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Democratic Republic of the Congo defence and security forces committed serious human rights violations in December 2016 (01.03.2017)

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According to the report by the UN Joint Human Rights Office of MONUSCO (UNJHRO), at least 40 people, including five women and two children, were killed between 15 and 31 December 2016 across several cities of the DRC, among them Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Boma and Matadi.

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 1, 2017 -Defence and security forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo used excessive, disproportionate and at times lethal force to prevent and contain demonstrations in December 2016, a UN report published today has found.

According to the report by the UN Joint Human Rights Office of MONUSCO (UNJHRO), at least 40 people, including five women and two children, were killed between 15 and 31 December 2016 across several cities of the DRC, among them Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Boma and Matadi.

The findings of the UNJHRO investigation show that 28 individuals were killed by soldiers of the Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC), six by agents of the Police Nationale Congolaise (PNC) and the remaining six during joint PNC and FARDC operations. All but two of the victims were killed by live ammunition.

During the same period, at least 147 individuals were injured by State agents, including 14 women and 18 children, and at least 917 individuals, including 30 women and 95 children, were arrested by defence and security forces. The report also notes that some protesters carried out acts of violence, including the killing of at least one PNC agent in Kinshasa on 20 December 2016.

The report indicates that most of the victims were unarmed civilians wounded by live ammunition on upper parts of the body, suggesting an excessive and disproportionate use of force by security forces in operations to contain the demonstrations.

“Such serious incidents are worrisome, particularly in the current context. The Government bears the primary responsibility to implement the confidence-building measures provided for under the 31 December 2016 Global and Inclusive Political Agreement to defuse tensions and create an environment conducive to the holding of peaceful elections. MONUSCO will continue to support efforts by the Government to achieve these objectives, including through investigation and strong sanction for all those responsible for serious human rights violations,” said Maman Sambo Sidikou, the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the DRC.

“MONUSCO remains committed to accompanying the DRC towards peaceful, credible and inclusive elections,” Sidikou stressed.

The report also condemns the fact that while the PNC is normally in charge of crowd control operations, during the period under review, FARDC soldiers, including those of the Republican Guard and of the Military Police, were deployed to control crowds, functions for which they are not adequately equipped nor trained. The lack of accountability for past human rights violations, including those committed during the demonstrations in Kinshasa on 19 and 20 September 2016, may have encouraged a sense of impunity, and defence and security forces to commit further violations in December 2016.

“Once again we see serious human rights violations being committed blatantly and with complete impunity by the security forces, who employed excessive use of force against unarmed demonstrators, in flagrant violation of international human rights law and standards,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said.

“I urge the Government to ensure that those responsible for such violations committed in the context of events that marked the end of President Joseph Kabila’s second constitutional mandate are held accountable and brought to justice.  Measures should also be taken, at all levels, to ensure that the legitimate exercise of fundamental freedoms by the population will not lead to loss of lives and other serious rights violations,” Zeid said.

“I therefore call on the DRC Government to urgently adopt the law on freedom of peaceful protests and the law on human rights defenders. This is hugely important for the coming months as the DRC should move towards implementing the 31 December political agreement and preparing for the next presidential election,” Zeid stressed.

Joint statement on the Democratic Republic of the Congo by the African Union, the United Nations, the European Union and the International Organization of La Francophonie (16.02.2017)

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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, February 16, 2017 – The African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU) and the International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF) are increasingly concerned by the continuing impasse in the dialogue among the political stakeholders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) related to the implementation modalities of the 31 December political agreement.

The four partner organizations note that six weeks after agreeing on the modalities of a transition period leading to the holding of peaceful and credible elections by December 2017, the parties are yet to conclude discussions on the effective implementation of the agreement. This situation has the potential to undermine the political goodwill that led to the signing of the 31 December agreement.

In this context, the four partner organizations call on all stakeholders in the DRC, including the presidential majority and the opposition, to redouble, in good faith, their efforts towards a speedy conclusion of the ongoing talks.

The four partner organizations reaffirm the need for all parties to rally behind the mediation efforts led by the Conférence épiscopale nationale du Congo (CENCO), and recall that the full and timely implementation of the 31 December agreement is critical in upholding the legitimacy of the transitional institutions until elections.

A look into the proposed International Contribution to the National Budget of Uganda for the Financial Year 2017/2018

Mengo Hospital needs funds

There are many budget posts in a National Budget, but as there are talk of lacking international support of the budget in the Republic of Uganda. The certainty is that even as the donors are fleeing the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and the President Museveni own way of saying he doesn’t need them. Still, I want to show the world collectively what the NRM government have donor sponsored projects through the National Budget, these are projects and development of infrastructure that the NRM needs to show something after over 30 years reign.

Like take Japan the donor funding to the Northern Uganda Farmer Livelihood Improvement Project in the next Financial Year gives to the project Ush. 31.33bn. also donate funds to is the Nakawa TVET Lead Project got Ush. 4.69bn. Japan also donates to Kampala Flyover Construction and Road Upgrading Project with Ush. 155.44bn.

World Bank itself is donating funds in different ways to two other projects, which is African Centeres of Excellence that got Ush. 13.36bn. and Albertine Region Sustainable Development got Ush. 9.35bn. On the other hand the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia donated to the Construction of 5 Regional Technical Institutes with funds of Ush. 6.98bn.

Belgium has also offered their donor funds into the Ugandan state through various projects, like the Program/Project Support to Improve the Quality of Teaching and Learning with Ush. 11.97bn. also the Rehabilitation of the National Teacher Training Centre Kaliro allocated Ush. 15.16bn, they also gave to Rehabilitation of the National Teacher Training Centre Muni funds of Ush. 15.16bn. another project that Belgium was behind is the Support to the Implementation of Skilling Uganda with Ush. 15.96bn.

The Democratic People’s Republic of China has donated to new development projects in Uganda, like they are donating to Industrial Substations Ush. 91.74bn. they also donated to Isimba Hydro Power Plant Ush. 407bn. and also  Karuma Hydro Power Plant where they have pledged Ush. 1,305.07bn. or Ush. 1.3 trillion to that alone! The Chinese is also involved in Entebbe Airport Rehabilitation where they have funded Ush. 148.13bn. the pledged funds for Standard Gauge Railway will first come next Financial Year 2018/2019 and not this financial year.

African Union (AU) funds to the UPDF Peace Keeping Mission in Somalia with total Ush. 256.66bn. United Kingdom pledged funds to the Road Infrastructure for Delivery of First Oil with Ush. 252.63bn.

The pledged funds for Kampala-Jinja Highway are first for FY 2018/2019, but no official donor or loaner of funds. Therefore the estimated funds come from thin air. What is also relevant is to see that the Funds from Austria and Denmark has been suspended for different development projects. Still, which I haven’t mentioned is the funds from African Development Bank, also GAVI and Global Funds still gives to health care development, even with the knowledge of the rampant corrupt behaviour in the Ministry of Health.

Therefore if the NRM are contemplating that they are themselves giving these sorts of projects to the people, I hope the donors are putting up boards or signs in the entrance or hallways, even start of the roads where it says what sort of amount of funds they spent on it. So that President Museveni or any other crony can take all the credit, because the credit and the footing the bill to somebody else! Peace.

Welcoming Democratic Republic of the Congo political accord, UN Security Council urges efforts to resolve remaining issues (05.01.2017)

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The agreement – facilitated by Conférence Episcopale Nationale du Congo (CENCO) mediators, and reached in DRC’s capital, Kinshasa, on 31 December 2016 – represents a significant step towards a peacefully managed transition.

NEW YORK, United States of America, January 5, 2017 – The United Nations Security Council today welcomed a comprehensive political agreement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and called on all stakeholders to continue to exercise flexibility and compromise in their discussions to swiftly resolve all pending issues, particularly those related to the holding of elections in the country within 2017.

“The Security Council is encouraged by the spirit of flexibility and compromise demonstrated by Congolese political leaders in reaching this agreement, for the stability, peace, development and consolidation of constitutional democracy in the DRC,” said a Presidential Statement read out at a formal meeting of the 15-member body today.

In the Statement, the Council also urged all political parties which didn’t sign the agreement to do so.

The agreement – facilitated by Conférence Episcopale Nationale du Congo (CENCO) mediators, and reached in DRC’s capital, Kinshasa, on 31 December 2016 – represents a significant step towards a peacefully managed transition consistent with the democratic principles enshrined in the country’s Constitution.

This new agreement followed an initial political agreement between part of the opposition and the majorité présidentielle reached in October under the auspices of the African Union facilitation.

Also by the Presidential Statement, the Council expressed hope for a swift implementation of the agreement in order to organise peaceful, credible, inclusive and timely presidential, national and provincial legislative elections no later than December 2017, as well as leading to a peaceful transfer of power.

“The Security Council stresses the importance for the Government of the DRC and its national partners to take all necessary steps to accelerate preparations for the elections without further delays, within the agreed timeframe,” added the Statement in which the Council also stressed the importance of the inclusion of women in the follow up and implementation of the agreement.

UNSOM: Somalia’s electoral process most discussed topic in public places (04.01.2017)

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MOGADISHU, SOMALIA – Somalia’s landmark electoral process has dominated discussions in public places across the Horn of Africa country over the past few months, as Somalis examine the democratic progress the country has made after years of civil war.

Scores of political analysts gather daily to debate and share views about the ongoing process, which will culminate in presidential elections later this month. Conversations are animated and go on for hours, with breaks only for meals or refreshments.

At a popular hotel in Mogadishu recently, newly elected member of the House of the People, Sadik Warfa, of Puntland state, expressed his thoughts on the electoral process to a group of colleagues.

Warfa described the delegates system, adopted by the National Leadership Forum to guide the electoral process, as an illustration of the country’s evolution towards representative governance.

“We have passed the era when elders picked MPs. I see it as a step in the right direction for the Somali people,” Warfa said.

The MP voiced his optimism about the post election period and looks forward to debate in parliament.

“When the House of the People holds its first sitting, the priority will be to hold the government accountable. It should have oversight responsibility to represent the views of the Somali people, ” Warfa told a keen audience, gathered around his table.

At another table, Liban Abdi Ali, a political analyst and former journalist, delved deeper into the issue of local media coverage of the electoral process.

“In my view, they (media) were focusing on conflict, like a candidate’s clan, which group he belongs to and such issues; although they are supposed to focus on each candidate’s experience, knowledge, achievements and political agenda,” Liban said.

He expressed disappointment at the media’s inability to organize political debates prior to the elections.

At the far end of the restaurant, author and political analyst Abukar Sheikh Ahmed questions the decision to push back universal suffrage until 2020, saying there was no public voting or campaign.

“Most of the candidates knew their target (delegates) and they were campaigning in parliament and within their clans,” Abukar argues.

Somalia’s electoral process, which is currently in its final stages, has seen voting taking place in five federal states and Mogadishu. At the conclusion of the electoral exercise, two hundred and seventy five members of the House of the People will have been elected from South West, Puntland, Galmudug, Hirshabelle, Jubbaland and Somaliland states; and Banaadir region.

A further 54 members of the Upper House will also have been elected.

RDC: Interdiction de l’Importation de la viande de porc en provenance de la Belgique (03.01.2017)

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Democratic Republic of Congo : Didier Reynders satisfied with the announcement of the compromise (31.12.2016)

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On 31 December 2016, a compromise has been reached between different Congolese parties after a dialogue which was facilitated by the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO). Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders welcomes the announcement of this compromise facilitated by Congolese actors and congratulates the CENCO for its engagement.  The text is an important and positive step towards a swift and inclusive transition.

This will enable the organization of free elections in 2017, the reopening of the democratic space and the consensual management of the transition with respect for the Constitution. These essential measures are the key to an exit from the crisis, which was caused by not organizing presidential elections in 2016 provide for by the Constitution.

Belgium calls upon the negotiators to pursue their work in the same spirit so that the final details can be settled quickly. Belgium calls upon the Congolese institutions as well, to clarify and intensify the operations which will lead to these elections before the end of 2017.  Operational and financial transparence has to be increased significatively.  This will create the right conditions for good governance and external support, lacking for the moment.

Belgium will closely follow the implementation of the text, as well as the measures that will be taken to recreate a democratic space and the rights and freedoms. This will enable all opinions to thrive within the country. Thus, the elections will become an authentic reflection of the aspirations of the Congolese people.

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Somalia (29.12.2016)

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NEW YORK, United States of America, December 29, 2016 –  The Secretary-General welcomes the inauguration of the new Federal Parliament of Somalia on 27 December 2016 and warmly congratulates the people of Somalia on this historic achievement in their quest for universal suffrage by 2020.

The Secretary-General urges the new Parliament to now maintain the momentum by moving swiftly to complete the electoral process, with the election of the Speakers of both houses and the Federal President. The Parliament should tackle urgent legislative priorities, including establishing a permanent Constitution of Somalia, in the larger interest of the people of Somalia.

The Secretary-General calls on the authorities to fill all remaining vacant seats in the Parliament expeditiously, while fulfilling their obligation to ensure that the seats reserved for women are filled by women. He emphasizes that any irregularity, abuse, or malpractice reported by the federal and state electoral bodies should be fully addressed to preserve the credibility of the process.

The Secretary-General commends the hard work of the Somali security forces and the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in providing a secure environment for the 2016 electoral process in Mogadishu and in the regional capitals. The successful inauguration of the Parliament marks further progress in ensuring political stability and security in Somalia.

Somalia: International Community Gravely Concerned Over Decisions Of National Leadership Forum On Electoral Process (27.12.2016)

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The United Nations, African Union, European Union, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States are gravely concerned over a number of decisions announced by the National Leadership Forum (NLF) in its communiqué dated 24 December 2016.

Today’s inauguration of the Federal Parliament represents a step forward in the electoral process. However, international partners wish to see the electoral process go forward with the existing 54 seats in the Upper House as stipulated under Somalia’s Provisional Constitution. Any further expansion of the Upper House should only be contemplated after the presidential vote has been held in the new federal parliament and implemented through a proper constitutional process.

International partners acknowledge the NLF’s communiqué of 26 December 2016 that designates five seats in the House of the People for undergoing a fresh round of voting. But this fails to address a number of other egregious cases of abuse of the electoral process, including seats reserved for women candidates only that were ultimately taken by male candidates.

The NLF’s decision to revoke all disqualifications of candidates made by the country’s electoral bodies for allegedly committing abuses and malpractices represents a blanket amnesty for some of the most blatant irregularities witnessed during this electoral process. It also contravenes the Federal Government’s solemn commitment to respect the rule of law.

If these candidates are allowed to take their seats in Somalia’s tenth parliament, it will bring into question the NLF’s expressed commitment to the principles of accountability and credibility that underpin the entire process. It will also undermine the electoral code of conduct signed by all parliamentary candidates in the spirit of leveling the playing field and ensuring the delivery of a credible process.

International partners strongly believe that elections must be re-run for seats where the voting outcomes were clearly distorted by violence, corruption, intimidation, the unauthorized substitution of electoral college delegates and a failure to set aside one of every three seats for exclusively female candidates. 

International partners call on the federal parliament to issue as soon as possible a timeline for the completion of the process in order to elect the Speakers and Deputy Speakers of the new federal parliament and the Federal President. This timeline should be strictly enforced to avoid yet another postponement in an electoral process that was supposed to have finished earlier this year. There is a particular need to conclude the process swiftly in light of the UN Security Council’s upcoming meeting on Somalia that is scheduled for 19 January 2017.

International partners believe that the integrity of the 2016 electoral process hangs in the balance. More delays and a failure to hold accountable those parties who have committed serious abuses and malpractices will compromise the international community’s ability and willingness to engage with Somalia’s next federal government.

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