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.)

Oct 172014
 

KINSHASA, Dem. Rep. of Congo (DRC) October 17, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — “Eradicating poverty for good in the whole world is neither an utopia nor an illusion ; it is a clear objective towards which we must all strive for,” stated Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The eradication of extreme poverty and hunger is at the heart of the Millennium Development Goals. Their aim is to reduce by half, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of the population living below the poverty line.

The global objective has been achieved; as in the developing world, the percentage of individuals living below the poverty line fell from 47% in 1990 to 22% in 2010. However, the progress has been unequal, and while improvements were substantial in Asia and Latin America, they were more limited in Sub-Saharan Africa. Today, there are still 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty in the world.

“The economic situation is improving every day in the DRC, the growth rate is high and inflation is under control. This positive development will not affect Congolese men and women unless companies show a real sense of social responsibility. I would like to call upon Congolese and international enterprises to share with their employees the benefits of a growing economy,” concluded the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the DRC.

Oct 172014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 17, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — WHO officially declares the Ebola outbreak in Senegal over and commends the country on its diligence to end the transmission of the virus.

The introduced case was confirmed on 29 August in a young man who had travelled to Dakar, by road, from Guinea, where he had had direct contact with an Ebola patient.

Senegal’s response is a good example of what to do when faced with an imported case of Ebola. The government, under leadership of President Macky Sall and the Minister of Health Dr Awa Coll-Seck, reacted quickly to stop the disease from spreading.

The government’s response plan included identifying and monitoring 74 close contacts of the patient, prompt testing of all suspected cases, stepped-up surveillance at the country’s many entry points and nationwide public awareness campaigns.

WHO treated this case as a public health emergency and immediately dispatched a team of epidemiologists to work alongside staff from the Ministry of Health, and other partners, including Médecins sans Frontières and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

On 5 September, laboratory samples from the patient tested negative, indicating that he had recovered from Ebola virus disease. He returned to Guinea on 18 September.

Senegal has maintained a high level of active “case finding” for 42 days – twice the maximum incubation period of Ebola virus disease – to detect possible unreported cases of infection.

While the outbreak is now officially over, Senegal’s geographical position makes the country vulnerable to additional imported cases of Ebola virus disease. It continues to remain vigilant for any suspected cases by strict compliance with WHO guidelines.

Oct 172014
 

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, October 17, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Amid concerns over the increasing rate of Ebola infection in Sierra Leone, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and partners today began distributing food for 265,000 people on the outskirts of the capital.

The distribution in the suburb of Waterloo will be the biggest one-off food distribution in the country since the start of the Ebola outbreak.

WFP mobilized 700 aid workers to distribute in just one day over 800 metric tons of food – rice, pulses, vegetable oil and salt – meeting families’ food needs for 30 days. The distribution is in partnership with Caritas, Community Integrated Development Organization, civil society organizations and young volunteers.

“Providing food to such a large number of people in one day is a challenge. We have to deploy many staff and speed up the distribution process to reduce risks both for the people receiving food and for staff, as Waterloo has seen some of the highest cases of Ebola infections in recent days,” said Gon Myers, WFP Country Director in Sierra Leone.

“We are working closely with the Sierra Leone Government, NGOs and UN agencies to ensure timely delivery of food assistance to all Ebola-affected people – be it in treatment centres or in quarantined households – to prevent this health crisis from becoming a food and nutrition crisis.”

The aim of the distribution is to stabilize quarantined families by giving them enough to eat so that they do not leave their homes to look for food.

Before today’s distribution in Waterloo, WFP and its partners had provided food assistance to more than 300,000 Ebola-affected people across Sierra Leone. Given the increasing rate of infections, WFP is scaling up to reach 600,000 people affected by the crisis.

Beyond the food response, WFP is supplying vital technical assistance, particularly to medical partners, in this unprecedented health emergency. This includes construction, logistics, storage, procurement and transport.

WFP is supporting the Sierra Leone Government by procuring 74 World Bank-funded vehicles including ambulances, mortuary vehicles and pickup trucks. The first batch of 30 vehicles is expected to arrive by air in the country on 18 October.

As WFP ramps up to help fight the most severe acute public health emergency in modern times, it requires US$179.6 million to distribute food and provide common humanitarian services in the Ebola-affected countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea until February 2015. Less than a third has been received.

To ensure continued assistance over the next six months, WFP requires US$24 million for its Ebola emergency operation in Sierra Leone.

Oct 172014
 

CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa, October 17, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — SkyVision Global Networks Ltd. (http://www.skyvision.net), a leading global communication provider, today proudly announced that the company has been nominated for three prestigious AfricaCom 2014 Awards. SkyVision’s nominations are in the following categories: Best Connectivity Solutions for Africa, for SkyVision’s Hybrid Satellite and Terrestrial Network Solutions; Changing Lives Award, for their support of Ghana’s Crossover Academy and VSAT Innovation for Africa, for the SkyVision Active Series.

Logo SkyVision: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/skyvision.jpg

Logo AfricaCom 2014 Awards: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/africacomawards.jpg

Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1448 (Ori Watermann, SkyVision CEO)

As a leading service provider in Africa, SkyVision provides viable solutions that help African companies, organizations and service providers to increase their productivity and profitability, and the level of service they provide to their customers. SkyVision’s noted success in Africa is the result of its a widespread network of local partners and representatives and SkyVision offices in Senegal, Burkina Faso, Guinea Conakry, Nigeria, Cameroon and South Africa. For well over a decade, SkyVision has focused on enhancing connectivity in rural Africa, with the establishment of hubs and PoPs across the continent to deliver quality and last mile communications to customers nationwide.

“SkyVision has witnessed the immense growth of Africa’s telecom market and we are honored to have been chosen amongst our peers for these three esteemed awards,” said Ori Watermann, SkyVision CEO. “SkyVision continues to be an integral part of the ICT boom in Africa as we strongly support leading industries and organizations’ communications platforms. We are equally proud to have donated our services to rural academic institutions so desperately in need of viable communications networks. Contributing to educating Africa’s schoolchildren, helps build the foundation of Africa’s future.”

The AfricaCom Awards, the digital industry’s celebration and recognition of world leaders in digital technology, ICT, telecom and media across Africa, will take place on November 12, 2014 in Cape Town, as part of the AfricaCom 2014 Conference. SkyVision are both exhibitors and sponsors of this landmark industry event. For more information on the show visit: http://www.africacomawards.com. To meet SkyVision or for queries contact: irist@skyvision.net

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of SkyVision Global Networks Ltd.

For more information, contact:

Iris Tovim

Marketing Communications Manager

SkyVision Global Networks

+44 20 8387 1750

irist@skyvision.net

About SkyVision

SkyVision (http://www.skyvision.net) is a global communications service provider, offering comprehensive, integrated solutions to meet all corporate, government and telco market requirements. With an emphasis on its customers’ local or regional requirements, SkyVision offers superior network connectivity solutions. Known for its innovative approach, the company offers an extensive suite of both customized solutions and industry-standard services for end-to-end IP connectivity (http://www.skyvision.net/enterprise-solutions), managed from its international gateways and selected local hubs. SkyVision’s global-reaching network connects its customers to the Internet backbone with more than ten satellite platforms and a network of high-capacity fiber optic cables, via its gateways in Africa, Europe, North America and the Middle East as well as multiple points of presence (POPs) in Africa. SkyVision currently commands a satellite and fiber network IP connectivity (http://www.skyvision.net/service/fiber-solutions) spanning 100 countries. The company’s C-Band and Ku-Band VSAT network solutions (http://www.skyvision.net/services/lobby2/Internet%20Connectivity) draw on SkyVision’s extensive space segment inventory from leading satellite providers and its capacity is carefully tailored to customers’ individual needs for optimal cost-effectiveness. Visit http://www.skyvision.net.