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Archive for the tag “AU”

UNMISS condemns attack on peacekeeping convoy in South Sudan (15.09.2018)

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SSUF: Statement on the recently signed South Sudan Peace Accord (14.09.2018)

SSOA: The Revitalized Peace Agreement is Unsustainable for South Sudan (13.09.2018)

Somalia’s destiny lies in the hands of the people, highlights outgoing UN envoy (14.09.2018)

Despite remarkable achievements in Somalia in the recent past, structural challenges remain and continue to undermine the country’s security and political stability, the United Nations envoy for the country has warned.

DAKAR, Senegal, September 14, 2018 – Briefing the Security Council for the last time in his capacity as UN Special Representative for Somalia, Michael Keating called on all Somalis to draw strength from the positive transformations going on inside the country and work collectively for the common good.

“The future of Somalia is in the hands of the Somalis,” he declared.

In particular, Mr. Keating – who also heads the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) – urged unity among political leaders.

“The more [they] show unity, the greater the opportunity, and the responsibility, of international partners to invest in all parts of the country and its leadership,” he said.

In his remarks, Mr. Keating highlighted four key concerns the country’s leaders need to address, and issues that the international community should keep focusing on.

These include the threat posed by the Al Shabaab and other extremist groups; the risk of political differences overshadowing progress in legislative, reform and security areas; fragmentation within the international community; and the danger of a humanitarian “catastrophe”, especially with most of the population already living in precarious circumstances due to climate change and other vulnerabilities.

“Future crises will result from the combination of climate related shocks; armed conflict provoked by Al Shabaab and unresolved grievances; competition over natural resources; and systemic marginalization of certain groups,” warned Mr. Keating. He underscored the need to reduce the vulnerability faced by ordinary Somalis, through job creation and smart investments that safeguard natural resources and help unlock the enormous economic potential of the country.

Besides political will, Mr. Keating underscored, success will depend on leaders from the political, business and traditional spheres “working together for the common good, leveraging the country’s potential wealth to transform prospects for people – especially the young.”

On 1 October, Nicholas Haysom will replace Mr. Keating as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and the head of UNSOM. Mr. Keating was appointed the top UN official in the Horn of Africa nation in November 2015.

Women have brought ‘important voices’ to Somali politics

Alongside Mr. Keating, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of the UN gender equality and empowerment agency for women and girls (UN Women) highlighted the “once-in-a-generation opportunity” that Somalia currently has to establish lasting peace, and gender equality.

She commended the nation for improving representation of women in public office, illustrated by the “jump” in women’s representation in parliamentary elections from 14 to nearly 25 per cent of seats in the most recent elections.

This progress, she underscored, has brought many “important voices” to Somali politics.

She said it had brought to the centre “the fight to end child marriage, end female genital mutilation (FGM), and change laws that discriminate against women,” noting that the participation of women will be further boosted if more leaders, especially clan leaders, embrace gender equality and support women.

She also called on the international community and the Security Council to support Somalia’s federal and provincial authorities, advance gender equality, act strongly against sexual and gender-based violence, advocate for meaningful participation and recognition of women in all sectors, and support women’s groups in the country.

“Women’s organizations in Somalia are organized. They are dedicated to their country: they are activists, advocates, entrepreneurs, professionals, and patriots,” said Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka, noting that as the country prepares to confront the challenges in the days ahead, “women will make the difference.”

The Chairperson of the Commission welcomes the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (13.09.2018)

Troika Statement on the South Sudan Peace Talks (12.09.2018)

DP World: We will continue to pursue all legal means to defend our rights as shareholder and concessionaire in Doraleh Container Terminal (12.09.2018)

Investors across the world must think twice about investing in Djibouti.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, September 12, 2018 – DP World (http://web.dpworld.com) said today that it will continue to pursue all legal means to defend its rights as a shareholder and concessionaire in Doraleh Container Terminal SA (DCT) in the face of Djibouti’s blatant disregard for the rule of law and respect for commercial contracts.

On 9 September the President of Djibouti enacted a decree which purportedly transferred the shareholding of Port de Djibouti SA (PDSA) in Doraleh Container Terminal SA (DCT) to the Government of Djibouti. PDSA is 23.5% owned by China Merchants Port Holdings Company Ltd of Hong Kong (“China Merchants”).

DP World said the transfer appears to have been made in an attempt to flout an injunction of the English High Court which restrains PDSA from using its shareholding to take control of DCT. This is the latest step in the Government of Djibouti’s five-year campaign to take the 2006 Concession Agreement away from DCT, through which DP World operated, and part owns the Doraleh Container Terminal.

“Investors across the world must think twice about investing in Djibouti and reassess any agreements they may have with a government that has no respect for legal agreements and changes them at will without agreement or consent,” a DP World spokesperson said.

On 31 August, the High Court of England & Wales issued an injunction against PDSA, as shareholder in DCT, ordering that it:

  • Shall not act as if the joint venture agreement with DP World has been terminated
  • Shall not appoint new directors or remove DP World’s nominated directors without its consent
  • Shall not cause the DCT joint venture company to act on the “Reserved Matters” without DP World’s consent.
  • Shall not instruct or cause DCT to give instructions to Standard Chartered Bank in London to transfer funds to Djibouti.

In an apparent attempt to circumvent the injunction, on 9 September 2018, the Government of Djibouti transferred PDSA’s shares in DCT to itself. The new decree was accompanied by a press release replete with untrue statements. It also refers to DP World being paid fair compensation in accordance with international law.

The 2006 Concession Agreement, which is governed by English law, provides that disputes relating to the Agreement are to be resolved through binding arbitration in the London Court of International Arbitration. Such arbitration proceedings are ongoing. To date the Government has not made any offer to compensate DP World.

IGAD Special Envoy letter Ethiopian MoFA: “Re: Unresolved Issues of Revitalized ARCISS” (31.08.2018)

Subsidies on school uniform mask deeper Djibouti anomalies (11.09.2018)

With unemployment rates in urban areas, at around 60 percent, a chronic problem, initial charges for uniforms were seen as astronomical.

DJIBOUTI CITY, Djibouti, September 11, 2018 – THE autocratic regime of President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh has yielded to public pressure to lower the price of uniforms for students at basic education level but this is seen as a smokescreen to divert attention from major issues afflicting the impoverished East African country

Minister of Education, Moustapha Mohamed Mahamoud, announced parents will pay some 2 000 Djibouti Franc (DJF) (equivalent to R171 or US$11,25) down from the initial 3 500 FDJ.

With unemployment rates in urban areas, at around 60 percent, a chronic problem, initial charges for uniforms were seen as astronomical.

Analysts believe the announcement, made on Monday as the students returned for the 2018/19 academic year, is only a ploy by government to deflect scrutiny from inherent failure to make available schools for the youth population as well as rampant drought, inadequate sanitation and food insecurity, all which have prevailed despite massive financial loans running into government coffers.

Critics lay the aforementioned problems on the lavishness of Gueleh, in power since 1999 at the death of his uncle Hassan Gouled Aptidon, who had been in power since independence from France in 1977.

His administration is synonymous with brutality against opposition and media and discrimination against persons with disabilities as well as restrictions on unions.

“The announcement of the reduction of uniform prices is all a smokescreen, coming in the criticism of the government’s extravagancy in the face of mounting social challenges,” said political analyst Beran Omar.

Mahamoud meanwhile portrayed the administration as thoughtful of the challenges by the populace.

Mahamoud said uniform prices had been slashed after Guelleh heard the grievances of parents.

“He gave clear instructions in this direction,” the minister said.

However, despite the government’s claimed commitment to education, net student enrollment at the primary level, representing the percentage of children of official school age who are enrolled in primary school, is around 60 percent, according to latest World Bank figures.

The number reveals an even more challenging situation with enrollment rates lower and dropout rates higher for girls, those living in rural areas and those living in poverty.

“Djibouti is not on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals and is at risk of remaining in a low-level equilibrium in terms of both access and quality (education) for years to come,” World Bank stated.

The tiny country of slightly less than 1 million people is also on the throes of an eruption of waterborne diseases and rampant food deficit. It is also enduring the aftermath of the Cyclone Sagar, which ravaged the region in May, with southeastern neighbor, Somalia, the epicentre.

Floods affected at least 15 percent of the capital Djibouti City.

Schools and other social infrastructure have been affected with the total damage estimated at $30 million

Some 20 000 children under the age of five, out of almost 200 000 affected people, are impacted by drought.

Djibouti has one of the world’s highest levels of malnutrition for children, particularly among those under the age of five living in rural areas.

South Sudan: Without peace deal, scorched-earth tactics and civilian suffering will continue (10.09.2018)

It is important that any political solution takes into account the needs of everyday South Sudanese people, especially marginalized groups like women.

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 10, 2018 – The signing of a peace agreement between South Sudan’s warring parties is a hopeful sign that a sustainable solution can be found for a conflict that has had tragic consequences for millions of civilians.

It is important that any political solution takes into account the needs of everyday South Sudanese people, especially marginalized groups like women, said Dominik Stillhart, the global director of operations for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

“The human cost of continued conflict in South Sudan has led to humanitarian catastrophe inside the country. That’s not hyperbole. That’s fact,” said Stillhart, who visited South Sudan last week to speak with residents and view ICRC’s operations.

Civilians should not bear the brunt of conflict, but in South Sudan they often do. So far this year, the ICRC has admitted 69 children and 47 women into our hospitals with injuries from weapons. Untold thousands of children are being deprived of school and many are separated from their families.

The conflict has been particularly brutal on women. They are left to fight for the survival of their families, fleeing with their children and foraging for food. Thousands have endured rape or sexual assault. The ICRC calls on those at the negotiating table to make sure any agreement takes into account their needs, as well as those of other marginalized groups.

“Without a ceasefire, the past five years tell us that scorched-earth tactics will likely continue, as we have seen continuous and systemic disregard for international humanitarian law and the civilians that the law protects,” Stillhart said. “Aid organizations can provide relief but cannot end the violence and displacement the South Sudanese people have endured for five years — only a political solution can.”

Facts and Figures:

• From January – June 2018 the ICRC distributed 29,700 monthly household food rations to more than 223,000 people, gave 158,000 people seeds and tools for farming and 103,000 people fishing kits.

• ICRC performed 1,735 surgical interventions, evacuated 316 people with conflict-related injuries, provided consultations for more than 75,000 patients, and improved access to safe drinking water to some 273,000 people, and visited nearly 3,600 detainees.

• Together with the South Sudan Red Cross this year we have facilitated more than 29,000 phone calls between family members and their loved ones. We have also physically reunited 33 people, including children, with their families.

• We spread knowledge and respect for International Humanitarian Law. More than 1,500 military personnel and nearly 1,500 police personnel have been trained this year.

• The ICRC has been permanently active in South Sudan for 38 years.

 

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