil Society Organizations in Psychosocial Support

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM has completed a three-month project to build capacity and mentor 35 community-based organizations in Tripoli in the field of psychosocial support.

The project, funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), was implemented in partnership with Libya’s Ministry of Culture and Civil Society.

Activities included a mapping and analysis of civil society organizations (CSOs) associated with psychosocial support; the selection of the right organizations, who received a total of eighteen training sessions; and on the job mentoring to ensure that the tools acquired through the training were appropriately applied.

Training topics covered psychosocial support, community conflict mediation, individual and group counselling, capabilities and human development, community-based recreational and social activities, program identity and project cycle planning.

The program aimed to create sustainable linkages between the organizations to help them to work together towards harmony and peace, and meet the many pressing needs in mental health care that continue to plague Libyan society three years on from the revolution.

British Ambassador to Libya Michael Aron noted the need for projects of this type and emphasized the need for ongoing momentum.

“Over 90 participants took part in this demanding program and we were delighted by their enthusiastic desire to support Libyan families in overcoming the psychological burdens that they have carried for so long,” said IOM Libya psychosocial program manager Marcio Gagliato.

Since the revolution and the ensuing conflict, volunteerism has expanded and the number of civil society organizations in Libya has expanded. Many participants are ordinary people committed to breaking the cycle of violence and rebuilding a social fabric destroyed by conflict and decades of suppression of free expression.

The project built on two years of related work carried out by IOM through three community-based centers in Tripoli, Benghazi and Misurata.

To learn more about IOM Libya CSO Capacity Building, please go to http://www.psychosocial-csos.ly/webstep/

Source: APO

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IOM Seeks $56.5m for CAR and Neighbours, Steps up Efforts to Reduce Conflict

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — With the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) in a downward spiral, IOM is today appealing for USD 56.5 million to bring life-saving assistance to the country and region.

The scope of IOM’s appeal has been broadened from CAR to Chad and Cameroon, which are carrying a heavy burden of an influx of migrants and returnees fleeing this terrible conflict.

In addition, IOM wants to reinforce transition and recovery efforts, which are beginning to show promise. IOM’s engagement with affected communities tells a story of hope amid the chaos.

“Security is deteriorating,” says IOM CAR Chief of Mission Giuseppe Loprete. “Attacks against the Muslim population in Bangui and outside are continuing and road movements are not safe for anyone, including aid workers. Muslim colleagues are particularly at risk, due to the numerous check points set by anti-Balaka armed groups.”

Analysis

“The CAR is facing a humanitarian, social, and economic crisis which is affecting the region at large. The outbreak of fighting between ex-Seleka and anti-Balaka forces in the beginning of September 2013 in the CAR and the continued violence has resulted in widespread displacement within and beyond the country’s borders. The security situation remains volatile and unpredictable countrywide. As of 19 March 2014, there were approximately 601,000 IDPs in the CAR, with 177,000 IDPs displaced in Bangui. Hundreds of thousands have also fled the country to return to their countries of origin, or have become refugees.”

IOM’s support of the mixed religious neighbourhood in the 3rd Arrondissement includes a successful street cleaning project. The scheme has supported 100 local youths from both sides of the divide to work side by side to clear away over 100 truckloads of garbage.

Such activities give ravaged communities renewed hope of working together for a better future. The project is so successful that surrounding neighbourhoods have asked for the project to be replicated.

In the midst of a dangerous information vacuum, where rumours quickly lead to cycles of violence, IOM’s community facilitators are constantly engaged in a two-way communication exchange with the affected population. They give a voice to the voiceless and pass messages of hope.

Next week IOM will extend its operations to Boda, which has suffered from inter-sectorial violence. There will be a distribution of core relief items to both communities and meetings with community leaders.

IOM’s “Intentions Survey” reveals that a majority of the population of CAR are people of good will, who want to return home, but fear extremism.

To date, IOM has supported the evacuation and return to their home country of over 100,000 stranded and vulnerable migrants, including close to 10,000 assisted with direct international transport assistance. Returns have been organized from both CAR and neighbouring Cameroon, mainly to Chad.

For more information, please visit: http://carresponse.iom.int/

Source: APO

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Central African Republic: Persistent, widespread violence exacerbates major humanitarian crisis

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — “Every day, the plight of the Central African people gets worse. Their suffering is compounded by repeated acts of violence against civilians, pillaging, killings and sexual violence,” said Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), following a three-day visit to the country. “With poverty widespread and State institutions crippled by years of instability and crisis, the country’s existing dependence on humanitarian aid will only grow unless efforts are stepped up to restore security.”

In the course of his visit, Mr Maurer met the president of the Central African Republic, government officials and civil society representatives, as well as the president of the Central African Red Cross Society – the ICRC’s main partner in the country. The ICRC president was able to see for himself the situation in the capital Bangui and in Kaga Bandoro and in Ndélé in the north of the country. In Ndélé, tributes were paid to the ICRC staff member killed there on 8 March.

Displaced people and local residents are living in extremely difficult conditions, at the mercy of indiscriminate attacks against men and women of all ages, including very young children. Since December 2013 the violence has been at an unprecedented level, with fighting particularly intense in certain parts of Bangui and in the west of the country. Thousands of people have been wounded or killed, and hundreds of thousands have fled their homes to seek refuge elsewhere in the country or in neighbouring countries, leaving everything behind and enduring extreme hardship. They are completely dependent on humanitarian aid. In M’Poko, where the biggest settlement of displaced people has sprung up near Bangui airport, water is supplied by the ICRC, while other humanitarian organizations provide food and medical care.

The lack of security is hampering efforts to protect people and improve their living conditions. “Everyone in the country is affected by the conflict in one way or another,” said Mr Maurer. “They are entitled to live with dignity and without fear for their lives. The relief efforts and the security of humanitarian workers are themselves being jeopardized by the poor security conditions.”

At Bangui Community Hospital, where three ICRC surgical teams are working round the clock and supporting local medical personnel, around 70% of those receiving emergency care are victims of shootings or stabbings. Unless they are helped to reach the hospital, in particular by the Central African Red Cross or the ICRC, they also have to risk their lives to seek medical care. The wounded must therefore be granted swift and unimpeded access to health care; they are entitled to protection and treatment. Health-care workers and facilities must also be spared and respected.

In other parts of the country, such as the town of Kaga Bandoro, the ICRC supports the region’s referral hospital. Further north, in Ndélé, ICRC staff are almost entirely responsible for keeping the water supply running.

“But more aid is needed,” said Mr Maurer. “That’s why we intend to increase our efforts, particularly in the area of health care, and to expand the geographical scope of our activities.”

The role of humanitarian organizations is also to restore people’s hope and dignity. “Together with volunteers from the Central African Red Cross, we are tailoring our work to the specific needs of people here,” said Mr Maurer. “But without security and functioning State services, humanitarian aid can only achieve so much.”

For video footage from 26 and 27 March about the current situation in the Central African Republic, go to our video newsroom: http://www.icrcvideonewsroom.org/content/index.asp

Facts and figures about the ICRC’s work in the Central African Republic: http://www.icrc.org/eng/where-we-work/africa/central-african-republic/2013-09-25-central-african-republic-facts-and-figures.htm

Source: APO

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