It’s time to ReThink Security Management

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

R. Buckminster Fuller said those words decades ago, but they still ring true in present times, especially when it comes to the progression and innovation in technology. Here at Check Point (http://www.CheckPoint.com), we do a lot of thinking about future trends and potential threats, as well as innovating and building solutions to combat these cybersecurity challenges.

To be as effective as possible, threat defences need to be observed and managed in real time to give as much time to respond as possible. Robust security management is a solution that includes the installation of high-tech systems designed to protect an organisation’s data, networks and devices, while providing real-time visibility into security risk.

This includes the development, documentation, and implementation of policies and procedures for protecting these assets. Unfortunately, the response to potential threats tends to be point product or the reactive construction of new policies and rules, which only serve as a Band-Aid, at best. This is largely because a unified security program – based on integrated technology – is often not being used.

Start Solving Real Problems

The security industry does not need more point products to duct-tape solutions together and hope for the best. Companies need real solutions – ones that can integrate their system and give them visibility into the security risk of the environment. A powerful security management platform gives your company a strategic and tactical advantage by enabling the management of potential threats, without inhibiting business innovation.

With that said, there are four primary ways in which you can help secure your company’s environment:

  1. Conquer with Consolidation

Security complexity can be conquered through consolidation – bringing all security protections and functions under one umbrella. By consolidating security on a single platform, companies gain more control over their security, get better insight into their security posture and can respond more quickly to shut down threats to their entire environment.

  1. Unified Policy Management

Ultimately, when policies are misconfigured, the organisation is not able to protect and gain visibility into the increasing number of business segments. This puts the entire organisation at risk. The key to strong security architecture that can overcome the most difficult cybersecurity challenges can only be delivered by using a security management solution that delivers unparalleled operational efficiency.

  1. Integrated Threat Management

You cannot monitor or protect devices you don’t know about. Security challenges are increased when there is a lack of proper visibility for incident detection and response. This is precisely the reason why a single, visual dashboard is so important for event analysis, and threat monitoring and mitigation, to ensure full-spectrum visibility into threats across the entire perimeter and beyond.

  1. Automated Operations

By automating operations, security teams have the confidence to integrate ticketing, network management or cloud orchestration systems, knowing that they can limit exactly what integrated systems have access to and what they are capable of doing.

Consolidate and Optimise

As evasion techniques evolve and become more intelligent, so must the technology to keep your business secure. A robust security management platform allows your company to be proactive in its approach to security, rather than reactive.

To provide security professionals with a comprehensive resource on security management, we’ve developed a whitepaper that provides you with solutions to tackle the most complex environments.

We invite you to rethink your current security posture, and enable strong protections for the organisation. Everything from technology, people, policy, operations and management must be considered in a new light, with a fresh mindset.

Download our free whitepaper to learn more: http://www.apo.af/9x2ZWt

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Check Point Software Technologies Ltd..

Media Contact
WE Communications South Africa
+27 11 550 5400
checkpointsa@we-worldwide.com

About Check Point Software Technologies Ltd.
Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (http://www.CheckPoint.com) is the largest network cyber security vendor globally, providing industry-leading solutions and protecting customers from cyberattacks with an unmatched catch rate of malware and other types of threats. Check Point offers a complete security architecture defending enterprises – from networks to mobile devices – in addition to the most comprehensive and intuitive security management. Check Point protects over 100,000 organisations of all sizes.

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Zeid condemns spate of assassinations in Burundi

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Wednesday condemned the increasing number of attacks against high level officials in Burundi, including most recently the assassination of Brigadier General Athanase Kararuza and his wife on Monday, and the apparent assassination attempt against the Minister of Human Rights, Social Affairs and Gender, Martin Nivyabandi, the previous day, Sunday 24 April.

“I strongly condemn these attacks,” Zeid said. “They must be properly investigated and the killers must be arrested and brought before the law. Some 31 people have been killed in attacks so far in April, compared to a total of nine people in the last month. The great majority of these attacks were carried out by unidentified armed men. I fear that the increasing number of targeted assassinations will inevitably exacerbate the already extremely dangerous spiral of violence and unrest in Burundi.”

The High Commissioner strongly encouraged all parties to seize the opportunity of the upcoming East African Community-led Burundian talks in Arusha to engage in a meaningful dialogue, with the aim of improving the human rights situation and finding a lasting solution to the ongoing political crisis.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

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United States Announces Additional Humanitarian Assistance for the People of South Sudan

The United States today announced more than $86 million in additional humanitarian assistance to help conflict-affected people in South Sudan, as well as South Sudanese refugees in the region.

This new funding will provide much-needed safe drinking water, emergency health care, nutrition services, shelter, improved sanitation facilities, agricultural training, and seeds, tools, and fishing supplies for the most vulnerable families and communities. These include internally displaced persons both within and outside of UN Protection of Civilians sites, refugees seeking asylum in South Sudan, and South Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries. The U.S. Government is also supporting clinical and psychological treatment for survivors of gender-based violence, as well as the transport of life-saving supplies and aid workers to ensure that people who are living in remote and hard-to-reach areas quickly receive assistance.

For more than two years, the delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance has been seriously disrupted by the denial of movement and access perpetrated by all parties to the conflict. As we anticipate the quick formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity and a renewed commitment to the implementation of the peace agreement, the United States expects a fundamental shift in the relationship with the humanitarian community. Specifically, we expect the transitional government to adhere to core humanitarian principles and to change past policy and practice to ensure aid reaches those in need without regard to ethnic or political discrimination. We furthermore expect the transitional government to take action to prevent the extortion, theft, and physical harm of aid workers. Leaders must also allow full freedom of movement for all civilians.

This new assistance announced today underscores the long-standing commitment of the American people to the people of South Sudan. The United States is the single largest donor of humanitarian assistance to South Sudan. This additional funding raises the total of U.S. humanitarian aid to nearly $1.6 billion since the start of the current conflict in December 2013.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Embassy in Juba.

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Togo National Day

Press Statement

John Kerry
Secretary of State

Washington, DC

April 27, 2016

On behalf of President Obama and American people, I wish to extend congratulations to the people of Togo on the 56th anniversary of your independence.

Togo and the United States enjoy excellent relations, based on a mutual interest in strengthening democracy and rule of law, supporting economic development, and ensuring citizen security in Togo. Our strong partnership works to improve health, education, agriculture, and the environment.

The United States looks forward to deepening the strong relationship we enjoy with Togo and supporting your efforts towards a prosperous and secure future.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Department of State.

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Sierra Leone National Day

Press Statement

John Kerry
Secretary of State

Washington, DC

April 27, 2016

On behalf of President Obama and American people, I am delighted to congratulate the people of Sierra Leone on the 55th anniversary of their country’s independence.

The government, families, and communities of Sierra Leone face a wide range of daunting challenges, yet continue to do the hard and sometimes painstaking work of building a democratic and prosperous society for themselves and for future generations.

The United States is committed to doing its part to help Sierra Leone strengthen its governing institutions, expand economic opportunities, and support the recovery of its health care system. And we are dedicated to deepening the bonds of friendship between our two nations and remaining a partner in Sierra Leone’s pursuit of peace, growth, security, and progress for all its citizens.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Department of State.

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Government launches Child Friendly Justice Handbook to protect rights of children in contact with the law

The Government of Uganda and UNICEF have today launched a child-friendly justice handbook to guide prosecutors and other actors in the criminal justice system, in handling child-related cases in a child-friendly and gender responsive manner.

The handbook is produced by the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) with technical and financial support from UNICEF as well as financial support from the Justice Law and Order Sector. The UK government provided financial support to the process through UNICEF. The handbook will be used by prosecutors and other state as well as non-state actors and institutions in the criminal justice system.

“The handbook is an excellent guide in improving the delivery of justice to children, strengthening child protection structures and helping build a protective environment for children. It will subsequently lead to the rehabilitation and reintegration of children in conflict with the law,” says Mike Chibita, the Director of Public Prosecutions.

According to the Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS) Annual Report 2013, there were 1,256 juvenile offenders in the year 2011-12. In 2012, the Uganda Police Force arrested an average of six juveniles per 100,000 of the child population.

More often than not, prior to sentencing, child offenders are held with adults, due to lack of separate holding facilities at police stations, which increases the risk of violence, abuse and exploitation. The conditions of detention are sometimes sub-standard, overcrowded and deny children their rights, such as the right to legal representation, parental access, and appropriate standards of health. Detention rarely results in the child’s reintegration and the child assuming a constructive role in society, which should be the objective of any justice intervention in line with the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC).

In addition, children’s cases are often processed through justice systems designed for adults that are not adapted to children’s rights and specific needs.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) which Uganda signed, ratified and domesticated recognises the importance of child friendly justice. In addition, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child also highlights the right of the African child to special treatment in a manner consistent with the child’s sense of dignity and worth and which reinforces the child’s respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms of others. It prohibits child labour and harmful cultural practices that put children at risk. At national level, the Constitution of Uganda sets out rights of children, including of those in conflict with the law. The Children’s Act Cap 59 further makes specific provision on the processes of arrest and charging, pre-trial detention and hearings, adopting the child rights based approach.

However, despite the existence of the mentioned legal frameworks, the justice system in Uganda is still faced with severe constraints especially as far as child protection and justice is concerned. With the existing system, children are marginalised by the limited application of a child-rights based approach by relevant institutions charged with child justice and inadequate systems and procedures for justice for children.

Regarding sexual violence, Uganda is a signatory to international and regional instruments on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) which include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action, 1995, the Great Lakes Protocol on the Prevention and Suppression of Sexual Violence Against Women and Children 2009, the SADC addendum on the Prevention and Eradication of Violence Against Women and Children (Addendum to the SADC Declaration on Gender and Development). The Government of Uganda has undertaken steps to address sexual violence by enacting a gender sensitive constitution and drafting laws that prohibit violence against women and children, including the 2007 Penal Code Amendment Act No. 8, the Domestic Violence Act, the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act 2009 and The Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act 2010.

Despite these efforts on the legislative front, the criminal justice system’s response to gender-based violence falls short of the country’s international regional and national obligations to prevent violence against children and women and to ensure their access to justice. Perpetrators still escape prosecution and punishment for their crimes. Delays in the investigation, prosecution and adjudication of SGBV crimes, poor case handling methods including exhibit mishandling, poor statement recording, outdated evidential admission requirements to name but a few, lead to poor case outcomes. The lowly response of the criminal justice system to the determination of SGBV cases is reflected in the DPP performance statistics. For example, the DPP 2015 statistics show that the total number of defilement cases handled that year was 26,900. 8,176 of these were newly registered cases. About 8,000 of these cases were being mentioned in court, meaning that investigations in these cases were still ongoing. About 7,800 cases were under prosecution and only 1197 cases were concluded.

“No matter how children come into contact with judicial or non-judicial proceedings, their rights have to be protected from the time they enter into the formal justice system to completion,” Ms. Noreen Prendiville, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Uganda, emphasized.

As part of the process of the development of the handbook, the Director of Public Prosecutions appointed a task force consisting of prosecutors and members of the DPP policy unit that conducted field consultations, which identified gaps and challenges in the implementation of a child friendly criminal justice system. The consultative meetings established that one of the main problems faced by prosecutors, adjudicators and investigators was the failure to understand and therefore apply the concept of “child friendly justice”.

What is Child-Friendly Justice?

Child-Friendly Justice refers to justice systems which guarantee the respect and the effective implementation of all children’s rights. The key issues for consideration in determining whether or not an intervention is child-friendly are:

– Is this proposed action in the best interests of the children?

– Does it safeguard their life and survival and actively contribute to their development?

– Is it taking into consideration the needs of all children, without discrimination against particular groups?

– Are there adequate resources available?

In summary this concept requires that children in contact with the law either as victims, witnesses or those in conflict with the law, be handled in a way that is humane and which recognises their legal and physical vulnerabilities. Such a system should be adapted to and focused on the needs of the child.

This hand book therefore delves into the subjects of child friendly justice, diversion, child age determination, detention of children, evidence of children, statement taking, and working with child victims and witnesses of Sexual and Gender Based Violence Crimes as well as the child justice institutional set up and mandates. It provides child justice practitioners with the basic tools of how to handle children in contact with the law.

“UNICEF pledges to continue working with the Government to promote the strengthening of all parts of the child protection system, including the justice mechanisms, to operate in the best interest of the child,” Ms. Prendiville concluded.

About UNICEF
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

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Statement by Dr. Tarek A. Sharif, Head Defence and Security Division Peace and Security Department at the consultative meeting on the start-up of AFRIPOL

Major-General Abdelghani Hamel, Director General of the Algerian National Security,
Distinguished Representative of INTERPOL,
Distinguished Representative of ASEANAPOL,
Distinguished Representative of EUROPOL,
Chairs of the African Regional Police Cooperation Organizations, EAPCCO and SARPCCO,
Distinguished Participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the African Union Commission, I wish to extend warm welcome to you all, and to thank you for having spared time to participate at this meeting that is yet another historical milestone in the operationalization of the African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation – AFRIPOL.

Let me, at the outset, thank the Government of People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria for hosting this consultative meeting on the startup of AFRIPOL and for the warm welcome we have all received, including the all the facilities that have been made available to make our stay here comfortable.

Excellences

Ladies and Gentlemen

It can be recalled that Executive Council of the African Union, at its 25th Ordinary Session held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, in June 2014, adopted decision EX.CL/Dec.820(XXV), in which it endorsed the Algiers Declaration on the establishment of AFRIPOL and requested the African Union Commission to follow-up on all the aspects of the Declaration, including the facilitation of the setting up of an ad hoc Committee, Co-Chaired by Algeria and Uganda and gathering the representatives of the African regional police chiefs cooperation organizations, to develop draft statute of AFRIPOL and legal texts governing its organization, operation and funding.

The second meeting of African Chiefs of Police, held in Algiers in December 2015, adopted the ad hoc Committee report. Subsequently, the report was submitted to the 2nd Extraordinary Meeting of African Chiefs of Defence Staff and Heads of Safety and Security (STCDSS) that was held in Addis Ababa on 15 January 2016. The 2nd Extraordinary Meeting of the STCDSS endorsed the report of the Commission on the Operationalization of AFRIPOL and will forward it for consideration by the relevant AU Organs.

It can also be recalled that the African Police Chiefs, at their 2nd meeting, stressed the need for the immediate start on preliminary activities of AFRIPOL for reasons including

The fact that transnational criminal networks continue to increase their activities, therefore the need for immediate implementation of cooperation and coordination initiatives;
The host country, Algeria, has made available the Secretariat for AFRIPOL, with the necessary office facilities, and is ready for occupation.

In this regard, the Chiefs of Police agreed to second staff, at the cost of the seconding county, for immediate deployment to the AFRIPOL headquarters, who should translate the priority areas for AFRIPOL, as contained in the foundation documents, into specific activities and develop concrete plans for their implementation.

We are meeting at the headquarters of AFRIPOL for the first time today and, I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the gratitude of the African Union Commission to the Government of Algeria for ensuring that the headquarters is ready for use. It is also important to acknowledge the personal dedication of Major-General Abdelghani Hamel, to the speedy establishment of the AFRIPOL headquarters.

Excellences

Ladies and Gentlemen

This meeting will enable brainstorming on immediate, medium and long term phasing of next steps in the operationalization of AFRIPOL, giving opportunity for AFRIPOL to learn from the experiences of ASEANAPOL, EUROPOL and the global INTERPOL, in order to enhance law enforcement cooperation in the fight against transnational organized crime and terrorism – considering what has worked, avoiding what did not work and introducing opportunities that may have been missed. The experiences of African Regional Organizations for Police Cooperation will also build on these efforts to build an effective and efficient mechanism for cooperation between law enforcement authorities to fight organized crime in the Member States.

The meeting will also help to explore modalities for information exchanges between the Member States, and between AFRIPOL and the similar police and law enforcement organizations, especially since cross-border policing is only taking prominence in the recent past. The objective here is to discuss mechanisms that will enhance freedom of legal movement of people, goods, services and capital and yet deter flourishing of transnational organized crime.

This scenario calls for the establishment and strengthening of robust law enforcement networks at bilateral, regional and global levels, to counter common threats faced in Africa and beyond. In this regard, AFRIPOL will contribute t enhanced cooperation among Member States including with other existing continental structures and institutions like the ACSRT, regional cooperation mechanisms like the Nouakchott and Djibouti Processes and the Liaison and Fusion Centres is of necessity.

Ladies and Gentlemen

As Africa works towards strengthening integration by easing movement of people and goods across borders, it should be noted that open borders also leave countries with increased vulnerability to cross-border crime. Law enforcement should, therefore, not lag behind in this regard but rather result into enhanced cooperation. Criminal networks, for various reasons, choose to use certain countries or regions as basses and will manifest itself in di?erent ways in order to plan certain crimes, and then launch them to other countries, whether regionally or internationally. This is the reason cooperation to fight cross-border organized crime is a necessity. Developing and enhancing information and intelligence sharing and cooperation tools and networks will help to facilitate such an initiative.

You will agree with me that focus should not only be on the criminal networks, but also the support systems between licit-illicit relationships, comprised of legitimate players like attorneys, bankers, accountants and brokers, who provide services to legitimate customers, criminals, and terrorists alike.

Ladies and Gentlemen

In conclusion, I wish to stress the importance of these consultations to the start-up of AFRIPOL and look forwards to enriching discussions that will enable AFRIPOL to join in the efforts to enhance cooperation between the Police and law enforcement agencies on the continent and globally. I believe that this is only but the beginning of what will be a strong and durable relationship that will outlive Transnational Organized Crime. I also hope that we will agree on concrete next steps in this regard.

I wish to, once again, thank the government of Algeria for its continued effort towards ensuring the effective operationalization of AFRIPOL.

I look forward to fruitful deliberations.

Thank you all.

– See more at: http://www.peaceau.org/en/article/statement-by-dr-tarek-a-sharif-head-defence-and-security-division-peace-and-security-department-at-the-consultative-meeting-on-the-start-up-of-afripol#sthash.E4tAa2hE.2UEMSnOQ.dpuf

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

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ERRATUM: Health experts define Africa’s health direction

With the continental and global consensus on sustainable development in the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063 the African Union on Tuesday finalised the review of key health policy instruments that will guide the continent for the next 15 years. The review follows the Decision of the Ministers of Health last year mandating the AU Commission to finalise the revision of key AU health policy instruments.

“These health policy instruments will provide the strategic direction to secure health for all by 2030 in Africa” said Ambassador Olawale Maiyegun, the Director of Social Affairs.

The reviewed documents include the overarching Africa Health Strategy (2016-2030); the Maputo Plan of Action (2016-2030) for the implementation of the Continental Framework on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and the Catalytic Framework to end AIDS, TB and Eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030.

The Africa Health Strategy is the primary consolidative document for all African commitments in the health sector. It will inspire, guide and highlight Africa’s strategic priorities in the next one and a half decade. The strategy calls on Member States to prioritise and invest in health through strengthened health systems, community engagement, fostering public private partnerships.

During the meeting Member State Experts also deliberated on the establishment of the African Health Volunteers Corps. The African Union is establishing the Corps as part of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. The Africa CDC will assemble, equip, and mobilise a deployable roaster of volunteer medical and public health professionals. This will ensure rapid and effective responses to public health emergencies to Member States and address matters of global concern including health impacts of natural disasters and humanitarian crises.

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

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South Sudan: Riek Machar’s Return to Juba

The return of Riek Machar to Juba, and his swearing-in as First Vice President today, represents an important step towards formation of a Transitional Government of National Unity (TGNU) and a second chance to reclaim the promise this young nation deserves. We welcome the statements by President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar calling for cooperation, reconciliation, and peaceful coexistence.

South Sudan’s leaders now need to complete formation of the Transitional Government, fully respect the permanent ceasefire agreement, facilitate humanitarian access to all areas of the country and begin implementing the reform agenda of the peace agreement, according to the timeline established by the parties.

We express our appreciation to Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) Chairperson, President Festus Mogae, the African Union, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), and the member states of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) for their efforts to support implementation of the August peace agreement.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Embassy in Juba.

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Zambia to Implement the IMF’s Enhanced General Data Dissemination System

A mission of the International Monetary Fund visited Lusaka during April 4–8, 2016, to assist the authorities with the implementation of the Enhanced General Data Dissemination System (e-GDDS), which was endorsed by the Executive Board in May 2015. The mission supported the development of the National Summary Data Page (NSDP), which will be posted on the Central Statistical Office website, utilizing the Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange (SDMX). The page aims to serve as a one-stop publication vehicle for essential macroeconomic data. This places Zambia in the first wave of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to implement the recommendations of the e-GDDS.

Publication of essential macroeconomic data through the new NSDP will provide national policy makers and domestic and international stakeholders, including investors and rating agencies, with easy access to information that the IMF’s Executive Board has identified as critical for monitoring economic conditions and policies. Making this information easily accessible in both human and machine-readable formats, and according to an Advance Release Calendar, will allow all users to have simultaneous access to timely data and will bring greater data transparency.

The authorities are encouraged by the notable progress that Zambia has made to achieve this important statistical milestone. The NSDP will give users access to full information about Zambia’s essential macroeconomic data by June 8, 2016.

Background

The e-GDDS was established by the IMF’s Executive Board in May 2015 to support improved data transparency, encourage statistical development, and help create synergies between data dissemination and surveillance. The e-GDDS supersedes the GDDS, which was established in 1997. A link to the country’s NSDP will be available on the IMF’s Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board (DSBB) by June 8, 2016: at http://dsbb.imf.org.

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

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The 2nd Extra-Ordinary Senior Officials Meeting of the Coordination Committee of Africa-Arab Partnership

INVITATION TO REPRESENTATIVES OF THE MEDIA

When: 27 and 29 April 2016

The meetings will be organized as follows:

27th April 2016: 2nd Meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the 4th Africa-Arab Summit; and

29th April 2016: 2nd Extra-Ordinary Senior Officials Meeting of the Coordination Committee of the Africa-Arab Partnership

Where: Malabo, Equatorial Guinea

Who: Organized by Africa’s Strategic Partnerships, Bureau of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) in collaboration with the Government of Equatorial Guinea.

Why: The Meeting will discuss preparations for the 4th Africa-Arab Summit to be held in Equatorial Guinea in November 2016, in line with the agreement reached during the 9th Senior Officials Meeting of the Coordination Committee held in Cairo, Egypt on 29 February 2016.

Participants: The Meeting will bring together Senior Officials representing Members of the Coordination Committee on the African and the Arab sides, namely Chad, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Kuwait, Mauritania and Zimbabwe as well as the AU Commission and the League of Arab States.

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

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Source:: The 2nd Extra-Ordinary Senior Officials Meeting of the Coordination Committee of Africa-Arab Partnership

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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) to join 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.

“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. (between 1 and 1.3 million women in UK suffer domestic violence each year)

“None of us here today wants gender based violence to remain hidden. So we are committed together to support the victims of gender based violence and turn 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 fulfil 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 maximise 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.

“Thank you.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of British High Commission Lusaka.

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