Nigeria: UN torture prevention body to visit from 1 – 3 April

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 27, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) is due to visit Nigeria next week for talks on strengthening the authorities’ efforts to prevent and eliminate torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees.

SPT Chairperson Malcolm Evans and fellow committee member Victor Madrigal-Borloz will be in Nigeria from 1 to 3 April and are scheduled to meet government officials and hold technical discussions with the relevant ministries, as well as meeting civil society organisations.

Their talks in Abuja will focus on advising and assisting the Nigerian authorities regarding the measures that they need to take in order to be in compliance with the obligations contained in the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT), which Nigeria ratified in 2009.

They will also hold discussions on the role, achievements and challenges of Nigeria’s independent National Preventive Mechanism – a body which OPCAT requires be established and which must have the authority and capacity to visit any place where persons are deprived of their liberty in order to help prevent torture or ill-treatment.

“This is our first visit to Nigeria since it ratified OPCAT. We will be exploring what has been done and the further steps the country needs to take to effectively prevent torture and ill-treatment of people held in detention, and so meet its OPCAT obligations,” said Mr Evans.

The SPT has a mandate to visit all States that are party to OPCAT and to make recommendations to the authorities to provide for effective safeguards against torture and ill-treatment of persons deprived of their liberty.

“Our aim is to ensure that this vital work is done, and to encourage and support all those involved in the doing of it, at whatever level or capacity,” Mr Evans said.

Source: APO

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Africa’s youth key to strengthening agricultural economy / More investment needed to create new opportunities for young people in the sector, FAO Director-General tells Regional Conference

TUNIS, Tunisia, March 27, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Getting more African youth involved in agriculture and boosting support for the region’s vulnerable family farmers will be pivotal to improving food security and economic well-being in the years to come, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva told participants at the Organization’s Regional Conference for Africa.

He also named water scarcity, low investment and conflict as being among the challenges to food security in the region, but said he was confident that Africa could “reach peace, stability and food security” in the future.

“The region’s economic growth rate is above the global average and most of the world’s fastest-growing economies are in Africa,” Graziano da Silva told ministers of agriculture and funding partners at the 24-28 March event. “The challenge is to translate this growth into social inclusion. Agriculture, rural development and youth can make this happen.”

Rejuvenating agriculture

The links between youth, agribusiness and rural development are high on the agenda at the conference. Africa is the world’s youngest region, with more than half of the population being under 25 years of age.

“Every year, 11 million people enter (Africa’s) labour market. But salaries are low in the rural sector, informality is high, agriculture is not considered as attractive by many of the region’s youth, and social protection is not always available for rural families in critical situations.”

A paper prepared for the conference points out that impressive growth in some African countries over the past decade has not translated into widespread employment or income for young people. FAO is calling for greater public and private investment in agribusiness, agro-industry and market-related services to attract and keep young workers, fuel job creation, and spur new development in the agricultural sector.

Family farming

The Director-General noted that the African Year of Agriculture and Food Security was being observed alongside the International Year of Family Farming, calling on African countries to “use this opportunity to put small farmers, fishers, pastoralists, forest collectors and traditional and indigenous communities at the center of our agenda.”

“Let me emphasize that to achieve food security we need to combine the sustainable increase of production and social protection to provide a cushion for the most vulnerable,” pointing out that some 90 percent of rural African households are engaged in farming-related activities.

Regional priorities and partnerships

Graziano da Silva said the region had taken an important step to strengthening agriculture with the establishment of the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund. The Fund, fully financed by African countries, is housed at FAO, but co-led with the African Union, and developed in keeping with priorities laid down by the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

Later in the week, the Director-General is expected to sign agreements releasing the first packages of funding to six countries for programmes and action plans supported under the Trust Fund (Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mali, Niger and South Sudan). FAO has also supported countries in developing proposals for other sources of funding, including the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), which has benefitted 15 African countries with a combined total of more than $560 million.

The FAO chief also stressed the importance of partnerships combining the efforts of governments, private sector companies and civil society in accessing financial services and other support for farmers.

Organizational focus

In his address, the Director-General also gave an overview of a process of transformational changes taking place within FAO and its benefits for Africa, including an increase in its technical presence in offices throughout the region.

FAO has three regional initiatives aligned with the renewed strategic framework, which respond to priorities identified by Member countries and which are in different stages of implementation: support to the renewed efforts and approaches to end hunger by 2025; promoting the sustainable intensification of agricultural production and commercialization; and, building resilience in the drylands of Africa with a special focus in the Sahel, Horn of Africa and flood-prone countries.

Making progress

Around 60 developing countries worldwide have already met a hunger-reduction target outlined by Millennium Development Goal number one, to halve the proportion of chronically hungry people between 1990 and 2015.

In Africa, the countries include: Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Djibouti, Libya, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, South Africa, Togo and Tunisia.

Source: APO

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Impartial justice for all, the key to reconciliation in Côte d’Ivoire – UN expert human rights expert

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 27, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The United Nations Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Cote d’Ivoire, Doudou Diène, expressed concern over unresolved issues in the national reconciliation process of the West African country, ahead of presidential elections in 2015. The key, he stressed, lies in applying “impartial justice for all” in a country still recovering from months of unrest after a disputed poll in 2010.

“The 2015 presidential election has to be the ultimate test and proof that Cote d’Ivoire has recovered from this crisis,” Mr. Diène said during the presentation of his latest report* to the UN Human Rights Council. “However, there are key problems that have not been resolved, and which have to be resolved to make the election democratically credible and consensual.”

“The most important point, because all the problems are very closely interrelated, is that the reconciliation process is linked to the key issue of justice and, more precisely, the issue of impartiality and equity of justice, and to the problem of fully participating democratic process,” he said.

The Independent Expert warned that -for the time being- only people accused of crime and coming from the side of the former president Laurent Gbagbo are being tried or imprisoned. “The problem of equity of justice is that all that have committed violent crimes whatever their political, ethnic or tribal or religious background should be tried,” he underscored.

He particularly called for the expedition of the trial of the country’s former first lady, President Gbagbo’s wife. The former president is currently facing trial in the Hague’s International Criminal Court.

The Independent Expert charged by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor, report and advice on the human rights situation in Cote d’Ivoire, also called for the reform of the national electoral body ahead of the 2015 elections.

“For the election to be credible, the independent electoral commission has to be reformed,” Mr. Diène said. “Everybody agrees that it has to be reformed because it does not reflect the reality of the political landscape of Cote d’Ivoire.”

“Cote d’Ivoire is on the way of recovering from ten years of violent crisis, but it is just a process because the crisis has been very deep,” the human rights expert stated. “It will take time for Cote d’Ivoire to totally recover but I feel the grounds have been rebuilt and the basis is there for recovery.”

(*) Check the Independent Expert’s report to the UN Human Rights Council (A/HRC/25/73):

Source: APO

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5th Eastern Africa Oil, Gas-LNG & Energy Conference – 28 – 30 April 2014, Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya, March 27, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — With a 35+year track record in and on Africa, Global Pacific & Partners ( hosts this landmark meeting on Eastern Africa. Now in its 5th year, Global Pacific & Partners invites you to this annual event held in Nairobi, Kenya, providing unrivalled new insights into the upstream opportunities, open acreage, bid rounds, new ventures, oil/gas investments, key upstream players, and corporate/government strategies in this vast region of fifteen countries covering onshore and offshore potential, from Eritrea to South Africa, including across the Mascerene islands.


Download the program:



About “Global Pacific & Partners: Clubs and Networks”:

Over 350 senior executives attended the Conference in 2013, with 36 exhibitors.

Key Focus:

- Upstream opportunities

- Open acreage

- Bid rounds

- New ventures

- Oil/gas investments

- Key upstream players

- Corporate/government strategies

Senior-Level Presentations from:

- Africa Oil Corp

- Anadarko Petroleum



- Discover Exploration Limited

- Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos, EP

- Geological Survey Department, Malawi

- Ministry of Energy, Kenya

- Ministere des Hydrocarbures, Kinshasa

- Ministere des Mines et des Hydrocarbures, Madagascar

- Ministry of Energy & Natural Resources, Rwanda

- Ophir Energy

- PetroSeychelles

- Petroleum Exploration & Production Department, Uganda

- Salama Fikira

- Shell Exploration

- SPETC Advisory

- Soma Oil & Gas

- Somali Petroleum Corporation

- South Atlantic Petroleum

- Taipan Resources

- T5 Oil & Gas Ltd

- Tullow Oil

- Vanoil Energy

The 5th Eastern Africa – Strategy Briefing presented by their Chairman, Dr Duncan Clarke, is held prior to the conference, on Monday 28th April, and will provide key insights on the corporate upstream oil and gas game, governments, state oil firms, and licensing strategies.

Key Focus:

- Eastern Africa’s corporate E&P players

- Acreage, assets, strategies and investments

- Minnows, Independents, Super Majors

- Onshore/Offshore: Sudan to South Africa

- Foreign State Oil Companies

Following the 5th Eastern Africa Oil, Gas/LNG & Energy we will celebrate the 62nd PetroAfricanus Dinner to be held on 29th April.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Global Pacific & Partners.

Note for the Press:

For further information, please contact Global Pacific & Partners:

Babette van Gessel

Tel: +31 70 324 61 54


Sonika Greyvenstein

Tel: +27 11 880 70 52


Source: APO

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Gemalto launches integrated Border and Visa Management solution for fast, reliable and secure immigration control

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, March 27, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Gemalto (Euronext NL0000400653 GTO) (, the world leader in digital security, has introduced the Coesys Border and Visa Management solution to meet the combined needs of securing borders and simplifying travel procedures. The end-to-end solution integrates high-availability service platforms, secure software and on-site services to significantly reduce waiting times through the use of automated document verification and border control at land, sea and airport check points. Gemalto’s visa and border management technology enables government authorities to implement an electronically connected system for easy deployment of immigration policies.


Download the infographic:

This new, entirely computerized system enhances security and provides a more efficient set of tools to monitor border entries and exits. It also delivers higher rates of detection and prevention through official international databases to check if the travel document has been lost or stolen. Coesys Border and Visa Management can easily incorporate automated e-gates at border immigration check points. These highly secure, two-stage traveler verification systems first verify that the e-passport is authentic and then performs facial or fingerprint recognition to match the holder to the electronic data securely stored on the e-passport.

In addition to a dedicated platform for border control, Gemalto’s portfolio includes consultancy, solution design, system integration and full support for the transition from legacy systems to integrated border management infrastructures. Coesys Border & Visa Management leverages Gemalto’s unique global footprint and long-standing trusted relationships with government and authorities worldwide, acquired through more than 80 successful deployments in the public sector.

“This new solution capitalizes on Gemalto’s security expertise and the hundreds of millions of electronic travel documents with the associated services that we have deployed so far,” said Frédéric Trojani, Executive Vice President, Government Programs at Gemalto. “With air passengers traffic expected to double by 2030 (1) and 53% of all passports issued forecast to embed the electronic feature in 2017 (2), Coesys Border and Visa Management comes about just when governments need to fast track travelers through major international airports, with no compromise on security.”

1 source Airports Council International (ACI)

2 source ICAO

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

Gemalto Media Contacts:

Kristel Teyras

Middle East & Africa

+33 1 55 01 57 89

About Gemalto

Gemalto (Euronext NL0000400653 GTO) ( is the world leader in digital security ( with 2013 annual revenues of €2.4 billion and more than 12,000 employees operating out of 85 offices and 25 research and software development centers, located in 44 countries.

We are at the heart of the rapidly evolving digital society. Billions of people worldwide increasingly want the freedom to communicate, travel, shop, bank, entertain and work – anytime, everywhere – in ways that are enjoyable and safe. Gemalto delivers on their expanding needs for personal mobile services, payment security, authenticated cloud access, identity and privacy protection, eHealthcare and eGovernment efficiency, convenient ticketing and dependable machine-to-machine (M2M) applications. We develop secure embedded software and secure products which we design and personalize. Our platforms and services manage these products, the confidential data they contain and the trusted end-user services made possible.

Our innovations enable our clients to offer trusted and convenient digital services to billions of individuals. Gemalto thrives with the growing number of people using its solutions to interact with the digital and wireless world.

For more information visit,,, or follow @gemalto on Twitter.

Source: APO

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