More than half a million Somalis affected by floods and heavy rain (09.05.2018)

World Health Organisation (WHO) calls for redoubled efforts to assist Somali communities in need.

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, May 9, 2018 – Flash and river floods, caused by heavy rainfall, in Somalia have affected more than 695 000 people, and displaced nearly 215 000 of these, in the last few days.

Most flooding occurred in the regions of Bakool, Banadir, Bay, Hiraan, Lower Juba, Middle Juba and Middle Shabelle. One of the worst-hit areas includes Belet Weyne, Hiraan, in the Hirshabelle State, where more than 120 000 people — some of whom have already been displaced from their original homes — were forced to flee riverine villages after the Shabelle River burst its banks, destroying houses and crops.

As part of an immediate response, WHO, in close collaboration with the Federal Government’s Ministry of Health, airlifted and prepositioned 30.1 tonnes of emergency medical supplies to Belet Weyne, Baidoa and Kismayo to treat illnesses commonly spread during emergencies. These provisions include basic, essential, medical drugs, oral rehydration supplies (ORS), water-testing kits and cholera treatment supplies. Similar medical supplies will soon be sent to the South West and Jubaland States.

However, WHO estimates an additional US$ 2 million will be required to purchase and distribute emergency supplies to other flood-affected areas. These resources would also fund staff needed to deliver services; monitoring and response to disease outbreaks; and the coordination of all these efforts.

“Once heavy rains pour into the river basins of Ethiopia and Somalia, this spells danger for communities living along the Shabelle and Jubba rivers. The flooding has taken a toll on people living in Gedo, Hiraan, Lower Shabelle, Lower Jubba and Middle Shabelle,” said HE Excellency Dr Fawziya Abikar, Minister of Health, Federal Government of Somalia.

At the onset of the floods, His Excellency Hassan Ali Khayre, Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Somalia, briefed international development and humanitarian partners on the heavy flooding and its impact, and requested for emergency assistance to the flood-affected population.

However, the needs are outrunning the support available. “Urgent action is needed to respond to this emergency,” warned Dr Ghulam Popal, WHO Representative for Somalia. “A well-coordinated response by authorities, and local and international organizations averted a cholera epidemic last year. We need a similar response again, now, to save livelihoods and prevent the spread of diseases among an already vulnerable society.”

The Somali Health Cluster, a group of international and national agencies working jointly to improve health in the country, also called for national and regional partners to convene coordination meetings to discuss ongoing response activities and gaps, as well as to scale up the provision of lifesaving health and nutrition services to the people in need.

Flooding can trigger the transmission of water-borne and vector-borne diseases, such as cholera, malaria and dengue fever, and contaminate water sources. To respond to and manage any resulting disease outbreaks in a timely manner, health authorities and WHO have alerted the Early Warning System in Somalia and WHO’s communicable disease surveillance officers to look out for the emergence of any waterborne or vector-borne diseases. Senior Ministry of Health and WHO officials have conducted joint missions to Belet Weyne and Baidoa to meet state and local health authorities, and gather crucial information on the situation.

Urgent needs of the afflicted communities include shelter, food, health, nutritional supplies, access to water and sanitation, latrines, mosquito nets and tents.

Short-term forecasts made by the UN Food and Agriculture-managed Somalia Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM) suggest river levels inside Somalia are expected to continue rising in the coming days with more cases of flooding along the Juba and Shabelle rivers.

Somalis have suffered from natural calamities and civil strife over the years and endured drought, disease outbreaks, and insecurity among other challenges. This has resulted in malnutrition, poor access to health, and prevalent poverty all across the country.

African Union’s support to the Somali Transition Plan and the upcoming AU-UN Joint Review of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) – (07.05.2018)

The Commissioner for Peace and Security – Amb. Smail Chergui and the Prime Minister agreed that AMISOM should continue engaging and contributing to political processes in Somalia.

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, May 7, 2018 – The Commissioner for Peace and Security – Amb. Smail Chergui and the Prime Minister of the Federal Government of Somalia – H.E. Hassan Ali Khayre exchanged views on AU’s support to the Somali Transition Plan and the upcoming AU-UN Joint Review of AMISOM. During the discussion, Amb. Smail Chergui made reference to the Communique of the Peace and Security Council adopted at its 769th Meeting held on Monday 30 April 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia which commends the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) for the finalization of the Somalia Transition Plan. The Communique further appreciates the critical role of AMISOM in the transition process which should ultimately enable the FGS to take over primary security responsibility of Somalia.

Relatedly, the Commissioner and the Prime Minister agreed that AMISOM should continue engaging and contributing to political processes in Somalia. In this regard, AMISOM will extend its civilian presence across AMISOM’s area of responsibility to provide support to inclusive political processes. It was also agreed that the role of the AU is critical in providing capacity building support, including training and mentoring, to the Somalia National Army (SNA) and Somali Police Force (SPF). Additionally, AMISOM will continue to support stabilization and other related activities as provided for in the Somali Transition Plan.

Based on the above, it was reiterated that the upcoming AU-UN Joint Review of AMISOM as per UNSCR 2372, should consider enhancing the existing capacities and capabilities of both AMISOM and Somali Security Institutions to effectively facilitate the Transition.

Somalia: United Nations expert urges action to stop children being kidnapped and used as fighters (07.05.2018)

Mr. Nyanduga welcomed the adoption of the first-ever Joint Programme on Human Rights in Somalia and urged the international community to support the ground-breaking initiative.

MOGADISHU, Somalia, May 7, 2018 – The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Bahame Tom Mukirya Nyanduga, has condemned recent terrorist attacks in the country, and called for the immediate release of all children kidnapped or recruited as fighters in the country’s armed conflict.

“The abduction of children by the Al Shabaab group and their recruitment and use by Government security forces in the armed conflict constitute a grave violation of the children’s rights,” the expert said in a statement at the end of a six-day mission to assess the human rights situation in the country.

Mr. Nyanduga commended the Government for measures taken so far to rehabilitate children captured in combat, and for recognizing that such children were victims, but he urged the authorities to act now to stop children being used in the fighting. The expert also called on the Government to build rehabilitation centres to address the plight of children associated with Al Shabaab.

He welcomed action by both the Government and the international community to reduce loss of life from famine, but made clear that more had to be done urgently to help thousands of people forced to leave their homes because of flooding.

“The Government must commit itself to addressing this recurring problem by adopting a range of durable solutions, including the relocation of victims to higher ground,” the expert said.

He hailed the Government for some human rights improvements, including ending the practice of executing in public those convicted of terrorism-related offences, but made clear there was still much more to be done to improve human rights more generally in Somalia.

“There has been a considerable improvement in the right to freedom of expression and opinion compared to the previous year, but I am still receiving reports of harassment, intimidation, arrest and detention without trial of journalists.  I call on the Government to ensure respect for the right to freedom of expression and opinion, and a free media,” the expert said.

Mr. Nyanduga also called for measures to halt the marginalisation of minority clans and people forced to move from their homes to other parts of Somalia. He also urged the Government to provide a legal framework to protect people with disabilities.

The expert called for a comprehensive review of the country’s traditional dispute resolution framework and urged steps to ensure that traditional elders protected women against female genital mutilation, rape and other sexual and gender-based violence while respecting international human rights standards.

The Independent Expert also wanted to see a strengthening of the justice sector, in particular the police, judiciary, related ministries and other institutions crucial for underpinning security sector reforms.

Mr. Nyanduga welcomed the adoption of the first-ever Joint Programme on Human Rights in Somalia and urged the international community to support the ground-breaking initiative.

During his visit the Independent Expert met a range of people including ministers, members of the judiciary and those representing civil society. He will submit a report with recommendations to the Human Rights Council in Geneva in September 2018.

Ethiopia: Dr. Abiy gave the world a false hope, as the TPLF SoE is still oppressing the people!

Since the end of March 2018, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Defence Force (EPRDF) selected their new Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ali. That happens after the end of February, when the Command Post and the Minister of Defense Siraj Fegessa announced another State of Emergency, that was approved by the Parliament early March and means the continued oppression of the protesters in the regions of Amhara and Oromia would continue. As it has, it hasn’t stopped with the selection of Dr. Abiy as the PM. The Command Post and Agazi Squad has continued their raids, the terror and tyranny in the Somali Region, Ogaden, Amhara and Oromia.

James Moody reports: “The Somali region protests erupted on 20 April. The first protests called for the regional government to release 1,500 prisoners, as it had promised to do in February (Africa News, 28 February 2018). In the following days the protests gained momentum, spreading to other towns in the Siti zone, and the scope of the complaints widened – the protests were increasingly against corruption and abuse by the regional president, Abdi Illey. Illey is generally unpopular in Somali province because of his violent deployment of the Somali regional militia, the Liyu Police (ACLED, 12 April 2018) and because of corruption accusations. However, not only is Illey facing challenges from the population, he is also balancing leadership turbulence within his own party. On 24 April, Illey fired the deputy regional president, Abdikarim Igali, fearing that Igali would capitalise on the regional protests to mount a challenge to Illey’s position in the Somali government (Addis Standard, 27 April 2018). This strategy backfired, instead provoking increased protest, particularly from Igali’s home district of Shinile. Illey’s other response to the protests has been to reinforce security by ordering Liyu Police forces back to the regional capital Jijiga. There have been relatively few confrontations between the Liyu police and protesters, but responses to calm the protesters should be cautious to avoid further conflagration” (James Moody – ‘ETHIOPIA: PROTESTS SHIFT FROM OROMIA TO SOMALI PROVINCE’ 05.05.2018, link: https://www.acleddata.com/2018/05/05/ethiopia-protests-shift-from-oromia-to-somali-province/).

So the government hasn’t changed, the new PM makes a shining light with speeches and public gatherings. However, the actions of the EPRDF is still fueled with aggression against the population. That hasn’t changed, not with the new PM. It is more of the same. Just nicer speeches and impression of hope. While the dire needs are still there and the authorities are still acting oblivious world-wide, while locally cracking down on anyone questioning the EPRDF, the TPLF infused government.

For the second time within the three months, there is again violent skirmishes from the authorities in Moyale, which happen last time in February 2018. The reason this time is unknown, there are reports of casualties, but none verified as the gun-shots has appeared, as well as fires in the town. Also that people are fleeing from the town to Kenya. Just like they did in February. Therefore, the government has no direct solution.

We know also that things aren’t getting better with the problems in various regions as the reports on the 3rd May 2018, when the Federal Attorney General ordered that all arrests done by the Command Post in regions, would be taken care of in the states and not federal. Meaning, the local leaderships and their courts will be in-charge of the ones detained while it occurred during the State of Emergency. Also, securing that the TPLF central government isn’t the ones who are keeping people arrested, but the local leadership.

There been little sign of hope, less if you look at the beautiful words, but those words doesn’t bring justice to oppressed, to the ones shackled and detained, the ones afraid of speaking, the ones afraid of gathering and the ones who might lose their lives. Just for standing up against a government, which doesn’t represent them or their kind. They are just representing businesses and foreign interests. Not the public, not the regions and not the unemployed youths or poor peasants, who deserves a government that actually represent them. Peace.

Somalia Security High Level Meeting – Joint Declaration by the Co-Chairs, Brussels, 2 May 2018

Communique of the 769th meeting of the PSC on the Somalia Transition Plan (02.05.2018)

UNSOM condems suicide bombing in Gaalkayo as attempt to derail reconciliation process (28.04.2018)

The United Nations Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) condemns today’s suicide bombing in the city of Gaalkacyo, which reportedly killed government security officers and civilians.

“This attack occurred because extremists feel threatened by the progress that is being made with reconciliation efforts in Gaalkacyo,” said the head of UNSOM, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Michael Keating.

“The country has suffered enough violence and bloodshed; it is time for reconciliation,” he added. “The people and authorities in Gaalkacyo are courageously finding a way forward; they should not be derailed by this assault on their chances of a peaceful future.’’

According to initial reports, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives in an area of the city known as Jiiro Abdullahi Yusuf, where security forces were stationed, earlier on Saturday morning, killing at least two senior security force commanders as well as civilians. Al-Shabaab has reportedly claimed responsibility.

UNSOM expresses its condolences to the families and colleagues of the victims and wishes the injured a full and speedy recovery.

Opinion: Mismatch of reports concerning the Ethiopian Economy!

Even as the stark contrasting reports are appearing, the reality must hit the fan. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. For me its a hard time reading about the rising economy, when certain other familiar set-backs are reported. Its like you cannot have rainy-season and dry-season at the same time. You cannot have a giant harvest or a drought from the same land. That just doesn’t happen. If this was different republic’s, different nations and different rulers. Then it would be possible different results. But when were discussing the narrow place. It just doesn’t make sense.

First I will cover that good news, that got Ethiopia on CNN, than after that I will take a report coming from the local ESAT, Tesfanews & AfricaNews. These are striking differences to the narrative coming from CNN. Which doesn’t make sense to me.

CNN says:

Ethiopia’s economy is predicted to grow by 8.5% this year. The figures signal continued economic expansion following a long period of impressive growth. In the last decade, Ethiopia has averaged around 10% economic growth, according to the IMF” (Giles, 2018). This gives a favorable outlook with a fantastic economic growth. If that was true. Why does this other report says otherwise.

ESAT Says:

Dwindling imports of wheat has resulted in scarcity of bread in the capital Addis Ababa and the price of a loaf of the staple has doubled. Authorities say the crisis was a result of the foreign currency crunch facing the country. Long lines at bakeries in the capital is a regular scene and owners of the bakeries told local media that they only get half of the wheat flour in quotas. The bakeries say if the crisis continues, they would be forced to close business” (…) “Plans to import 200,000 metric tons of wheat this year have failed due to foreign currency shortages sparking the bread crisis” (De Birhaner, 2018)

TesfaNews says:

The situation has exasperated to the point where factories have been forced to operate under capacity, crucial medicines are disappearing from pharmacies and many goods are not found on shelves of supermarkets. The amount of international reserve has dwindled. It only covers 1.8 months of imports by the end of the last fiscal year” (…) “It is fact that Ethiopia’s economy is troubled by a shortage of foreign currency and it is in a position where it cannot be calmed down by the sudden release of dollars. The economy needs a workable solution. This requires looking into every line of the balance of payment account and coming up with strategies to improve them” (Abdulmena, 2018).

AfricaNews Says:

But those at the speech said Abiy did not outline plans to open up new sectors, a move which could also ease a shortage of foreign exchange. Instead, he said state spending on infrastructure, which has crowded out local companies, would continue. Abiy also told the business community that the foreign exchange shortage that has plagued the country will last for years and more cooperation with the private sector is essential to solve it” (AfricaNews, 2018).

Let’s be clear, this is my view of the situation. Because, the narrative of a rising economy, when fellow reports are that the are lines to bakeries for bread, lack of imports of medicine and factories. That cannot create a vast rise of economy as the IMF and CNN reported. That just don’t make sense. How can the economy grow, when public cannot spend their monies or get the needed imported food? That seems like a pointless.

That the lack of foreign exchange in the reserves, that hits the economy. Supermarkets loosing their goods, medicine from the shelves, bread out of bakeries, all of that should be of a failing economy. Not a rising tiger. The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Defence Force (EPRDF) and the Councils of Ministers has to rig the numbers to the international organizations. Because you cannot have lack of bread, medicine and goods, while also having a high-rising economy. If it was so, then depression of America in the 1920s was the grandest time of the Economy there. But that is just how I view things. Because I don’t have the numbers, but the reports doesn’t make sense.

Its hard to see… rising growth and prosperity, but if it was so, wouldn’t the people have more money to spend at the Supermarket. Not have less products to buy at the Supermarket. Wouldn’t there be more medicine and not less? Wouldn’t the bakeries have bread? Wouldn’t the state have the foreign exchange reserves to import the needed wheat? Then it would be believable. By all means, I want a prosperous Ethiopian Republic. However, the truth cannot be that now. Not during State of Emergency, not during the oppression of the Oromia and Amhara regions. Not during the oppressive behavior and silencing the people. The EPRDF and the TPLF are surely trying to ply the outside world. That is why the ESAT, TesfaNews and AfricaNews not hitting the stands. It is because your not listening to reality, but a narrative creating by the oppressive central government, that doesn’t listen, but only want people to obey. Peace.

Reference:

Giles, Chris – ‘Ethiopia is now Africa’s fastest growing economy’ (24.04.2018) link: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/04/24/africa/africa-largest-economy/index.html

De Birhaner – ‘The Foreign Currency Crunch Is Bad In Ethiopia That It Has Even Caused Bread Shortage in Addis’ (28.04.2018) link: http://debirhan.com/2018/04/foreign-currency-crunch-bad-ethiopia-even-caused-bread-shortage-addis/

Abdulmena Mohammed – ‘Forex Crunch: Ethiopia’s Immovable Object’ (27.04.2018) link: https://www.tesfanews.net/ethiopia-forex-crunch/

AfricaNews – ‘Ethiopia not ready for foreign investment in telecoms, banking: president’ (24.04.2018) link: http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/24/ethiopia-not-ready-for-foreign-investment-in-telecoms-banking-president/

Visiting Ethiopia, UN human rights chief urges new Government to ‘keep positive momentum going’ (27.04.2018)

The United Nations human rights chief on Thursday expressed hope that Ethiopia continues its economic development in which human rights are respected and people can freely speak their minds about public policies.

NEW YORK, United States of America, April 27, 2018 – “We all want to see an Ethiopia with continuous economic development where all people benefit, and where people express their views on public policies, unafraid,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein at the end of his official visit to Ethiopia.

His visit followed the country’s recent transition of power from the Government led by Hailemariam Desalegn, who abruptly resigned as prime minister in March, to the new one led by Abiy Ahmed.

A country with one of the fastest-growing economies in world, Ethiopia has also been riven by human rights violations and oppression on protests by those demanding equality.

“Moments of transition are rarely ever smooth. Ethiopia has struggled with a heavy history, but it has the wisdom of a tolerant, vibrant, youthful population to harness,” said Mr. Zeid, encouraging the authorities to keep the positive momentum going and to keep translating the inspiring words in the Prime Minister’s inaugural address into action.

Mr. Zeid was referring to the Prime Minister’s recognition that there is a “need to address existing inequities that led to recent unrest,” that “democracy cannot be realised in the absence of rights – be it civil or economic rights” and that the “right of people to express opinions, rights of people to organise themselves and engage in effective dialogue and participate in the governance system is inherent in our humanity…not for any government to bestow…as it sees fit.”

The UN rights chief also welcomed the release of a large number of people, including bloggers, political opponents and others who had been detained in relation to their participation in protests and their criticism of the Government.

“There was tremendous hope, but also anxiety,” he said, citing the words of a former political detainee, who said: “we have repeatedly been victims of broken promises.”

During a visit to the Oromia region, Mr. Zeid met with the regional authorities and the traditional leaders, known as the Aba Gadas, who he said spoke about how they will continue to push for the truth to be told about what has happened over the past few years, including deaths during protests.

“They demanded investigations and accountability for excessive use of force by the authorities. They expressed their desire for justice and human rights for all Ethiopians and for their voices to be heard without fear of reprisal,” Mr. Zeid said.

On Wednesday, the UN Human Rights Office for East Africa and the Ethiopian Government signed an agreement to strengthen the Office’s ability to do human rights work in the country and the region.

The Office has already offered its assistance in revising the charities and societies proclamation, the anti-terrorism legislation and the mass media laws.

“In this 70th anniversary year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, when too many leaders risk reversing hard-won human rights gains, we look to Ethiopia to continue to give cause for optimism and hope,” Mr. Zeid said.

NUSOJ: Journalists’ union accuses Somali Ministry of Information for faking sincerity to resolve journalists’ safety crisis (23.04.2018)