PM Theresa May letter to Gavin Williamson CBE MP on the leak from NSC (01.05.2019)

SPLM/A-IO: Statement on the Execution of Comrades Aggrey Ezboni Idri and Dong Samuel Thot by the Regime (30.04.2019)

Russian Probe: Special Counsel Robert Mueller letter to Attorney General William Barr (27.04.2019)

Malawi: UN responds to humanitarian needs, gradual shift to recovery and strengthening resilience (01.05.2019)

In early March, heavy rains and flooding linked to the cyclone killed 60 people, displaced nearly 87,000 people and affected around 870,000 persons.

LILONGWE, Malawi, May 1, 2019 – United Nations agencies in collaboration with the Government of Malawi, national and international agencies have reached over 400,000 persons affected by the impact of Cyclone Idai. The flood affected populations have received immediate life-saving relief support including food, medicine, shelter, protection services and other non-food-items such as water, sanitation and hygiene supplies.

In early March, heavy rains and flooding linked to the cyclone killed 60 people, displaced nearly 87,000 people and affected around 870,000 persons. The Government of Malawi declared a State of Disaster on 8th March and subsequently launched a Flood Response Plan and Appeal on 28th March to support life-saving humanitarian interventions in 15 affected districts.

The flood response plan appeal has received US$ 25.6 million funding contributions and pledges out of a total requirement of US$ 45.2 million. Based on lessons learnt from the 2015 flood response, early recovery efforts have been integrated in the response plan to reduce further risks and mitigate the impact of future shocks.

UN Resident Coordinator, Maria Jose Torres, said the UN and partners triggered their support to the response almost immediately after the floods had hit, including, using prepositioned relief supplies. Additional support to the Government of Malawi’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) includes facilitating coordination and information management to enhance the response operations. An Emergency Operations Centre is established in the Ministry of Homeland Security to facilitate coordination of field operations.

“We assisted the government to rapidly assess the immediate needs to inform the humanitarian response,” said Torres. “Beyond addressing the immediate needs, we are also supporting the Government to assess post-disaster recovery needs that will inform early to long term recovery interventions in the affected areas.”

A Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) has been undertaken by the Malawi Government, UN, World Bank and European Union to assess damages, losses and priority recovery needs and costs. The data and information collected will inform the Government’s flood recovery plan.

“In tandem with the emergency response, we are also working with all sectors to support the affected communities’ gradual transition to recovery. This includes the UN’s support to DoDMA’s decision to provide a return home package to displaced populations who have expressed interest to return to their homes. This move aligns well with the country’s national resilience building,” said Torres.

Within the framework of One UN, several UN offices, including the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), International Organization for Migration (IOM), United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Women, World Food Programme (WFP), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office (UNRCO) and World Health Organisation (WHO), are supporting the response in various ways that reflect their respective mandates and specialized expertise.

Below are more details on UN support to the response:

  • Over 91,000 households (over 410,000 people) provided with food or cash in nine districts. The food basket provided to 75 per cent of the people reached, comprises of a 50kg bag of maize, 10kgs of pulses and 2 litres of vegetable oil, while cash transfers of MK 18,000, equivalent to the value of the food basket, is provided to 25 per cent of the population reached.
  • As of 11 April, with UN support, the number of people reached with integrated health services in flood affected districts is 82,394. Other assitance includes screening, immunisation, reproductive health services and treatment of people in internally displacement sites through mobile.
  • Across the country, a total of 51,081 children (23,009 boys 28,072 girls) have been screened for malnutrition and 1,811 children (942 boys and 869 girls) with Severe Acute Malnutrition were admitted and treated through the Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition programme. Of these, 121 children were admitted from the various camps. Mass screening and active case findings are on-going focussing on eight prioritised floods affected distrcts ( Balaka, Chikwawa, Machinga, Mangochi, Mulanje, Nsanje, Phalombe, and Zomba).
  • 10,000 dignity kits have been distributed targeting vulnerable pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and adolescent girls in displacement camps in the affected districts. The kit contains soaps, underwear, sanitary pads, sanitary cloth, wrapping cloth, tooth paste, shavers, plastic bucket and plastic cups among others. Additional 4,200 dignity kits have also been procured and will be distributed in the coming days.
  • Reproductive Health (RH) kits to prevent maternal and neonatal deaths have been distributed to nine flood affected districts. The RH kits include individual clean delivery kits, equipment and medicines for assisted delivery and management of unsafe abortion among others.
  • Messages on prevention and reporting of sexual and gender based violence are being dissmeinated through community and national radios including theatre.
  • A total of 54,209 people in 17 sites reached with safe water as per agreed standards through provision of water containers, treatment chemicals, and water trucking.
  • A total of 51,691 people in 19 sites reached with services as per agreed standards through the installation of emergency latrines and bath shelters separate for men and women. Also, hygiene messages have reached more than 45,000 people.
  • About 47,000 displaced people reached with shelter and non-food items in four districts.
  • About 180,000 people are planned to be targeted with early recovery interventions in six districts, with interventions including removal of debris and solid waste management, support for reconstruction of homes, provision of agricultural kits including farm implements to enable winter cropping, distribution of small livestock to increase the asset base of farmers and cash-based interventions to enhance the provision of basic household needs of the affected population.
  • A total of 28,812 learners (15,149 girls, 13,663 boys) in 143 schools in six districts provided with education supplies, temporary learning spaces and teachers, school meals and sanitation facilities. In addition, 2,731 Early Childhood Development (ECD) children (1458 girls, 1273 boys) supported with ECD kits and tent classrooms in 19 camps in five districts.
  • In line with the ‘Leave No One Behind’ principle, the Age, Gender and Diversity Mainstreaming (AGDM) tool was used to engender the humanitarian response through the clusters to ensure that life-saving support indeed reached the most disadvantaged and the furthest behind first.

The Humanitarian Country Team, comprising humanitarian and development actors, continues to monitor the situation, in addition to supporting the Government of Malawi to address the current emergency through coherent planning for short-term interventions that meet basic needs, and medium -and long- term programming that increases the coping capabilities of communities and households. These joint efforts reaffirm the shared commitment by the UN to strengthening the humanitarian-development nexus to achieve collective outcomes, improve community resilience, and ensure that no one is left behind.

A brief look into the United Nations Expert Report on South Sudan of April 2019

Another day, another revealing story from the Republic of South Sudan. I will bring especially some few extract from a report to shed a light on some misgivings in the Republic. This as the state is still preparing and building on the R-ARCSS agreement and cease-fire. Therefore, the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) under the leadership of President Salva Kiir Mayardit.

What this report is doing is verifying existing news, also showing the systemic inefficiencies by the authorities itself. As they have not moved forward or not swiftly enough. However, there are several of revelations in the report, but I will just show three of them. First the way the NSS got rid of two government dissidents, as they kidnapped in Kenya and executed at the detention facilities in Luri. Also, showing how the UPDF is inside South Sudan and also the illegal gold export from the Republic. Finally dropping the conclusions of the experts, because that is important.

Execution of Idri and Luak in January 2018:

The Panel has received and reviewed a number of independent reports from multiple, highly credible and well-placed sources. These accounts corroborate each other across a number of key details, leading the Panel to conclude that it is highly probable that Aggrey Idri and Dong Samuel Luak were executed by Internal Security Bureau agents at the Luri facility on 30 January 2017, on orders from the commander of the National Security Service training and detention facilities in Luri, the Commander of the National Security Service Central Division and, ultimately, Lieutenant General Akol Koor Kuc. Their tragic deaths offer a sobering reflection of the challenges posed to the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement by the violent legacy of South Sudan’s conflicts, while highlighting the increasingly unchecked discretionary power of the National Security Service” (UNSC, P: 15, 2019).

UPDF inside South Sudan:

Also in its interim report, the Panel noted the presence of armed Uganda People’s Defence Forces in the Equatorias. Soldiers from these Forces continued to be present in Yei River State in subsequent months, including in Yei town and along its connecting roads between 18 and 21 January 2019. Reports suggest the presence of a significant number of troops (40-50) as well as around six military vehicles. The Panel is not aware of any exemption having been sought for this deployment, as required by paragraph 5 of resolution 2428 (2018). In a meeting with the Panel, representatives of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces confirmed the presence of these forces in Yei, noting that they were providing protection to Ugandan engineers who were surveying the road between Yei and Uganda. The Panel also discussed this deployment with the Minister of Defence of South Sudan, who reiterated that the Uganda People’s Defence Forces were there for the purpose of protecting engineers” (UNSC, P: 26, 2019).

Illegal Gold Trade:

The trade in gold in South Sudan is almost entirely unregulated and there is no effective legal framework to regulate the export of South Sudanese gold. Few export certificates have been issued and no gold exports are recorded. While also partly the consequence of limited state capacity, all of South Sudan’s gold exports are therefore, in principle, illegal” (…) “A significant number of these traders are foreign nationals, with the majority of gold “smuggled” across the border into Uganda where it is sold in border towns such as Arua and Koboko, but also in Entebbe and Kampala. Members of both SPLM/A-IO and NAS confirmed to the Panel that they had sold gold mined in South Sudan in Uganda. Some smaller volumes are also traded directly to Dubai via Juba International Airport. As is common in the region, most gold is hand-carried and transported by road or on civilian flights” (UNSC, P: 37, 2019).

Conclusions:

The revitalized peace agreement represents a significant milestone in efforts to bring an end to the conflict in South Sudan. The outcome of the agreement, however, remains uncertain, as challenges continue to face its implementation, particularly with regard to accountability, security provisions, financial transparency and the devolution of centralized power. Careful monitoring of the implementation process will therefore be essential to providing effective and meaningful support to the accord” (UNSC, P: 44, 2019).

This is a lot of information, also very striking. That is the sort of stories, that break a heart. This shows the acts of the government, the techniques and choices of oppression. The execution of these two gentlemen are really proof of how far the government goes to get rid of dissidents and activists.

Also, how it decides not to follow protocol to have a foreign force within its borders. Even for the most noble causes, the UPDF shouldn’t be there, unless the TGoNU had sought the exemption as it should. Therefore, the deployment is illegal.

Just like the gold-trade from South Sudan, which is hugely exported through Entebbe and Kampala. This meaning the Ugandan traders are earning fortunes on the illegal gold trade from South Sudan. That shows the reasons for the closeness between Juba and Kampala. As they are both earning on the misfortune there. It seems also intentionally from the state, as they have no legislation or certification of it. This is so, that its not traceable.

Surely, this report is damaging to the regime in Juba. This whole report is not a good look, but should be a reality check, if it want to be transparent and be just. The stories told in this report is really heartbreaking. All the various testimonies done to the UN Experts are really shattering.

Like this one: “When we arrived here we thought we were safe. Women go out to fetch water or fire wood they are raped. Recently, in late January, a 30-year-old and a 13-year-old left the POC and just outside they were both raped. You can talk to both survivors – they are in this camp. We are humiliated and we have scars and mine has not healed since that time, a reminder that we are hunted like animals to be humiliated.” (…) “Interviews with confidential sources, in Bentiu, February 2019” (UNSC, P: 23, 2019).

Still, in the midst of the Republic, the innocent civilians are still suffering. The rebels, the state officials and the authorities are still not keeping them safe. The United Nations are also not able or capable to keep them safe either. This is all troublesome and its just sad to read, that even more people are scorn by the ones with weapons. There is no end and the cycle of violence has to end.

Still, there are people working for the cease-fire for the peace. To Save the Last Train. However, these people combined with the ones in power, need to step-up and show their intentions. Government of South Sudan should address the concerns and recommendations of the UN Experts Reports of April 2019. Not just talk, but actually do something about it. Peace.

Reference:

United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Report – ‘Final report of the Panel of Experts on South Sudan submitted pursuant to resolution 2428 (2018)’ – S/2019/301

The Calvary intervene in the midst of FDC Leadership Conference in Hoima!

This Uganda Police Force and their cadres got some nerve, there another sacred or anything they cannot touch, which the opposition does. This is well-known trick of them. To show-up with plenty of officers and with manpower. To spread fear and try to block an event. Today, the 1st May 2019 was no different in Hoima.

As the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) was holding a leadership conference in Hoima. As they have tried to do across the Republic, with more or less problems. Today, the Police Officers even entered the stage where the Secretariat and Central Leadership of the Party was. As they were already gathered and starting to organize the event itself.

This was a regional meeting of the party with the leaders within the FDC in the region of Hoima. The districts and sub-counties of the region. This should easily happen without any interference, as this is not a big public rally or even concert. That they block even before the public are gathering around the venues. Unless, its the National Resistance Movement (NRM) they can do whatever and get away with it. But the FDC have to ask permission to travel into towns, hold leadership conferences, but the regime itself can just show-up without any trouble. Peace.

Uganda Communications Commission letter to NBS Television: Repeated Breach of the Minimum Broadcasting Standards (30.04.2019)