Oct 212014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 21, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Widespread violence since October 7th has led to a renewed displacement of vulnerable people in and around Bangui, the capital of the Central Africa Republic (CAR), according to IOM.

Preliminary analysis of data provided by IOM’s displacement tracking matrix (DTM) suggests that the new displacement has increased the total number of displaced people in and around Bangui to over 64,300.

The latest movements included the arrival of some 4,300 more internally displaced people (IDPs) in the town of Bimbo, 25 kms southwest of Bangui, some of whom have come from IDP sites in other severely affected areas.

Despite positive return trends from IDP sites over recent weeks, even to areas classified as highly volatile, the renewed surge in inter-communal violence since Tuesday has prompted a significant number of people to seek safety in already established sites in public buildings, churches, seminars, schools and hospitals.

Much of the newly displaced population originates from Bangui’s 3rd and 5th districts, with additional displacement taking place in and around Bimbo.

Tournons la page, a community association established to support IOM’s European Union (EU)-funded community stabilization efforts, notes: “Since Tuesday last week we have observed that not only no new families are indicating their wish to return to our neighbourhood, but a number of families who have just returned from the Mpoko airport site, have left again. The sound of gunfire and the thick smoke from burning houses in the neighborhoods scared many people and brings back terrible memories. Most families left as a precaution, while others were being directly threatened. We hope the situation stabilizes quickly so we can try to convince them to come back again. We really hope that an end of the violence is in sight.”

Tournons la page works with local organizations to provide sustainable return opportunities through the provision of individual house clean-up kits. Through a program called “Community Stabilization and Early Recovery for At-Risk Communities in Bangui,” which is funded by the EU, Tournons la page has helped over 70 families to return from various displacement sites.

IOM, through its site facilitator programme funded by ECHO, OFDA and the UN CERF, is actively tracking population movements to support ongoing humanitarian assistance efforts.

Since December 2013, IOM’s DTM has been providing life-saving, real-time data on displacement trends, humanitarian needs and gaps for IDP sites in Bangui. This is shared with other humanitarian partners through the Commission Mouvement de Population (CMP) to plan and improve the effectiveness of humanitarian relief operations.

Oct 212014
 

WASHINGTON, October 21, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ —

• GE Africa awarded Green Investment Initiative of the Year

• GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt awarded Global Investment Personality of the Year

• The Ai Investment and Business Leader Awards reward exceptional business practices, economic achievements and investments across Africa.

General Electric Company (GE: NYSE) (http://www.ge.com) picked up two awards at this year’s Africa Investor (Ai) Investment and Business Leader Awards. GE Africa was awarded Green Investment Initiative of the Year for the Power Africa initiative. In addition, GE’s global Chairman and CEO, Jeff Immelt was awarded Global Investment Personality of the Year. These awards are evidence of GE’s belief in the vast investment opportunities on the continent and the company’s commitment to the sustainable development of Africa.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/ge.png

Photo 1: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1452

Photo 2: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1451

While congratulating the awardees, Hubert Danso, CEO and Vice Chairman of Africa investor, said he was pleased that with the awards Africa Investor is able to showcase African investment and business success stories. “We cannot emphasize enough the importance of the role these institutions play in improving the perception of Africa as an investment destination and we commend their contribution and commitment to this effort,” said Danso

GE Africa scooped the prestigious award in the Green Investment Initiative of the Year category. Some of the criteria used by the judges were evidence of efforts to support the sustainable growth of local markets as well as consistent involvement and commitment to financial transactions in Africa. The initiative that distinguished GE in this category was its Off-Grid Energy Challenge launched in 2013 in partnership with the US Africa Development Foundation (USADF) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). This three-year challenge is part of Power Africa, President Obama’s initiative to increase access to reliable, affordable, cleaner and more sustainable power in Sub-Saharan Africa. Power Africa is also helping ensure responsible, transparent and effective management of energy resources in Sub-Saharan Africa. In its first year, 6 winners were drawn from Kenya and Nigeria whilst in 2014, 22 winners were drawn from Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Liberia. The winners all received $100,000 each, towards implementing or scaling up their renewable energy projects.

President and CEO for GE Africa, Jay Ireland emphasized that GE is in Africa for the long run and will continue working with various stakeholders in government and the private sector. He said, “GE is committed to continue partnering with Africa by broadening the innovation play, localizing our technological solutions and also investing in skills development. The award therefore is a clear testament that GE’s partnership based strategy for Africa is adding value to our stakeholders.”

Chairman and CEO, Jeff Immelt was also awarded Global Investment Personality of the Year during the ceremony. At the recent Africa Heads of State summit in Washington, GE announced plans to invest $2 billion in Africa by 2018 to boost infrastructure, worker skills and access to energy. Some of GE’s key projects across Africa are MOU signings with the governments of Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya to develop infrastructure projects including sustainable energy solutions, rail transportation, quality healthcare, training and capacity building.

These prestigious Ai Awards are the longest standing international investment awards that reward exceptional business practices, economic achievements and investments across Africa, and recognize the institutions and individuals improving the continent’s investment climate.

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

Media contact:

Yewande Sobamowo

YEWANDE.SOBAMOWO@ge.com

+2348141377182

About GE

GE (NYSE: GE) (http://www.ge.com) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company’s website at http://www.ge.com.

Oct 212014
 

NEW YORK, October 21, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The unprecedented scale of water shut-offs taking place in Detroit is disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable and poorest, most of whom are African American, two United Nations human rights experts have warned today. So far this year over 27,000 residences have had water services disconnected.

At the end of a three-day visit to Detroit*, the UN Special Rapporteurs on the human right to water and sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque, and on the right to adequate housing, Leilani Farha, stressed that all decisions that affect access to water and to adequate housing for residents of Detroit should be guided by human rights.

“It is contrary to human rights to disconnect water from people who simply do not have the means to pay their bills,” Ms. de Albuquerque said. “I heard testimonies from poor, African American residents of Detroit who were forced to make impossible choices – to pay the water bill or to pay their rent.”

The utility has passed on the increased costs of leakages due to an aging infrastructure onto all remaining residents in Detroit by increasing water rates by 8.7 percent.

“This, combined with the decreased number of customers, and increased unemployment rate, has made water bills increasingly unaffordable to thousands of residents in Detroit living under the poverty line,” she noted. “In addition, repeated cases of gross errors on water bills have been reported, which are also used as a ground for disconnections. In practice, people have no means to prove the errors and hence the bills are impossible to challenge.”

“Tenants and owners are living with such stress and uncertainty, fearing they won´t be able to pay their water bill and will eventually be evicted or suffer foreclosure,” Ms. Farha said. “Such situations go against internationally recognized human rights standards.”

The Special Rapporteurs noted that measures taken so far, including the Mayor’s 10 Point Plan, have not been of assistance to those who are chronically poor and face water shut-offs. More worryingly, the city has no data on how many people have been and are living without tap water, let alone information on age, disabilities, chronic illness, race or income level of the affected population.

In that regard, the experts called for the establishment of a mandatory federal water and sewerage affordability standard. In addition, they said, “special policies and tailored support for people in particularly vulnerable circumstances must be introduced.”

“The indignity suffered by people whose water was disconnected is unacceptable,” Ms. de Albuquerque stressed. “A woman whose water had been cut explained that her teenage daughters had to wash themselves with a bottle of water during menstruation, and had to refrain from flushing the toilet to save water.”

“I also listened to numerous stories of fear: mothers who fear losing their children because their water was shut off; heads of households who fear losing access to water without any prior notice; others who fear receiving unaffordable and arbitrary water bills,” the expert added.

“I heard repeated testimonies of people stating that they had been charged for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department’s infrastructure deficiencies, including leakages, and also the utility’s lack of competence in dealing with errors in billing or requests for assistance,” Ms. Farha said.

“I am alarmed by the fact that many residents were not provided with any advance notice before their water was shut off and there seems to be no administrative or legal remedies for disputed bills and water disconnections,” she added.

“The City of Detroit should restore water connections to residents unable to pay and to vulnerable groups of people including persons with disabilities, the chronically ill, and households with small children”, stressed Ms. de Albuquerque.

“Every effort should be made by all levels of government to ensure that the most vulnerable are not evicted from or lose their housing as a result of water shut-offs or water bill arrears. Where an individual or family is rendered homeless due to water shut-offs, the city of Detroit must have in place emergency services to ensure alternate accommodation with running water is available”, stated Ms. Farha.

The Special Rapporteurs recalled that the United States is bound by international human rights law, including the right to life as well as the right to non-discrimination concerning housing, water and sanitation and the highest attainable standard of health.

“These obligations apply to all levels of Government – federal, state and municipal,” Ms. de Albuquerque and Ms. Farha underscored.

(*) Check the full end-of-visit statement: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15188&LangID=E

Oct 212014
 

DUBLIN, Ireland, October 21, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, has welcomed the announcement that the EU will intensify efforts to tackle the Ebola virus in West Africa.

Speaking after a meeting of European Union Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg, Minister Flanagan said:

“Today’s meeting is an important step in our efforts to tackle the Ebola virus in West Africa.

Many countries, including Ireland, have been working to tackle the spread of this deadly virus which is devastating communities in West Africa in particular. Today’s meeting was about focussing on the EU Member States working together in a coordinated way to pool our respective strengths.

A united and coordinated response is essential. It is encouraging to see further commitments made by the international community in recent days. Ireland is providing over €16million to the region, directly and through NGOs. We are also keeping in close contact with Irish aid organisations operating in the region and our Embassy in Freetown is very active in helping to coordinate the local effort.

“I joined with my colleagues in reiterating the urgent need to intensify support for the region. We recognised the need to support international health workers who are essential in responding to the emergency and have agreed that the EU will provide appropriate care for health workers, including the possibility of medical evacuation if necessary.

“Ireland will continue to work closely with our EU partners, as well as the United Nations, to ensure a coordinated and robust response in the tackling of this virus.”

The Foreign Affairs Council meeting also discussed Syria and Iraq, and the situation in Gaza. Minister Flanagan added:

“I joined with my colleagues in expressing serious concern for the humanitarian situation in Syria and Iraq where horrendous acts of violence continue to be carried out. An end to the Syrian conflict and a inclusive government in Iraq are urgently needed, and are critical to bringing about peace and stability in the region.

“Our meeting today also expanded sanctions against the Assad regime in Syria, including a new ban on the export of aviation fuel to Syria.

“On Gaza, we welcomed the outcome of the recent Gaza Reconstruction Conference, held in Cairo on 12 October, which I attended, and at which Ireland pledged €2.5 million in humanitarian assistance and reconstruction aid.

“I expressed the view however that this reconstruction funding would only be effective in an environment where the conflict was not going to resume. The underlying issues in Gaza, including ending the blockade, have to be addressed and resolved politically.

“Resuming substantive negotiations to bring about a two-State solution ultimately represents the only effective way of ending the conflict and avoiding future violence and destruction in Gaza.”

Oct 202014
 

PARIS, France, October 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Quai d’Orsay – French official statements (Paris, Otober 20, 2014)

France condemns the terrorist attack that killed seven soldiers in the Sinai yesterday.

We extend our condolence…

Oct 202014
 

MOGADISHU, Somalia, October 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia (SRSG), Nicholas Kay, condemned an attack on African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces in Hiiraan region and called for calm as rival clans caused insecurity in the area. Armed men and rioters blocked and attacked AMISOM troops yesterday morning while they were on a mission to help restore peace near the village of Deefow.

“I condemn yesterday’s attack on AMISOM troops near the village of Deefow in Hiiraan region. They were in the area to calm the situation and promote reconciliation. The situation will not be resolved by further violence. Local leaders and traditional elders must work together to de-escalate the situation and resolve their differences through peaceful dialogue in full co-operation with the federal and regional governments. The Somali people have suffered enough and know that no good can come from further violence and insecurity. We remain committed to supporting the Somali people, the Federal Government and AMISOM as they work together to restore peace.” said SRSG Kay.

SRSG Kay extended his sincere condolences to the family and friends of those who were killed or injured as a result of the conflict in Hiiraan region.

Oct 202014
 

MOGADISHU, Somalia, October 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia (SRSG), Nicholas Kay, condemned an attack on African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces in Hiiraan region and called for calm as rival clans caused insecurity in the area. Armed men and rioters blocked and attacked AMISOM troops yesterday morning while they were on a mission to help restore peace near the village of Deefow.

“I condemn yesterday’s attack on AMISOM troops near the village of Deefow in Hiiraan region. They were in the area to calm the situation and promote reconciliation. The situation will not be resolved by further violence. Local leaders and traditional elders must work together to de-escalate the situation and resolve their differences through peaceful dialogue in full co-operation with the federal and regional governments. The Somali people have suffered enough and know that no good can come from further violence and insecurity. We remain committed to supporting the Somali people, the Federal Government and AMISOM as they work together to restore peace.” said SRSG Kay.

SRSG Kay extended his sincere condolences to the family and friends of those who were killed or injured as a result of the conflict in Hiiraan region.

Oct 202014
 

DAKAR, Senegal, October 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — For more than a year, experts and members of Senegalese civil society have been rallying together to plan the topics for the 15th Francophonie Summit programme (http://www.francophoniedakar2014.sn), which will focus on the themes from the previous Summit in Kinshasa – “Francophonie’s women and young people: vectors for peace and actors for development”.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/francophonie1.png

The aim: to offer concrete initiatives that respond to the social, economic and political challenges faced by young people and women, whotogether represent of 70% of the population of Francophonie Member States.

The different meetings organized during the year by the Scientific Committee, chaired by El HadjHamidouKassé, Special advisor to the President of the Republic, enabled the formalization of strategic recommendations that will be available for the Head of States and Governments. They start from the necessity to better inform and train women and young people in accordance with local needs but also, and especially, through supporting their entrepreneurial initiatives at a local, national, and international level.

They also call for concerted action by stakeholders in the Francophonie (States and governments, institutions, funding agencies, local authorities, businesses etc.). Among the strategic and operational recommendations:

• The constitutionalisation of socio-economic and cultural rights of women and young people (access to good quality land and to capital, markets and factors of production)

• The creation of a Francophonie Forum for scientific, technical, cultural and agricultural innovation to strengthen female entrepreneurship

• The establishment of innovative support and finance mechanisms with, for example, a Francophonie Bank for entrepreneurial projects of women and young people

• The improvement of scientific and cultural mobility within the French-speaking community by facilitating visa obtention for limited stays

• The support of knowledge-sharing within the Francophone space, by extending international volunteering programmes, setting up a Francophone academy and a camp d’excellence

• The creation of a group that brings together ministers for Health from Francophone countries on issues affecting health

• The reinforcement of prevention by promoting physical activity and sport in education systems through support of the Francophone Games

• The use of digital technology, which not only offers unprecedented opportunities for training and learning, but is also an area in which many new initiatives are being developed

• Establishing operational mechanisms to support women and youth and women employment

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the XVe Sommet de la Francophonie.

Media contact: Francophonie_dakar2014@richardattiasassociates.com, tel: +33 1 42 68 83 94

For practical information regarding the 15th Francophonie Summit, please visit: http://www.francophoniedakar2014.sn

Also follow the Summit news on Twitter: @SFDK2014 and join the Facebook group: DAKAR 2014!

Oct 202014
 

DAKAR, Senegal, October 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — For more than a year, experts and members of Senegalese civil society have been rallying together to plan the topics for the 15th Francophonie Summit programme (http://www.francophoniedakar2014.sn), which will focus on the themes from the previous Summit in Kinshasa – “Francophonie’s women and young people: vectors for peace and actors for development”.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/francophonie1.png

The aim: to offer concrete initiatives that respond to the social, economic and political challenges faced by young people and women, whotogether represent of 70% of the population of Francophonie Member States.

The different meetings organized during the year by the Scientific Committee, chaired by El HadjHamidouKassé, Special advisor to the President of the Republic, enabled the formalization of strategic recommendations that will be available for the Head of States and Governments. They start from the necessity to better inform and train women and young people in accordance with local needs but also, and especially, through supporting their entrepreneurial initiatives at a local, national, and international level.

They also call for concerted action by stakeholders in the Francophonie (States and governments, institutions, funding agencies, local authorities, businesses etc.). Among the strategic and operational recommendations:

• The constitutionalisation of socio-economic and cultural rights of women and young people (access to good quality land and to capital, markets and factors of production)

• The creation of a Francophonie Forum for scientific, technical, cultural and agricultural innovation to strengthen female entrepreneurship

• The establishment of innovative support and finance mechanisms with, for example, a Francophonie Bank for entrepreneurial projects of women and young people

• The improvement of scientific and cultural mobility within the French-speaking community by facilitating visa obtention for limited stays

• The support of knowledge-sharing within the Francophone space, by extending international volunteering programmes, setting up a Francophone academy and a camp d’excellence

• The creation of a group that brings together ministers for Health from Francophone countries on issues affecting health

• The reinforcement of prevention by promoting physical activity and sport in education systems through support of the Francophone Games

• The use of digital technology, which not only offers unprecedented opportunities for training and learning, but is also an area in which many new initiatives are being developed

• Establishing operational mechanisms to support women and youth and women employment

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the XVe Sommet de la Francophonie.

Media contact: Francophonie_dakar2014@richardattiasassociates.com, tel: +33 1 42 68 83 94

For practical information regarding the 15th Francophonie Summit, please visit: http://www.francophoniedakar2014.sn

Also follow the Summit news on Twitter: @SFDK2014 and join the Facebook group: DAKAR 2014!

Oct 202014
 

LUXEMBURG, Luxembourg, October 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Foreign Affairs Council meeting
The Council adopted the following conclusions:
1. “Recalling its conclusions and the European Council conclusions of August 2014, the Counci…

Oct 202014
 

LUXEMBURG, Luxembourg, October 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Foreign Affairs Council meeting
The Council adopted the following conclusions:
1. “Recalling its conclusions and the European Council conclusions of August 2014, the Counci…

Oct 202014
 

LUXEMBURG, Luxembourg, October 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Foreign Affairs Council meeting

The Council adopted the following conclusions:

“1. The European Union remains deeply concerned at the ongoing conflicts in Sudan, notably in Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile and the accompanying violations of humanitarian and human rights law, as well as a serious humanitarian emergency all of which continue to cause enormous human suffering and internal displacements and pose a risk to regional stability. There can be no military solution to conflicts in Sudan. The EU therefore supports the African Union Peace and Security Council’s repeated call for a holistic approach to

Sudan’s multiple challenges and the need to tackle comprehensively the political, economic and social causes of persisting conflict.

2. The initiated National Dialogue process is currently the best opportunity to make progress towards this goal and to pave the way towards internal peace, reconciliation and democratic governance. The EU welcomes recent signs of a political momentum, in particular the

Agreements on the National Dialogue and Constitutional Process signed in Addis Ababa on

4 September 2014. It calls on all groups to renounce violence as a means for political change and to seize this opportunity for a political solution to Sudan’s challenges through dialogue and negotiation without delay.

3. The EU considers that for the National Dialogue to succeed and to achieve legitimate results, it should be

• inclusive: Space should be given for a meaningful participation of the opposition parties and armed movements as well as civil society, including women’s, groups. The dialogue should include stakeholders from all of Sudan’s regions and reflect the full ethnic, religious and cultural diversity of Sudan;

• comprehensive: To address Sudan’s internal conflicts, issues such as socio-economic

marginalisation, unequal distribution of resources, political exclusion and lack of access to public services need to be tackled. The dialogue should provide mechanisms for the way forward for peace and development in all regions in conflict. It should provide for a platform on which to discuss issues of national importance, including identity and social equality, agree new and inclusive governance arrangements, a definitive constitution and a roadmap for the holding of national elections; 2/2

• held in a conducive environment: The freedoms of expression, of media, of association and assembly must be guaranteed. Political prisoners must be released, and practices of arbitrary detention – like those across the anniversary of the September 2013 protests – stopped;

• accompanied by confidence-building measures: These should include, first and foremost an immediate, sustained and verifiable cessation of hostilities and free and unhindered humanitarian access to all civilians in the conflict areas. This is of relevance both to the Government of Sudan and to the armed movements;

• transparent about the process, the objectives, the timeframe and the way forward, so that the Sudanese people at large can own the process and accept its outcomes.

4. The EU stands ready to support a National Dialogue process as set out above and encourages all stakeholders inside and outside Sudan to join efforts towards such a process.

5. The EU reiterates its full support to the work of the AU High Level Implementation Panel

(AUHIP) and commends its chairman President Mbeki on his recent efforts to promote a genuine National Dialogue process on a broad basis. The EU calls on all international stakeholders to rally behind the AUHIP to reinforce its role and strengthen its voice. The EU supports current efforts to create a comprehensive platform for the facilitation of the National

Dialogue that will integrate the different peace and dialogue processes for Sudan’s regional conflicts.

6. Sudan stands at an important crossroad. A genuine National Dialogue would help enhance confidence between Sudan and international partners such as the EU. It would also create a peaceful environment in which tangible and sustained progress in addressing Sudan’s main political and economic challenges, needed to secure debt relief under the HIPC process, could be achieved. The EU therefore calls on the Government of Sudan, the opposition and the armed movements to rise to the occasion and demonstrate the leadership necessary to put Sudan on a path to peace, prosperity and justice. In this respect, the EU recalls the importance of fighting impunity.

7. In the face of the worsening humanitarian situation the EU is very concerned by access restrictions still imposed for international humanitarian agencies and organisations. It reiterates its call on the Government of Sudan, as well as on armed movements to guarantee safe, timely and unhindered humanitarian access to all areas by humanitarian agencies, in particular in conflict-affected areas in line with international humanitarian principles. Civilians, humanitarian staff and assets must be protected.

8. The EU reiterates its commitment to support Sudan and the Sudanese people in their transition to an internally reformed democracy, living in peace with itself and with its

neighbours.”