UN expert to assess Algeria’s efforts to promote and protect the right to education for all

GENEVA, Switzerland, January 22, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Kishore Singh, will be visiting Algeria from 27 January to 3 February 2015 to evaluate the Government’s ongoing plans for future education reform as it seeks to provide opportunities for all sectors of society.

 

“I am particularly concerned to see that all children in Algeria, including girls, and the vulnerable, are able to get education of good quality, and that poverty is not restricting access,” Mr. Singh said, announcing his first official mission to the country.

 

“This visit will allow us to assess the efforts undertaken by Algeria to implement the right to education, the measures adopted for its successful realization, and the obstacles encountered both at the national and international level,” the Special Rapporteur noted.

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The UN expert will look into national resources devoted to education including post-secondary education, and reforms in technical and vocational education. Equality of opportunities and universal access are among the issues to be assessed.

 

During his eight-day mission, Mr. Singh will visit primary and secondary schools and public universities, and will meet with Government and civil society organizations, including non-governmental organizations. He will also hold discussions with educators, academics, students and teachers’ representatives.

 

A press conference will be held on 3 February 2015 at 11:00 am, at UNDP, 41 rue Mohamed Khoudi, el Biar, Algiers, where the Special Rapporteur will present his preliminary observations and recommendations. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.

Source:: UN expert to assess Algeria’s efforts to promote and protect the right to education for all

Categories: AFRICA, African Press Organization, Algeria, EDUCATION | Tags:

UNHCR concerned over recent looting of foreign-owned shops in Soweto

PRETORIA, South-Africa, January 23, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — UNHCR is concerned over the recent spate of violence and looting in Soweto that mainly affected foreigners, including refugees and asylum seekers.

 

According to information provided by the South African Police Services, two people have lost their lives in the violence including a 14 year old South African boy who was allegedly shot by a shop owner and a 19 year old youth who was allegedly shot by police. Over 120 people have been arrested on various charges and over 80 shops have been looted.

 

UNHCR commends the response made by the South African authorities and the South African Police Services to try to contain the violence and looting and encourages them to continue with their efforts to restore peace in the affected areas.

 

“It is very concerning that people have lost their lives in the violence and many refugees and asylum-seekers have lost their livelihoods. While we appreciate the efforts made so far, UNHCR is calling on the government to continue to do all it can to prevent any future incidents,” said UNHCR’s Officer-in-Charge for Southern Africa, Veronica Modey-Ebi.

Source:: UNHCR concerned over recent looting of foreign-owned shops in Soweto

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South Sudan: African Union should publish Commission of Inquiry report, ensure accountability

PARIS, France, January 22, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The African Union (AU) should immediately publish the report of the AU Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan, said Amnesty International, Community Empowerment for Progress Organization, FIDH, and the South Sudan Law Society.

 

Their joint call comes ahead of the AU summit, amid concern that the ongoing delay in the publication of the report is impacting on the urgent need for accountability for crimes committed in South Sudan.

 

“Three months after the Commission of Inquiry submitted its report to the AU, its findings and recommendations are yet to see the light of day,” said Edmund Yakani, director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization. “In the meantime the conflict in South Sudan is continuing unabated with dire impacts on the civilian population.”

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Over the past year, all parties to the conflict have committed crimes under international law that amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, including attacks on civilians often based on ethnicity or perceived political allegiance, sexual violence, and widespread destruction and looting of civilian property.

 

The Commission of Inquiry ended investigations in August and submitted its final report to the Chairperson of the AU Commission in October 2014. Since then it has not been made public.

 

The AU Peace and Security Council will consider the situation in South Sudan and the report of the Commission of Inquiry on 29 January.

 

The organizations also called on the AU to insist that there be accountability for violations of human rights and humanitarian law that have taken place in South Sudan. Publishing the report, along with a regional commitment to ensure accountability, could play an important role in deterring further crimes as well as ending the conflict.

 

“There must be an end to impunity for crimes under international law and human rights abuses in South Sudan,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Africa Director, Research and Advocacy. “Not only is justice a right of victims, accountability could serve as a powerful deterrent to those who think they can kill, rape and pillage with no consequence.”

 

As well as truth and reparations mechanisms, the organisations believe that the AU should consider the establishment of a hybrid court that would provide for South Sudanese and specially trained foreign investigators and judges to continue the investigations conducted by the Commission of Inquiry and to try those suspected of responsibility for crimes under international law.

 

“Given the pervasive weaknesses in the administration of justice in South Sudan, credible and independent investigations and prosecutions will require robust international involvement,” said Drissa Traoré, Vice-President of FIDH. “Efforts should simultaneously be made to strengthen South Sudan’s criminal justice system.”

Source:: South Sudan: African Union should publish Commission of Inquiry report, ensure accountability

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Federal Foreign Office on the unrest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

BERLIN, Germany, January 22, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A Federal Foreign Office spokesperson issued the following statement on 21 January on the unrest following parliamentary deliberations on a new electoral law in the Democratic Republic of the Congo:

The Federal Foreign Office is monitoring the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo very closely and is following reports of clashes with deaths and injuries following parliamentary deliberations on a new electoral law with great concern.

 

The freedom of assembly and the freedom of opinion are fundamental rights that must be protected.

 

The Constitution of the Democratic Republic of the Congo sets out clear rules for elections, which must be respected. Against this backdrop, we call on the Government and security authorities, as well as the protesters, to exercise restraint and to resolve these disputes democratically.

Background information:

On 17 January 2014, the National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of the Congo passed an electoral law that requires a national census to be held prior to the next presidential and parliamentary elections. The law has yet to be adopted by the Senate and signed by the President in order to enter into force. Parts of the opposition and other social forces such as the Catholic Church fear that the law is an attempt by the Government to keep President Kabila in office beyond the constitutional term of four years. Since Monday, there have therefore been clashes with the police in Kinshasa leading to deaths and injuries.

Source:: Federal Foreign Office on the unrest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Categories: AFRICA, African Press Organization, Congo, Democratic Republic of, POLITICS

Somalia : UN envoy Kay condemns violence and appeals for calm

UN envoy Kay condemns violence and appeals for calm in Defow, Central Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia, January 22, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, condemned recent violence in Defow, central Somalia. There have been reports of dozens of casualties, including women and children. The SRSG appealed for calm, underlining the need to de-escalate the situation through peaceful dialogue and compromise.

 

SRSG Kay said “We call on all parties to exercise restraint and respect the role of elders in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict.”

 

SRSG Kay extended his sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who have suffered as a result of the recent violence.

Source:: UN envoy Kay condemns violence and appeals for calm in Defow, Central Somalia

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Special Envoy Said Djinnit visits Tanzania, welcomes the country’s support for military action against the FDLR

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, January 23, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — United Nations Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region Said Djinnit visited Tanzania on 22-23 January and met the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Honorable Bernard Membe. The two officials reviewed the political and security situation in the Great Lakes region and discussed current challenges, in particular the urgent need to deal decisively with armed groups operating in eastern DRC, especially the Allied Democratic Forces

(ADF) and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). In addition, they looked forward to holding the Great Lakes Private Sector Investment Conference in 2015, endorsed by the thirteen signatories of the Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the region, including Tanzania.

 

Special Envoy Djinnit and Foreign Minister Membe exchanged views on the expiration of the 2 January 2015 deadline given to the FDLR to voluntarily disarm, and the lack of sufficient progress achieved. Security Council resolutions call for military actions to be taken by the Government of the DRC and the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) against the FDLR and other armed groups in eastern DRC. Decisions taken by leaders in the region had given the FDLR a six month time frame ending 2 January to conclude voluntary surrender or face military actions.

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“I would like to express my gratitude to the Tanzanian authorities for their relentless efforts to bring peace to the region. In particular, I commend Tanzanian contingent to the FIB for their active role in recent operations against the ADF in Beni in order to put an end to horrific acts of violence carried out by the armed group in the area,” Special Envoy Djinnit said. “I also feel encouraged by Tanzania’s commitment to assist in efforts to neutralize all the negative forces in eastern DRC, and in particular, in the planned operations by the Government of the DRC and MONUSCO FIB against the FDLR,” he told the Tanzanian Foreign Minister.

 

The Special Envoy’s visit is taking place on the eve of a major meeting of Heads of State of the region under the Regional Oversight Mechanism of the PSC Framework scheduled for 31 January on the margins of the African Union

(AU) Summit in Addis Ababa. The meeting, bringing together the thirteen PSC Framework signatory countries, the UN, AU, International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and Southern African Development Community (SADC), will review the situation in the Great Lakes region and the status of implementation of the Framework agreement.

Source:: Special Envoy Said Djinnit visits Tanzania, welcomes the country’s support for military action against the FDLR

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