Committee on Rights of Migrant Workers publishes findings on Mauritania, Lesotho, Senegal and Turkey

The UN Committee on the Rights of Migrant Workers has published it finding on the countries it examined during its latest session from 11 to 22 April: Mauritania, Lesotho, Senegal and Turkey.

They are among the 48 States Parties to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. They are required to submit regular reports to the Committee, which is composed of 14 international independent human rights experts.

The findings, officially termed concluding observations, contain positive aspects of how the respective State is doing with regard to implementation of the Convention and also main matters of concern and recommendations.

The concluding observations can be found here: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=1044&Lang=en

The CMW will next meet from 29 August to 7 September when it is due to review Honduras, Nicaragua, Niger and Sri Lanka:
http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=1046&Lang=en

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

World Malaria Day marked in Somalia with commitment to reduce infection rate further

UNICEF Somalia has pledged its support to efforts to work towards virtually eliminating malaria to mark World Malaria day today.

The malaria prevalence in Somalia has dropped dramatically since 2009 when more than a quarter of Somalis (27.3) were infected to fewer than two percent of the population in 2014.

Malaria remains endemic in most parts of the Central and Southern regions and in some areas in the north with other areas being prone to epidemics.

Since 2006, with support from The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, UNICEF in collaboration with World Health Organisation and Somali local organizations have supported the Ministries of Health for malaria control and elimination. From 2015 to date more than 600,000 Long Lasting Impregnated Nets (LLINs) have been distributed. By 2017 3 million nets will be distributed meaning universal coverage in endemic zones.

In 2015 more than 20,000 of confirmed malaria cases were treated with anti malaria drugs. In locations prone to epidemics 22 villages in Somaliland, 3062 households in the South and Central areas and 4658 households in Puntland have been sprayed with insecticides and populations given information about protecting themselves from mosquito bites.

“On this World Malaria Day, we would like to remind everyone of the need to keep up the fight against malaria even though it has been decreasing,” said Dr Anirban Chatterjee, UNICEF Somalia’s Chief of Health. “We advise all Somalis particularly pregnant women and children under-fives to always sleep under bed nets and to seek treatment as soon as they have any symptoms.”

UNICEF is committed to increase coverage of malaria prevention and case treatment intervention in order to reach less than 1% of prevalence in Central and Southern areas and near zero prevalence in northern parts of the country. This will be achieved with WHO and local partners under the leadership of the Ministries of Health and together with other UNICEF programmes.

Background

World Malaria Day was established in May 2007 by the 60th session of the World Health Assembly, WHO’s decision-making body. The aim of World Malaria Day is to provide education and understanding of malaria as a global scourge that is preventable and a disease that is curable and this year’s theme is “ End malaria for good”. There were an estimated 214 million cases of malaria worldwide in 2015, and an estimated 438 000 deaths. Approximately 90% of all malaria deaths occur in Africa.

About UNICEF Somalia

UNICEF has been working in Somalia since 1972 and today has over 300 staff working in Mogadishu, Baidoa, Garowe and Hargeisa. Together with 200 international and national NGOs and community-based organizations, UNICEF delivers services in Health, Nutrition, WASH, Education and Child Protection, responds to emergencies and supports peacebuilding and development.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

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World Malaria Day: The SDC reaffirms its commitment to fight malaria

There has been some success in the fight against malaria since the turn of the millennium – not least thanks to Switzerland’s activities in this field. Nevertheless, more than 400,000 people still die from the disease every year, mostly children under five. At the event to mark World Malaria Day on 25 April 2016, SDC Director General Manuel Sager therefore appealed to all partners involved to continue the fight against malaria with the same shared determination. Only in this way can the goal of the international community be achieved to reduce the incidence of this deadly disease by 90% by 2030, he said.

World Malaria Day is being celebrated today in Bern with a variety of events attended by representatives of government and politics, academia, business and the World Health Organization (WHO). The event has been organised by the Swiss Malaria Group, which was set up by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in 2007. The Swiss Malaria Group is a network of research institutions, public organisations, private companies and civil society organisations that share the objective of advancing Switzerland’s commitment to fight malaria. “We have already made some progress,” noted Mr Sager at the event and went on to say: “Nevertheless, a lot remains to be done if we are to achieve WHO’s ambitious goal of reducing malaria cases by 90% by 2030.”

A child dies every two minutes

According to WHO, some 438,000 people die of malaria worldwide every year, 70% of whom are children under five. Almost half the world’s population is threatened by the disease, which on average claims a child’s life every two minutes. These numbers, however, have to be seen in light of the successes that have been achieved in the last 15 years. Since the turn of the millennium the mortality rate has almost halved worldwide, which according to estimates translates into more than 6.2 million lives saved. Today, two out of three children under five in sub-Saharan Africa sleep under an insecticide-treated mosquito net, and access to high-quality medicines has also been considerably improved.

Switzerland has made a substantial contribution to this positive development with its innovative engagement based on partnership. For instance, the public-private partnership Medicines for Malaria Venture, which was co-launched by the SDC and is based in Geneva, has brought six new anti-malaria drugs onto the market in the last 15 years. Over 300 million treatments of the child-friendly drug Coartem Dispersible, which was developed in partnership with Novartis, have been delivered to 50 countries on an entirely non-profit basis. In Tanzania, the national mosquito net programme, which is supported by the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and the SDC, has supplied families with some 50 million nets, saving the lives of more than 60,000 children per year.

Successes provide examples of effective development cooperation

Manuel Sager sees these successes as “an example of how effective Swiss development cooperation is if all partners from all sectors concerned work together”. For this reason the SDC will continue to work as a bridge-builder to enable Switzerland to put its strengths and experience to effective use in the fight against malaria.

This commitment is in line with the SDC’s overarching strategy on healthcare promotion, which is described in the Federal Council Dispatch on Switzerland’s International Cooperation 2017-20, and is based on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations. “International development and health go hand in hand,” emphasises Manuel Sager. “Good health is vital for the development of every individual, for nations and the world as a whole. Health is a human right. Health is crucial to combating poverty. Health contributes to economic development and global security.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Switzerland.

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Categories: AFRICA

Female Genital Mutilation in Guinea on the rise – Zeid

A new UN report released Monday says despite being forbidden by national and international law, female genital mutilation and/or excision shows no sign of abating in Guinea: 97 percent of women and girls aged 15 to 49 years in Guinea have undergone female genital mutilation and/or excision.

“Although female genital mutilation appears to be decreasing worldwide, this is not the case in Guinea, where this practice is widespread in every region and among every ethnic, religious and social group,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

The report shows that, in recent years, female genital mutilation and/or excision (FGM/E) has been inflicted on girls at a younger age than was previously the case. According to a recent study, 69 percent of women aged 20 to 24 were excised before the age of 10.

In Guinea, FGM/E is mostly seen as an initiation rite and groups of girls from multiple families are often excised together, either at home or in camps. However the report shows an increasing trend towards individual excisions, due to financial constraints and out of fear of legal sanctions, especially when it comes to excising infants or very young girls.

Although FGM/E is usually carried out by traditional excision practitioners, there is also a growing trend towards its medicalization, despite a 2010 decree specifically prohibiting public or private health institutions from practising it.

Whereas in most countries where FGM/E is still occurring, women and girls seem to be largely in favour of its abolition, in Guinea the number of women supporting it has increased. A study by the Institut national de la statistique showed that the proportion of women and girls in favour of it rose from 65 percent in 1999 to 76 percent in 2012.

“Broadly speaking, non-excision of girls is considered dishonourable in Guinean society,” the report says. “Social pressure is such that girls may request excision for fear of being excluded or forced to remain unmarried if they do not suffer the practice.”

The report acknowledges that the Guinean government has adopted many legislative texts and regulations to prevent and sanction FGM/E and organized training for judicial, security and medical personnel. However these efforts have so far not resulted in any decrease, due to the support of some political and religious leaders for this harmful practice.

According to the report, the persistence of FGM/E is in large part due to the lack of action by the judicial authorities. “Generally speaking, legal texts prohibiting FGM/E are not respected. Thousands of young girls are excised across the country every year, during school vacations, with the full knowledge of judicial personnel, including prosecutors and instructing magistrates,” it says.

Excision practitioners are rarely subjected to legal proceedings and no medical professionals have been sanctioned for carrying out FGM/E. However, the report also notes that when justice personnel have tried to address FGM/E issues, they have frequently been subjected to severe pressure and threats. Since 2014, only eight people have been convicted in connection with FGM/E and all of them received suspended sentences and/or small fines.

“Female genital mutilation is not only an extremely detrimental to women and girls’ health and well-being, it is also an atrocious act of violence. There is no possible justification for this practice — no cultural, religious or medical reason whatsoever,” Zeid said, noting that Guinea had the second highest rate of FGM in the world, after Somalia, and far higher rates than immediate neighbours Senegal (25 percent), Côte d’Ivoire (38 percent) and Liberia (50 percent)*.

The report warns that, paradoxically, awareness campaigns launched by the Government and national and international organizations, which have been focusing on associated health risks, seem to have contributed to the medicalization of FGM/E, rather than to its reduction.

The report makes several recommendations to the Government, NGOs and the international community to enhance the fight against FGM/E. In particular, it calls on the authorities to ensure the full respect and enforcement of all relevant legislation, with independent and impartial investigation of every suspected case of FGM/E, and the prosecution of perpetrators and their accomplices.

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

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IOM, Partners Unite to ‘End Malaria For Good’

Today, World Malaria Day 2016, IOM joins the World Health Organization, Member States, global health stakeholders and key affected communities in calling for concerted and coordinated efforts to “End Malaria For Good” as reflected in the Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030.*

According to WHO, 3.2 billion of the world’s population remains at risk of malaria. There is an urgent need to pursue targeted and multi-sectoral collaborative efforts to achieve such targets as reducing the rate of new malaria cases by at least 90%, eliminating malaria in at least 35 countries, and preventing a resurgence of infection in malaria-free countries.

As the global health community renews its commitment to action against malaria, it is important to bear in mind that several groups of migrants, mobile populations and travelers remain at disproportionately high risk for malaria, including drug and insecticide resistance.

Countries aiming for malaria free status cannot do so without addressing equitable provision of health services, including health education, accessible diagnosis and effective treatment for migrants, especially those living or working in endemic areas.

Director of IOM’s Migration Health Division Dr. Davide Mosca said: “In all stages of migration – at origin, in transit, at destination and upon return – migrants and mobile populations may face marginalization and poor access to health care services, reducing the effectiveness of malaria control and prevention strategies. Malaria control strategies often fail to account for migrant populations and their specific needs, for example as hard-to-reach or crises-affected populations. Factors relating to migrants’ living, working and transit conditions increase their likelihood of being infected with malaria.”

“Population movement makes migrants and communities vulnerable to acquiring or introducing malaria at their places of origin, transit or destination. In addition, exposure to new strains of the disease in the areas they pass through can result in higher morbidity and mortality for migrants,” he added.

Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) resistance is also a growing concern, especially within mobile communities, and timely access of migrants to screening and treatment is of particular importance in preventing the spread and development of new resistant strains.

IOM has been implementing malaria programmes in several countries around the world, providing services to migrant beneficiaries and technical support, as well as capacity building for national and local partners.

Examples include: provision of health education, long-lasting insecticide-treated net (LLINs) distribution, rapid diagnostics and treatment in nine Myanmar townships with high rates of migration and artemisinin resistance; malaria services along border provinces with LLINs distribution, capacity building for behavior change agents and community health workers in Thailand; mobility tracking for migrants in Vietnam; technical support to such initiatives as the Elimination-8 in Southern Africa; a new project in Paraguay with special focus on mobile populations and epidemiological services to avoid reintroduction of malaria.

“IOM stands ready to work closely with WHO and other UN agencies, governments and NGO partners, as well as migrant communities and affected populations, to ensure that the needs and vulnerabilities of migrants and mobile populations are addressed in achieving the malaria targets,” said Dr Mosca.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Office of Migration (IOM).

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Source:: IOM, Partners Unite to ‘End Malaria For Good’

Categories: AFRICA

Somalia: Sexual violence must be subject to criminal justice, not traditional Xeer systems, says UN expert

The UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Bahame Tom Nyanduga, has called on the Government to enhance the capacity of the judiciary and police force in handling cases of sexual and gender-based violence, and to prohibit the handling of such cases by traditional clan elders. He also urged the Government to implement the recommendations arising from Somalia’s 2016 Universal Periodic Review before the Human Rights Council, including the adoption of a moratorium on the death penalty.

At the end of his third mission to the country, Nyanduga noted that the Xeer Somali traditional dispute resolution system continues to play a key role in the country, given that rule of law institutions are still being established. However, he was concerned to learn that traditional elders adjudicate sexual and gender-based violence cases, such as rape, due to the absence of a fully functioning criminal justice system in many parts of Somalia.

“I call on the Government to prioritize the creation and implementation of a twin strategy: to enhance the capacity of the judiciary and the Somali Police force, and to prohibit clan and traditional elders from resolving or adjudicating such cases,” Nyanduga said. “There is also a crucial need to create human rights awareness among clan elders and religious leaders about women’s rights, as one way of facilitating change within communities.”

The Independent Expert also called for the adoption of the Sexual Offences Bill during the forthcoming session of Parliament to further guarantee the protection of women’s rights.

Nyanduga commended the Federal and regional authorities and Parliament for committing themselves to holding elections later this year, widening the electoral base and ensuring that a 30 per cent women representation is met. However, he expressed concern that representation of youth, minorities and persons with disabilities, is not similarly guaranteed.

The Independent Expert also reiterated the need to address the human rights challenges that journalists and media in Somalia face. He warned that the Media Law must not be used as a tool to harass journalists, but rather to ensure respect for the rights to freedom of opinion and expression.

He noted with satisfaction the Government’s commitment to adopt the National Human Rights Commission Bill, establishing an independent National Human Rights Institution before the end of its tenure, and urged that this commitment be met.

“However, another bill, the Counter Terrorism Bill, could potentially negatively affect the enjoyment of human rights,” Nyanduga said. “I urge the authorities to ensure that this bill conforms to international human rights guarantees in accordance with Somalia’s international human rights obligations and the revised Federal Constitution. To be effective in fighting terrorism, the law must be firmly entrenched in human rights.”

The Independent Expert commended the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) for the role it continues to play in Somalia. He noted its commitment to comply with human rights and international humanitarian law, including ensuring accountability for violations committed by its forces. Regarding the incident on the killing of the four civilians by AMISOM forces in Bullo Mareer, Lower Shabelle, the Independent Expert urged AMISOM to conduct thorough, independent investigations and make the findings of its inquiries public.

In this regard, the Independent Expert welcomed the plan by the UN and AMISOM to hold the first UN Human Rights Due Diligence Policy implementation review workshop on 26 and 27 April, urging that stronger collaboration on the ground will foster compliance with human rights and international humanitarian law, which is a shared objective for both the United Nations and the African Union.

Nyanduga began his visit to Somalia on 16 April. During his mission, he visited Mogadishu, Kismayo and Baidoa, and met the Speaker of the Federal Parliament, Federal Government authorities in Mogadishu, representatives of Jubbaland State, and the South West State. He also held talks with the AMISOM, and UN Assistance Mission in Somalia leadership, UN agencies in Somalia, NGOs, Civil Society Organizations, clan leaders and religious scholars in Jubbaland, and representatives of the media. His visit officially ended on 23 April.

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

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Source:: Somalia: Sexual violence must be subject to criminal justice, not traditional Xeer systems, says UN expert

Categories: AFRICA

UN agencies concerned about limited funding to assist South Sudanese refugees in Sudan

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today expressed deep concern at funding shortfalls which could affect the assistance that is being provided to South Sudanese refugees in Sudan.

“Our resources are being stretched at a time when needs are quickly growing,” said UNHCR’s Representative in Sudan, Mohammed Adar. “Over 50,000 South Sudanese have crossed into Sudan since the beginning of 2016, surpassing the planning figure set for the entire year. Further shortfalls in funding will hamper our ability to continue providing assistance for the existing South Sudanese refugees in Sudan while also responding to the emergency needs of new arrivals.” UNHCR humanitarian requirements for 2016 remain 18% funded, leaving over US$128 million in unmet needs.

The heads of UNICEF and WFP have voiced similar concerns about the limited resources available to respond to the basic needs of South Sudanese seeking refuge in Sudan, including access to clean water, shelter, emergency household supplies and adequate protection. The situation is particularly worrisome as the agencies’ funding shortages coincide with a period of heightened food insecurity in part of South Sudan. This, in addition to the ongoing violence, is driving rapidly increasing numbers of South Sudanese into Sudan.

The UNICEF Sudan Representative, Geert Cappelaere, also warns that his organisation is running out of funding for the provision of critical support to more than 100,000 children from South Sudan in dire need of urgent humanitarian assistance. “With only 11% of the total humanitarian requirement funded so far in 2016 and an estimated US$105 million shortfall, UNICEF is gravely concerned it may have to cut back on crucial lifesaving water, sanitation, nutrition, health and protection assistance to those vulnerable children”, Cappelaere emphasised.

Echoing the concern of his UNICEF and UNHCR colleagues, WFP Representative and Country Director Adnan Khan said: “We are concerned that if we do not receive sufficient funding soon enough, we will not be able to respond to the needs of South Sudanese refugees who continue to flee their country to seek food and refuge.”

WFP is currently facing a 12-month funding shortfall of US$181 million of which US$19 million will be used to meet the needs of the South Sudanese refugees through its Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation.

UNICEF, UNHCR and WFP have banded together to appeal for additional funding that will be required to meet greater needs created by the rapidly increasing number of South Sudanese fleeing into Sudan.

Conflict and food insecurity are forcing more and more South Sudanese to flee their country and cross into neighbouring countries. A total of 678,000 South Sudanese refugees are now being hosted in the neighbouring countries with 221,000 in Sudan.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of World Food Programme (WFP).

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Source:: UN agencies concerned about limited funding to assist South Sudanese refugees in Sudan

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Joint Statement on South Sudan Peace Process

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC

April 22, 2016

The text of the following statement was issued jointly by the Governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and Norway.

Begin Text:

The members of the Troika (United States, United Kingdom, and Norway) are deeply disappointed by Riek Machar’s continued failure to return to South Sudan’s capital Juba to form the Transitional Government of National Unity. This represents a willful decision by him not to abide by his commitments to implement the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan. We congratulate the government for demonstrating maximum flexibility for the sake of peace by agreeing to the compromise proposal on the return of security forces proposed by regional and international partners and mediated by the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission. It remains important that the government fully withdraws its troops from Juba as called for in the peace agreement. We also welcome the opposition’s support for the compromise proposal and demand that Machar abide by this commitment and return to Juba by 23 April. Machar’s failure to go to Juba, despite efforts from the international community to support his return, places the people of South Sudan at risk of further conflict and suffering and undermines the peace agreement’s reform pillars – demilitarizing South Sudan, injecting transparency of public finances, and pursuing justice and reconciliation – that offer South Sudan a chance for renewal. We will pursue appropriate measures against anyone who further frustrates implementation of the peace agreement.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Africa Regional Media Hub.

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Ambassador Catherine Russell Travels to Sudan and Malawi

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC

April 22, 2016

Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine Russell will travel to Sudan and Malawi from April 23 – 30.

In Sudan, Ambassador Russell will meet with government officials, representatives of civil society and international organizations, community leaders, and students to discuss the status of women and girls in Sudan. Her meetings will focus on preventing violence against women, promoting women’s economic empowerment, and enhancing women’s roles in peace, security, and reconciliation efforts.

The Ambassador will also meet with Awadeya Mahmoud, a 2016 recipient of the Secretary’s International Women of Courage Award.

In Malawi, Ambassador Russell will meet with government officials, local leaders, members of civil society, and students to learn more about the status of adolescent girls—particularly their health, education, and safety—as part of a new U.S. effort to empower girls in Malawi under the Let Girls Learn initiative championed by First Lady Michelle Obama.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Africa Regional Media Hub.

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AU Commission Chairperson meets with African Ambassadors in Moscow, challenges them to create training opportunities for students

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, met with African Ambassadors accredited to the Russian Federation in Moscow, during her second official visit to Russia, during which she held a dialogue with the Foreign Affairs Minister, Sergey Lavrov. The AU Commission Chairperson briefed them on the state of affairs at the Commission, the situation of peace and security on the continent, as well as on her discussions with Minister Lavrov.

Much attention was focused on Agenda 2063, on the consultation process that culminated in its adaption, including the 10-year implementation plan and the flagship projects. While highlighting the enormous prospects that Agenda 2063 presents to accelerate continental peace, integration and prosperity, she equally emphasized the challenges that must be overcome.

One of the challenges raised was the acute shortage of skilled human resources to drive the continent’s transformation agenda. “About 90% of our graduates are in the Arts, not in the science and technology area,” the Chairperson said, citing findings of a study conducted by the Africa Capacity Building Foundation to identify the skills gap on the continent.

She challenged the Ambassadors to join the skills revolution, by creating and facilitating possibilities of African students across various areas of science, technology and engineering.

The Ambassadors welcomed the challenge, assuring the Chairperson that the MoU signed with the Russia encourages and empowers them more to continue doing that which they were already doing.

“We will speak for Africa, and speak with authority,” the Deputy Dean of the African Ambassadors Group and Cameroon’s Ambassador to Russia, Amb. Mahamat Paba Salé, said. They also expressed their joy in the meeting and discussions with the Chairperson, throwing their support to her leadership.

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

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Africa and Russia strengthen ties to build on their potential

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, on Thursday 21 April 2016, concluded her second official visit to Russia, which ended on a high note, with commitment to strengthen the relationship between Africa and the Russian Federation. In meetings with the Russian Federation Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sergey Lavrov and the Chairperson of the Council of the Federation, Mrs. Valentina Matvienko, they agreed to strengthen the relationship in ways that would match the potential of Africa and Russia.

Organised as one of regular consultations within the framework of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the AU Commission and Russia in September 2014, Dr. Dlamini Zuma and Mr. Sergey Lavrov held discussions on issues ranging from sustainable development, to trade and investments, training of Africa’s youth, and peace and security.

The AU Commission Chairperson presented Africa’s development strategic priorities and directions, as featured in Africa’s Agenda 2063 and its adopted first 10-year implementation plan. She invited Russia and Russian businesses to take advantage of the investment opportunities presented in Africa.

The Foreign Minister indicated the keen interest of Russia in trade and investment projects and programmes at bilateral, regional and continental levels, in line with Africa’s Agenda 2063, particularly on industrialisation and infrastructural projects as outlined by the Chairperson.

The AU Commission Chairperson and Foreign Minister also discussed peace and security in Africa, focusing on the situation in Burundi, Central African Republic, Libya, Mali, South Sudan and others. They also exchanged on ways of combating terrorism and extremism, which threaten peace and security globally.

The Foreign Minister pledged the total support of the Russian Federation to Africa’s positions around UN resolutions, on the basis of the AU’s principle of African solution to African problems.

The meeting between the Chairpersons of the AU Commission and that of the Council of the Federation, Mrs. Valentina Matvienko, stayed along the same lines, emphasizing the need to deepen the historic relationship that exists with Russia in order to build on the potentials. They agreed to increase trade and investment between, with Dr. Dlamini Zuma reassuring Russian businesses of the potential to earn higher returns on investments in Africa than they would elsewhere.

Both with Minister Lavarov and Chairperson Matvienko, the AU Commission Chairperson reiterated the need for many more African students to be trained in Russia around areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. These skills are very much needed in all the areas of transport, energy, telecommunication infrastructure that are critical in accelerating Africa’s integration.

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

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Seychelles concludes 2nd Joint Committee Meeting with Philippines

The second Joint Committee Meeting Seychelles-Philippines was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Manila on April 21 and co-chaired by Ambassador Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, Principal Secretary, and Ms. Laura Q. Del Rosario, Undersecretary, Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of the Philippines, who had also co-chaired the 1st Joint Committee Meeting that took place in Victoria on October 22, 2013.

This working session was preceded by a courtesy call of the Seychellois delegation – also comprising of Seychelles’ non resident Ambassador to the Philippines, Mr. Philippe Le Gall, Seychelles’ Honorary Consul General to the Philippines, Mr. Joselito D. Campos, Ms Jutta Alexis, desk officer for the Philippines at MFA and Ms Murla Gabriel in charge of International Cooperation at the Seychelles Tourism Academy-STA – on Secretary of Foreign Affairs H.E. Jose Rene D. Almendras.
Two agreements were also signed prior to the start of the JC Meeting: a Memorandum of Understanding ( MOU ) on the Establishment of Bilateral Consultations between the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs and a MOU on Educational Cooperation between the Lyceum of the Philippines University and Seychelles Tourism Academy.

One year before Seychelles and the Philippines celebrate 30 years of diplomatic relations this Joint Committee Meeting was both timely and useful as a unique opportunity for the two countries to exchange views at executive level on their bilateral links as well as on the regional and international challenges they are facing.

Seychellois and Filipino diplomats were able to assess what has been done since the first JCM and to establish priorities for the two years to come, Seychelles being expected to host the 3rd JCM in 2018.

The two sides agreed in particular to a road map taking advantage of the existing framework of cooperation, in particular the Economic and Technical Cooperation agreement signed in 2010 and making provision for specific action in fields such as SMEs, Standards, Investments, etc, without having necessarily to start the time-consuming negotiation of separate agreements.

Seychelles’ and Philippines’ delegations agreed to focus their efforts on cooperation in the fields of agriculture and fisheries ( including aquaculture ), tax information and the prevention of fiscal evasion, the signing of a bilateral air service agreement, the establishment of strong ties between the Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Victoria and Manila, as well as the signing of a labor agreement and more cultural cooperation through the Department of Cultural Diplomacy of the Filipino Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Finally both sides were of the view that this second Joint Commission Meeting would pave the way for mutually beneficial exchanges and activities making Seychelles a committed partner of the Philippines in the Indian Ocean as well as in Philippines’ policy towards Africa, while also helping Seychelles to better benefit from the opportunities existing in the ASEAN market of 650 million consumers, a regional grouping in which the Philippines represent a key economy actor.

Following the Joint Commission Meeting, actively facilitated by Seychelles’ Honorary Consul General, Mr. Joselito D. Campos, Ambassador Maurice Loustau-Lalanne gave an interview on Seychelles-Philippines relations of friendship and cooperation to “the Manila Bulletin” considered as being the leading Newspaper in the Philippines.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles.

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Source:: Seychelles concludes 2nd Joint Committee Meeting with Philippines

Categories: AFRICA