Aug 262014
 

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, August 26, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — After two days of intense meetings with senior government leaders and Ebola-response partners to take stock of the current response to the Ebola outbreak, a high-level UN delegation is committing to surge up the resources of the entire UN operation in Sierra Leone especially with a reinvigorated commitment from the World Health Organization.

“This outbreak is still advancing in many parts of the country,” says Dr David Nabarro, the UN Secretary-General’s Coordinator for the Ebola response and co-leader of the delegation. “Our partnership with Sierra Leone to end the Ebola outbreak means upgrading all the UN is doing to get the scale-up required.”

But while the UN is planning to ramp up its work, more airlines are announcing they are discontinuing flights into the country over fear of the disease.

“The reduction in airlines flying into Freetown places a huge impact on our ability to bring in staff and supplies for this Ebola response,” says David McLachlan-Karr, the UN Resident Coordinator for Sierra Leone. “We can suspend other programmes for several months to focus solely on Ebola; but we also need to bring in the surge. This is only possible if the flights return.”

As of 24 August, Sierra Leone has 904 confirmed cases of Ebola, 369 of those have died.

“The situation remains challenging here,” says Dr Keiji Fukuda, Assistant Director-General for global health security at the World Health Organization and co-leader of the delegation. “We will do all we can to get ahead of the outbreak, then we can stop it and help the country get back to normal.”

Responding to this outbreak demands a global partnership in which all society and nations take full responsibility. This means working together, being efficient and organized on all levels, and focusing on what is being achieved.

This outbreak demands global partnership and it is a social responsibility that will require everyone working together. Over the next few days, the delegation will continue working with the UN team and the government in Sierra Leone to develop the details of the upgraded response approach.

Aug 252014
 

EL FASHER (DARFUR), Sudan, August 25, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The security arrangements for integrating about 1,350 former combatants from Justice and Equality Movement (JEM)– Sudan into the Government of Sudan military and police apparatus were launched today in a ceremony in El Fasher, North Darfur. The exercise is one of the main provisions stipulated in Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).

In his speech at the ceremony, the African Union-United Nations Joint Special Representative (JSR) and Joint Chief Mediator for Darfur, Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, highlighted the implementation of the security arrangement as one of the means of achieving peace in Darfur. “The launching of the DDPD security arrangements is a milestone in the implementation of the Doha Document,” he said.

“Let me take this opportunity therefore, to congratulate you all, particularly the signatories to the DDPD, for making it happen,” the Head of UNAMID said. “It is a clear testimony of your commitment and collective efforts towards bringing an end to the conflict in Darfur.”

Mr. Chambas stressed the Mission’s support to the all parties of the conflict. “UNAMID will continue to emphasize the need for cooperation and coordination among all concerned parties,” he mentioned.

The leader of JEM- Sudan, Brig. Gen. Bakheit Abdallah Dabajo, said that the security arrangements will help in ensuring security, stability and development in the country in general, and Darfur in particular. “JEM-Sudan combatants will be part of the troops to defend the country,” he explained.

“We call upon our brothers who are non-signatories to join the Doha Document, because peace is for all,” Dabajo said, and added that his movement did not sign for the sake of positions, but to build their country. “Enough is enough for war and bloodshed,” he concluded.

The ceremony, which took place at the Sixth Military Division square, was attended by the Wali (Governor) of North Darfur Osman Kibir, the Chairman of the Darfur Regional Authority Tigani Seisi, and other dignitaries from the Government of Sudan, JEM-Sudan and UNAMID.

Aug 252014
 

EL FASHER (DARFUR), Sudan, August 25, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The security arrangements for integrating about 1,350 former combatants from Justice and Equality Movement (JEM)– Sudan into the Government of Sudan military and police apparatus were launched today in a ceremony in El Fasher, North Darfur. The exercise is one of the main provisions stipulated in Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).

In his speech at the ceremony, the African Union-United Nations Joint Special Representative (JSR) and Joint Chief Mediator for Darfur, Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, highlighted the implementation of the security arrangement as one of the means of achieving peace in Darfur. “The launching of the DDPD security arrangements is a milestone in the implementation of the Doha Document,” he said.

“Let me take this opportunity therefore, to congratulate you all, particularly the signatories to the DDPD, for making it happen,” the Head of UNAMID said. “It is a clear testimony of your commitment and collective efforts towards bringing an end to the conflict in Darfur.”

Mr. Chambas stressed the Mission’s support to the all parties of the conflict. “UNAMID will continue to emphasize the need for cooperation and coordination among all concerned parties,” he mentioned.

The leader of JEM- Sudan, Brig. Gen. Bakheit Abdallah Dabajo, said that the security arrangements will help in ensuring security, stability and development in the country in general, and Darfur in particular. “JEM-Sudan combatants will be part of the troops to defend the country,” he explained.

“We call upon our brothers who are non-signatories to join the Doha Document, because peace is for all,” Dabajo said, and added that his movement did not sign for the sake of positions, but to build their country. “Enough is enough for war and bloodshed,” he concluded.

The ceremony, which took place at the Sixth Military Division square, was attended by the Wali (Governor) of North Darfur Osman Kibir, the Chairman of the Darfur Regional Authority Tigani Seisi, and other dignitaries from the Government of Sudan, JEM-Sudan and UNAMID.

Aug 252014
 

PARIS, France, August 25, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A vaccine against cholera is being used on a large scale for the first time in Ethiopia by teams from the international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF). The mass immunisation campaign will protect South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia’s Gambella region, as well as the host community, against the risk of cholera spreading across the border from neighbouring South Sudan, where an epidemic had been declared in June.

Cholera is endemic in the Gambella region, while overcrowding and poor sanitation in the area’s refugee camps could provide a perfect breeding ground for the Vibrio cholerae bacillus. More than 185,000 South Sudanese refugees have been registered in the Gambella region by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The cholera vaccine is given in two doses. MSF teams administered the first dose between 24 July and 2 August to refugees in Lietchuor, Kule and Tierkidi camps, and to newly arrived refugees in Pagak, Pamdong and Matar transit centres. Given the movement of people and trade between the camps and surrounding villages, protecting the host population against the disease is also crucial.

The cholera vaccine is relatively easy to administer, but the mass campaign presents some major logistical challenges. “The vaccine against cholera is taken orally, is easy to administer, and is more than 60% effective,” says Madi Foura Sassou, MSF’s emergency coordinator in Gambella. “However, the campaign requires a great deal of organisation, in terms of logistics and staff.”

The vaccine, which must be stored between 2° and 8°C, needs to be transported in refrigerated trucks from the capital, Addis Ababa, to the vaccination sites, and then kept in portable coolers. More than 300 MSF staff have been deployed in the refugee camps and surrounding villages, with medical teams administering the vaccine and community health workers raising awareness about the campaign amongst refugees and locals.

MSF teams are vaccinating children of one year and over and adults excluding pregnant women. Fixed vaccination sites are being staffed by teams of five, while mobile teams of two are travelling door-to-door to provide vaccinations within people’s houses and tents.

In the first round of the campaign, 151,723 people – or 85% of the target population in the refugee camps – were vaccinated against cholera. This is a good coverage rate despite the overestimated population. Each one received a vaccination card enabling them to receive the second dose of the vaccine. The second round of the campaign began on 15 August and will last for two weeks. All those vaccinated also receive a bar of soap, as one of a number of measures – which include vaccinations, good hygiene, and water and sanitation provision – to limit the risk of cholera breaking out.

The mass vaccination campaign is being supported by the Ethiopian authorities, and conducted under the supervision of a committee which includes health authorities and the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA), with technical support provided by UN agencies including the World Health Organization, UNHCR and UNICEF.

Heavy rains, which occur frequently at this time of year, have threatened to disrupt the campaign at times, but the teams have been well prepared for all eventualities, while both refugees and the host community understand the importance of the vaccinations to protect against a possible epidemic.

Aug 252014
 

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, August 25, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — African countries should reject immunity for sitting leaders for grave crimes before the African Court for Justice and Human Rights, 141 organizations said today in a declaration in advance of an African Union meeting in Nairobi. The organizations include both African groups and international groups and have a presence in 40 African countries.

The African Union (AU) Office of the Legal Counsel is convening a meeting in Nairobi on August 25 and 26, 2014, with government officials of AU member countries in East Africa to promote ratification of AU treaties. Discussions, which will take place at the Hilton Hotel, are expected to include a newly adopted protocol to extend the African Court’s jurisdiction to trials of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, while providing immunity for sitting leaders and other senior officials. The protocol to expand the authority of the African Court was adopted at the 23rd African Union summit, in Malabo in June.

“The immunity provision is a regrettable departure from the AU’s Constitutive Act, which rejects impunity under article 4,” said George Kegoro, executive director of the International Commission of Jurists-Kenya. “Immunity takes away the prospect that victims can access justice at the African court when leaders commit atrocities. African states should take a clear stand opposing this immunity.”

The adopted Protocol on Amendments to the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights is the first legal instrument to extend a regional court’s authority to criminal jurisdiction over genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The protocol also covers 11 additional crimes and notably provides for an independent defense office.

But Article 46A bis of the amendments provides immunity for sitting leaders, stating: “No charges shall be commenced or continued…against any serving African Union Head of State or Government, or anybody acting or entitled to act in such capacity, or other senior state officials based on their functions, during their tenure of office.”

The statutes of international and hybrid international-national war crimes tribunals reject exemptions on the basis of official capacity. Other international conventions, including the Convention against Torture, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and the Geneva Conventions of 1949, recognize the crucial importance of accountability for serious crimes.

“Granting immunity to sitting officials is retrogressive, and risks giving leaders license to commit crimes,” and Timothy Mtambo executive director at Malawi’s Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation. “Immunity also risks encouraging those accused of the crimes to cling to their positions to avoid facing the law.”

Some African countries like Benin, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, and South Africa rule out immunity for sitting officials for serious crimes under their national laws, the groups said.

This text of the group declaration was drafted by Malawi’s Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, with input from several African organizations and international organizations with a presence in Africa.

“Instead of retreating from important achievements to limit impunity, advance the rule of law, and promote respect for human rights, African governments should remain steadfast in supporting justice for victims of the worst crimes by rejecting immunity before the African Court,” said Angela Mudukuti, international criminal justice project lawyer at the Southern Africa Litigation Centre.

To read the declaration, please visit:

https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/08/22/call-african-states-reject-immunity-serious-crimes-african-civil-society-organisatio

To see other group initiatives by these organizations, please visit:

• http://www.icj-kenya.org/index.php/media-centre/press-releases/20-press-statement/598-letter-to-the-justice-ministers-and-attorneys-general-of-the-african-on-immunity-of-heads-of-states

• http://www.southernafricalitigationcentre.org/2013/11/18/salc-in-the-news-icc-africa-should-reject-free-pass-for-leaders/

• http://www.issafrica.org/uploads/African-civil-society-letter-to-AU-on-ICC-withdrawal-Oct-2013.pdf

Aug 252014
 

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, August 25, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Sealegs International (http://www.sealegs.com), the world’s leading manufacturer of patented amphibious craft, announces an agreement has been concluded within Brazil for both…

Aug 252014
 

DAKAR, Senegal, August 25, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Only one weeks remain in the “Call for Entry” for the 2014 APO Media Award (#APOMediaAward) (http://www.apo-opa.com/apo-media-award.php).

The first-place winner will be presented with $500 a month for one year, one laptop and one intercontinental flight ticket to a destination of his or her choice as well as one year of access to over 600 airport VIP lounges worldwide.

The second-place winner will be awarded $300 a month for one year.

The third-place winner will receive $200 a month for one year.

APO logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/apo-african-press-organization-small.png

Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=782 (Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, Founder and CEO of APO (African Press Organization)

APO Media Award celebrates brilliant and inspiring stories about Africa. The subject matter may comprise a single topic or a variety of subjects, including – but not limited to – business, economy, technology, agriculture, health, energy, gender, logistics, tourism, motoring, aviation, not-for-profit issues, diplomacy, environment, mining, entertainment and more.

APO Media Award is open to African journalists and bloggers, whether directly employed or freelancers, working in the continent of Africa who have produced a story that has been broadcast or published in English, French, Portuguese or Arabic in the form of a printed publication, a television feature, a radio story, a website or a blog whose primary audience is based in Africa.

Stories must have been broadcast or published between January and August 2014.

Stories are judged on content, writing, analysis, creativity, human interest and community impact.

All stories must be submitted in electronic format:

a) Print: upload the scan(s) of the published article.

b) Radio: upload the SoundCloud link (SoundCloud is an online audio distribution platform that enables its users to upload and share sounds they have created themselves – https://soundcloud.com).

c) Website: upload the URL.

d) TV: upload the YouTube link.

TV material must first be uploaded to YouTube (www.youtube.com) and radio material to SoundCloud (www.soundcloud.com). If you are not a member of these sites, you will need to sign up in order to upload the video or radio material. Once you have obtained the link, you must enter it in this online entry form when inputting your story details.

Online Entry Form is available here: http://www.apo-opa.com/apo_media_award.php?L=E

The deadline for entries is 1 September 2014.

The finalists will be announced on 15 September 2014.

The winners will be announced on 29 September 2014.

Follow APO on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apo_source

Follow the hashtag: #APOMediaAward

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization).

Contact:

award@apo-opa.org

+41 22 534 96 97

About APO

APO (African Press Organization) (http://www.apo-opa.com) is the sole press release wire in Africa and the global leader in media relations relating to Africa.

With offices in Senegal, Switzerland, Dubai, Hong Kong, India and Seychelles, APO has a media database comprising over 50,000 contacts and is the main online community for news relating to Africa.

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 http://www.apo-opa.com.

Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apo_source

Follow us on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/african-press-organization

Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/africanpressorganization

Aug 252014
 

DAKAR, Senegal, August 25, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Only one weeks remain in the “Call for Entry” for the 2014 APO Media Award (#APOMediaAward) (http://www.apo-opa.com/apo-media-award.php).

The first-place winner will be presented with $500 a month for one year, one laptop and one intercontinental flight ticket to a destination of his or her choice as well as one year of access to over 600 airport VIP lounges worldwide.

The second-place winner will be awarded $300 a month for one year.

The third-place winner will receive $200 a month for one year.

APO logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/apo-african-press-organization-small.png

Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=782 (Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, Founder and CEO of APO (African Press Organization)

APO Media Award celebrates brilliant and inspiring stories about Africa. The subject matter may comprise a single topic or a variety of subjects, including – but not limited to – business, economy, technology, agriculture, health, energy, gender, logistics, tourism, motoring, aviation, not-for-profit issues, diplomacy, environment, mining, entertainment and more.

APO Media Award is open to African journalists and bloggers, whether directly employed or freelancers, working in the continent of Africa who have produced a story that has been broadcast or published in English, French, Portuguese or Arabic in the form of a printed publication, a television feature, a radio story, a website or a blog whose primary audience is based in Africa.

Stories must have been broadcast or published between January and August 2014.

Stories are judged on content, writing, analysis, creativity, human interest and community impact.

All stories must be submitted in electronic format:

a) Print: upload the scan(s) of the published article.

b) Radio: upload the SoundCloud link (SoundCloud is an online audio distribution platform that enables its users to upload and share sounds they have created themselves – https://soundcloud.com).

c) Website: upload the URL.

d) TV: upload the YouTube link.

TV material must first be uploaded to YouTube (www.youtube.com) and radio material to SoundCloud (www.soundcloud.com). If you are not a member of these sites, you will need to sign up in order to upload the video or radio material. Once you have obtained the link, you must enter it in this online entry form when inputting your story details.

Online Entry Form is available here: http://www.apo-opa.com/apo_media_award.php?L=E

The deadline for entries is 1 September 2014.

The finalists will be announced on 15 September 2014.

The winners will be announced on 29 September 2014.

Follow APO on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apo_source

Follow the hashtag: #APOMediaAward

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization).

Contact:

award@apo-opa.org

+41 22 534 96 97

About APO

APO (African Press Organization) (http://www.apo-opa.com) is the sole press release wire in Africa and the global leader in media relations relating to Africa.

With offices in Senegal, Switzerland, Dubai, Hong Kong, India and Seychelles, APO has a media database comprising over 50,000 contacts and is the main online community for news relating to Africa.

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 http://www.apo-opa.com.

Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apo_source

Follow us on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/african-press-organization

Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/africanpressorganization

Aug 252014
 

PRETORIA, South-Africa, August 25, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The 65th Annual UN DPI/NGO Conference, titled “2015 and Beyond: Our Action Agenda,” will be held at United Nations Headquarters in New York from Wednesday, 27 August to Friday, 29 August 2014.

Over 1700 representatives of civil society will convene from around the world to discuss key issues on the post-2015 development agenda, including climate change, poverty eradication, sustainability, human rights, and accountability frameworks and partnerships as crosscutting themes. The discussions aim to support the crafting of a transformational post-2015 development agenda, and positive outcomes of climate change negotiations in Lima and Paris in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Co-hosted by the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) and the NGO/DPI Executive Committee, the Conference provides a unique opportunity for NGOs from around the world to come together to engage diplomats, UN officials, policy experts, scientists, educators, businesses, trade unions, parliamentarians, local authorities and others on the role of civil society in the new Global Partnership for Sustainable Development. Speakers include UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon via video message. The opening and closing sessions and roundtables will be webcast live on http://webtv.un.org/.

Invited by the UN to participate in the conference and to speak at the closing session is Ms. Nonhlanhla Mkhize, the Executive Director of the Durban Gay and Lesbian Community and Health Centre. Ms. Mkhize has active links in both the gender and human rights sector and plays a leading role in highlighting and advancing the rights of sexual minorities in South Africa. Ms. Mkhize is a counsellor, researcher and human rights defender who is also engaged in issues around climate change. Holding a Masters Degree in Anthropology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Ms. Mkhize has been a co-chair of Amnesty International South Africa, served as a board member of the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project in South Africa, and is an advisor to various youth groups in the country. She is also the lead author of a book titled The Country We Want to Live In: Hate crimes and homophobia in the lives of Black Lesbian South Africans (HSRC Press, 2010).

In line with previous Conferences, this 65th Conference will adopt an outcome declaration to offer a global civil society “Action Agenda” for the post-2015 sustainable development goals.

The 65th DPI/NGO Conference takes place less than a month prior to the 23 September 2014 Climate Summit convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and the launch of intergovernmental negotiations at the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly.

The Conference is held at a critical time in the post-2015 process. As the international community strives to achieve the Millennium Development Goals while formulating the post-2015 development agenda including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 2015 is recognized to be a once-in-a-generation opportunity for transformational change.

The launch of the post-2015 agenda will culminate within months of each other in the second half of 2015, with the potential to shape the future of our peoples and our planet for the better. The purpose of this Conference is to harness the strategies, expertise and resources across the broadest spectrum of civil society to move poverty eradication, sustainability, human rights and climate justice into the mainstream discourse, and spark sustained public demand for lasting political action in support of an ambitious outcome from the post-2015 sustainable development process.