IOM Helps Cyclone-Affected Population in Puntland to Fight Malaria

GENEVA, Switzerland, February 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Following a malaria outbreak in a cyclone-affected area of Puntland, Somalia, IOM, in coordination with the Puntland health authorities and UN agencies, has distributed a total of 3,050 mosquito nets to 15,250 people in nine internally displaced persons (IDP) settlements in Bossaso.

In November 2013, a devastating cyclone hit the north-eastern region of Puntland. The cyclone brought heavy rain and flash floods, which left over 100,000 people in need of assistance. As the hygiene situation has worsened, for the first time since November 2012, a malaria outbreak was declared in the port city of Bossaso.

Out of 27,404 people in Bossaso tested for malaria between November 1, 2013 and February 9, 2014, a total of 2,163 people (7.9per cent) were diagnosed positive. Of those, 63 were severe cases, 11 of them children under five.

“Regular use of a mosquito net can decrease malaria mortality by about 20 per cent and malaria incidence by 50 per cent in children under the age of five. It is easy to fight malaria. You can do that with a simple mosquito net treated with an insecticide,” said Regional Medical Director of Puntland’s Ministry of Health Mohamed Warabe.

IOM Somalia Head of Bossaso Sub-Office Isaac Munyae also says that more needs to be done. “We need an additional 1.5 million treated nets and $1 million to be able to achieve universal coverage for all people at risk of malaria,” he notes.

As part of the distribution campaign, IOM visited each household to explain the benefits of sleeping under a mosquito net and demonstrating how to properly hang the net.

The initiative, under IOM’s migration health, livelihood and mixed migration programme, was funded by the Government of Japan and the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM).

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

IOM Releases Updated Profiles of Displacement Sites in Central African Republic

GENEVA, Switzerland, February 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM has released updated profiles of 54 displacement sites in Bangui, CAR.

Due to escalating violence in CAR, there are now approximately 276,500 displacedpeople (IDPs) living in 62 displacement sites in Bangui.

In coordination with partners, IOM rolled out its Displacement Tracking Matrix in December to assess and address urgent needs.

The tool has allowed IOM to create profiles to provide an overview of the situation at each site. Profiles provide in-depth information on health, shelter, security, and other humanitarian needs.

The primary need identified at the majority of the sites is food. Primary needs at other displacement sites include non-food items, sanitation, and security.

Data for the profiles is gathered through IOM’s “site facilitators” in Bangui. The 47 site facilitators regularly visit each displacement site to interview IDPs about the needs at their site. IOM compiles and shares this information with humanitarian actors in order to better inform the humanitarian response.

Populations at the displacement sites change continually. Many IDPs sleep at the sites at night and return to their homes during the day. The number of sites changes depending on the population’s perception of the security situation in Bangui.

Over 50 displacement sites shelter members of the majority (Christian) population. There are over five sites that predominantly shelter members of the Muslim population and ethnic minorities. Most of these sites are at mosques and Islamic schools.

Information on the needs of the displaced population is also captured in an IOM IDP survey published this week. Some 93per cent say that their professional activities were interrupted because of their displacement. In order to return to their place of origin, IDPs said that the following conditions are needed:

• Guaranteed presence of security forces in my neighborhood (89per cent)

• Return to a state of law and order in my neighborhood (63per cent)

• No longer hearing gunshots at night (60per cent).

Information on the needs of the displaced population can be found in the IDP survey published this week. It can be downloaded from:

Details of IOM’s second return intention survey conducted in the camps can be found here.

IOM is registering IDPs this week at the Military Airport Transit Site and the Central Mosque Site.

It has now has provided evacuation assistance to a total of 5,512 third country nationals, from eight different countries, the majority from Chad (4,607). The other nationalities evacuated are: Mali (534), Niger (222), Sudan (116), Senegal (24), Japan (5), Pakistan (2) and Burkina Faso (2).

The last IOM evacuation charter was run on 9 February. IOM has not received funding for additional flights but has sent a few small groups of third country nationals on commercial flights (to Niger, Pakistan and Japan).

On 22 February IOM facilitated an evacuation charter flight sponsored by the President of Niger. It evacuated a total of 89 third country nationals, including women and children, from Niger (59), Mali (26) and Senegal (4) to Niger. IOM staff in Niger will organize onward transport for the Malians and Senegalese to their respective countries.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization


NEW YORK, February 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the launch of Kwibuka20 in New York today:

I am honoured to be here for the New York launch of Kwibuka20, a series of events marking 20 years since the genocide in Rwanda. The theme for Kwibuka20, “Remember, Unite, Renew”, says it all.

We will always remember the more than 800,000 innocent people who were so brutally murdered. We draw inspiration from the ability of the Rwandan people to unite and show that reconciliation is possible even after a tragedy of such monumental proportions. And we marvel at the Rwandan people’s determination to renew their country and pave the way to a secure and prosperous future.

Remember, unite, renew: let us be inspired by those words during the weeks of reflection ahead. The Rwanda genocide was an epic failure of the international community to take action in the face of atrocity crimes. We have learned important lessons. We know more keenly than ever that genocide is not a single event but a process that evolves over time, and requires planning and resources to carry out. As chilling as that sounds, it also means that, with adequate information, mobilization, courage and political will, genocide can be prevented. We have applied those lessons in many ways to improve our responses since then. Member States adopted the “responsibility to protect” principle.

We have established the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide. My Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, who is here with us today, monitors the world for signs of the crime’s known precursors, providing a vital early warning function for myself and the Security Council. My Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, Jennifer Welsh, engages in political dialogue with Member States and others to put the concept into practice.

We have strengthened our capacities for mediation and preventive diplomacy. We have also undertaken new civilian protection efforts on the ground, most notably of late through the “open gates” policy in South Sudan. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has strengthened monitoring and field presences, as well as the assistance it provides to States in advancing human rights-friendly institutions and laws. We are promoting tolerance and mutual understanding, including through the Alliance of Civilizations initiative.

We are entering an age of accountability through the actions of the International Criminal Court, international tribunals and domestic courts. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, with the cooperation of Rwanda and other States, continues to prosecute people for their alleged responsibility in the genocide. Most recently, I launched a new initiative across the United Nations system called “Rights up front” to reinvigorate the UN’s commitment to human rights, and in particular to strengthen early action.

At the same time, 20 years after the Rwanda genocide, there is much more that all of us can do to fully internalize and implement its lessons. Our collective failure to prevent atrocities in Syria over the past three years is a shameful indictment of the international community. The grave and blatant violations of human rights in the Central African Republic have led the Security Council to establish an international commission of inquiry. We also see civilians threatened in multiple regions, as well as other worrying trends, such as the rising bias against migrants, Muslims, Roma and other minorities in Europe and elsewhere.

We must speak out forcefully whenever communities are threatened by mass atrocities or their precursors. And we must never forget the victims, and make sure they receive the support they deserve. Last May, I visited the Gisozi Genocide Memorial in Kigali, Rwanda. I was moved to tears by the enormity of the violence that targeted a range of Rwanda’s people — Tutsi, Twa, moderate Hutu and others.

But, I also saw the remarkable progress that Rwanda has made over two decades. I encourage the people and Government of Rwanda to continue promoting the inclusive spirit necessary for healing and reconciliation, and to deepen respect for human rights. This will set the country firmly on course for a peaceful future and benefit the wider Great Lakes region, which continues to cope with the impact of the genocide. As we launch Kwibuka20, let us together commit to remember, unite and renew.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization


GENEVA, Switzerland, February 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — I am deeply concerned by the grave humanitarian situation in South Sudan, where, despite the recent ceasefire agreement, the lives of millions of civilians are threatened by lack of food, outbreaks of disease, and continued violence.

Malakal, a city in Upper Nile State that I visited just a month ago, saw shocking violence and human rights abuses last week. More than 100 people were reported killed and injured, some of them attacked in the hospitals and churches, places of sanctuary, where they had sought refuge. The situation remains tense, with bodies left on the streets and over 20,000 people sheltering at the UN base. Civilians and local aid workers fear for their lives.

Across South Sudan, more than 900,000 people have been forced from their homes, some 190,000 of them fleeing into neighbouring countries. The situation remains tense in other parts of the country, including Bentiu and Leer, and the fear of violence is preventing families from tending their crops or livestock. 3.7 million people are now short of food.

All those who continue fighting in South Sudan must abide by their obligations under International Humanitarian and Human Rights laws: to protect civilians, to respect the ceasefire, to stop targeting civilian facilities, and to allow safe access for aid workers.

The United Nations and our humanitarian partners will continue to do our best to help the women, children and men of South Sudan to survive this crisis, despite the ongoing fighting and funding constraints.

The people of South Sudan want peace and stability and they want this conflict to end. I hope the fighters will put the people first and stop the unspeakable violence being meted out to ordinary women, children and men.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

UN rights expert urges Mauritania to turn pledges into deeds in the fight against slavery

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania, February 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The United Nations Special Rapporteur on slavery, Gulnara Shahinian, today hailed Mauritania’s commitment and progress in the fight against slavery, but called on the authorities “to take more vigorous measures to eliminate slavery and to fully implement the laws and policies.”

Ms. Shahinian’s call comes at the end of a follow-up official visit to the country to assess new developments and the initiatives taken by the Mauritanian authorities in response to her previous recommendations.

“I commend the Government of Mauritania for the measures taken since my last mission in 2009 and for its commitment to ending slavery in the country,” said the independent expert designated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor, report and advise on the use of contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences in the world.

“However,” she stressed, “the Government still has to turn its pledges into deeds, and to take more vigorous measures with a view to eliminating slavery and to fully implement the laws and policies”.

“The passing of the law criminalizing slavery in 2007 had been a milestone for the eradication of slavery practices in Mauritania, but still needs to be fully implemented to result in concrete changes in practice,” she said. The expert reiterated her concerns at the very low number of prosecutions under the Act, and stressed the need to amend it in order to ensure better protection for victims recognized as slaves.

“The fact that slavery has now officially been designated a crime constitutes a major achievement in the fight against slavery,” Ms. Shahinian said. Under the constitutional reform introduced in 2012, persons convicted of slavery can be sentenced to up to ten years in prison.

The Special Rapporteur welcomed the recent announcement of the establishment of a special Tribunal to prosecute crimes of slavery: “I believe that the setting-up of the Tribunal will bring the Mauritania one step closer to effectively ending the practice of slavery and call on the Government to deploy all necessary efforts to making this a reality.”

Ms. Shahinian noted that a number of legislative efforts launched in 2011 towards securing the rights of housemaids and domestic workers are an important element in the fight against slavery, but highlighted that “concerted action is required to fully realize their human rights.”

“The adoption of the road map for the implementation of my previous recommendations is a clear sign that Mauritania is on its way to eradicate slavery and its remnants once and for all,” she said. “I am sure that the 6 of March 2014, when the Government will adopt formally the road map, this will mark a turning point in the fight against slavery in country.”

The human rights expert welcomed the setting-up of ‘Tadamoun,’ the government agency charged explicitly with helping former slaves in Mauritania. “This is an important step towards more holistic and sustained approach in addressing all forms of discrimination together with poverty at all levels of society, which is essential to eradicate the legacy of slavery,” she said.

However, the Special Rapporteur stressed the need to ensure targeted and tailored solutions for former slaves in order to avoid that the eradication of the vestiges of slavery become incorporated in more general programmes on poverty alleviation.

“A prerequisite for the efficiency of these programmes is reliable information which is currently lacking, and that is why an urgent need exists to provide detailed and precise data, statistics and a thorough study,” she noted.

The Special Rapporteur also stressed the need to publish the anti-slavery conventions it ratified in Mauritania’s Official Gazette as soon as possible also in order to raise awareness that all work should be entered into freely and respect the fundamental rights of the human person.

During her four-day visit to Nouakchott, Ms. Shahinian met with various Government authorities, international organizations as well as non-governmental organizations, trade unions, community members and others working in the area of combatting all forms of slavery.

“Civil society has a tremendously important role in eradicating slavery, raising awareness, collecting materials, bringing cases before the court and in assisting victims of slavery,” she underscored.

The Special Rapporteur will present her findings and recommendations at a forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council in September 2014.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

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