SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES SECURITY COUNCIL, MEMBER STATES TO IMPLEMENT HIS SIX-POINT INITIATIVE ON CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC AS ‘INTEGRATED WHOLE’

NEW YORK, February 21, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the Security Council on the situation in the Central African Republic, in New York today:

I thank His Excellency Mr. Smail Chergui for his presence here today. I attach the highest importance to close ties with the African Union. We at the United Nations will continue to work hand-in-hand with you to promote development and lasting peace across the continent.

The crisis that continues to unfold in the Central African Republic poses a test for the entire international community. The situation in the country has been on the agenda of the Security Council for many years now. But today’s emergency is of another, more disturbing magnitude. It is a calamity with a strong claim on the conscience of humankind.

Over the past year we have seen, in quick succession, the violent overthrow of the Government, the collapse of State institutions and a descent into lawlessness and sectarian brutality. More than 2.5 million people — more than half the population — need immediate humanitarian assistance.

The new Acting Head of State, Madame Catherine Samba-Panza, is committed to building State authority, and I commend her valiant efforts. But with no budget, hardly any resources and pervasive poverty, her abilities are sharply constrained. The path towards the restoration of State authority will be a long one.

Innocent civilians are being killed in large numbers. These victims are not so-called “collateral damage” from fighting between rebel groups. They are being killed purposefully, targeted for their religious beliefs, for their community affiliation — for who they are. Muslims in particular are being targeted. But the ex-Seleka continue to attack Christians as well.

Almost 1 million people have been displaced, with many homes burned to the ground with the purpose of preventing their return. Whole populations are being moved. A creeping de facto partition of the country is setting in, with Muslims in one part and Christians in another. This separation is laying the seeds of conflict and instability for years, maybe generations, to come.

The African Union and France have deployed troops to the Central African Republic to help stem the violence. We owe those leaders and soldiers our gratitude for saving so many lives and providing protection where they can. We owe MISCA [African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic] and Sangaris our solidarity and assistance.

However, given the scale and geographic breadth of the violence, the security requirements far exceed the capabilities of the number of international troops now deployed. In places where there are no international forces, the choice for far too many civilians is to flee or be killed.

The human family must not shy away from what is happening today in the Central African Republic, or from our responsibilities — both yours and mine — under the United Nations Charter. Events in the CAR have implications across the region and summon us to defend universal values as well. This complex security, humanitarian, human rights and political crisis demands a comprehensive and integrated response.

The United Nations is working with the African Union, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the European Union and the World Bank to address the country’s diverse challenges. But those efforts will prove fruitless unless we do more to end the atrocity crimes, destruction of communities and mass displacement of populations.

The Security Council has asked for my recommendations for a future UN peacekeeping operation, and I will soon report to you on the outlines of a mission with a robust mandate to protect civilians and promote stability. But the deployment of a peacekeeping operation, if authorized, will take months. The people of the Central African Republic do not have months to wait. The international community must act decisively now to prevent any further worsening of the situation and to respond to the dire needs of the country’s people. In that spirit, I propose today a six-point initiative to address the greatest risks being faced by the people of the Central African Republic.

First, and most important, I call for the rapid reinforcement of the African Union and French troops now on the ground with additional deployments of at least 3,000 more troops and police. These new personnel, including formed police units, should deploy as soon as possible in the coming days and weeks, and have the necessary mobility, including air mobility, to be able to operate wherever required.

African Union Commission President [Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini] Zuma has informed me that she will propose an expansion of MISCA to the AU Peace and Security Council. I welcome her initiative and urge members of the PSC to endorse it. President [François] Hollande of France has announced that Sangaris will be reinforced by some 25 per cent, to a total of 2,000. In addition, the European Union is poised to increase its planned deployment from 500 to 1,000, with an initial operating capacity on the ground in early March. I am grateful for these commitments, but more are needed, quickly, and the wider international community must share the burden.

Second, I propose that all international forces in the Central African Republic be brought under a coordinated command, and that the mission of these forces be focused on the most urgent priorities: containing the violence; protecting civilians; preventing further displacements; creating a secure environment for the delivery of humanitarian assistance; and laying the groundwork for the handover to a United Nations peacekeeping force as soon as possible.

Third, I propose that the African troops that join this force be provided with logistic and financial support, including rations, water and fuel, and reimbursement for their major non-lethal military equipment. The estimated cost of this package, consisting of the bare essentials, would be $38 million for a six-month bridging period.

Fourth, I call for rapid, tangible support to the Government of the Central African Republic to help it establish a minimum capacity to function. This support should include the financial assistance necessary to get police back on the streets, judges back in the courtrooms and prison guards back on the job. I am pleased to announce that today, Denmark confirmed a contribution of $2 million to this initiative, and I intend to see these resources put to use quickly. Norway has also confirmed today that it will make a donation to this effort.

Fifth, I call for the acceleration of a political and reconciliation process to prevent a further fraying of the communal bonds, and to lay the ground for an end to conflict. Community and religious leaders will have an especially important role to play in promoting tolerance, peaceful coexistence and non-violence.

A political process will also require the dynamic engagement of ECCAS, the African Union and the international community. I would like to pay particular tribute to the tireless efforts of the ECCAS Chief Mediator, President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of Congo.

The United Nations is reinforcing BINUCA’s [United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic] analytical and operational capabilities so that we can help the national authorities to put the transition back on track, expand State authority and establish credible institutions throughout the country.

Accountability and justice measures must be key elements of any peace and reconciliation process. More immediately, such measures will contribute to the prevention of ongoing human rights violations. I am pleased to announce that the Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry mandated by this Security Council, along with an advance team, will arrive in the Central African Republic to take up their important work.

Sixth and finally, I appeal for urgent funding for humanitarian aid, which is currently insufficient to address the crisis. Only 15 per cent of the resources needed for this year have been received, despite generous pledges made at last month’s funding conference in Brussels.

My Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, is in the Central African Republic. She has expressed shock at what she saw in Bossangoa today, and noted that tensions between communities are high, and that people fear for their lives. She stressed the need for more troops on the ground to provide security and protection across the country.

Over the past few days, my senior colleagues and I have reached out to dozens of Member States to seek their support for my proposals. I have been encouraged by the positive responses. Some are considering sending additional troops and police. Others have pledged to provide budget support for the Government. These commitments will bring tangible dividends in the coming days.

The United Nations, for its part, thanks to generous support from Canada and others, has allocated $5 million from the MISCA Trust Fund to provide essential communications equipment to African troops, and those items are being delivered in Bangui as I speak.

The six-point initiative I have just put forward aims to support and complement the hard work now being carried out by a range of actors. It is designed to achieve the most pressing objectives: stabilizing the security situation and saving lives that would otherwise be lost to senseless sectarian hatreds. The proposals call for contributions from many quarters. They also compel us to avoid a piecemeal approach in which some proposals receive more support than others. To succeed, the proposals must be embraced and implemented as an integrated whole.

We know what is happening in the Central African Republic. We know why it is different from previous outbreaks of violence. We know why it matters to all of us and what we must do. Knowledge is not all we have. Through collective action, as envisaged by the United Nations Charter, we have the power to stop the killing and save the Central African Republic from its current nightmare.

I urge the Council to support my proposal, and I urge Member States to take the action necessary to implement it. Let us show the people of the Central African Republic that the United Nations stands with them and that the support they so urgently need is on its way. This is our shared responsibility. The people of the Central African Republic have asked for our help. I urge you to join me and respond to that call.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

Tanzanian Foreign Minister Membe to Visit China

BEIJING, China, February 21, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying announces at the regular press conference:

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Bernard Kamillius Membe of the United Republic of Tanzania will pay an official visit to China from February 24 to 28.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

Notice –Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to Libya IDLs and Notice

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

CONTINUATION OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY WITH RESPECT TO LIBYA

On February 25, 2011, by Executive Order 13566, I declared a national emergency pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701-1706) to deal with an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. I found that Colonel Muammar Qadhafi, his government, and close associates had taken extreme measures against the people of Libya, including by using weapons of war, mercenaries, and wanton violence against unarmed civilians. In addition, there was a serious risk that Libyan state assets would be misappropriated by Qadhafi, members of his government, members of his family, or his close associates if those assets were not protected. The foregoing circumstances, the prolonged attacks, and the increased numbers of Libyans seeking refuge in other countries caused a deterioration in the security of Libya and posed a serious risk to its stability, thereby constituting an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.

We are in the process of winding down the sanctions in response to developments in Libya, including the fall of Qadhafi and his government and the establishment of a democratically elected government. We are working closely with the new Libyan government and with the international community to effectively and appropriately ease restrictions on sanctioned entities, including by taking action consistent with the U.N. Security Council’s decision to lift sanctions against the Central Bank of Libya and two other entities on December 16, 2011. The situation in Libya, however, continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States and we need to protect against this threat and the diversion of assets or other abuse by certain members of Qadhafi’s family and other former regime officials. Therefore, the national emergency declared on February 25, 2011, and the measures adopted on that date to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond February 25, 2014. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13566.

This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.

BARACK OBAMA

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

Letter –Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to Libya IDLs and Notice

WASHINGTON, February 21, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Letter –Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to Libya IDLs and Notice

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

Section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)) provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency unless, within 90 days prior to the anniversary date of its declaration, the President publishes in the Federal Register and transmits to the Congress a notice stating that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the anniversary date. In accordance with this provision, I have sent to the Federal Register for publication the enclosed notice stating that the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13566 of February 25, 2011, is to continue in effect beyond February 25, 2014.

Colonel Muammar Qadhafi, his government, and close associates took extreme measures against the people of Libya, including by using weapons of war, mercenaries, and wanton violence against unarmed civilians. In addition, there was a serious risk that Libyan state assets would be misappropriated by Qadhafi, members of his government, members of his family, or his close associates if those assets were not protected. The foregoing circumstances, the prolonged attacks, and the increased numbers of Libyans seeking refuge in other countries caused a deterioration in the security of Libya, posed a serious risk to its stability, and led me to declare a national emergency to deal with this threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.

We are in the process of winding down the sanctions in response to developments in Libya, including the fall of Qadhafi and his government and the establishment of a democratically elected government. We are working closely with the new Libyan government and with the international community to effectively and appropriately ease restrictions on sanctioned entities, including by taking actions consistent with the U.N. Security Council’s decision to lift sanctions against the Central Bank of Libya and two other entities on December 16, 2011. The

situation in Libya, however, continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States and we need to protect against this threat and the diversion of assets or other abuse by certain members of Qadhafi’s family and other former regime officials. Therefore, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency with respect to Libya.

Sincerely,

BARACK OBAMA

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

UN human rights expert urges Sudan to release reports on last year’s violent demonstrations

GENEVA, Switzerland, February 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The United Nations Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mashood Adebayo Baderin, expressed deep concern that the Sudanese authorities have not issued yet their reports on last year’s oil subsidy demonstrations, which resulted in killings, injuries, arrests and detentions, and destruction of property.

“I regret to note that five months after these incidents, the committees set up by the Government have not yet issued their reports or findings on the incidents,” Mr. Baderin said* at the end of an official mission to the Sudan to follow-up on his previous recommendations.

“The international community expects a thorough investigation of the human rights violations that occurred during the September demonstrations,” the UN Human Rights Council’s expert stressed. “I have highlighted the international concerns about this and urged the Government to accelerate the release of the reports.”

During his official visit from 11 to 19 February, the Independent expert talked with the Government about the general human rights situation in the country, following up on the challenges raised in his latest report**, which in his view still remain an area of concern.

The discussions focused on the curtailment of civil society organisations’ activities, press censorship, arbitrary arrests and detentions, freedom of religion, the 2010 National Security Act, women and children’s rights, humanitarian access, economic, social and cultural rights, as well as the protection of civilians in the conflict areas.

“In my last report, I emphasised the need for the Government to focus on addressing these human rights challenges by taking concrete measures, and encouraged continued cooperation of relevant donor countries and international institutions,” Mr. Baderin stated, while noting that the authorities had expressed their commitment to improve the practical realisation of human rights in the Sudan in those areas.

However, he noted, “in my meetings with leaders of opposition political parties in Khartoum, they emphasised the need for a transparent, inclusive and democratic political and constitutional process that will serve as a strong and lasting foundation for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Sudan,” he said.

The Independent Expert also warned that “tribal conflicts and conflicts between government forces and armed movements continue to be a major source of human rights violations in South Kordofan, as well as in the Darfur States visited, particularly in form of civilian displacements.”

He reiterated his urgent call on the Government of the Sudan, the armed movements and the international community to bring an end to these conflicts that lead to human rights violations, and resort to dialogue in settling the armed confrontation.

“I urge and encourage the Government to continue to strengthen its effort to improve the situation of human rights in the country to encourage the possibility of attracting the necessary technical assistance and capacity building required as is necessary,” he stressed.

During his nine-day information-gathering mission, the human rights expert met with Government officials, civil society actors, political opposition leaders, humanitarian organisations and UN agencies in Khartoum, Kadugli in South Kordofan, El-Fasher in North Darfur, El-Daein in East Darfur, and Zalingei in Central Darfur.

Mr. Baderin will present his findings and recommendations in a comprehensive report to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2014.

(*) Check the full end-of-mission statement by the Independent Expert: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=14267&LangID=E

(**) Check the latest reports by the Independent Expert: http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?m=95&m=172

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

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