Launch of the April 2016 International Monetary Fund (IMF) Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Launch of the April 2016 IMF Regional Economic Outlook Report title, Sub-Saharan Africa: Time for a Policy Reset.

Where: In Uganda, Serena Hotel, Kampala.

In Cote d’Ivoire, Auditorium de la Primature, Abidjan.

When: Tuesday, May 3, 2016 at 9:30 am in Uganda; 4:30 pm in Cote d’Ivoire

Who: Ms. Antoinette Sayeh, Director, African Department, IMF (to present in Uganda)

Mr. Roger Nord, Deputy Director, African Department, IMF (to present in

Cote d’Ivoire)

Press briefings will also be held soon after at both locations:

11:55am–12:30pm, Addis Room, Serena Hotel, Kampala, Uganda;
6:45–7:15 pm, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire

How: Media are invited to attend both events.

Documents Under Embargo:

The Report on the April 2016 SSA Regional Economic Outlook, a Press Release, Feature Article, and Podcast will be posted under embargo at the IMF Press Center on Monday, May 2, 2016 at 5:00 am Washington DC time (12:00 pm, Noon in Kampala; 9:00 am in Abidjan).

The embargo will lift on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 at 3:00am Washington, D.C. time (10:00 am in Kampala, 7:00am in Abidjan).

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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Categories: AFRICA

British High Commissioner urges Zambian MPs to tackle GBV

I am delighted to be here today on behalf of the UK government and its Department for International Development (DFID). It was only last week that I arrived in Zambia and presented my credentials to His Excellency President Lungu. But I was keen to join this event when I heard about it. I remember from my previous diplomatic posting to Zambia, ten years ago, that the Gender Based Violence is rife in Zambia as it is, sadly, in so many countries. Therefore, I am glad that the UK is joining Zambia in its efforts to eliminate gender based violence and child marriage. And I would like to thank the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Clerk for enabling this event to happen.

Here’s a very ugly and stark fact.

Globally if you are a woman aged between 15 and 45 years you are more likely to be maimed and die from male violence than from malaria, cancer, traffic accidents and war combined.

Such violence is used to intimidate, humiliate and discredit women and to force them into a silent, second-class citizenship.

The statistics on violence against women and girls are shocking. Globally 1 in 3 women is beaten or sexually abused in her lifetime.Usually, the abuser is a member of her own family or someone she knows. And up to half of sexual assaults are committed against girls under 16.

In Zambia, almost half of women aged 15 to 49 years have experienced physical violence. Homes should be places of refuge and safety. For too many women in our societies, the UK included, our homes are places of hidden suffering.

I mention the UK because, tragically, this is a problem that seems to effect every country. In Britain between 1 and 1.3 million women suffer domestic violence each year, around 5%. This has been highlighted by a long-running BBC radio programme called “The Archers”, a soap about a rural farming community, which for the last 2 years has run a story line about a man abusing his wife – an insidious process as it begins gradually as emotional abuse as he criticizes her and undermines her confidence, before it turns more physically abusive. The programme has provoked an outpouring of disgust because this fiction is graphically illustrating what is really happening behind the scenes in all too many homes.

So what is the situation like in Zambia?

It is very serious. According to the Zambian Police Report for the third quarter of 2015, a total of 4951 GBV cases were reported country-wide in those 3 months alone. There were 1635 assaults and two-thirds of these were on women. That means around 340 assaults per month on average or 340 cases of beaten women each month. There were 688 cases of child defilement, all girls, around 230 per month or 76 per week. That’s 76 Zambian girls being attacked and defiled every week of the year, week after week. And we can be certain that these cases, reported to the Police, are only the tip of the ice-berg and that a lot more girls and women are being abused.

Let me give you an example. Take the case of a girl whom we will call Josephine, who lives in a rural district. Josephine is an orphan whose parents died when she was very young so that she lives with her grandmother. Josephine was abused and raped when she was a child. The man absconded. Josephine became pregnant and faced considerable stigma from her peers at school to the extent that she considered dropping out. But, supported by her grandparents, she started to receive help through the STOP GBV Project, a programme funded by USAID and DFID, attending a projects community dialogue on GBV at a nearby Rural Health Clinic, and receiving counseling from a community activist. On 26th March 2015 Josephine gave birth to a baby girl. But she is continuing to attend school. Later in the year she passed all eight subjects that she was taking in her Grade 7 final exams, scoring 695 points out of 900.

None of us here today should want gender based violence to remain hidden. So Zambian and international partners are committed together to supporting the victims of gender based violence and turning them into survivors. And we are committed to stopping gender based violence in the first place. This is why creating the right enabling environment is so important.

In recent years Zambia has demonstrated its strong commitment to addressing gender inequalities in the country. The UK Government is particularly delighted that Zambia has taken a strong lead in the fight against gender based violence with the implementation of the Anti GBV Act, its leadership on child marriage, which is a form of GBV as well as support to the drafting of a Marriage Bill which will make it illegal for children to marry. Zambia is indeed to be congratulated in being the first African country to establish Fast Track Courts for GBV cases.

However, there is still more that must be done:

  • we need to protect survivors of GBV and to this end, Zambia urgently needs to fulfill its commitments to increasing the number of shelters and safe houses available.

  • we need to learn early lessons from the establishment of the Fast Track Courts and ensure that these courts are more widely available to survivors across the country

  • all stakeholders involved (government, civil society and CPs) need to strengthen efforts for greater coordination around GBV

  • we need to work better together in order to maximize efforts and increase access to services for GBV survivors

  • finally, we need to challenge attitudes and practices which which have stopped too many girls and women having a voice and control over their own lives

As the USAID Mission Director pointed out, your role as MPs is critical in trying to effectively grapple with these important issues. We stand ready to support you and our partners in your efforts.

I should like to finish with the words of Josephine, the girl I mentioned earlier.

I am thankful for the STOP GBV project as it helped me stay in school and complete my primary education. And now I can dream of completing my education and becoming a doctor.

Thank you

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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Categories: AFRICA

UN human rights expert to assess the situation of migrants in Angola

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, will visit Angola from 3 to 10 May 2016 to assess the country’s current migration programmes, policies and laws.

“Over the past decade Angola has experienced complex migration patterns consisting of both irregular and regular arriving migrants and asylum seekers,” Mr. Crépeau said. “Understanding how Angola is responding to the increasing number of migrants will be an essential part of my visit to the country.”

During his seven-day mission, the independent human rights expert will meet with a range of government officials responsible for border management, civil society, trade unions, international organisations and migrants themselves in Luanda, Cabinda and Lunda Norte. He will also visit detention centres.

At the end of the mission, Mr. Crépeau will share his preliminary conclusions and recommendations at a press conference on 10 May 2016 at 10:00 am, at the Continental Hotel, R. Rainha Ginga 18, Luanda. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.

The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive country mission report to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2017.

Mr. François Crépeau (Canada) was appointed Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants in June 2011 by the UN Human Rights Council, for an initial period of three years. As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any government or organization and serves in his individual capacity. Mr. Crépeau is also Full Professor at the Faculty of Law of McGill University, in Montréal, where he holds the Hans and Tamar Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law and is scientific director of the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Migration/SRMigrants/Pages/SRMigrantsIndex.aspx

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms. Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work

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

Malawi: People with albinism face total extinction – UN Expert calls for urgent response

The United Nations Independent Expert on the rights of persons with albinism, Ikponwosa Ero, today warned that the atrocities faced by persons with albinism in Malawi render them “an endangered people group facing a risk of systemic extinction over time if nothing is done.”

“Persons with albinism, and parents of children with albinism, constantly live in fear of attack. Many do not sleep peacefully and have deliberately restricted their movement to the necessary minimum,” the human rights expert said at the end of her first official visit* to Malawi.

“The frequent involvement of close relatives in cases of attacks is highly disturbing, and persons with albinism are unable to trust even those who are supposed to care for and protect them,” Ms. Ero noted. “Consequently, persons with albinism in the current context of attacks are locked in a spiral of fear and poverty.”

The UN Independent Expert described the situation as “an emergency, a crisis disturbing in its proportions.” According to the police, 65 cases have been recorded since late 2014, and at least two further critical incidents reportedly occurred during her visit.

“Given the relatively small population size of people with albinism in Malawi – reported to be a little less than ten thousand – attacks against a few of them constitutes a danger to all of them,” she stressed.

“It is clear that an urgent and coordinated response from the Government, civil society and development partners working in strong partnership with each other is required,” she noted while stressing the principle of ‘nothing about us without us’, which includes the involvement of organizations of persons with albinism at every step, where the process cannot be led directly by them.

Ms. Ero welcomed the launching of the Government’s Response Plan of 2015 and commended its content. However, she noted, “the absence of resources attached to this plan has drastically delayed its implementation and such an emergency situation needs an emergency response.”

“Court sentences as handed down to convicted criminals do not always reflect the gravity of the crime,” she said. “As pointed out by various stakeholders during my visit, stealing a cow may attract a higher penalty.”

“The early return of suspects to their communities – whether due to the use of bail, fines or low judicial sentences – increases the fear in which persons with albinism live, sends a message of impunity to affected communities and increases the risks of mob killings,” she added.

The expert recommended “training for police, prosecutors and magistrates to increase knowledge of the current legislative framework applicable to these cases, cooperation between the police and the Department of Public Prosecutions,” as well as “adequate resources for the newly appointed special prosecutor.”

Ms. Ero pointed out that, although the amendment of relevant legislation is required, more immediate measures are also necessary such as a judicial direction that cases be handled only by professional magistrates and through the ongoing revision of the Sentencing Guidelines.

She also commended the protection measures adopted by community police and some traditional authorities as well as the support provided by communities to their members with albinism. “The quick intervention of neighbours during attacks has in various cases led to the rescue of persons with albinism and to the arrest of perpetrators,” she said.

“Addressing the root causes of attacks, in particular why they are happening, is indispensable to eradicating them. It is worrying to note that witchcraft beliefs and practices are widespread in Malawi, although often a taboo topic,” Ms. Ero stated.

“Malawians have been taken by surprise by the recent increase of attacks against persons with albinism,” she said. “Yet, discrimination against persons with albinism has a long history in the country and is well rooted in beliefs as well as harmful traditional and cultural practices, including that persons with albinism do not die but simply disappear, and the practice of infanticide at birth on the pretext that the baby was stillborn.”

The Independent Expert will produce a full report and recommendations to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2017.

(*) Check the Independent Expert’s full end-of-mission statement: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=19903&LangID=E

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

Malawi: People with albinism face total extinction – UN Expert calls for urgent response

The United Nations Independent Expert on the rights of persons with albinism, Ikponwosa Ero, today warned that the atrocities faced by persons with albinism in Malawi render them “an endangered people group facing a risk of systemic extinction over time if nothing is done.”

“Persons with albinism, and parents of children with albinism, constantly live in fear of attack. Many do not sleep peacefully and have deliberately restricted their movement to the necessary minimum,” the human rights expert said at the end of her first official visit* to Malawi.

“The frequent involvement of close relatives in cases of attacks is highly disturbing, and persons with albinism are unable to trust even those who are supposed to care for and protect them,” Ms. Ero noted. “Consequently, persons with albinism in the current context of attacks are locked in a spiral of fear and poverty.”

The UN Independent Expert described the situation as “an emergency, a crisis disturbing in its proportions.” According to the police, 65 cases have been recorded since late 2014, and at least two further critical incidents reportedly occurred during her visit.

“Given the relatively small population size of people with albinism in Malawi – reported to be a little less than ten thousand – attacks against a few of them constitutes a danger to all of them,” she stressed.

“It is clear that an urgent and coordinated response from the Government, civil society and development partners working in strong partnership with each other is required,” she noted while stressing the principle of ‘nothing about us without us’, which includes the involvement of organizations of persons with albinism at every step, where the process cannot be led directly by them.

Ms. Ero welcomed the launching of the Government’s Response Plan of 2015 and commended its content. However, she noted, “the absence of resources attached to this plan has drastically delayed its implementation and such an emergency situation needs an emergency response.”

“Court sentences as handed down to convicted criminals do not always reflect the gravity of the crime,” she said. “As pointed out by various stakeholders during my visit, stealing a cow may attract a higher penalty.”

“The early return of suspects to their communities – whether due to the use of bail, fines or low judicial sentences – increases the fear in which persons with albinism live, sends a message of impunity to affected communities and increases the risks of mob killings,” she added.

The expert recommended “training for police, prosecutors and magistrates to increase knowledge of the current legislative framework applicable to these cases, cooperation between the police and the Department of Public Prosecutions,” as well as “adequate resources for the newly appointed special prosecutor.”

Ms. Ero pointed out that, although the amendment of relevant legislation is required, more immediate measures are also necessary such as a judicial direction that cases be handled only by professional magistrates and through the ongoing revision of the Sentencing Guidelines.

She also commended the protection measures adopted by community police and some traditional authorities as well as the support provided by communities to their members with albinism. “The quick intervention of neighbours during attacks has in various cases led to the rescue of persons with albinism and to the arrest of perpetrators,” she said.

“Addressing the root causes of attacks, in particular why they are happening, is indispensable to eradicating them. It is worrying to note that witchcraft beliefs and practices are widespread in Malawi, although often a taboo topic,” Ms. Ero stated.

“Malawians have been taken by surprise by the recent increase of attacks against persons with albinism,” she said. “Yet, discrimination against persons with albinism has a long history in the country and is well rooted in beliefs as well as harmful traditional and cultural practices, including that persons with albinism do not die but simply disappear, and the practice of infanticide at birth on the pretext that the baby was stillborn.”

The Independent Expert will produce a full report and recommendations to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2017.

(*) Check the Independent Expert’s full end-of-mission statement: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=19903&LangID=E

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

East AfricaCom 2016 chooses APO as Official Newswire

Informa Telecoms & Media (http://www.Informatandm.com) has today announced that APO (http://www.APO-opa.com) will be the Official Newswire of East AfricaCom 2016, East Africa’s leading telecoms event (https://eaafrica.comworldseries.com), to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, on 18–19 May 2016.

East AfricaCom, the leading forum for high level networking across telecoms, broadcasting, enterprise ICT and the entire Digital Community in East Africa will distribute its press releases via Africa Wire®, the service for press release wire distribution and monitoring in Africa.

Used by some of the world’s largest technology companies, including, Facebook, Samsung, Orange, Ericsson, Tigo, Mahindra Comviva, Yahsat, Opera, MainOne, Kaspersky, and more, APO’s Africa Wire® has a potential reach of 600 million people and guarantees the most extensive outreach in Africa, acting as a channel that allows East AfricaCom to target audiences across East Africa and the rest of the continent.

This reaches over 150,000 journalists, bloggers and social networks, and redistributes content to more than 50 African websites, as well as to international partners such as Bloomberg Terminal, Thomson Reuters Terminal, Lexis Nexis and Dow Jones Factiva.

East AfricaCom will host a range of companies from across the telecoms industry including: Airtel, Ethiotelecom, Halotel MVNO, Orange Telkom, Millicom SA, Tigo Tanzania, MTN Congo, Safaricom, Tanzania Telecommunications Company, Tigo Rwanda, Uganda Telecom and Vodacom

Craig Lumsden, Marketing executive for AfricaCom, comments, “APO has been our Official Newswire for many years and I have always been impressed with the work they deliver. Their attitude is great, they deliver on time and the quality that they produce is superb. Thanks to APO’s mobile reach, all AfricaCom press releases will be made available to subscribers of MTN Group, Airtel, Orange and Tigo in over 30 countries, with a total reach of 250 million mobile users in Africa. We couldn’t ask for more!”

APO Founder and CEO, Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, adds, “APO is delighted to have been named the Official Newswire for an event as prestigious as East AfricaCom. APO is particularly focused on reaching not only mainstream media but also industry-specific publications across Africa; this endorsement from East AfricaCom once again proves APO’s unrivalled capacity to reach the key media outlets in Africa.”

East Africa Com – 18 -19 May 2016 – http://eaafrica.comworldseries.com/
West Africa Com – 8 -9 June 2016 – http://westafrica.comworldseries.com/
NigeriaCom – 21 -22 September 2016 – http://nigeria.comworldseries.com/
AfricaCom – 15 -17 November 2016 – http://africa.comworldseries.com/

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

Contact APO:
Aïssatou Diallo
bdm@apo-opa.org
+41 22 534 96 97

Contact East AfricaCom:
Craig Lumsden
Marketing Executive
Com World Series
Craig.Lumsden2@informa.com

About APO:
APO (www.APO-opa.com) is the sole press release newswire in Africa and is a global leader in media relations relating to Africa.
With offices in Senegal, Switzerland and Dubai, APO owns a media database of over 150,000 contacts and is the main online community for Africa-related news.
It offers a complete range of services, including press release distribution and monitoring, online press conferences, interactive webcasts, media interactions, strategic advice, public diplomacy, government relations and events promotion. To find out more, please visit Apo-opa.com.
Follow APO on Twitter: twitter.com/apo_source
Follow APO on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/african-press-organization
Follow APO on Facebook: facebook.com/africanpressorganization

About East AfricaCom
East AfricaCom (https://eaafrica.comworldseries.com) – the leading forum for high level networking across telecoms, broadcasting, enterprise ICT and the entire Digital Community in East Africa.

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Categories: AFRICA

On Defending Democratic Space in the DRC

Press Statement

John Kirby
Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs

Washington, DC

April 28, 2016

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is experiencing a historic year that should – according to that country’s constitution – culminate in the DRC’s first democratic transfer of executive power. The United States supports the Congolese people in their pursuit of timely, free, and fair elections and underscores the importance of open political space to a credible electoral process.

We are deeply concerned by the government’s arrest and intimidation of Congolese citizens participating in and preparing for peaceful political activity in Kinshasa and Haut Katanga Province the weekend of April 24. The DRC government has, under its own constitution and its international human rights obligations, the responsibility to respect its citizens’ human rights including the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. Repression destroys the trust and confidence of the very citizens who are needed for any credible dialogue amongst all Congolese stakeholders.

The United States underscores UN Security Council resolution 2277’s pronouncement that a peaceful and credible electoral cycle, in accordance with the constitution, is critical to the DRC’s long-term stabilization and consolidation of democracy. As Secretary Kerry told President Kabila recently, we stand ready to support those committed to such elections. The United States strongly believes that the Congolese people, free of fear, should shape the future of Congo.

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

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Categories: AFRICA

Statement Attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on South Sudan

The Secretary-General welcomes the appointment today by President Salva Kiir of the Ministers of the Transitional Government of National Unity, consistent with the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan of 17 August 2015. He is pleased to note that President Kiir and First Vice-President Riek Machar have achieved this important milestone of the peace process and urges them to swiftly complete the establishment of all institutions of transition. He also urges the parties to cease immediately all hostilities.

The Secretary-General commends the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) chair, President Festus Mogae, and the African Union High Representative, President Alpha Omar Konare, for steering the peace process forward, and reiterates the commitment of the United Nations to support all South Sudanese in restoring peace, stability and prosperity in the country. He calls on the larger international community to remain actively engaged in the peace process and provide the necessary support to the full and timely implementation of the Peace Agreement.

New York, 28 April

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Categories: AFRICA

First International Conference on the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI)

What: First Conference of the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative (GGWWSI)

Theme: “Restoring Africa’s Landscapes – The Way Forward”

When: 2-7 May 2016

Who: The Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission.

Where: Dakar, Senegal

Objectives: The First Conference of the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative aims to:

Deepen commitment of participating countries and organizations to transformational actions
Communicate results achieved
Share experiences and knowledge across implementing partners

Participants:

The conference will be attended by experts and researchers from Member States, Regional Economic Communities, the African Union Commission, NEPAD as well as development partners.

Expected outputs:

Confirmation of political commitment
Road map for transformational action on the ground
Strengthened GGWSSI Community of Practice
Adoption of the Great Green Wall results framework
New strategic directions for GGWSSI communication and knowledge management

Background:

83 per cent of rural Sub-Saharan Africans are dependent of livelihoods from the land, yet 40 per cent of Africa’s land resources are currently degraded, driving poverty, hunger, unemployment, force migration and conflict while amplifying climate risks such as droughts and floods. For this reason, the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative, a Pan African programme, was launched in 2007 by the African Union Assembly. The initiative aims to address the issues of land degradation and desertification in the Sahel and Sahara, boost food security and support communities to adapt climate change.

The First conference on the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI) will be held from 2-7 May in Dakar, Senegal, gathering more than 20 African countries North and South of the Sahara and all partners of the GGWSSI in a global event.

Following world leaders’ commitment to strengthen climate resilience through Africa’s GGWSSI during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (CoP) 21 in December 2015, Paris, GGWSSI partners are coming together this year to expand the annual World Bank Group Sahel and West Africa Program (SAWAP) Conference to a first Conference of the GGWSSI.

For more information on the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative, visit our website: http://www.greatgreenwallinitiative.org

Media representatives based in Dakar are invited to cover the opening ceremony of the High level segment of the meeting on Tuesday 3 May from 8.30 am to 9.00 am and the closing ceremony on Friday 6 May from 11.45 am to 12.30 pm.

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

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Categories: AFRICA

Minister Dion welcomes formation of South Sudan’s transitional government

The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:

“Canada welcomes the formation of South Sudan’s Transitional Government of National Unity under the leadership of President Salva Kiir and First Vice-President Riek Machar.

“This is an important step toward national reconciliation in South Sudan. We urge the government to make genuine efforts toward addressing the challenges the country faces.

“Most urgently, every possible step must be made by the national leadership to put an end to persistent conflict across the country and to give humanitarian agencies unfettered access to those in dire need of assistance.

“If South Sudan is to avoid returning to a cycle of violence and impunity, it is crucial for the government and the legislature to move quickly to establish the accountability institutions called for in the 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan.

“Canada is committed to assisting the Transitional Government of National Unity as it sets out a new path for South Sudan.”

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

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Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the situation in Côte d’Ivoire

The Secretary-General welcomes the adoption earlier today of Security Council resolution 2284 extending the mandate of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) for a final period, until 30 June 2017, as well as Security Council resolution 2283, terminating the sanctions regime established pursuant to resolution 1572 (2004).

The Secretary-General welcomes the determination of the people and the Government of Côte d’Ivoire in overcoming the political and security crises that led to the deployment of UNOCI in April 2004. It is the continued positive evolution of the situation in Côte d’Ivoire, including the successful conclusion of the presidential elections last year, which has enabled the United Nations to enter the final stage of peacekeeping in the country.

The Secretary-General recognizes the important role played by partners throughout the Ivorian crises, in particular the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, the troop and police contributing countries and the United Nations country team, which facilitated the achievements made by UNOCI. The Secretary-General underscores the importance of the continued engagement of all partners during the transformation of the United Nations’ engagement in Côte d’Ivoire over the course of the next year, in particular through the United Nations Country Team, and following the closure of UNOCI.

The Secretary-General reiterates the United Nations’ continued commitment to Côte d’Ivoire.

New York, 28 April 2016

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Categories: AFRICA

AU Commission Chairperson receives highest national Order of Serbia

The President of the Republic of Serbia, H.E. TomislavNikolic, has bestowed the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. NkosazanaDlaminiZuma, with the highest Order of the Republic of Serbia on strips.

The Ambassador of Serbia to Ethiopia and the African Union, H.E. Dragan Mraovic, delivered the Award, decorated the Chairperson and read out a special message in his capacity as the Special Envoy of the President of Serbia.

During a solemn ceremony that took place at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Special Envoy said, the highest Order the Republic of Serbia on Strips, was being awarded to the Chairperson for her“merits in the development and strengthening of peaceful cooperation and friendly relations between the Republic of Serbia and the African Union.”

“The Republic of Serbia is grateful to Your Excellency for raising the level and quality of the relations of my country and the Commission of the African Union to the high ground. Your official visit to Belgrade, June 26-30. 2015 was the crown of our cooperation. The Memorandum of Understanding on Economic Cooperation of the Republic of Serbia and the Commission of the African Union signed on that occasion is important event in our cooperation.”The message delivered by Serbian Special Envoy read.

Receiving the Award, the AU Commission Chairperson said that she was very honoured for the award, and thanked Serbia for the continued cooperation between Africa and Serbia. She also recognised the historic role played by the Former Yugoslavia, which Serbia continues to play today.

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

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Categories: AFRICA