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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    03/22/2013 20:11 GMT

    BAMAKO, March 22, 2013 (AFP) - Five people were killed in an ambush by armed men in central Mali, the military said on Friday, blaming the attack on ethnic Tuareg separatist rebels.

    The army said "elements of" the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) attacked two vehicles, killing and discarding the bodies of five occupants of one vehicle before forcing passengers in the other to strip naked.

    "We strongly condemn these barbaric attacks that show the true face of MNLA," armed forces spokesman Souleymane Maiga told AFP.

    Other sources told AFP the death toll from the killings in the village of Gnagna on Monday was at least ten.

    "The light-skinned assailants attacked civilian cars going to a fair in the Mopti region," said Bamako-based imam Hama Cisse, who comes from the area where the incident took place.

    "At least ten civilians were killed and thrown into a well, and others have disappeared, with all their possessions stolen."

    Pressed on what he meant by "light-skinned" the imam said he was referring to MNLA rebels "who commit crimes in Mali and then go and hide in refugee camps in Mauritania".

    "There were more than ten deaths. A few survivors are on their way to Mopti," lawmaker Oulematou Ascofare told AFP.

    The MNLA fought alongside Al Qaeda-linked Islamist groups against the Malian army last year, but were ousted by their former allies who occupied the north before being driven into the remote mountains by French-led troops in January.

    Ibrahim Ag Assaleh, an MNLA official in the Burkina Faso capital Ouagadougou, denied any link with his movement and the attack.

    "This had nothing to do with our members. We consider all these armed individuals in this area to be residual former members of terrorist groups now often used by the Malian army to create chaos," he said.


    © 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse

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    Source: US Institute of Peace
    Country: Libya, Mali, Syrian Arab Republic

    March 2013 | Olive Branch Post by Bruce 'Ossie' Oswald

    Militias often fill the vacuum in conflicts or post-conflict situations where government law-and-order authorities are unwilling or unable to carry out their functions. Such a situation creates a fundamental dilemma: What should the relationship be between arguably legitimate authorities and the paramilitaries, and how can the connection be managed responsibly?

    In Syria, rebel militias brought a detainee, “unshackled and in flip-flops,” into a school that had been converted to a courtroom run by seven imams to face charges of belonging to President Bashar Assad's shabiha paramilitaries and informing on antigovernment activists, according to an August 2012 account in the Los Angeles Times. In Libya, militia groups continue to control some communities and refuse to surrender their weapons to the new government. In Mali, the militia group Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA), formerly aligned with Islamists but currently supporting Mali government forces and the French military, have undertaken law and order functions by detaining militant Islamists.

    At any one time, militias might exist to support governments, to fight against governments or each other as rebel groups, or to conduct criminal activities. A recent study found that, between 1981 and 2007, there were at least 331 pro-government militia groups functioning in 88 countries. There are currently no reliable statistics concerning rebel or criminal militias, but it’s reasonable to assume that, at the very least, those groups operate in the same countries and exist in similar numbers as do the pro-government militias.

    There is little doubt that where governments are unwilling or unable to act, paramilitary forces can provide some level of protection to the local population. Often they do so with fewer resources and with greater levels of commitment because they are acting within their own communities. They might also be less corrupt than the government authorities.

    On the other hand, the costs of supporting militias includes the potential that they could, in fact, worsen security. They might commit gross human rights violations, become criminals, refuse to disarm, or further weaken formal government structures and influence.

    The tension between militias protecting the local population vs. further exacerbating the security situation is not easy to deal with. But assuming that in some cases governments believe they must support paramilitaries to maintain law and order, consideration needs to be given as to how to mitigate the risks of providing that support.

    Simply arming militias with no conditions is clearly inappropriate as it almost guarantees that the members of the group will misuse their power. Such a debate has been playing out in the U.S. and among other allies on whether and how much to support the Syrian rebels who’ve taken control, by some estimates, of two-thirds of the country.

    In cases where governments opt to provide weapons to a militia, officials can take a number of steps to mitigate the risks:

    • Implement methods to vet both the militia group and its members;
    • Ensure the group is appropriately trained not only in the use of the weapons but also in fundamental legal rules and standards on issues such as the human rights of detainees and the minimum use of force;
    • Institute a process for monitoring to hold the group’s members and their commanders accountable for their acts, especially in the case of gross violations of human rights;
    • Establish a system of reparations or making amends to civilian victims of the conflict.

    One means of ensuring that militias carry out their functions maintaining law and order is to call on them to adopt a code of conduct that sets out fundamental standards that they agree to abide by. In Syria, for example, some militia members have signed a code of conduct to observe human rights. Of course, any such commitment requires cooperation with independent and impartial monitors to verify the group’s adherence to the code. The work undertaken by Geneva Call, an international humanitarian organisation, in getting armed non-state groups to observe the norms found in the Anti-Personnel Land Mine Ban Convention through a Deed of Commitment is a useful model to consider when thinking about the enforcement of a code of conduct.

    Bruce ‘Ossie’ Oswald is an associate professor at Melbourne Law School at the University of Melbourne, Australia, who currently holds a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellowship at USIP, specializing in international humanitarian law, human rights, post-conflict and peacekeeping activities and the rule of law.

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    Source: Oxfam
    Country: Mali

    La région de Gao, au nord du Mali, fait face à une grave insécurité alimentaire causée notamment par le manque de céréales sur les marchés, l’augmentation des prix et l’isolement, annonce l’organisation internationale Oxfam.

    Dans une évaluation récente, menée en janvier-février 2013 à Bourem dans les alentours, qui constitue une des zones d’intervention d’Oxfam dans la région de Gao, l’ONG constate qu’à certains endroits, 80 pour cent des adultes, par manque de ressources, se privent afin de permettre aux enfants d’avoir au moins deux repas par jour. De surcroît, ils réduisent leur ration alimentaire quotidienne ou alors partagent les vivres qu’ils reçoivent avec les voisins et d’autres membres de la famille.

    Une enquête distincte sur les marchés alentours indique qu’en janvier dernier, du fait de l’opération militaire, les prix des denrées de base ont augmenté jusqu’à 70 pour cent. Et 4 céréales : le mil, le sorgho, le maïs et le niébé ne sont pas disponibles sur les marchés.

    Augmentation des prix entre octobre 2012 et février 2013 :

    Produit Oct. 2012 Fév. 2013

    Riz local 400 (FCFA) 625 (FCFA)

    Riz importé 400 550

    Pâtes alimentaires 250 500

    Arachide graine 900 1.250

    Huile 900 1.200

    Sucre 600 700

    Gasoil 500 900

    Essence 750 1.000

    (100 FCFA = 0,15 euros)

    L’aide humanitaire par Oxfam

    • Gao se trouve à quelque 1 200 kilomètres de Bamako, la capitale malienne. Oxfam travaille à Gao depuis une trentaine d’années. Oxfam a besoin de 9 millions de dollars dans les 6 prochains mois pour mettre en place des projets dans 2 régions : Gao et Ségou.

    • En 2013, les programmes d’Oxfam ont pour objectif d’atteindre quelque 70.000 bénéficiaires à Gao par le renforcement des moyens d’existence et des distributions de vivres.

    Trop peu d’argent pour les réfugiés

    Au 15 mars 2013, les Nations Unies estimaient à 176.777 le nombre de réfugiés maliens dans les pays voisins et à 270.765 déplacés internes à Bamako, Ségou et Mopti. En tout, 447.542 personnes ont quitté leur foyer.

    Le montant de l’appel d’urgence des Nations Unies pour le Mali (CAP 2013) s’élève à 386 millions de dollars. Au 15 mars 2013, il était financé à hauteur de 17%, soit un peu plus de 56 millions $. A ce jour, 4 grands bailleurs pour le CAP 2013 : Commission européenne (29 millions $), Japon (27,7 millions$), Royaume Uni (14 millions $), Canada (10 millions $).

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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali

    Upon invitation by President Blaise Compaoré, WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin visited Burkina Faso from 13 to 15 March 2013. The visit came one year after the Sahel food and nutrition crisis and the influx of Malian refugees, during which WFP reached some 1.5 million people with emergency food assistance.

    Ouagadougou - Though this year’s harvest is much improved compared to last year’s, the food security situation remains fragile in Burkina Faso.

    “The Sahel is facing a double threat: instability, caused by a conflict that has sent refugees across its borders and chronic hunger, caused by cycles of drought and poor harvests. Last year the international community helped avert a crisis in the Sahel, but our work is not over,” Ertharin Cousin said during her visit, the first by a WFP Executive Director since 1998.

    The visit was an opportunity for Cousin to meet the President once again, Ministers, the donor and humanitarian community as well as the country office in Ouagadougou on the first day.

    The following day, the ED traveled to the Sahel Region of Burkina Faso, accompanied by WFP’s Burkina Faso Country Director, the West Africa Regional Director, the Minister of Education, several UN Agency Representatives, and the Coordinator of the National Refugee Council.

    As well as having some of the highest malnutrition and food insecurity rates in the country, the Sahel Region also hosts 95 percent of the Malian refugees in Burkina Faso.

    First, Cousin and the delegation visited the Mentao refugee site, the largest site in Burkina Faso, where a monthly food distribution was taking place. Next, the delegation visited a local Burkinabé school, where refugee children are hosted and receive two meals per day through WFP’s school feeding programme and then, a Cash for Assets activity, focusing on refugee host communities and through which WFP hopes to rehabilitate 125 hectares of soil with the half-moon technique, which traps humidity in the soil, making it more arable.

    “It is not a matter of ‘if’ there will be a drought, but ‘when’. If we continue to follow through with what we started last year, we can truly build resilience in the Sahel,” said Cousin referring to such programmes.

    Then, Cousin visited a health centre, where WFP carries out moderate acute malnutrition activities for children under 5 years old and pregnant and nursing women. At all sites, Cousin had the opportunity to talk directly with beneficiaries, hearing their concerns.

    On the way to catch her plane to Mali from the town of Ouahigouya in the North Region, the ED visited the local NGO AMMIE, with whom WFP implemented a gender advocacy initiative in 2012 and carries out food assistance for people living with HIV as well as AIDS orphans.

    In 2013, WFP urgently needs US$ 36 million for its activities in Burkina Faso.

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    03/23/2013 04:59 GMT

    by Serge Daniel

    SEVARE, Mali, March 23, 2013 (AFP) - Under the blazing African sun in a makeshift tent city in the Inner Niger Delta, 600 Malians live side-by-side, waiting for the day they feel safe enough to return to their homes.

    They are among thousands of "internally displaced people" (IDPs) who fled when Islamist fighters cut a swathe through the north of their country a year ago, occupying towns and cities and imposing a brutal version of Islamic sharia law.

    For months they have been housed in dozens of tents in a camp run by local authorities with the help of the UN and humanitarian organisations in the town of Sevare, 600 kilometres (370 miles) northeast of the Malian capital, Bamako.

    Life in the camp is a daily struggle against hardship and boredom, but they receive food rations, medical attention and, most importantly, sanctuary from the conflict still raging in the north of the west African nation.

    "I don't want to go home yet. The war isn't over, and I have nothing to eat in my village," one young woman said, echoing the sentiments of many in the camp.

    Gao and the other main cities of Mali's vast northern desert, comprising about 60 percent of the country's surface area, fell to ethnic Tuareg rebels in the vacuum left by a military coup a year ago.

    They lost control to Al Qaeda-linked radicals who destroyed Muslim shrines, carrying out amputations, executions and beatings, before Mali's former colonial ruler France sent in troops and took back the cities of the north in January.

    With French and African soldiers in a battle to flush out armed Islamists entrenched in the northeastern Infoghas mountains, thousands of those displaced by the fighting are still waiting to go home.

    "I do not want to return immediately to my village, which is not far from Gao. It seems that the Islamists are still in my village. And how am I going to eat?" said Marietou, a mother in her 50s, surrounded by five of her children.

    And so she and her fellow IDPs stay, the children passing the time by kicking around a football while others play around taps which spit out drinking water. At the entrance of the camp, many women sit on mats and watch television.

    "Some who were here went home, but many others do not want to return," said Aisha Dembele, the camp coordinator.

    Some 170,000 Malians left northern Mali for neighbouring countries and 260,000 have fled their homes to seek refuge elsewhere within Mali since early 2012, according to the UN.

    People staying in the camp are entitled to medicine and food rations donated through the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) and charities.

    "We cannot get all that in any of the three northern regions if we go there," said Boubel, a young farmer who lost his livestock due to the crisis in the country.

    -- 'The crisis is not over' --

    Camp doctor Souleymane Sanogo says the patients he sees in his clinic often suffer from ulcers due to stress.

    "In talking with them, we realise that the stress can be explained by the fact that they are afraid to go home," he says.

    He points to a patient sitting on a bench who refuses to return to her village in the region around the fabled northwestern desert city of Timbuktu, even though her husband and three of her six children have already begun the journey back.

    In Sevare, the regional capital Mopti and the area around both towns, there are some 40,000 IDPs living in camps or with host families, according to Ibrahima Hama Traore, the governor of the Mopti region.

    "Life is returning to normal in the region since the intervention of French-African troops but the situation of IDPs remains a concern," he said.

    After a visit to the Sevare camp on Sunday, WFP executive director Ertharin Cousin cautioned that "the crisis is not over in Mali", even if the fighting is now concentrated in the extreme north-east.

    The WFP plans to provide food assistance to more than one million people this year in Mali, a country hit hard last year -- especially in the north -- by severe drought along with its neighbours in the Sahel region.

    The presence of IDPs in towns in the Inner Niger Delta is starting to present other less obvious but equally pressing problems, say locals.

    "Three thousand displaced children are enrolled in the towns of Mopti and Sevare and the vicinity," Mopti mayor Oumar Bathily told AFP.

    The result has been severely overcrowed classrooms.

    "Today, in a classroom in Sevare or Mopti, there are 180 students," said the mayor. "It's a disaster."


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    03/23/2013 11:46 GMT

    NOUAKCHOTT, 23 mars 2013 (AFP) - Deux Mauritaniens ont été tués et deux sont portés disparus après une attaque de leur convoi par un groupe armé au Mali, vers la frontière entre les deux pays, a affirmé samedi le site mauritanien d'information en ligne Al-Akhbar.

    Selon ce média, les quatre hommes - un marchand de moutons, son fils et deux bergers - avaient quitté le marché de la ville mauritanienne de Bousteila (sud-est) pour la localité malienne de Jima (sud-ouest) en vue de conduire leur bétail vers le Sénégal.

    Leur bivouac a été attaqué dans la nuit de mercredi à jeudi dans la zone de Jima par un "groupe armé", qui a tué le marchand et l'un des bergers, a rapporté l'agence Al-Akhbar, citant des sources locales.

    "Une délégation constituée de parents des victimes devait se rendre samedi au Mali pour recueillir les dépouilles mortelles des deux hommes", a-t-elle précisé.

    Aucune réaction des autorités locales n'était disponible dans l'immédiat.

    Une série d'exactions, attribuées à des groupes armés ou à l'armée malienne, ont été rapportées à travers le Mali depuis le début en janvier d'une opération militaire franco-africaine contre les mouvements islamistes qui occupaient le nord du pays depuis l'an dernier.


    © 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    03/23/2013 15:06 GMT

    Par Anne LE COZ

    PARIS, 23 mars 2013 (AFP) - Le président français François Hollande a confirmé samedi "de manière certaine" la mort d'un des principaux chefs d'Al-Qaïda au Maghreb islamique (Aqmi), l'Algérien Abdelhamid Abou Zeïd, tué fin février par l'armée française dans le massif des Ifoghas dans le nord du Mali.

    "Le président de la République confirme de manière certaine la mort d'Abdelhamid Abou Zeïd survenue lors des combats menés par l'armée française dans l'Adrar des Ifoghas au Nord du Mali, à la fin du mois de février", a annoncé samedi la présidence française.

    "Cette disparition de l'un des principaux chefs d'Aqmi marque une étape importante dans la lutte contre le terrorisme au Sahel", ajoute le communiqué de l'Elysée.

    Cette confirmation met fin à trois semaines d'incertitudes alors que la mort d'Abou Zeïd avait été annoncée dès le 1er mars par le président tchadien Idriss Déby, dont les forces combattent aux côtés des Français dans l'extrême nord du Mali.

    Des interrogations demeurent toutefois sur les circonstances de son décès, attribué à des militaires français par Paris alors que le président Déby a assuré à plusieurs reprises qu'Abou Zeïd avait été "abattu" par des soldats tchadiens.

    Les violents combats qui avaient fait rage pendant plusieurs jours fin février et début mars dans le massif des Ifoghas avaient fait plusieurs centaines de morts dans les rangs des islamistes, selon le chef de la diplomatie française Laurent Fabius.

    "Pour les précisions sur les identités, il faut faire des vérifications très précises avec l'ADN, c'est ce que les services de l'armée sont en train de faire", avait-il précisé le 7 mars.

    Outre Abou Zeïd, le président tchadien avait également affirmé que ses troupes avaient tué un autre chef islamiste, Moukhtar Belmokhtar dit "Le Borgne", mais la mort de ce dissident d'Aqmi, lui aussi Algérien, n'a toujours pas été confirmée.


    Abou Zeïd et Mokhtar Belmokhtar, issus des groupes islamistes qui ont terrorisé l'Algérie dans les années 1990, ont été ensuite les maîtres d'oeuvre d'Aqmi au Mali, où ils se sont implantés, au Niger et en Mauritanie. Ils y ont commis de nombreux enlèvements et exécutions d'Occidentaux, attentats ou tentatives d'attentats, et s'y sont livrés à divers trafics, dont celui de la drogue.

    Petit, presque frêle, arborant une mine sombre sur les rares images disponibles, Abou Zeïd s'était forgé une réputation d'homme implacable. En juin 2009, son groupe avait kidnappé le touriste anglais Edwin Dyer. Selon plusieurs témoins, c'est Abou Zeïd en personne qui aurait égorgé l'otage.

    Belmokhtar avait quant à lui quitté Aqmi fin 2012, pour créer son propre groupe, "Les signataires par le sang", dont la première action d'envergure a été une prise d'otages massive et sanguinaire en janvier sur un site gazier du sud de l'Algérie, In Aménas.

    Début mars, un jihadiste d'Aqmi, cité par l'agence mauritanienne d'informations en ligne Sahara Médias (privée), avait démenti le décès de Belmokhtar, le disant dans la région de Gao, principale ville du nord du Mali.

    Ce jihadiste, s'exprimant sous couvert d'anonymat, avait en revanche confirmé la mort d'Abou Zeïd, tué selon lui "par un bombardement aérien français dans les montagnes" des Ifoghas "et non par les Tchadiens" qui étaient "à plus de 80 kilomètres" au moment du bombardement.

    Depuis l'annonce par N'Djamena de la mort d'Abou Zeïd, la France était restée très prudente. Ses hommes détiennent toujours au moins cinq ressortissants français en otages, le sixième, Philippe Verdon, enlevé en novembre 2011 au Mali, ayant été exécuté le 10 mars par ses ravisseurs, selon un porte-parole d'Aqmi.

    Sa mort n'a toujours pas été confirmée par Paris. Il s'agirait du premier otage français exécuté depuis le début de l'intervention française au Mali.


    © 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    03/23/2013 15:45 GMT

    PARIS, March 23, 2013 (AFP) - France confirmed Saturday that one of the key leaders of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, had been killed in fighting with French-led forces in northern Mali.

    Considered one of the most radical leaders in Al-Qaeda's north African branch, the 46-year-old is credited with having significantly expanded the terrorist group's field of operation to Tunisia and Niger, and for kidnapping activities across the region.

    French President Francois Hollande "confirms Abdelhamid Abou Zeid's death with certainty during fighting led by the French army in the Ifoghas mountains in northern Mali in late February", the Elysee palace said in a statement.

    "The elimination of one of the main leaders of AQIM marks an important stage in the fight against terrorism in the Sahel."

    Abou Zeid's death was first announced on March 1 by Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno, whose army is fighting alongside French troops to secure the Ifoghas.

    Two days later, the Chadian army also announced it had killed Algerian Islamist militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the other historic leader of Al-Qaeda's north African branch.

    French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius had said after fierce fighting in the Ifoghas in late February that DNA tests would be carried out to determine whether the two had in fact been killed.

    But France has still not confirmed the death of Belmokhtar, who split from Al-Qaeda and masterminded a January raid on an Algerian gas plant that left 38 hostages dead.

    Abou Zeid had a reputation for being a severe, aloof character with an unflinching capacity for violence when required.

    Born in Debdeb in Algeria, close to the border with Libya, Abou Zeid was a young activist in the FIS Islamist movement that won the country's first democratic elections in 1991 but was denied power. He then disappeared underground for most of the 1990S.

    He re-emerged spectacularly in 2003 as second in command of the GSPC group which kidnapped 32 foreigners in southern Algeria, and that would later, along with several other organisations, evolve into AQIM.

    In June 2009, his men kidnapped British tourist Edwin Dyer. According to multiple witnesses, Abou Zeid personally beheaded him.

    French aid worker Pierre Camatte, who was held by Abou Zeid's henchmen for 89 days at the end of 2009, said the leader's death would severely hamper AQIM.

    "The organisation has been decapitated," he said.

    Camatte met the man responsible for his kidnapping four times and recalls a distinctly cold character. "The other kidnappers consulted him all the time but he mixed very little with them," the aid worker told AFP.

    Latterly, Abou Zeid -- whose real name is Mohamed Ghdir according to Algerian court documents -- was considered a deputy to AQIM's "Saharan emir" Yahia Djouadi and commanded a katiba, or battalion, of fighters from Mauritania, Algeria and Mali that was known as Tareq Ibn Ziyad.

    Mali descended into chaos in the wake of a March 2012 coup, as Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels capitalised on the power vacuum to seize a Texas-sized triangle of desert territory in the north.

    France launched its intervention in its former colony on January 11 to stop the Islamists from advancing on the capital, Bamako.


    © 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse

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    Source: World Bank
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali

    WASHINGTON, March 21, 2013 — The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved an International Development Association (IDA*) US$70 million grant to Burkina Faso aimed at promoting growth and competitiveness and reducing the vulnerabilities related to both the Malian and global financial crises.

    The Second Grant for Growth, Competitiveness, and Reduced Vulnerability will catalyze private sector growth and employment, strengthen resiliency, reduce vulnerability, and improve governance and public resource management in the country.

    The new grant, which will support the Government’s efforts, seeks to:

    • Support the growth of the private sector, which creates jobs, by helping the Government set up an input fund for the production of cotton and improved competitiveness in this sector, as well as for improved production of the other cash crops;

    • Improve governance and public resource management by providing a framework for greater transparency in the mining sector;

    • Strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability through improved transfers of funds to decentralized communities, increased access to microfinance by women, better monitoring of food security, and greater food distribution at reduced prices, or even at no cost, in the poor and vulnerable areas and to Malian refugees.

    The World Bank notes that the cotton, grain, and mining sectors have been major drivers of the country’s economic growth over the past five years. Robust reforms during the 2000s facilitated a significant increase in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the mining sector. In addition, Burkina Faso was declared “EITI Compliant” on February 27, 2013 by the Oslo-based Executive Board of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). This means that Burkina Faso now has a process in place to ensure regular disclosure of mining revenues and that the data is available and accessible to the public to foster an understanding of the mining sector’s contribution to the country’s development.

    External budgetary assistance is needed in 2013 to support the economic growth program outlined in the SCADD (Strategy for Accelerated Growth and Sustainable Development); help the country mitigate the effects of the global financial crisis; and, in particular, address the food insecurity problem affecting the Malian refugees.

    “Our objective is to assist the Government of Burkina Faso in its efforts to achieve sustainable and sustained growth. The funds will support the private sector, the true engine of growth, while helping to improve the cotton sector’s competitiveness, particularly by establishing an input fund for production,” noted Mercy M. Tembon, the World Bank’s Country Manager in Ouagadougou.

    The World Bank commended Burkina Faso for its sound macroeconomic management following a good rainy season and an increase in commodity export prices, which led to the return to sustained economic growth of close to 8 percent in 2012.

    The grant that was approved today is the second in a four-year programmatic series of growth and competitiveness budget support operations to Burkina Faso for the 2012‒2014 period.

    Future programs are expected to be aligned with the Government’s budget cycle. The proposed series of operations supports the Government’s implementation of the SCADD for Burkina Faso. The first two IDA financings account for over 30 percent of general budget support provided to Burkina Faso by development partners in 2012 and 2013.

    Burkina Faso posted an average real economic growth rate of over 5 percent per year between 1995 and 2012 and GNI per capita increased from US$360 in 2005 to US$447 in 2012. The country’s macroeconomic and fiscal stability has contributed to steady improvement in several economic and social indicators. Economic growth rebounded in 2012, following a slowdown in 2011 to 4.2 percent caused by low rainfall and the global financial crisis. There is a renewed sense of optimism in the medium term with an economic growth rate of 7.5 percent in 2013 owing to the strong recovery of cotton and gold exports currently benefiting from favorable prices. Despite the Government’s efforts to support the social sectors, however, human development in Burkina Faso faces a number of challenges.

    This development policy grant is the second of a series of four operations and will be disbursed in a single tranche.

    *This project is financed by the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), which was established in 1960 and helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and zero-interest credits for programs that boost economic growth, reduce inequalities, and improve people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 81 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged around $15 billion over the past three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.


    In Washington
    Aby K. Toure
    tel : (202) 473-8302

    In Ouagadougou
    Lionel F. Yaro
    tel : 226 50 49 6300

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    03/24/2013 21:46 GMT

    Par Serge DANIEL

    BAMAKO, 24 mars 2013 (AFP) - Après plusieurs semaines d'accalmie, Gao, la grande ville du nord du Mali, a vécu dimanche de nouveaux accrochages entre l'armée malienne et des combattants islamistes, qui ont fait sept morts selon des sources concordantes.

    Au même moment, la télévision algérienne Ennahar TV a annoncé que Djamel Okacha a été désigné comme successeur d'Abdelhamid Abou Zeïd, l'un des principaux chefs d'Al-Qaïda au Maghreb islamique (Aqmi), dont Paris vient de confirmer la mort au Mali.

    A Gao, "un militaire malien, quatre islamistes et deux civils ont été tués dimanche au cours des échanges de coups de feu entre l'armée malienne et les islamistes" survenus dans le nord-ouest de la ville (située à 1.200 km au nord-est de Bamako), a déclaré à l'AFP une source sécuritaire africaine présente sur place.

    A la mi-journée, la situation était redevenue "calme"à Gao, a-t-elle affirmé.

    Une source militaire malienne à Gao a fourni le même bilan, et un médecin a confirmé la mort de "deux civils".

    De son côté, dans un communiqué publié dimanche soir, l'état-major de l'armée malienne a fait état d'un militaire malien tué et de quatre blessés. Un adolescent est mort et trois autres civils ont été blessés, a-t-il précisé.

    Selon l'état-major, les forces armées maliennes et les troupes nigériennes qui les aident ont été "appuyées" par des unités françaises face à la "dizaine d'hommes armés" qui s'étaient infiltrés durant la nuit et avaient tiré près d'un camp militaire dans le sud de Gao.

    Aqmi menace

    Le Mouvement pour l'unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l'Ouest (Mujao), l'un des groupes islamistes armés ayant occupé le nord du Mali avec Aqmi de la mi-2012 jusqu'à l'opération militaire franco-africaine lancée en janvier, avait revendiqué cette "attaque".

    Ancien fief de ce mouvement islamiste, Gao a été libérée en janvier mais a subi en février des attentats-suicides - les premiers de l'histoire du Mali - et a été le théâtre de violents accrochages entre les forces franco-maliennes et les jihadistes.

    Dans les alentours de Gao, des affrontements entre troupes alliées et islamistes ont lieu encore régulièrement.

    Ce regain de violences dans Gao même survient au lendemain de la confirmation par la France de la mort d'Abou Zeïd, 46 ans, précédemment annoncée par le Tchad.

    Désigné "il y a quelques jours" comme son successeur, un autre Algérien, Djamel Okacha, 34 ans, doit encore être confirmé dans ses fonctions lors d'une réunion de la direction d'Aqmi, selon le patron d'Ennahar TV, Mohamed Mokeddem. Djamel Okacha, dont le pseudonyme est Yahia Aboul Hammam, est un proche du chef d'Aqmi, Abdelmalek Droukdel.

    Selon la présidence française, Abou Zeïd a trouvé la mort fin février "lors des combats menés par l'armée française dans l'Adrar des Ifoghas", massif montagneux de l'extrême nord-est du Mali, voisin de l'Algérie, où les soldats français bénéficient de l'appui des troupes tchadiennes.

    "Je suis heureux de sa mort", a réagi dimanche le chef de la diplomatie malienne, Tiéman Coulibaly.

    Dans un communiqué publié par l'Agence Nouakchott Information (ANI), un site mauritanien, Aqmi a menacé de tuer ses otages français. Dans ce message adressé aux familles et au "peuple français", il a appelé les proches des otages à "faire pression" sur le gouvernement français pour qu'il cesse son intervention au Mali.

    Les hommes d'Abou Zeïd détiennent toujours au moins cinq ressortissants français.

    Un sixième otage, Philippe Verdon, enlevé en novembre 2011 au Mali, a été exécuté le 10 mars par ses ravisseurs, selon un porte-parole d'Aqmi. Sa mort n'a toujours pas été confirmée par Paris. Il s'agirait du premier otage français exécuté depuis le début de l'opération française au Mali.

    La ministre française de la Francophonie, Yamina Benguigui, a reconnu que la France avait opéré "un changement de doctrine" dans la gestion de ses otages, comme on l'interrogeait sur l'arrêt du versement de rançons par Paris aux ravisseurs.


    © 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse

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    Source: Islamic Relief, UN Children's Fund, International Rescue Committee, Save the Children, Plan
    Country: Mali

    L’exercice d’Identification avait pour objectif d’identifier la situation des Enfants Séparés (ES) et des Enfants Non Accompagnes (ENA) et son ampleur dans 04 régions du Sud (Ségou, Sikasso, Mopti et Koulikoro) afin de développer un plan d’action et intégrer une réponse aux besoins identifiés dans les activités de la Protection de l’Enfant. L’objectif de l’exercice d’identification n’était pas de recenser tous les ES et ENA dans les 04 Régions du Sud, mais d’identifier un certain nombre de cas, afin d’avoir une idée de la situation générale de ces enfants, d’en déterminer l’ampleur et d’explorer les situations de vulnérabilité. L’exercice d’identification visait principalement la recherche d’information quantitative plutôt que qualitative. Cet exercice d’identification n’est pas une évaluation, mais la première étape d’une réponse aux enfants déplacés vulnérables provenant du Nord.A travers cet exercice d’identification, l’Inter Agence a également cherché à renforcer les capacités des services techniques du Ministère de l’Action Humanitaire, de la Solidarité, et des Personnes Agées et du Ministère de la Famille, de la Promotion de la Femme et de l’Enfant, des membres des Comités de Crise, qui ensemble sont responsables de l’enregistrement des personnes déplacées et du suivi des enfants vulnérables au niveau des régions, afin que ceux-ci puissent intégrer l’identification des ES et ENA et le suivi des cas vulnérables identifiés dans leurs activités habituelles.

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    Source: UN Human Rights Council
    Country: Haiti, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, occupied Palestinian territory, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, World

    Le Conseil des droits de l'homme a clos aujourd'hui, au Palais des Nations, à Genève, les travaux de sa vingt-deuxième session. Au cours de cette session, entamée le 25 février dernier, il a adopté 35 résolutions, dont quinze à l'issue d'un vote, ainsi que deux décisions et deux déclarations du Président. Le Conseil a également procédé à l'adoption des résultats de l'Examen périodique universel concernant quatorze pays et procédé à des nominations de titulaires de mandats de procédures spéciales.

    À l'issue de cette session, le Conseil a créé une commission chargée d'enquêter sur les violations des droits de l'homme dans la République populaire démocratique de Corée, en vue d'en établir pleinement la responsabilité; le mandat du Rapporteur spécial, qui sera membre la commission, a été prolongé d'un an. Le Conseil a aussi nommé un nouvel expert indépendant sur la situation des droits de l'homme au Mali.

    Ont été prorogés les mandats de la Commission internationale indépendante d'enquête sur la Syrie ainsi que des Rapporteurs spéciaux sur la situation des droits de l'homme au Myanmar et en Iran, de même que des Rapporteurs spéciaux sur le droit à l'alimentation, sur la protection des droits de l'homme dans la lutte antiterroriste et sur la liberté de religion ou de conviction et de l'Expert indépendant sur la situation des droits de l'homme en Haïti.

    Le Conseil a par ailleurs adopté une résolution par laquelle il encourage le Gouvernement de Sri Lanka à mettre en œuvre les recommandations formulées dans le rapport du Haut-Commissariat aux droits de l'homme sur les conseils et l'assistance technique qui pourraient lui être offerts, en particulier la création d'un mécanisme de recherche de la vérité faisant partie intégrante d'une approche plus globale de la justice transitionnelle. Le Conseil a par ailleurs engagé le Gouvernement de la Libye à continuer d'enquêter sur toutes les violations des droits de l'homme et à garantir aux accusés un procès équitable.

    Aux termes d'une résolution portant sur la suite donnée au rapport de la Mission internationale indépendante d'établissement des faits sur le conflit de Gaza, le Conseil renouvelle sa recommandation à l'Assemblée générale de se tenir constamment informée de la question jusqu'à ce qu'elle ait pu se persuader que les mesures appropriées ont été prises pour mettre en œuvre les recommandations formulées par la Mission afin que justice soit rendue aux victimes. Le Conseil a aussi réaffirmé le droit inaliénable du peuple palestinien à disposer de lui-même, y compris de vivre dans la liberté et de créer un État souverain et sans discontinuité territoriale. Le Conseil a aussi adopté des résolutions par lesquelles il demande à Israël de renoncer à la construction de colonies de peuplement et à la modification du caractère physique, démographique, institutionnel et juridique du Golan syrien occupé; de revenir immédiatement sur sa décision concernant la construction de nouveaux logements pour des colons israéliens dans le territoire palestinien occupé, y compris Jérusalem-Est; et d'arrêter immédiatement la construction du mur dans le territoire palestinien occupé. Il prie la Haut-Commissaire aux droits de l'homme de présenter l'an prochain un rapport détaillant la mise en œuvre des recommandations énoncées dans le rapport de la mission internationale indépendante d'établissement des faits chargée d'étudier les effets des colonies de peuplement israéliennes sur les droits civils, politiques, économiques, sociaux et culturels des Palestiniens.

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    Source: Government of the United States of America
    Country: Cambodia, Ghana, Haiti, Senegal, Tajikistan, United Republic of Tanzania

    You’ve probably heard us say this before: To meet a growing demand for food from a growing population, we need to increase agricultural productivity by up to 60 percent by 2050. A growing population also means more demand for water.

    Water to grow and raise food. Water to drink. Water for sanitation. Water for energy. Water, water and more water.

    To meet the need of growing more food with limited resources, including water, Feed the Future employs an approach that is both climate-smart and sustainable. Here are a few ways we’re incorporating water management into agricultural development.

    Cooperation on water usage

    What do Tajikistan and Tanzania have in common? Farmers in both countries, respectively, are cooperating with each other to share water for irrigation and manage it well. In Tajikistan, Feed the Future has helped opened water users’ associations, developed through open and participatory processes involving small-scale and commercial farmers, community leaders, and government officials. These groups, which provide equitable access to irrigation, also collect irrigation fees. In Tajikistan, a water users’ association in Qubodiyon rehabilitated an irrigation system that had fallen into disrepair, providing greater, reliable access for members to quality water for growing food.

    In Tanzania, the 954 members of a water users’ association in Dakawa have worked together to keep irrigation technology working at the pump station they share. Feed the Future is helping them rehabilitate the pump station with updated technology, helping reduce the amount of labor needed to pump water.

    Access to irrigation

    Sometimes, farmers don’t have access to a reliable water source to grow their crops. Feed the Future helps smallholder farmers gain access while coaching them on sound water management practices that are meant to conserve the natural resource and balance its use. In Haiti, Feed the Future has helped rehabilitate a deteriorated irrigation system, which is not only helping restore the local water source but the surrounding land as well, which had become arid and increasingly unfit for farming. Farmers in key areas now have a reliable source of water to help grow food to feed their families and sell at markets.

    Addressing climate change

    Feed the Future works in concert with the Global Climate Change Initiative to develop strategies and undertake research to help food producers both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the challenges of climate change. As water levels started rising in Cambodia during seasonal flooding, a Cambodian fish farmer was able to save her pond with the help of climate change adaption techniques taught by Feed the Future. She’s now sharing the techniques she learned with her neighbors who lost their ponds during the floods.

    Insuring farmers against drought

    Weather-related risks—including drought and flooding—are critical concerns for farmers, especially smallholders. Sporadic rainfall, higher temperatures, and drought can devastate crop and livestock farmers. To help farmers manage the risks of drought and adapt to climate change, which may make these weather events more frequent and worse, we’re working with the Global Climate Change Initiative to support innovative insurance approaches to help smallholder farmers. Drought-index insurance, which compensates farmers for crop losses due to shortfall of rain, is helping reduce the financial risk smallholder farmers in Ghana face when weather causes crop failure.

    Water for food, water for health

    Besides needing water to grow food, humans also need water for sanitation and health. While issues of water and sanitation are often looked at in isolation, they are directly tied to issues of food security, global health and climate change. We’re aligning agriculture and nutrition investments to maximize our impact on food security and health, and our programs also help improve access to water and sanitation and health systems. Read more.

    Growing more with less

    Our research strategy promotes a model for agriculture-led economic growth called sustainable intensification. Simply put, this model applies a mix of technologies and practices to increase agricultural productivity and minimize environmental impacts. As part of this model, we’re investing in research to develop crops that are more tolerant to disease, heat, drought and salinity. In some cases, these crop varieties use less water too. In Senegal, Feed the Future is building on the success of a pilot program that provided smallholder farmers in lowland areas, predominantly women, with a variety of rice that doesn’t require irrigation, which often isn’t available in lowland areas. Instead, farmers are able to grow more rice using rainfall as a water source.

    Smarter farming to conserve water

    Conservation agriculture is literally the practice of growing more with less. Farmers till and plant only a portion of their land each season, growing crops in small, evenly-spaced basins rather than plowing entire fields. This minimally disturbs the soil, helping it retain water and nutrients. By using conservation agriculture techniques taught by Feed the Future, farmers in Senegal are increasing production despite less rainfall.

    For more, read our climate fact sheet.

    Curious about the photo above? Check out our photo of the week on Facebook for details!

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  • 03/24/13--21:25: World: Rapport Annuel 2012
  • Source: Télécoms Sans Frontières
    Country: Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Nicaragua, Niger, Philippines, Syrian Arab Republic, World


    TSF en 2012

    Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) est la première ONG mondiale spécialisée en télé- communications d'urgence. Depuis 1998, TSF assiste les populations vulnérables du monde entier à travers trois champs d'actions :

    Réponse à l'urgence

    Lorsque des catastrophes naturelles ou des conflits endommagent ou détruisent les réseaux de télécommunications, les équipes de TSF arrivent sur le terrain dans les 24 à 48 heures. Ces équipes offrent des appels gratuits aux populations déplacées et établissent des centres télé- coms pour les acteurs humanitaires. Grâce à son centre de veille internationale 24h/24, TSF peut se déployer depuis ses bases en Europe, Amérique centrale, et Asie, et ses bureaux aux Etats-Unis.

    Renforcement des capacités de réponse à l'urgence

    Un déploiement d'urgence réussi dépend d'un important travail de préparation. Au-delà des déploiements, TSF : (1) forme les gouvernements, les agences des Nations Unies, et les autres ONG à l'utilisation des outils télécoms et Internet en situations d'urgence; (2) travaille avec les gouvernements au développement de mécanismes de réponse à l'urgence; et (3) développe avec ses partenaires techniques des outils technologiques et teste les innovations lui permettant d'être plus rapide, plus mobile, plus efficace.

    Accès aux TIC pour tous

    L'accès à la technologie et l'expertise appropriée aide les gouvernements, les ONG, et les populations à mener plus efficacement leurs projets dans les domaines suivants : santé/agriculture/ éducation/développement économique/prévention des crises. TSF s'associe à des partenaires locaux et internationaux, et, grâce à son expertise, connecte et appuie le développement de systèmes de suivi et de contrôle, systèmes d'alerte précoce, et réseaux de services de santé. TSF crée également des centres communautaires d'éducation au bénéfice direct des populations locales dans les régions isolées et très pauvres pour leur offrir un accès à Internet.

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    Source: Assessment Capacities Project
    Country: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Samoa, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, World, Yemen, Zimbabwe, South Sudan (Republic of)

    Intense fighting continued across Syria over the past week, in particular in and around Damascus, Homs, Aleppo, Raqqa, Idlib, Homs, and in the area stretching between Damascus and the Golan Heights. The number of Syrian refugees continued to rise, amounting to a total of 1,175,915 as of 25 March, according to UNHCR.

    Heavy fighting was reported in the city of Gao in northern Mali. The risk of asymmetric attacks by Islamist militants remains high in the main northern towns. Meanwhile, French and African troops continued their offensive in the Adrar des Ifoghas Mountains in northern Mali, where rebels have regrouped.

    Heavy rainfall caused major flooding in the department of Chocó in north-western Colombia, affecting at least 56,770 people, or 11,200 families, according to the Colombian Government.
    Three days of violent riots and clashes between Muslims and Buddhists erupted in the town of Meikhtile in central Myanmar, displacing an estimated 9,000 people and leaving more than 30 people dead. Extensive material damage was reported on houses and religious buildings.

    In Central African Republic, the security situation deteriorated over the past week as the Seleka Rebel coalition took up arms against the government and seized control of the capital. According to the UN, an estimated 1,500,000 people are estimated to be affected by the current crisis in the Seleka controlled areas, and have been without access to basic services for over two months.

    Global Emergency Overview web interface

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    Source: Deutsche Welthungerhilfe e. V. (German Agro Action)
    Country: Mali

    Welthungerhilfe: people cannot eat their fill without security

    (25.03.2013) According to Welthungerhilfe’s assessment the nutrition situation in Mail continues to be critical. This is the result of current surveys on the ground in many districts around Timbuctu, where both refugees and families that have taken in expellees were questioned.

    A large proportion of the population have not been able to provide for themselves since the start of military hostilities. Firstly, many fields are lying fallow, because farmers have fled hundreds of kilometres to the south of the country out of fear of the fighting. The remaining families have no seeds and are afraid of attacks. The refugees staying with relatives have not returned to their villages up to now due to the lack of security. They have no land while they are staying with guest families and thus they are wholly dependent on their relatives’ support. "The lack of security is the greatest barrier to independent family provision. Some people have nothing to sow and the fields cannot be tilled while others are too scared to return to their villages. As a result the whole economic cycle has come to a halt," says Gerhard Weisshaupt, Project Manager of Welthungerhilfe, describing the situation in the north of Mali.

    Welthungerhilfe is also supporting the population in various regions of Mali with financial donations from the German government. About 28,000 households in the areas around Kayes and Mopti are receiving food. 6,500 families in the villages around Timbuctu and Segou are each receiving 100 kg of rice. Households can feed themselves for around 2 months with this aid. In addition, blankets, mats mosquito nets and hygiene items are being distributed.Welthungerhilfe has supported projects in Mali since 1968. Together with the local people projects in the areas of sustainable food security, school education and also agricultural development have been supported. Due to recurring political unrest and extreme climatic fluctuations Welthungerhilfe has also continually provided active emergency aid. On request we will be pleased to arrange an interview with our Project Manager Gerhard Weisshaupt in Bamako.

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    Source: Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de I'Homme
    Country: Mali

    FIDH and its member organisations in Mali, AMDH and IUDH, condemn the war crimes committed in northern Mali by armed Islamist groups and the MNLA, and call upon the international community to strengthen its efforts to halt abuses against the population and the world heritage sites in this region.

    Nearly four months after the takeover of Northern Mali by the combined forces of the Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA), Al-Qaeda in the Islamist Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar Dine (Defenders of the Faith), and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), violations of human rights are increasing. War crimes, such as summary executions, rape, recruitment of child soldiers, arbitrary detentions, looting and destruction of property (in particular priceless cultural places and places of worship), are committed.

    "The people of northern Mali are subject to armed groups who kill, rape and destroy all symbols of humanity," declared Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President. "We must stop this madness and only a strong commitment by the international community and African States will support the political transition in Bamako, which is key to restoring law and order in the North," she added.

    After having ousted the MNLA from Gao on June 27, Islamist groups Ansar Dine, MUJAO, and AQIM control the three major cities of North Mali which are Timbuktu in the northwest, Gao in the northeast, and Kidal in the far northeast. Over the last three days, Ansar Dine has destroyed 7 of the 16 shrines of Muslim saints, as well as a sacred door of a 15th century mosque in Timbuktu. These cultural treasures are of inestimable historical value in the ancient cultural and intellectual centre of Sahelian Africa, and UNESCO has classified them as world heritage sites.

    On 2 July, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, said that the attacks against civilians and places of worship could be classified as war crimes, and would fall under the jurisdiction of the Court. At the end of the meeting of the Council of Ministers on 30 May, the Malian government announced its intention to refer these cases to the ICC, and an official referral would be currently prepared in Bamako.

    "Mali currently does not have the military capability to restore security in the North and has even less capacity to prosecute and try the perpetrators of these crimes," said Mr. Moctar Mariko, AMDH President. "Under these circumstances, Mali must resort to calling upon the ICC , which was created to address this type of situation," added Mr. Brahima Koné, UIDH President and Honorary AMDH President.

    FIDH, AMDH, and UIDH also call for armed groups to immediately cease attacks against civilians and places of worship. Our organisations urge the international community to take the necessary measures to protect civilians, places of worship, and cultural goods of Northern Mali in accordance with Resolution 1674 (2006) of the UN Security Council. This resolution establishes the concept of the "responsibility to protect" civilians in case of war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and ethnic cleansing, if the State concerned has not the will or ability to protect the threatened civilians.

    According to this principle, as well as obligations under other sources of international and regional human rights and humanitarian law, the UN Security Council and the African Union should adopt resolutions and make decisions to support actions of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to put an end to international crimes committed in Mali, and to guarantee a political transition which will lead to general elections in the country.

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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone, World

    Says that sustainability depends on the way food produced and consumed

    Pollenzo/Bra, 25 March 2013 - Small-scale producers, local production and consumption circuits and recovering traditional crops have a major part to play in reducing hunger, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva told professors and students at the University of Gastronomic Sciences today, also noting the many possibilities of cooperation between FAO and the university to fulfil the vision of a hunger-free and sustainable world.

    He said that the Green Revolution of the 1960s had increased per capita availability of food by over 40 percent, but at the cost of a loss of food diversity because of a focus on a few crops and significant impact on the environment from intensive use of chemical inputs.

    But now there was a trend towards growing and marketing traditional foods, towards improving local infrastructure and markets and helping small-scale producers, all of which was good for the environment and the economy of rural areas, where hunger was worst, he said.

    "Under-utilized crops ... can have a positive impact on food security," he said. "Recovering these crops is a way towards food security. It also means rediscovering lost flavors and identifying new ones. That is something that unites all of you to the poor farmers throughout the world," the Director-General told the audience.

    Graziano da Silva mentioned cassava in Africa and South America and quinoa in the Andes as food crops that were coming into their own, to the benefit of poor farmers and their families. He encouraged his audience to help spread the word about the International Year of Quinoa, being celebrated this year.

    Gastronomic sciences and Slow Food

    The University of Gastronomic Sciences was founded in 2004 by the Slow Food movement, headed by Carlo Petrini, who was in the audience. Slow Food works with FAO on a project that helps map food biodiversity in four African countries: Guinea Bissau, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone. The project has helped farmers bring traditional foodstuffs to market in developed countries through an annual event.

    "This link to markets completes a virtuous circle: recover traditional crops, support local production and link them to markets, allowing for an increase in their income," said Graziano da Silva.

    "Your interest in rediscovering different foods is a way to recognize the cultural value of food, a value that is often forgotten in today's globalized and fast world," added the FAO Director-General. [PR 13/40 EN]

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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger

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    Source: Kenya Red Cross
    Country: Kenya

    The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) through the Kenyans for Kenya Drought Initiative of 2011 identified parts of the Turkana County as one of the Regions that were going to gain from an early recovery initiatives that was aimed at opening up land to irrigation in Kaikor location, Turkana North District, targeting three villages with a total population of 15,398 people as a Disaster Risk Reduction aimed at building community resilience and enhancing food security. The community is predominantly pastoralists.

    The project started in January 2012 with a project life of 12 months through funding from the Kenyans for Kenya Drought Initiative, where Kenyans came together to contribute through mobile telephony and other means, to reverse the fate of other Kenyans who were threatened by death through starvation.

    Other projects put up by Kenya Red Cross Society under this initiative include four boreholes that have been drilled and equipped, seeds and seedlings bought. Currently, results of the initiative in the dry area, that had never been thought to produce farm products, can be seen as farmers are reaping from the project after growing assorted vegetables that include kales and maize, among other products.

    The community has also been mobilised into enterprise agriculture/common interest groups with the aim of selling the surplus for sustainability. The farmers have also been trained on kitchen gardens and basic farming skills. At least 80 drip irrigation kits and shade-net houses have also been installed by Amiran Kenya Ltd for farming.

    During the 2011 drought, Turkana North was one of the hardest hit areas with malnutrition rates as high as 35%.

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