Belgium welcomes verdict in trial against Hissène Habré

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Belgium welcomes the smooth conduct of the trial of Hissène Habré, whose verdict was delivered today by the Extraordinary African Chambers. They convicted H. Habré for crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of torture committed in Chad during his presidency between 1982 and 1990.

Belgium congratulates Senegal for his courage and determination to bringing justice to victims, an advance in the fight against impunity.

As a reminder, Belgium had, since 2005, issued an arrest warrant against Hissène Habré and addressed an extradition request to the Senegalese authorities that remained unanswered. Belgium then seized in 2009 the International Court of Justice in its dispute with Senegal on this case. The ICJ delivered in 2012 its decision summoning Senegal to prosecute H. Habré or, failing that, to extradite him to Belgium.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Kingdom of Belgium – Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.

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Categories: AFRICA

Kerry Kennedy: “Ripples of Hope” Continue to Inspire U.S. – South Africa Relationship 50 Years Later

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Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) and President of RFK Human Rights, is visiting South Africa May 30-June 4 to commemorate her father’s historic visit to South Africa in 1966. Ms. Kennedy will participate in a series of events arranged by U.S. Embassy Pretoria and the U.S. Consulates General in Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town. She is joined by representatives from the Kennedy family, RFK Human Rights, the Faith & Justice Institute, and a delegation from the U.S. Congress, led by Senator Christopher Coons (D-DE).

Speaking at the opening event for the series, a panel presentation hosted by Wits University on May 30 entitled “Ripples of Hope: Robert F. Kennedy’s Historic 1966 Visit to South Africa – Its Significance Then and Now,” Ambassador Gaspard said, “We are honored to commemorate the 50th anniversary of RFK’s visit to South Africa, in particular, his historic ‘Ripples of Hope’ speech. His words continue to ring true and bring inspiration to Americans and South Africans. They created a current that continues today in the strong relationship shared by our two countries. The visit by Kerry Kennedy reminds us of the longstanding friendship we have shared, exemplifies the support of principled Americans for the anti-apartheid movement, and reminds us of the great leadership of individual citizens in both countries during a dark period of history.”

​Kerry Kennedy added, “My father came to South Africa in 1966 to listen and to learn. We are here today, 50 years later, to listen and learn also. We look forward to learning the lessons South Africa has for our country and for the rest of the world.​ It’s hard to think of a country that has endured more pain and suffering than South Africa, but as a human rights activist, I have tremendous optimism about the present and the future.”

Commemorative events will continue throughout the week across South Africa. The delegation will travel to KZN, where they will visit the Luthuli museum and attend a public screening of the documentary “RFK in the Land of Apartheid: A Ripple of Hope.” In Gauteng, they will participate a roundtable discussion at Liliesleaf Farm with senior anti-apartheid struggle veterans, before traveling to Cape Town for a keynote address by Kerry Kennedy hosted by Cape Town University.

For more information about this 50th anniversary commemoration, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter at USEmbassySA and #Ripples2016.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Embassy Pretoria, South Africa.

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Categories: AFRICA

Mr Allotey Jacobs, Statement by the British High Commission Accra

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The British High Commission would like definitively to clarify the situation concerning the alleged arrest of Mr Allotey Jacobs at London’s Heathrow Airport on Sunday, 29 May.

We became aware around Sunday lunchtime of online and social media rumours to the effect that Mr Jacobs had been arrested on arrival at London Heathrow from Accra, allegedly variously accused of money laundering or of being involved in a ‘drugs bust’. Both claims are simply untrue. There was no such arrest. Mr Jacobs was not detained, nor was he questioned. There was absolutely no evidence of money laundering or drugs.

Subsequently, there were persistent further rumours that Mr Jacobs had at least been escorted off the plane by UK law enforcement. After exhaustive, multiple enquiries we state unequivocally that the UK law enforcement authorities with jurisdiction at Heathrow Airport all confirm that they did not board the aeroplane to speak to Mr Jacobs, nor did they do so subsequently within the airport, and they certainly did not escort Mr Jacobs off the flight concerned. Our law enforcement authorities keep meticulous records, including of any “escorting off” aeroplanes – there is no such record in the case of Mr Jacobs, as there was no such event. We understand that Mr Jacobs caught his connecting flight to the US on time and without incident.

British Airways tell us that they, too, have no record of any law enforcement boarding directed at Mr Jacobs. A public claim has been made that Mr Jacobs was ‘escorted’ from a seat in Row 15 in business class. However, on the flight in question, Row 15 was not in, and indeed some distance from, business class, the class in which Mr Jacobs travelled, so that claim falls away.

Mr Jacob’s political affiliation is of no interest to us. Had we been asked to confirm or deny the alleged arrest of anyone else of any other political affiliation, we would have acted in exactly the same way – purely factually. The UK government is and will remain entirely neutral in Ghanaian domestic politics. We do, however, have the full right to respond to claims made about law enforcement issues in the UK itself, particularly when, as in this case, those claims are wholly wrong.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of British High Commission Accra.

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Source:: Mr Allotey Jacobs, Statement by the British High Commission Accra

Categories: AFRICA

Chad’s Ex-Dictator Convicted of Atrocities

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The conviction of Hissène Habré, the former president of Chad, for serious international crimes, is a vindication of the decades-long campaign waged by his victims, Human Rights Watch said today. Habré was convicted of torture, war crimes and crimes against humanity, including having raped a woman himself, by the Extraordinary African Chambers in the Senegalese court system and sentenced to life in prison on May 30, 2016.

“This is an enormous victory for Hissène Habré’s victims, who for 25 years never gave up fighting to bring him to justice” said Reed Brody, counsel at Human Rights Watch who has worked with the survivors since 1999. “This conviction is a wake-up call to tyrants everywhere that if they engage in atrocities they will never be out of the reach of their victims.”

The trial against Habré, who ruled Chad from 1982 to 1990, began on July 20, 2015. Habré does not recognize the chambers’ authority and sat silently throughout the trial.

A summary of the decision was read out in court by chief judge Gberdao Gustave Kam of Burkina Faso, who shared the bench with two senior Senegalese judges. The prosecutor had requested a life sentence.

The written decision will be distributed at a later date. Human Rights Watch has prepared an unofficial summary from notes taken in court.

Habré fled to Senegal in 1990 after being deposed by the current Chadian president, Idriss Déby Itno. Although Habré was first arrested and indicted in Senegal in 2000, it took a long campaign by his victims before the Extraordinary African Chambers were inaugurated by Senegal and the African Union in February 2013 to prosecute international crimes committed in Chad during Habré’s rule.

“I have been waiting for this day since I walked out of prison more than 25 years ago,” said Souleymane Guengueng, who nearly died of mistreatment and disease in Habré’s prisons, and later founded the Association of Victims of Crimes of the Regime of Hissène Habré (AVCRHH). “Today I feel ten times bigger than Hissène Habré.”

Habré’s trial is the first in the world in which the courts of one country prosecuted the former ruler of another for alleged human rights crimes. Ninety-three witnesses testified at the trial, the majority travelling from Chad to be there. Survivors presented powerful testimony about torture, rape, sexual slavery, mass executions, and the destruction of entire villages.

Notably, the court convicted Habré of sexual crimes, including rape and the sexual slavery of women to serve his army.

The court also found Habré guilty of having raped Khadidja Hassan Zidane on four occasions. The court found Hassan’s testimony credible and supported by an account she gave at the time. It is the first time that an ex-dictator is found personally guilty of rape by an international court.

“Found guilty of sex crimes, including his rape of one woman, Hissène Habré’s conviction signals that no leader is above the law, and that no woman or girl is below it” said Reed Brody.

The chambers will hold a second set of hearings in June or July on damages for the civil parties and other victims.

It appears possible that Habre’s court-appointed lawyers could lodge an appeal without Habre’s consent. If an appeal is lodged, an Extraordinary African Appeals Chamber will be constituted to hear the appeal later this year.

Habre’s trial underscored the importance of universal jurisdiction, Human Rights Watch said. That principle under international law allows national courts to prosecute the most serious crimes even when committed abroad, by a foreigner, and against foreign victims.

In March 2015, a court in Chad convicted 20 top security agents of Habré’s government on torture and murder charges.

Habré’s one-party rule was marked by widespread atrocities, including waves of ethnic cleansing. Files of Habré’s political police, the Direction de la Documentation et de la Sécurité (DDS), which were recovered by Human Rights Watch in 2001, reveal the names of 1,208 people who were killed or died in detention, and 12,321 victims of human rights violations.

The United States and France viewed Habré as a bulwark against Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, and so supported him throughout his rule despite clear evidence of his abuses against his own people. Under President Ronald Reagan, the US gave covert CIA paramilitary support to help Habré take power.

Habré was first indicted in Senegal in 2000, but after political interference, the country’s courts said that he could not be tried there, so his victims filed a case in Belgium. In September 2005, after four years of investigation, a Belgian judge indicted Habré and Belgium requested his extradition. Senegal refused to send Habré to Belgium, and spent the next three years stalling on a request from the African Union (AU) to prosecute Habré. Belgium then filed a case against Senegal at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). On July 20, 2012, that court ordered Senegal to prosecute Habré “without further delay” or to extradite him.

After Macky Sall’s election as president of Senegal in April 2012, Senegal and the AU agreed on a plan to create the Extraordinary African Chambers to conduct the trial within the Senegalese judicial system.

The chambers indicted Habré in July 2013 and placed him in pretrial custody. After a 19-month investigation, judges of the chambers found that there was sufficient evidence for Habré to face trial.

After Habré’s lawyers, following his instructions, failed to appear at the opening of the trial in July 2015, the court appointed three Senegalese lawyers to defend him and adjourned for 45 days so they could prepare. The first day back, on September 7, Habré was brought in to the court against his will, kicking and screaming. After that, he was taken into the courtroom for each session before the doors to the public opened.

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on the Habré case, please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/en/habre-case (English)
http://www.hrw.org/fr/habre-case (French)

For the Human Rights Watch Question and Answer document about the Habré case, please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/news/2015/04/27/qa-case-hissene-habre-extraordinary-african-chambers-senegal (English)
http://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2015/04/27/questions-et-reponses-sur-laffaire-hissene-habre-devant-les-chambres-africaines (French)

For the Human Rights Watch video with highlights of the Habré trial, please visit:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFuKOy3qXTY (English)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vCu_FAH6-g (French)

For the website of the Extraordinary African Chambers (in French), please visit:
http://www.chambresafricaines.org/

For a timeline of events in the Habré case, please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/09/chronology-habr-case

To follow the Habré case on Facebook, please visit:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hiss%C3%A8ne-Habr%C3%A9-Justice-pour-les-victimes-Justice-for-the-victims/106827982684266

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Human Rights Watch (HRW).

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Categories: AFRICA

Africa Day 2016 Public Lecture at the African Union to Review the State of Politics and Democracy in Contemporary Africa

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Members of the diplomatic community, scholars, policy makers, international as well as multilateral and civil society actors came together to commemorate Africa Day through an enriching public lecture under the theme “Africa at 50+ Still Searching for the Political Kingdom”

Every year the African Union celebrates Africa Day, and as part of this year’s commemorations the AUC Department of Political Affairs, in collaboration with the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS), University of Addis Ababa and the African Peace Building Network (APN) of the Social Science Research Council held a public lecture to review the state of politics and democracy in Africa and the role African Social movements are playing in building and delivering a just, transparent, accountable, inclusive and empowering democratic order to citizens across the continent.

“The commemoration of Africa Day is a significant occasion to celebrate Africa’s history since the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and provides a moment to reflect on challenges, opportunities and prospects towards continental integration. The adoption by African leaders of Agenda 2063 is a manifestation of Africa’s determination to achieve unity, prosperity and peace. “Achieving that vision can only be realized through good governance, participation of citizens, investing in education, science and technology and inclusion of the diaspora among others”, said Dr. Aisha L. Abdullahi, Commissioner for Political Affairs. She further stressed the need to change our mentality and take the opportunity to reflect on the past, present and future in order for a paradigm shift towards a more prosperous Africa.

On the Africa Day event, Professor Fantu Cheru chair of the APN Advisory Board and Senior Researcher of the African Studies Center in Leiden, Netherlands delivered a lecture on “Africa at 50+: Searching for the Political Kingdom” stressing the need to understand and learn from history. He highlighted that even though the past decades have heralded extraordinary progress for Africa, a lot still remains to be done. Prof. Fantu reaffirmed the five objectives of the creation of the OAU/AU: Decolonization; Nation Building; Democracy; Development and Regional Integration, , calling for the need to tackle democracy and development simultaneously as they both go a long way in shaping the continents future. The main message emerging from the lecture and ensuing debates was the imperative to enhance inclusion and participation of African citizens in strengthening democratic governance in Africa beyond holding regular elections, respect for human rights and rule of law, as well as accountable and visionary leadership.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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Categories: AFRICA

UN Weekly Press Briefing – Guest Speaker Mr Bruce Munyambo, Police Commissioner, UNMISS- Wednesday 1 June 2016

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The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) cordially invites you to attend its weekly press briefings brought to you by the Spokesperson and Media Relations Unit.

The briefing will cover a number of issues, and serve to inform and bring you up to date on the activities of the United Nations on a weekly basis. Occasionally the Spokesperson will be joined by guest speakers from the UN Family who will brief on other areas of the United Nation’s work in South Sudan.

Our special guest this week will be Mr. Bruce Munyambo, Police Commissioner, UNMISS

Date: Wednesday, 1 June, at UN House.

Venue: Yei Conference Room – UN House

Time: 10:10am

PLEASE NOTE:

UNMISS will provide transportation for the invited journalists to the press briefing and back to town after the event as follows:

Bus 1: departing from Custom Dire Petroleum – Customs Market area –departure time: 09:45am

Bus 2: departing from Juba University – 09:45am

Journalists who wish to arrive to UN House by their own means are invited to present themselves at the gates with a valid press card/ID not later than 09:50am.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

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Source:: UN Weekly Press Briefing – Guest Speaker Mr Bruce Munyambo, Police Commissioner, UNMISS- Wednesday 1 June 2016

Categories: AFRICA

Zeid welcomes “historic and hard-won” verdict in Hissène Habré trial

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“I warmly welcome the verdict of the special court in Senegal convicting the former President of Chad Hissène Habré of crimes against humanity, summary executions, torture and rape.

After years of struggle and many setbacks on the way to justice, this verdict is as historic as it was hard-won. I sincerely hope that today, at last, Habré’s victims will experience some sense of relief.

In a world scarred by a constant stream of atrocities, the ramifications of this verdict are global. While the verdict may be appealed, this sends a clear message to those responsible for serious human rights violations around the world that nobody is above the law and that, one day, they may also face justice for their crimes.

Following earlier convictions by other courts of former president Charles Taylor and Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, the conviction and sentencing of Hissène Habré shows that even heads of State and other leaders who commit terrible crimes will ultimately be held to account.

I commend the ground-breaking agreement between Senegal and the African Union which enabled this case to proceed. It is an excellent example of regional leadership and ownership in the fight against impunity for international crimes.

My Office, which has actively supported accountability efforts in Senegal and Chad over the past few years, and has followed the Habré trial, will continue to offer its support to the quest for justice by victims of human rights violations all over the world.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

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Categories: AFRICA

Conviction of Hissene Habre for War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, and Torture

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Press Statement

John Kerry
Secretary of State

Washington, DC

May 30, 2016

The United States welcomes the Extraordinary African Chambers’ issuance of the judgment finding former Chadian President Hissene Habre guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including charges of murder, torture, rape, and sexual slavery, and sentencing him to life in prison. This ruling is a landmark in the global fight against impunity for atrocities, including war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Habre’s crimes were numerous, calculated, and grave. Beginning in 1982, his eight-year term as the president of Chad was marked by large-scale, systematic violations, including those involving murder of an estimated 40,000 people, widespread sexual violence, mass imprisonment, enforced disappearance, and torture. Without the persistence of his accusers and their demand for justice, Habre might never have faced a court of law. I especially commend the courage of the nearly 100 victims who testified, and I hope the truths uncovered through a fair and impartial trial will bring some measure of peace to his thousands of victims and their families.

As a country committed to the respect for human rights and the pursuit of justice, this is also an opportunity for the United States to reflect on, and learn from, our own connection with past events in Chad. I strongly commend the Senegalese Government, the Chadian Government, and the African Union for creating the Extraordinary African Chambers that allowed for a fair and balanced trial. Let this be a message to other perpetrators of mass atrocities, even those at the highest levels and including former heads of state, that such actions will not be tolerated and they will be brought to justice.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Department of State.

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Source:: Conviction of Hissene Habre for War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, and Torture

Categories: AFRICA

Presentation of credentials of Singapore’s High Commissioner to the Republic of Botswana, 30 May

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The Government has appointed Mr Chua Thai Keong as Singapore’s next High Commissioner to the Republic of Botswana, resident in Pretoria, South Africa. He is concurrently Singapore’s High Commissioner to the Republic of South Africa, the Republic of Namibia, the Kingdom of Swaziland, and Ambassador to the Republic of Zimbabwe. Mr Chua will present his credentials to the President of Botswana, His Excellency Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, on 30 May 2016.

Mr Chua joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1986. He was Singapore’s Non-Resident Ambassador to Chile from April 2014 to May 2015 and Ambassador to the Republic of Korea (with concurrent accreditation to Mongolia) from September 2006 to December 2010. Prior to this, Mr Chua was Director (Northeast Asia) at the Ministry from August 2002 to April 2006.

Mr Chua graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) in 1985 from the National University of Singapore. He also obtained a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University, New York, in 1992 and a Bachelor of Economics (Honours) from the University of London in 1998.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Singapore.

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Source:: Presentation of credentials of Singapore’s High Commissioner to the Republic of Botswana, 30 May

Categories: AFRICA

World Humanitarian Summit 2016: African Union presents the Common African Position; A call for Africa to show Self-Commitment

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In Africa, there are 15 million people displaced, 4 million of which are refugees while the rest are Internally Displaced Persons therefore underscoring the need to change the Humanitarian architecture and refocus from delivering aid to building resilience for our States and communities during and after emergencies. Speaking on 23 May 2016, during the High-Level leader’s roundtable on “Changing People’s Lives: From Delivering Aid to Ending Need session at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, H.E Mr. Erastus Mwencha the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), observed refocusing on the post- crisis management of the Humanitarian landscape is crucial to avert an amplification of the scale of the humanitarian crisis.

The Deputy Chairperson, while presenting the Common African Position, highlighted that Africa was keen on the implementation of its set of self-Commitments part of which urges African States to not only open up space for Humanitarian aid but also lead and coordinate the process for all the humanitarian actors involved. H.E Mr. Mwencha noted that the States are sometimes not fully aware of what is being done by the various actors on the ground.

The AUC Deputy Chairperson however cautioned that the primary role of the State is to avert or predict humanitarian crisis and prevent human suffering by taking mitigating action against their consequences. He called on African States to show commitments in addressing the root causes of the crisis, particularly those caused by political impasse, conflicts and violence. To partly address this, African countries have showed commitment by voluntarily submit themselves for governance review by the peers under the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) among others.

On the natural disasters, H.E Mr. Mwencha noted that Africa has already began programmes especially on predicting, responding and adapting to natural calamities through the African Risk Capacity. Participating member States benefit from early warning systems and appropriate contingency plans to respond to the vagaries of weather during and post the calamity.

H.E Mr. Mwencha also noted that it was paramount to relook the humanitarian financing and resource mobilization and create a conducive environment to enhance the contribution of the private sector, humanitarian actors and the civil society as well. He added that this was crucial for early warning, adequate and accurate research, data and statistics that are crucial in the effective for aid delivery but most importantly, in fore-planning for the resilience and capacity building post-crisis.

At the World Humanitarian Summit, the African Union will be pushing for the establishment of an African Humanitarian Agency that is key as an institution that Humanitarian actors can liaise and align with during crisis to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. The AUC Deputy Chairperson also underlined the need for a global humanitarian system that is transparent, efficient and responsive thus calling for the restructuring of the relevant decision making process on humanitarian issues by the UN Security Council based on the issues reflected in the Ezulwini consensus.

The African Union is also keen on the speedy ratification, domestication and implementation of the Kampala convention to address issues of internal displacement in the continent.

The United Nations estimates that 130 million people globally, currently need aid to survive.

The AUC Deputy Chairperson, who was leading a powerful delegation of the African Union to the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, addressed the continental and international press during a press conference where he highlighted the participation of Africa at the Summit and its contribution to the humanitarian system in the world. The press conference took place in the presence of H.E Aisha L. Abdullahi, Commissioner for Political Affairs of the African Union.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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Source:: World Humanitarian Summit 2016: African Union presents the Common African Position; A call for Africa to show Self-Commitment

Categories: AFRICA

African Union holds High Level Panel on Humanitarian Effectiveness in Africa at the margins of the World Humanitarian Summit

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The African Union Commission (AUC) held a High-Level Panel on humanitarian effectiveness in Africa to provide an interactive dialogue between the African Union and the global community on Africa’s humanitarian agenda. The panel discussion took place on 24 May 2016 at the margins of the First Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey. The event brought together representatives from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA); the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons; the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, the RECs, Civil Societies and invited guests.

The meeting focused on issues around Africa’s new humanitarian architecture, ratification and domestication of the Kampala Convention, and the proposed Conference of States Parties, root causes and durables solutions, building resilience: lessons from Eastern and the Horn of Africa, the role of Private Sector in humanitarian action.

H.E. Aisha. L. Abdullahi, Commissioner of Political Affairs of the African Union Commission (AUC) in her opening remarks on behalf of H.E Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the AU Commission, welcomed the delegates and highlighted the opportunities presented to world leaders by the World Humanitarian Summit to look into the future in shaping a new architecture that is more global, inclusive, and efficient. She underlined the importance of the African Union High-Level Panel in unveiling to the world Africa’s new plans for change and vision in achieving humanitarian effectiveness , ending humanitarian crisis and providing humanitarian needs with the view to better the lives of the population.

The Commissioner further articulated the humanitarian challenges facing the Continent and gave proposed long term solutions as depicted in the Common African Position on humanitarian effectiveness (CAP) and the African Union Agenda 2063 towards the construction of a new Humanitarian Architecture. “Today, over 75% of humanitarian action is on the African continent. Africa, in spite of its concerted efforts continues to face growing challenges, part of them as a result of failures in the global system” She noted.

The AU recognizes that the Humanitarian System as it exists today is overstretched and calls for its fundamental reform, moreover, the urgent need for a review of UN Resolution 46/182 and a comprehensive review process for the entire humanitarian architecture. To address these issues Commissioner Abdullahi indicated that the African Union has presented its proposals and vision in a Common African Position on Humanitarian Effectiveness at the World Humanitarian Summit .The document is founded on 10 Pillars that embodies Africa’s vision and aspirations on what African people would like to see in shaping a future humanitarian architecture, addressing comprehensive and numerous issues for achieving desired change and effective humanitarian response.

The Commissioner concluded that “ to achieve the desired change in line with Agenda 2063, Africa’s humanitarian transformation will be supported by a 10 year Plan of Action and roadmap for transformation with 5 priority areas that includes; strengthening the State’s role in humanitarian action, reforming of the humanitarian architecture, addressing root causes and durable solutions, moving from norm setting to implementation, taking measures to link humanitarian action and sustainable development.”

The AU in committing to the outcomes of the Istanbul, Turkey Summit will convene in early 2017, a Continental Conference to report on the implementation of the Istanbul summit commitments. The continental Conference will be preceded by the AU Annual Symposium to be held in Nairobi, Kenya in November 2016. Worth noting, the Solutions highlighted in the Common Africa position were included in the UN secretary General’s report on the Humanitarian Situation.

Among the personalities at the AU High-level meeting was the Vice President of the Republic of Liberia, H.E Joseph Boakai. In his brief intervention he thanked the AU on its intervention on fighting the Ebola crisis. The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mr. Stephen O’Brien in his brief remarks recognized the admirable results African states have made in addressing the issues of displaced persons through the Kampala convention and congratulated the AU on the Common African Position on humanitarian effectiveness and noted that this is a significant step towards tackling the challenges facing the Humanitarian action in Africa.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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Source:: African Union holds High Level Panel on Humanitarian Effectiveness in Africa at the margins of the World Humanitarian Summit

Categories: AFRICA

The African Union Showcased Key Achievements during Exhibition at First World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul Turkey

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The African Union Commission (AUC) successfully participated in an exhibition at the sidelines of the World Humanitarian Summit which took place on 23-24 May 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey. The African Union exhibition highlighted Africa’s challenges and stories in humanitarian action that reinforces collective spirit of solidarity and collaboration that exist between the African Union (AU), Member States, Regional Economic Communities, women and youth groups, private sector, Civil Society, the Diaspora and African people. The AU stand was a crowd puller as it attracted many delegates during the exhibition. The venue used by the AU was highly branded by AU symbols, messages and publications.

The Deputy Chairperson, H.E. Erastus Mwencha and H.E. Dr Aisha .L. Abdullahi, Commissioner for Political Affairs (DPA) of the AUC officially opened the exhibition booth on 23 May 2016. During their visit, they were briefed by the DPA officials on the publication, pictures and videos on display. Among the key documents on display were the Common Africa Position, African’s support to the fight against Ebola, The African Union handbook, and a host of other key documents highlighting the achievements of Africa in humanitarian actions as well as Africa’s solution to African problems.

On the second day of the exhibition, Commissioner Dr Aisha .L. Abdullahi on behalf of the Commission welcomed government representatives from Uganda, Liberia and Nigeria among other AU Member States as she presented and explained in detail the documents and items on display on the AU stand to the delegation . She focused on the Common Africa Position (CAP) “The Common African Position was adopted by the African Union Member States after a wide consultations across the continent…Africa is the only region that presented its common position on humanitarian effectiveness, the UN Secretary general and chief [H.E. Dr Aisha .L. Abdullahi (right) with Mr. Tawio Abidogun (Center) Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Nigeria in the African Union exhibition booth at the World Humanitarian Summit.] Humanitarian actors in the world commended the African union for this great achievement” underlined the Commissioner. She added that, the AU is proud to provide such a constructive document which the United Nations (UN) Secretary General said will be useful in completing the UN Secretary General’s report on Humanitarian effectiveness in the World.

The Commissioner and her delegation also visited other exhibition booth that highlighted the plight of Africa’s forgotten crises such as the one on Western Sahara refugee crisis, where she viewed some pictures depicting the 40 Faces, 40 Years – A Life Time in Exile. A photo exhibition showing faces of people from one year old to present date. Same images were also displayed at the AU headquarters recently. The Commissioner noted that, “The Western Sahara refugee are the most resilient people she had ever come across in the world as they lived in very difficult conditions and have been displaced for the last 40 years but they have hope for a better life in a prosperous and peaceful Africa”. Other issues highlighted in the exhibition included the Darfur and Central Africa crises.

Other exhibition visited included the United Nations Population Fund, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), The Humanitarian Advisory Group and the International Committee of the Red Cross among others.

Note to Editor

The Common African Position (CAP) represents Africa’s appreciation and it’s understanding of the humanitarian landscape and the required intervention that is necessary for achieving sustainable solutions to humanitarian crises. It also emphasizes the primary responsibility of Member States in humanitarian response. It calls for strengthening of State capabilities particularly in ensuring that States play a central role in providing security to affected populations and relief workers and in guaranteeing humanitarian space. http://www.au.int/en/newsevents/29543/african-union-high-level-panel-humanitarian-effectiveness-africa-istanbul-turkey

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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Source:: The African Union Showcased Key Achievements during Exhibition at First World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul Turkey

Categories: AFRICA