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Archive for the tag “Ethiopia”

Eritrea: Peace deal prompts hope of internal reforms, to improve fundamental human rights (19.09.2018)

The peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia has raised hopes that improving human rights will be front and centre on Eritrea’s path forward, according to a United Nations Special Rapporteur on Tuesday.

DAKAR, Senegal, September 19, 2018 -On 9 July, leaders of both countries signed a Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship, raising expectations that the end of the “no war, no peace” stalemate between them, would positively impact Eritrea’s internal human rights situation.

The thaw in relations between the neighbouring countries, who fought a bloody, unresolved war in the late 1990s, began earnestly in June, when Ethiopia’s newly-elected leader, Abiy Ahmed, made peace overtures to his counterpart.

Eritrean authorities must urgently embrace and implement bold measures to strengthen protection of and respect for human rights, justice and accountability – UN Rapporteur

Yet, repression reportedly continues within Eritrea.

“During the past 17 years, the Government of Eritrea has maintained tight control over the country, stifling any form of public debate and participation,” said Sheila B. Keetharuth, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea.

Eleven government officials who had criticised the President in an open letter, along with 10 independent journalists, were arrested in 2001 – silencing public political discourse an

“I have received reports that the former Minister of Finance,” Ms. Keetharuth continued, “who recently wrote two books on the current state of affairs in the country, including the rule of law, has been arrested in Asmara during the morning of 17 September.”

If confirmed, the arrest, on the eve of the 2001 clampdown anniversary, would question the will for genuine reform, “especially regarding respect for fundamental rights and freedoms,” the expert asserted.

According to Ms. Keetharuth, while comprehensive domestic reforms would be required for a free, fair, democratic society with all human rights entitlements, the Government can take immediate action towards that end in three concrete, urgent areas.

Firstly, the families of prisoners who have disappeared in Eritrean jails should be informed about the fate of their loved ones. Secondly, implementing the 1997 Constitution would provide a natural basis for a national legal framework and a society governed by the rule of law. And thirdly, the Government could inform new military conscripts that they would not have to serve beyond the 18 months stipulated by Eritrean law.

“The achievement of peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia must be duly celebrated,” stated Ms. Keetharuth. “However, Eritrean authorities must urgently embrace and implement bold measures to strengthen protection of and respect for human rights, justice and accountability,” she concluded.

Special Rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The unpaid positions are honorary, and independent from any government or organization.

 

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PM Kheire says “no outside mediation” in 5 States Non Co-Operation Standstill: However, isn’t that all Villa Somalia has to offer?

I have hard time taking Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheire or Khayre seriously, when concerning foreign mediation in Somali affairs. As that has been the ordeal for so long, not that I don’t want the Federal Government of Somalia to be sovereign and work on its own. However, with the recent International Stakeholders Conferences in Europe like in London and in Brussels in 2018. There is clearly this, plus the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Saudi Arabian interference in Somali Affairs. While also United States and United Nations are also directly involved, either with arms/drones or with governance. This being UNSOM or AMISOM who are clearly active and vital for security in Somalia.

The PM states for no need for foreign mediation after several states are saying no to work directly with FGS and Kheire/Farmaajo after they are tired of no grip of what they see as their grievances towards Mogadishu and Villa Somalia.

Therefore, this is statement the PM had:

Mr Khayre, however, asserted that the days of Somali leaders seeking foreign mediation on internal issues were over. He reiterated that all differences should be sorted out through compromises. “We welcome that all grievances are cleared through dialogue and compromises, considering the interest of the Somali people,” said Mr Khayre” (…) ““We cannot accept people saying that Mogadishu’s security was unreliable,” Mr Khayre stressed. “This is the Somali capital. A city in which we have all invested and stands as a symbol of our sovereignty,” he added” (ABDULKADIR KHALIF – ‘Somali PM rejects foreign mediation in internal affairs’ 17.09.2018).

I feel the PM is not the right man for this message, as the FGS truly need the AMISOM and UNSOM to operate, as well as the foreign funding of the government. Even if the Somali people are the best with Mobile Money and remittance to their own. It is still at the levels of foreign donations that is running the government. As well, as Farmaajo was recently hanging out in Beijing for participating in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Because the International involvement is always welcomed with projects and with donations, that is why even the state of Puntland had to write a statement when the Germans pulled out from a road project now in September. Therefore, Kheire, knows this perfectly well, but still acts like its a nation without any interference.

Kheire wants to be the big-man and wants the FGS to be vital and important, but right now it needs to show progress and value. As the states saying its stopped, is because they are tired of the shows and none actions. Therefore, an internal mediation isn’t believable as he cannot send the Somali National Army to silence these ones this time. This time Kheire might need it, as the states might not settle with just meeting the President and the Prime Minister. They need to show more flex and that they are seriously addressing their concerns, not only for safety, but the other measures that are in question. As the FGS seems more like a floating balloon, than steady government institutions.

Kheire should feel this too, as he has been traveling between all stakeholders and partners, except for when he is settling the score and undermining the Lower House of late. Therefore, this sort of speech and talk is more swagger, than the reality on the ground. If he was that sovereign, he wouldn’t need the Brussels and the London Stakeholders Conferences within the calendar year. Alas, that is is the case. Therefore, he should follow the asked outside mediation and secure wishes of the states, which has stopped to directly co-operate with Villa Somalia.

The PM has to act up and be humble, show humility and even some grace, but who knows if he has it in him. Peace.

‘Wind of hope’ blowing through Horn of Africa says UN chief, as Ethiopia and Eritrea sign historic peace accord (17.09.2018)

NEW YORK, USA, September 17, 2018 –  There is a powerful wind of hope blowing across the Horn of Africa region, said UN chief António Guterres on Sunday, in Saudi Arabia to witness the signing of a peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea, ending decades of simmering conflict.

Saudi Arabia facilitated the agreement, and in a message on Twitter, the Foreign Ministry said that the accord, signed in Jeddah “is a historic milestone for the peoples of Ethiopia and Eritrea, and will contribute to strengthening security and stability in the region at large”.

“The signature of the peace agreement between the President of Eritrea and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia is indeed a historic event,” said the Secretary-General, speaking at a press conference following the signing in Saudi Arabia’s second-largest city, on the Red Sea coast, with Foreign Minister Adel Aljubeir.

“We have seen a conflict that has lasted for decades, ending, and that has a very important meaning in a world where we see, unfortunately, so many conflicts multiplying, and lasting forever,” added Mr. Guterres.

He expressed his “deep appreciation” for the role played by Saudi Arabia, before paying tribute “on one hand to the courage, the vision, the wisdom of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia – who has had the capacity to overcome enormous resistance from the past and open a new chapter in the history of his country – and also the way the President of Eritrea has promptly responded to his peace initiatives.”

The thaw in relations between the neighbouring countries, who fought a bloody, unresolved war in the late 1990s, began in earnest in June, when Ethiopia’s newly-elected leader, Abiy Ahmed, made peace overtures to his counterpart, which have now come to fruition.

Seizing on the implications for the whole region, Mr. Guterres said that the agreement meant that “there is a wind of hope blowing in the Horn of Africa. It is not only the peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea – it is the fact that tomorrow and the day after tomorrow we will have, here in Saudi Arabia, the President of Djibouti and the President of Eritrea – two countries that have also been at odds with each other.”

According to news reports, Eritrea and Djibouti announced on Friday that they would also normalize diplomatic relations with each other following a falling out on the border, in 2008, which left several dead and resulted in prisoners being taken on both sides.

The UN chief also noted the peace agreement between the President and his former Vice President in South Sudan, that was signed on Thursday – in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa – as another indicator of real diplomatic movement across the Horn of Africa and its borders.

“I want to say that this window of hope is enormously important in a world where, unfortunately, hope has been very scarce,” added the Secretary-General.

Somalia: Puntland Press Statement on Jalam – Harfo Road Project (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.”

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.

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.

Djibouti: Communique du Doraleh Container Terminal (09.09.2018)

Somalia: 5 States Ceased to work with Villa Somalia today, so is this the end of the Federal Republic?

Today, the Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheire have now their biggest hurdle in their political career. As the leaders of the regional states of Jubaland, Puntland, South West and Hishabelle have officially suspended their working relationship with the Federal Government of Somalia or Villa Somalia. This meaning, their states and the federation are separating for various of reasons.

This is not the Somaliland, which has for a long time tried to become independent and worked for that, even launched own currency and has held elections. This are the 5 states of Jubaland, Puntland, South West and Hishabelle. This happens as the Federal Government have not done what it has promised for the regional states, as they have not shared intelligence, neither revenue or prepared enough national security.

After the leadership of the states has suspended the co-operation with the Federal Government, the President has called in for a meeting in the National Security Council. We can wonder if this is to see if their statement is a political bargain or a real deal. Because if they come into the NSC, they are still in co-operation with the FGS. This meeting is supposed to be scheduled at the 17th and 18th September 2018. That is in 9 days. The ones showing up will be vital for the Federal Government of Mogadishu.

This is happening, as the President have had yet another meeting abroad of International interests and diplomacy in Asmara, Eritrea. This was a Joint Declaration between Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia. Which was a positive step, but what does it matter if the inner-circle are crumbling. The Villa Somalia are more embattled within, than with outside forces as the President have been preoccupied with United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Turkey interference, as well as the EU and UN Secretary General Michael Keating involvement in political structures of the Federal Government. Who is busy politicking as he can.

What do have to question and wonder about, what is the final consequences of the released statement of the joint 5 states ceasing to work with Villa Somalia?

This is not small fry and battling over supremacy, but tiredness of the lackluster support from Villa Somalia, whose more concerned about the international stakeholders than the turnover and not enough co-operation. That is why today is important to see the reality.

This haven’t been the writing on the wall, but a proof of something dire, that the Villa Somalia have to find new ways to deliver to the Regional States, as the Federal Government are not an island, but a giant machinery working for all the states. They are not there to serve the international interests, but the states in the Federal Government.

Are we seeing the beginning of the end of the Federal Republic of Somalia and Villa Somalia. If they are not planning to invade these states with the Somali National Army or the AMISOM brigades, but that will not make the co-operation easier. The President shouldn’t just call in a NSC in 9 days, but actually try to ask forgiveness and ask what the FGS can do, that it hasn’t done for the 5 states, which has ceased their work with Villa Somalia. That would be bold and prove that the President knows what he is up to and awaiting orders from stakeholders before he moves. Peace.

Statement of the Chairperson of the Commission on the Horn of Africa (07.09.2018)

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