Uganda : Access to Justice Project

Danish Ambassador and ICC Registrar Launch “Access To Justice” Project in Uganda and mark International Criminal Justice Day

Today, 17 July 2017, the Registrar of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “Court”), Mr Herman von Hebel, and H.E. Ambassador of Denmark to Uganda, Mr Mogens Pedersen, launched an “Access to Justice” project in Kampala, Uganda. This project aims at facilitating the ICC’s continuous efforts to respond to the information demands of the communities affected by the conflict in northern Uganda.

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The Project, funded by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) through a grant of 210,000 euros, will enhance the capacity of the local population in Northern Uganda, where the crimes were allegedly committed, to follow the proceedings against Dominic Ongwen in the trial currently ongoing in The Hague. The project will also strengthen capacity of the religious and cultural leaders to further engage the members of their respective communities on issues related to the Court.

At this occasion, the ICC Registrar Mr von Hebel noted that “this Project that we are inaugurating comes as a response to an enormous amount of interests that the victims and affected communities, as well as the other stakeholders, have shown in following the proceedings of the Dominic Ongwen trial . It is our purpose, to transform these local interests into popular participation and ownership of the processes, and to strengthen local confidence in the Court’s work and in justice and accountability in general. It is our profound confidence, that this project will help us to bring the ICC courtrooms to every single member of the affected community”.

H.E. Ambassador Mogens Pedersen stated: “Our support to the ICC project that we are signing today on this day when we also commemorate the International Day of Justice, is in our opinion bringing justice closer to the people who have suffered violence for more than two decades and want to see justice done and those responsible for the atrocities held accountable. We are optimistic that the activities that will be implemented by the ICC under this project will make international justice more accessible and relevant to the communities in northern Uganda who have been affected by the war”.

Under this project, the ICC Field Office in Kampala will provide video screening equipment at 23 locations where Dominic Ongwen is alleged to have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity; create and maintain interactive radio programmes and listening clubs through which the affected population could follow and discuss the trial; facilitate travels for cultural and religious leaders as well as journalists to attend trial proceedings at the seat of the Court in the Hague; and facilitate sharing those leaders’ experiences related to the trial proceedings with affected communities.

Distributed by APO on behalf of International Criminal Court (ICC).

For further information, please contact Maria Mabinty Kamara, ICC Field Outreach Officer, by telephone at: +256772700655 or by e-mail at: Maria.Kamara@icc-cpi.int

You can also follow the Court’s activities on Twitter (https://twitter.com/IntlCrimCourt), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/InternationalCriminalCourt), Tumblr (http://iccoutreach.tumblr.com), YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/IntlCriminalCourt) and Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/icc-cpi)

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Categories: AFRICA, African Politics, Uganda | Tags:

Ghana : workshop on securing community land rights

African land commissioners’ workshop on securing community land rights opens in Accra

The first ever meeting of African Land Commissioners opened in Accra Monday with Ghana’s Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John-Peter Amewu, lamenting the extreme levels of poverty in some parts of the continent despite the availability of vast arable land resources.

In his opening address to the Land Commissioners, senior government officials, representatives of civil society and others attending the meeting on how the continent can secure community land rights, the minister described the situation as alarming.

“While we have most land suitable for agriculture, our productivity gap turns to be the highest,” he said in a speech read on his behalf by his deputy.

“We see land ownership inequalities and landlessness growing in several African countries and women, as majority primary producers, are constrained by customary laws.”

He added arable land on the continent, forests and wet land were being degraded at an alarming rate while there’s a high rise in ‘urban slums that undermine urban developments and poverty reduction efforts’.

“It is recognized that land issues and systems are very diverse and complex and therefore there’s need for comprehensive policies to guide the access, utilization and management of land resources within our various countries,” he said, adding it was heart-warming that this declaration was being moved forward by the Economic Commission for Africa(ECA), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) through the Land Policy Initiative.

The LPI is a joint programme of the tripartite consortium and its main purpose is to support African countries come up with policies that promote fair and equitable distribution of land resources and lend impetus to the development process on the continent.

Mr. Amewu shared with the participants Ghana’s initiatives in trying to secure community land rights.

“These efforts at reform in land administration in Ghana strongly recognize the fundamental role of customary land,” he said. “Our experiences confirm the sheer diversity and complexity of dealing with land and what this calls for is a constant effort at consultation, collaboration and commitment to agreements reached.”

In her welcoming speech, Janet Edeme, Head of Rural Division in the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture at the AUC, said land was at the heart of the political, social and economic development of most African states, where majority of the populations rely heavily on agriculture and natural resource use for most of their livelihood.

Customary land tenure systems remain the dominant tenure regime in the entire continent constituting on average 70 percent of the bulk of land rights in every country and, supporting multiple livelihood strategies.

She said customary land regimes are not uniform but vary from community to community hence the importance of the workshop in tackling some of these issues.

“Lessons across Africa suggest that the integration of customary land regimes into formal land governance systems are equally not uniform,” said Ms. Edeme.

Training in effective land administration, capacity development of traditional authorities on large-scale land-based investments, negotiations for government lawyers and related issues is crucial, she added as she enunciated the work being done by the LPI on the continent.

Solange Bandiaky-Badji, of The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), a global coalition of organizations working to encourage forest land tenure and policy reforms, said at both regional and country level, community land rights are integral to land reform processes.

“A large share of national land area in sub-Saharan Africa is held under customary or traditional forms of land ownership in practice,” she said.

At the end of the workshop organizers hope to have a critical mass of land commissions capacitated to lead land reforms in Africa; articulate and agree on key challenges, opportunities and a regional agenda for securing local communities’, women’s, and Indigenous Peoples’ land rights.

Participants are from Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

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Categories: AFRICA, African Environmental Issues, Ghana | Tags: ,

Somalia : internet and data restored

The Federal Government of Somalia in collaboration with the owner of the fiber-optic cable has successfully restored Internet and data services to South and Central Somalia.

The loss of Internet and data services for nearly three weeks caused considerable economic damage to many sectors of the Somali economic, such as commerce, education, healthcare, and the delivery of Government services.

The Ministry of Post, Telecommunications and Technology put enormous focus and spared no efforts in trying to minimize the damage to the nation’s economy by assisting the owner of the fiber-optic cable to expedite the restoration of the services and by providing permits and security protection to the repair ship.

Recognizing the enormity of the negative economic impact this incident had on the country’s economy and public services, the Ministry is committed to work with all public and private stakeholders to ensure an outage of this magnitude and length does not occur again. The following measures are needed to prevent similar future incidents:

1. There is greater need than ever for the Parliament to pass the National Communication Law that has been submitted to the Parliament on 10 July 2017 after the Cabinet approved it on 22 June 2017. The Law would have protected the interests of consumers, telecommunication companies, other companies as well as the public sector who would have clear legal recourse through the Law to recover damages and/or levy fines on telecommunication companies who didn’t meet their legal commitment.
2. The Telecommunication companies providing undersea infrastructure are required to work with the relevant Government agencies to prevent ships docking at the Mogadishu port from damaging this vital infrastructure.
3. Telecommunication service providers will be required to provide backup and failover methods for their services to minimize the impact of outages.
4. The Government will promote and encourages investors to invest in other cable systems. This unfortunate outage clealy demonstrated how the pervasiveness of usage and the critical nature of the Internet for the country’s economic and social life.
5. The Ministry is working on a national communication and information technologies policy in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders. This policy will ensure that every citizen would get basic Internet and telecommunication services with adequate speed and affordable cost.

Finally the Ministry would like to thank the Somali people for their understanding and patience during this difficult period. We hope and expect that if the aforementioned steps were taken similar incidents would not occur again.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Ministry of Posts, Telecom and Technology of Somalia.

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Source:: The Federal Government of Somalia in collaboration with the owner of the fiber-optic cable has successfully restored Internet and data services to South and Central Somalia

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CAR : IMF second review

IMF Executive Board Completes Second Review Under the ECF Arrangement for the Central African Republic, Approves US$16.3 Million Disbursement, and an Augmentation of US$15.5 Million

  • The completion of the review enables a disbursement of US$16.3 million.
  • Swift implementation of the National Plan for Recovery and Peace’s investment program will boost economic prospects.
  • Sustaining and accelerating efforts to mobilize domestic revenues and enhance budget transparency will create fiscal space for increasing social and capital spending.

On July 17, 2017, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) completed the second review under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF)[1] arrangement for the Central African Republic. The completion of the review enables a disbursement of SDR 11.70 million (about US$16.3 million), which will bring total disbursements under the arrangement to SDR 36.75 million (about US$51.2 million).

The Executive Board also approved a request for augmentation of the ECF arrangement in the amount of SDR 11.14 million (about US$15.5 million), to be disbursed upon the completion of the third review. The augmentation is for additional balance of payments needs associated with the accelerated clearance of arrears to small and medium sized government suppliers which would support social cohesion and economic growth.

The ECF arrangement for the Central African Republic was approved by the Executive Board on July 20, 2016 (see Press Release No. 16/352) for SDR 83.55 million (about US$116.5 million, 75 percent of Central African Republic’s quota at the IMF). The augmentation brings the total financing approved to SDR 94.69 million (about US$132 million, 85 percent of the country’s IMF quota).

At the conclusion of the Board’s discussion, Mr. Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, stated:

“Performance under the ECF-supported program has been satisfactory despite the challenging security environment. Along with ongoing efforts to promote dialogue and national reconciliation, sustained program implementation is critical to create fiscal space for development spending, improve the business environment, and foster higher and more inclusive growth.

“The authorities have adopted measures to streamline quasi-fiscal taxes, enhance budget transparency, and address revenue shortfalls. Moving forward, the fiscal strategy will remain anchored in the domestic primary balance objective. Sustaining and accelerating efforts to mobilize domestic revenues—particularly at customs—and enhance budget transparency will create fiscal space for increasing social and capital spending.

“The authorities should build on recent progress to improve public financial management, including by ensuring regular publication of budget execution reports, consolidating the treasury single account, and limiting the use of exceptional spending procedures. The reduction of domestic payment arrears to small and medium-sized enterprises will support growth and help restore the state’s credibility, thus contributing to social cohesion.

“Swift implementation of the National Plan for Recovery and Peace’s investment program will boost economic prospects. Given the country’s high risk of debt distress, continued reliance on grant financing, while limiting borrowing, even in highly concessional terms, is essential. Available assistance needs to be channeled effectively into priority projects to lift economic growth, create jobs, and reduce poverty.

“The success of the Central African Republic’s program will also depend on the implementation of supportive policies and reforms by the regional institutions.”

[1] The
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Source:: IMF Executive Board Completes Second Review Under the ECF Arrangement for the Central African Republic, Approves US$16.3 Million Disbursement, and an Augmentation of US$15.5 Million

 

Categories: AFRICA, African Economics, Central African Republic | Tags: ,