WASHINGTON, February 17, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — As a country and a people, the United States has consistently stood for the protection of fundamental freedoms and universal human rights. We believe that people everywhere should be treated equally, with dignity and respect, and that they should have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential, no matter who they are or whom they love.
That is why I am so deeply disappointed that Uganda will shortly enact legislation that would criminalize homosexuality. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, once law, will be more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda. It will be a step backward for all Ugandans and reflect poorly on Uganda’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people. It also will mark a serious setback for all those around the world who share a commitment to freedom, justice and equal rights.
As we have conveyed to President Museveni, enacting this legislation will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda. At a time when, tragically, we are seeing an increase in reports of violence and harassment targeting members of the LGBT community from Russia to Nigeria, I salute all those in Uganda and around the world who remain committed to respecting the human rights and fundamental human dignity of all persons.
OTTAWA, Canada, February 17, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today made the following statement on the third anniversary of Libya’s pro-democracy revolution:
“Canada salutes the courage of the Libyan people, who rid themselves of the brutal Qadhafi dictatorship three years ago. We welcome the Libyan government’s efforts to fulfill the aspirations of the people of Libya, including their quest for an inclusive, stable and secure country.
“Canada also supports the Libyan government’s efforts to foster a meaningful national dialogue that provides for the active democratic participation of all citizens—including the February 20, 2014, elections for a constitution-drafting assembly. The Libyan people deserve a future in which all actors lay down their guns and work to build their democratic institutions.
“The Libyan people have chosen a future of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Canada will continue to support that vision for the mutual benefit of both our peoples.”
KHARTOUM, Sudan, February 17, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On 15 February 2014, the African Union – United Nations Joint Special Representative (JSR) for Darfur, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, addressed the Social Peace Conference organized by the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) in Zalengei, Central Darfur, and emphasized that the root causes of conflict in Darfur can only be addressed through genuine dialogue.
The conference brought together various stakeholders of Central Darfur State to identify their role in the peace process and to come up with practical recommendations that will contribute to ending tribal conflicts and promote peaceful coexistence in Darfur. The event was attended by DRA Chairperson El Tigani Seisi, Central Darfur Wali (Governor) Yousif Tiben, Central Darfur Legislature members and Native Administration representatives, among other participants.
In his opening remarks, the JSR noted that the conference comes against a backdrop of significant developments at the national level, in particular President Al-Bashir’s announcement of a major initiative on national dialogue. “It is important for the people of Darfur to take advantage of this momentum to contribute to the national dialogue in a meaningful way in order for their concerns to be accommodated,” he stated.
“Genuine discussion among communities in Darfur on ways to strengthen reconciliation mechanisms, to understand laws pertaining to land use and tenure, and to enhance capacity of local administrative institutions is essential and could provide a firm foundation for durable peace in Darfur,” Mr. Chambas said.
WASHINGTON, February 17, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ –Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
February 16, 2014
Today, Assistant Secretary of State Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Bureau of African Affairs, made her third trip to Nigeria since becoming Assistant Secretary in August. After spending the day in Kano, she travels now to Abuja to lead the United States delegation to the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission (BNC) meeting February 17-18.
While in Kano, the Assistant Secretary met with Governor Kwankwaso as part of her continuing discussions with Nigerian officials, politicians, civil society groups, and community leaders on ways to strengthen the U.S-Nigeria bilateral relationship and partnerships.
The BNC is a valuable forum for frank, high-level conversations on issues of bilateral concern and a means to turn common cause into creative thinking and coordinated action. BNC working groups have convened ten times since the creation of the BNC framework in 2010. The BNC reflects the strong U.S-Nigeria bilateral relationship to work together on a broad range of goals, including good governance, transparency, and integrity; regional security; energy and investment; agriculture and food security; and the Niger Delta.
KAMPALA, Uganda, February 16, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — African Union-United Nations Joint Special Representative/Joint Chief Mediator Mohamed Ibn Chambas met with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on 12 February during a three-day visit to the country, as part of the JSR’s efforts to mobilize regional support for an inclusive peace agreement in Darfur.
The Head of UNAMID apprised the Ugandan President of his engagements with the hold-out Darfur movements so far to bring them on board for a political settlement of the conflict in Darfur; these engagements included a workshop on humanitarian cessation of hostilities held in Addis Ababa last December and consultations with leaders of key movements earlier on 10 February in Kampala. President Museveni noted the importance of a durable peace for Darfur and assured Mr. Chambas of his support for his initiatives.
“The continued engagement and support by President Museveni and Uganda to UNAMID and to the work of the Mediation is an indication that achieving a durable peace in Darfur benefits not only the Sudanese people, but also contributes to greater stability for the entire region,” JSR Chambas stated.