Secretary-General on the surrender and transfer of LRA commander Dominic Ongwen to the International Criminal Court

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the surrender and transfer of LRA commander Dominic Ongwen to the International Criminal Court

NEW YORK, January 21, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Secretary-General welcomes the transfer to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague today of senior Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander Dominic Ongwen, as well as his surrender on 6 January in the Central African Republic (CAR).

Suggested Book: Justice for Victims before the International Criminal Court (Routledge Research in International Law)

The Secretary-General welcomes the cooperation among the Governments of the CAR, Uganda and the United States, Belgium and the Netherlands, and the support provided by the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA), the African Union Regional Task Force (AU-RTF) and the ICC in facilitating the expeditious transfer of Mr. Ongwen to The Hague.

 

The Secretary-General highlights that Mr. Ongwen’s transfer to the ICC marks an important milestone in accountability, with the first LRA commander being brought before the Court. It is a step forward in efforts to bring justice to the thousands of victims of LRA violence in Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and CAR over the past 28 years.

 

The Secretary-General pays tribute to the courageous efforts of the AU-RTF and urges all troop-contributing countries and governments of the region to remain committed to the ending the threat posed by the LRA and bringing to justice LRA leader Joseph Kony. He calls on the LRA to immediately disarm and demobilize, cease attacks and release all those abducted.

Source:: Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the surrender and transfer of LRA commander Dominic Ongwen to the International Criminal Court

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IOM Aids Sustainable Reintegration of Rwandan Returnees

GENEVA, Switzerland, January 20, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Under the Swedish-funded One UN / Ministry for Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR) Joint Sustainable Return and Reintegration programme, IOM has stepped up efforts to boost the sustainable reintegration of Rwandan returnees from neighbouring countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania and Burundi.

The organization last week (13-16/1) trained some 84 trainers who will soon train some 770 selected returnees and vulnerable members of returnee host communities in Rwanda in income generating activities.

These will include skills such as carpentry, welding, knitting, tailoring, mechanics, masonry, hairdressing and others, depending on the trainee’s choice, marketability of the trade and availability of a training provider in the target area.

The trainers were drawn from the districts of Bugesera, Musanze, Nyabihu, Rubavu, Rusizi, Karongi, Ngororero, Rutsiro, Nyamagabe and Nyamasheke.

The training follows an earlier 2010-2014 programme implemented by IOM Rwanda in coordination with MIDIMAR that also extended access to market-oriented skills training to returnees and other vulnerable members of host communities. The project resulted in an average 78 per cent increase in income for direct beneficiaries and a marked improvement in their living conditions.

Source:: IOM Aids Sustainable Reintegration of Rwandan Returnees

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IOM Ethiopia Moves Eritrean Refugees to Safety

GENEVA, Switzerland, January 20, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM has started to provide transport for Eritrean refugees registered at Ethiopia’s Endabaguna screening center to camps provided by the country’s Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) and UNHCR in Tigray region.

Since the border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea in 1998, which subsequently escalated into full-scale conflict in 2000, Ethiopia has continued to host and receive Eritrean refugees. Currently Ethiopia is hosting more than 76,000 Eritreans in four camps – Hitsatse, Adiharush, Mai Aini and Shimelbain in Tigray region.

In the last quarter of 2014 Eritrean refugee arrivals shot up to an average of 5,000 per month. This represented a dramatic increase from an average of 800 to 1,000 a month between 2010 and 2012 and 2,000 to 2,500 a month since March 2013.

Suggested Book: The Curse of Being and Living It: A Universal Refugee Experience from an Eritrean’s Perspective

In December 2014, ARRA and UNHCR asked IOM to urgently provide transport for the new arrivals from Endabaguna to the Tigray camps. The IOM Shire sub-office, which has been providing transport from the four camps since 2007 for refugee resettlement, immediately deployed buses, operations and medical staff to Endabaguna.

By January 15th, IOM had provided transport for 2,491 adults and 379 unaccompanied and separated children. IOM medical staff provided pre-departure medical screening and “fitness to travel” health assessments. It also provided water, high energy biscuits and operational escorts for all the refugees, as well as medical escorts for the most vulnerable, including pregnant/lactating women, children, the disabled and the elderly.

Source:: IOM Ethiopia Moves Eritrean Refugees to Safety

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Boko Haram May Have Displaced Over a Million in Nigeria: IOM

GENEVA, Switzerland, January 20, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — In the wake of mounting violence by the Boko Haram insurgency, Nigeria’s displaced population may be close to a million, according to IOM. Unless the insurgency is stopped, the tragedy could leave many more displaced inside the country and spill over to destabilize Cameroon, Niger and Chad, it believes.

“IOM is working closely with the Nigerian government to accurately assess the impact of Boko Haram on the civilian population,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing. “As the number of internally displaced men, women and children (IDPs) now approaches one million, the vast scale of this brutal insurgency is now becoming increasingly clear.”

IOM also is concerned with the growing number of vulnerable people fleeing Nigeria and border areas to seek safety in neighboring countries. With the crisis spreading, IOM Director of Operations and Emergencies Mohammed Abdiker will arrive in West Africa later today as part of an urgent assessment mission.

Suggested Book: Boko Haram: Inside Nigeria’s Unholy War

“We now have irrefutable data on the impact of this crisis on Nigerians and are advocating for more effective humanitarian measures,” Abdiker said. “We also are concerned with the regional impact of the crisis and potential threats to the peace and security of neighboring countries, should Boko Haram’s insurgency spread.”

To calculate the nearly one million displaced, IOM used its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), an information management tool used worldwide to gather information on the status and location of IDPs.

The DTM was launched in Nigeria in July 2014. Through December 23rd, it identified a total of 389,281 IDPs (60,232 households) in five states: Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Taraba and Yobe.

Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) recorded another 522,523 IDPs in Borno – the heart of the Boko Haram activity – and the states of Nasarawa, Kaduna, Kano, Plateau and Zamfara. This would bring the total number of registered IDPs to around 912,000.

But IOM notes growing evidence of the turmoil spreading across Nigeria’s frontiers into the neighbouring countries of Cameroon, Niger and Chad. It estimates that the number of refugees and displaced populations on both sides of Nigeria’s borders is now over 120,000 – bringing the total displacement created by the conflict to over a million.

Source:: Boko Haram May Have Displaced Over a Million in Nigeria: IOM

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Didier Reynders concerned on violent demonstrations in Kinshasa

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, January 20, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders noted with concern the violent demonstrations that took place in Kinshasa and in other cities of the country, on the occasion of the adoption by the Parliament of the new electoral law. The Minister calls on all parties for calm and restraint.

 

Minister Reynders reiterated the importance of elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, organized according to the constitution of the Congolese people. In this regard, he expressed concern about a possible shift in the electoral calendar as a consequence of the plan to conduct a census prior to holding the legislative and presidential elections. He recalled that the support of Belgium to the electoral process depends on the provision of a clear timetable consistent with the constitution, and a budget.

Source:: Didier Reynders concerned on violent demonstrations in Kinshasa

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Joint statement by the UN, IGAD, EU, AMISOM, and UK Envoys to Somalia / International partners welcome the launch of the regional assembly process for Interim Juba Administration

MOGADISHU, Somalia, January 20, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The United Nations, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the European Union (EU), African Union Mission in Somalia and the United Kingdom welcomed the launch of the selection process for the new Regional Assembly for the Interim Juba Administration (IJA), calling on the authorities to ensure that all communities represented.

“We welcome the launch of the selection process for the Interim Juba Administration’s Regional Assembly. This is an important step towards peace and state-building for the people of the Juba regions, as well as all Somalis. We urge the IJA leadership to include women, youth and minority groups in the regional decision-making process by ensuring their participation in the new Assembly. Ensuring a fair and inclusive process will help build a just, peaceful society that can serve as a model for the rest of the country.

 

We stand ready to support the authorities and we urge all parties to engage in constructive consultation and reconciliation with all stakeholders, ensuring that the interests of all communities are protected. Somalia’s international partners remain committed to supporting the nation’s peace and state-building process.”

Source:: Joint statement by the UN, IGAD, EU, AMISOM, and UK Envoys to Somalia / International partners welcome the launch of the regional assembly process for Interim Juba Administration

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